We have put together this helpful Guide to assist with planning your Wedding Timeline. Covering many key elements and giving little handy hints for couples who would like an extra helping hand organising their big day.
As wedding planners and stylists we know only too well that all weddings are different and don’t always run to the same time frames. It’s like being a celebrity for the day – everyone wants to talk to you! You’ll be smiling left right and centre and it may take you 20 minutes just to cross the room – so bear in mind that things can take longer than anticipated.
“If you do forget something or if anything goes wrong on the day, it’s unlikely you will even notice – you will be having the best day of your lives” Bride
Getting Ready – The Bride
This is such a special part of the wedding so you want to make sure you have plenty of time for your whole bridal party to get ready.
Things to consider:
- the size of your party,
- complexity of hair and make up – ( If you are going into a salon for your hair and make up, we would definitely recommend a trial a couple of weeks before so then you & your stylist will be fully prepared )
- the time of ceremony,
- distance to ceremony,
- capturing every special moment on camera – make sure you leave extra time for piccy’s.
- Don’t forget to include time for breakfast / lunch plus a glass of fizz or two!
- Take handy advice from the pros, they are likely to have done this kind of thing many times!
- For hair and make-up, this is the time relax and enjoy being pampered! The bride will usually go first then have her final perfecting touch ups at the end, once bridesmaids are finished.
- It would be a good idea to ask your hair & make up stylists how much time to allocate for you and your entire bridal party. Generally speaking around 2 hours for the bride and 90 mins for each bridesmaid is ample.
If you are travelling anywhere at peak times, you could do a test run on the same day of the week, at the same time to be extra sure how long it will take you.
Work backwards from the ceremony time – then allow an hour or so of extra time, just in case.
Non – religious 20 – 45 mins
Civil Partnership 30 – 45 mins
Religious Ceremony 60 – 90 mins
When should everyone arrive?
Groom / Best men 45 mins before ceremony
Guests 30 mins
Grooms Parents 15 mins
Bridesmaids Mother of Bride 10 mins
Bride and Father of Bride 5 mins
In a traditional wedding, the Brides family sit on the Left, Grooms family on the Right.
Don’t forget to factor in photograph time, confetti throwing and if you have a second venue how long it will take you and your guests to get there.
You could allocate around 40 – 90 minutes depending on number of guests.
Your photographer will seize this time to take plenty of beautiful shots of you and your guests.
This will also give you plenty of time to mingle with everyone, say your thank you’s and of course enjoy a glass of bubbles or two!
Ask your photographer for time frames they like to go by – as a starting point you could allocate:
5 minutes per group
30 mins personal shots
- Your photographer may like to scope out your venue before hand, to find the perfect places for those jaw dropping photos, saving time on the day.
- You could make a list of pictures and group shots you would love to have, this will help your photographer when it comes to the big day!
Ready, Steady, Catch
Don’t forget time to throw your bouquet. You could do this after your ceremony, or even after your wedding breakfast.
Allow 15 – 30 mins to re locate everyone into the seating area for the wedding breakfast.
For 3 courses you could allocate around 2 hours.
- You could have a designated person ( wedding co-ordinator, bridesmaid or groomsman ) who can help usher guests and locate any stragglers – You could use this little gap as a perfect time to sneak away briefly for a few pictures of just you two!
- Take advice from your caterers, they will have a good idea of how long your wedding breakfast may take – The choice of food, number of staff, number of courses, number of guests and venue type may all impact on the time needed.
You could start with allocating 30 – 40 mins or 10 minutes for each person.
Cutting the Cake
This is the perfect time to turn the room around ready for your evening guests arrival.
Invite your guests into a separate room / area for cutting of the cake then if you have a wedding co- ordinator they could quickly turn the room around, all ready and perfectly set for the evening.
Here timings can easily go out of the window, as everyone is busy enjoying themselves & dancing the night away!
Your evening guests hopefully will all have arrived by now, so this would be the perfect time to have your first dance as Mr & Mrs! Whether you’ve decided on a romantic slow dance or a funky first dance routine, your guests will be eager to join you on the dance floor to dance the night away.
Weather you choose to have buffet style food, rustic homemade stonebaked pizza, or a sit down meal you could serve this around 30 – 60 mins after your first dance.
Carriages – Midnight
Relax & collapse with a bottle of Fizz on Ice!
Stay creative and open minded and problems will seem to just disappear in the blur of such an incredible day!
Don’t forget to keep a log of all the suppliers you are using too. This will help you remember when or if they need to drop items off before the big day or pick up afterwards.
Remember this is just a guide, so feel free to amend anything you need to – you won’t be doing anything wrong if you change aspects of it – it’s your big day after all!
We hope you have a truly fabulous wedding, if you need an extra helping hand you can flick across to our website or simply pop us over an email and we will be glad to help – firstname.lastname@example.org