Spruce Mountian Ranch

“Timing is Everything” Wedding Timelines at Spruce Mountain Ranch


The common saying that “timing is everything” is never as true as it is on your wedding day, one of the most significant days of all. Because of the important role that timing events correctly plays on this special day, we asked Sarah Viera, one of Spruce Mountain Ranch’s favorite wedding planners, to offer some advice to brides about planning their timeline specifically for the ranch.

1. What is the timeline based around?

  • Sarah Viera’s excellent assistant coordinator Maggie Wood answers simply that “we usually base a timeline off of ceremony time,” which at Spruce Mountain Ranch, is typically scheduled for 4:30.

2. How much buffer should be allowed in the schedule in case the wedding is running late?

  • Maggie answers that “I wouldn't say we buffer a schedule necessarily. We typically allot 30 minutes for ceremony (even though most only run 10-20 minutes). We usually allow 1-1.5 hours of cocktail hour— any longer, and guests tend to get bored. Then, the reception follows and typically lasts 4.5 to 6 hours.”

3. How much time is needed for each major chunk of the wedding (ceremony, cocktail hour, reception)?

  • “As I said before, the ceremony usually is scheduled for 30 minutes, the cocktail hour for 1-1.5 hours, and the reception 4.5-6 hours. These times are dependent upon the start times of the wedding and the day of the week. For example, a ceremony on a Saturday night that takes place at 3:30 will end at 4:00. Cocktail hour will be from 4:00-5:00, and the reception from 5:00 until 11:00. However, a ceremony on a Sunday might begin at 4:30 and end at 5:00, with cocktail hour from 5:00-6:00. Then, the reception might end between 9:30 and10:00 because it’s a Sunday.”

4. How far in advance should the timeline be made to ensure the day actually follows it?

  • “I would say that Sarah likes having the majority of the details nailed down by the 30-day walk through. Then, there is near-constant communication between planner and bride during the week leading up to the wedding to make sure that everything is scheduled appropriately with any last-minute changes. Sarah is super flexible and will change things the day before at the rehearsal as per the bride’s wishes.”

5. What else should brides know about making a day-of timeline for their wedding?

  • Maggie explains that “brides should definitely schedule themselves more time in the morning while they're getting ready, because it’s better to be ready and waiting to get picked up to go to the venue than it is to be rushing around trying to finish everyone's hair and make-up while the limo sits waiting.

  • Also, I would argue that an extra 5-10 minutes should be scheduled for photos either before or after ceremony. That way, the photographer has time to accomplish what the bride and groom want, as well as time to use their creative license. If the bride and groom get done early, they can join cocktail hour or take a few minutes to themselves prior to being announced at the reception.

  • Finally, some extra travel time should be factored in to deal with traffic, just in case.”

6. How many weddings have you done at Spruce Mountain?

  • She guesstimates that “Sarah does roughly 60-75% of her total annual weddings at Spruce Mountain Ranch.”

7. Can you offer any suggestions about how the different timelines run on different onsite venues?

  • Maggie explains to brides that “Essentially, all of Sarah’s timelines run the same, regardless of ceremony site with 30 minutes for the ceremony, 1-1.5 hours for the cocktail hour, and then the reception to follow until it's time to begin strike (the hour of cleanup at the end of the night).

  • Hotel buses (such as ones from the Inverness) will do a pick up at 9 or 9:30 and then one at 10:30 or 11:00 depending on the timeline of the day.

  • Usually, a send-off is scheduled for 10:50/10:55 (sometimes it is slightly earlier, depending on how long the photographer is contracted for).

  • Vendors usually arrive at 1pm (11:30/12:00pm at Ponderosa because that usually means we have a guest count of 250+, and that takes a little extra time to prepare for).

  • The bride and groom usually arrive at the venue 2 hours prior to the ceremony time to finish getting ready and to do some pre-ceremony photos.”

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