Planning your wedding day timeline can at first seem very overwhelming. Knowing where to start and how much time to allocate can seem daunting when you have little to know experience. My points to consider are here to help, keep your day on track and as stress free as possible.. just one point to consider keeping your timings a little fluid and not minuet by minuet will certainly help.
Where to start on planning your wedding day timeline
Weddings generally have two fixed time points, the 1st is the ceremony time and 2nd the wedding breakfast time. As a rule these are crucial to maintain as the consequences can have a dramatic effect on your day .. many a time there are weddings after yours that registrar’s may need to attend and lets not upset the chef by running late for the wedding breakfast. So with this in mind the starting point is with the ceremony.. set this in first and work out what must happen ahead of this time ..
Tip 1 :Starting at your ceremony time is the logical place to start as this time is fixed working backwards through the morning gives us the time to start getting ready
Arrival Time at Your Ceremony Venue
Calculate the travel time to your Ceremony Venue – Consider how long the journey takes at the day and time your wedding is being held add in 15 minutes contingency time.
Tip 2 use Google Maps, for example if your wedding is on a Friday at 1pm look at the route planner on a Friday at 1pm to give you an idea of how long the journey is. If you are traveling in a classic wedding car don’t forget to factor in extra time as classic cars tend to be slower and in most cases avoid motorways if you are unsure check with your car company.
Planning your morning…
So with the ceremony time in place and the journey time in place this will give you your leaving time but there’s a lot to get done in the morning!
Don’t be fooled time on a wedding day is like no other! At first it seems like you have all the time in the World .. then before you know it you are scrambling around rushing … my tips are aimed to avoid this give you a relaxing yet organised morning ..
Bride || This is the most important day of your life so far, you’ll want it to go as stress free as possible. One of the biggest stresses is running late .. so if possible start early and put in contingency time, then if one area of the morning over runs its less likely to have a domino effect on the whole day.
Tip 3 | Chose professionals for your hair and make up and when it comes to having your trial, time it so you have an idea of how long it takes then add 20 minutes contingency time to this.
Bridesmaids and Parents || Keeping your morning as stress free and as calm as possible ultimately relies on on members of your bridal party knowing the expectations on them. Let them know your planned timings and the time you would like them to be ready by
Tip 4 | Ask bridesmaids and parents to be ready at least 1 – 1.5 hours before the time you are leaving. Then if everyone isn’t quite running to time it won’t stress you out .. just don’t tell anyone you have added contingency time in keep that to yourself …
Rest assured if you are lucky to have your morning run exactly to time and you are ready early this time can be filled with photographs, giggles with the girls and celebration drinks .. far more fun than running around stressed .. trust me on this one!
Its best here to ask your celebrant| registrar or Minister how long the ceremony will be. As a rule a Civil Ceremony is usually around 20-30 mins. A Church wedding can be anywhere from 45 mins to hours
Tip 5 | Add in around 15 mins contingency time allowing for things to start a little later as well as time for guests to exit the ceremony location.
When it comes to traveling to wedding reception (particularly if this is a different location to the ceremony) use the above method for traveling to the Ceremony but allow extra time for guests to travel too and always give directions.
Now is the time to start to relax and really enjoy time with your family and friends. The optimum time for a wedding reception is around 1.5 – 2 hours (unless you have loads of entertainment planned) any less and you may feel rushed especially if you would like to have lots of family photographs.
Wedding Breakfast : I would ask your wedding venue how long they expect it to take to serve the number of guests you are having as a rule it’s usually 11/2 hours for a sit down meal, a buffet can be slightly shorter.
Speeches | Unless you have a super cool witty Father | Groom or Best Man I would say the optimum length of time for each speaker is around 10-15 mins (but this is just a guide)
Evening Guests arrival time
Take into account not everyone arrives at the time you put so it’s generally worth evening guests arriving a little bit after the speeches have finished but at least half an hour before your 1st dance and cake cutting if this is to be done before your 1st dance … After this its time to let your hair down and enjoy your party …..
So now you know how to plan your wedding day timeline. Check out my planning tips for more. If you would like to have a personalised timeline drawn up by myself and chat about wedding photography please complete the contact form and I am more than happy to help.