Timing is everything, from the moment you wake up (…or get up, as you’ve probably been awake with excitement since 4am!) It’s important to ask your wedding planner or venue about timings from day one, just so you get a better understanding of the day.
Obviously schedules and timings can vary – every wedding is slightly different and venues work differently. However I have created a sample schedule of events – based on a summer wedding, having your ceremony onsite and getting ready at your venue – as this is becoming a more popular option these days!
8.00am – Rise & Shine
Jump out of bed and sing ‘I’m going to the chapel’ to your hearts content, with bridesmaids on a cappella.
9.00am – Arrival of Glam squad / Photographer & Videographer
Hair & make up always takes a little longer than planned – ensure to allow for that! When getting ready at your venue, make sure you have arranged for brunch to be delivered to your room. This means that you can graze throughout the moment – which avoids the bloat!
2.00pm – The ‘I Do’s’
If you are getting married onsite, you can opt for a later ceremony time. I think 2pm is perfect, as it allows guests enough time to get ready, have an early lunch and arrive to the ceremony on time. Try and be fully ready, in your dress, bouquet in hand 15 minutes prior – this means you can relax and tick off a lot of necessary photos with your bridesmaids and whoever is giving you away.
2.45pm – Drinks Reception
A religious ceremony will last approximately an hour, whilst a civil ceremony will usually be 30 minutes. This is photo time for you, so many couples freak out about being ‘away from their guests’ during this time. Trust your photographer, they know what they are doing and they will wrap up the photo time as quick as possible. When meeting with your photographer, write down a list of priority photos to get, eg: with parents, grandparents etc – this will help speed things up!
5.00pm – Call through to dinner
Some venues will offer you a receiving line option at this stage – which is basically shaking every single guests hand to say hello. I feel this is dated and takes anything between 30-45 minutes – which in my opinion is wasting time! Also, guests don’t want want a stand in slow queue to their table. Let them get straight to the table plan and seated as quickly as possible!
5.15pm – Speeches
30 minutes is usually the ideal time for speeches. The traditional order is a member of the brides family, member of the grooms family, groom, finished by the best man! However it’s your wedding – do what you want! A lot of couples think the idea of speeches between courses is a good idea – I advise against this idea, as it makes the meal drag and affects the quality of the food. If you want to open the floor for speeches – I recommend to do this during tea & coffee after dessert, as there is a more relaxed vibe by this stage.
5.45pm – Dinner
Dinner will usually take up to 2 hours for 4 courses – starter, main, dessert, followed by tea & coffee.
8.00pm – Evening Guests
Always invite your evening guests before your entertainment begins. This means you can welcome and say hello to them before the party begins!
8.30pm – Entertainment
The majority of bands will play from 8.30pm onwards.
10.15pm – Evening Supper
Don’t leave your evening supper too late, otherwise it’s missed! I also only advise catering for 2/3 of your total guest number at this stage, as not everyone takes and there is always wedding cake left to bulk out the buffet!
10.45pm – Sparklers / Fireworks
Always a nice touch to a wedding, it’s funny how sparklers have become a normal expected thing at a wedding. The ‘Sparkler Send Off’ idea never works – as your guest numbers will have shrunk by 1am, and you won’t have your photographer there to capture amazing shots! So I recommend to do this just before the evening supper! Fireworks – legally they have to be before 11pm, I love fireworks at weddings – I really do. However when I think of the cost for 15 minutes, I think those pounds could be better spend on honeymoon!
1.00am – Wrap Up…
The usual wrap up time is 1am, however some venues will offer a late bar idea which is always fun!
And just like that the day you have stressed about, cried over, and dreamt of is over! Well not really, I tell all my brides to milk it – make sure you have a post wedding event to finish off the wedding celebrations!