It’s hard work putting a wedding day together – there’s logistics happening everywhere from flowers to favours, dresses to discos and cars to corsages.
With all that happening it’s often difficult to picture how the whole day is going to pan out, so whenever I meet with couples in love I like to talk to them about how their day will fit together – I’ve found it really helps them be more comfortable about how it’ll all work.
In this post I’ll give you an exclusive insight into those conversations and common timings for perfect days. While these can be shortened, I always allow for comfortable times so you’ve always got plenty of time to be relaxed and enjoy it 🙂
Your day will start with you getting ready, likely at your home or the hotel you’ll be staying in. You’ll need a hairdresser and potentially a makeup artist and as you’ll probably be with your mum and bridesmaids, you’ll need time for them to get ready too.
Here’s what normally happens:
- Makeup and hair for you and the bridesmaids takes around an hour and a half
- After that you’ll need to get into your dress, circa 45 minutes. Your flowers should also arrive during this time
- When you’re ready your photographer will probably look to do some bridal portraits and / or family combinations, which takes around 30 minutes
- Meanwhile your car should arrive
- When you’re done, you’ll add head to your ceremony
So tracking that back from a 1:30pm ceremony, your timings will look like:
- 10:15 Start getting ready
- 11:45 Putting on your dress
- 12:30 Bridal portraits with your photographer
- 1:00 Jump in the car to head to the ceremony
- 1:20 Arrive at the ceremony
- 1:30 Ceremony starts
Here’s what happens during most ceremonies.
- Church ceremonies normally last an hour and civil ones about 45 minutes
- After tying the knot you’ll walk out and into the churchyard / reception
- The photographer will start on the family formals
- Once their done, it’s off to the reception!
Your timescales now look like:
- 2:30 Ceremony ends
- 2:30 Greeting guests time
- 2:45 Start of family formals
- 3:15 Off to the reception
With all these happening you’ll really start to see time fly!
Off to the reception and it’s time for canapés and drinks for the guests and photos for you.
- As you’ll be ahead of the guests, you’ll arrive at your reception first and have a chance to see your amazing reception room all made up
- Your photographer will probably grab you to take some shots of just you two while the guests are catching up
- When you’re back, you’ll have some more catch up time
- After that it’s time for the wedding breakfast
- Your guests will be called in first then you’ll be formally introduced
Back to timescales and we’re now at:
- 3:30 Arrive at reception
- 3:30 Time to see your reception room
- 3:45 Portrait shots with your photographer
- 4:30 Back to meet your guests
- 4:45 First call for the wedding breakfast
- 5:00 You enter for your breakfast
The wedding breakfast and speeches
Your wedding breakfast will be served up and after the top tables dessert the speeches will start.
After the wedding breakfast you’ll have some time before the party starts to see the guests you missed over the wedding breakfast. Meanwhile your venue will prep the room for the disco and your band / DJ will start setting up ready for your first dance.
Here’s where we are:
- 6:45 End of wedding breakfast
The first dance and disco
With the disco ready it’s time for the first dance.
Your disco will kick off straight after your first dance and it’ll be officially time to let loose! Most venues will need disco’s to close by 1am at the latest, after which time you and your guests will head to your rooms or hotels.
So our final time check-ins are:
- 7:45 Your first dance as Mr and Mrs
- 1 am The closing of your perfect day
It’s quite a day!
Putting all that together you can see how important outlining timings ahead of time is. But I know what you’re thinking – what about all the things you need to remember during all those timings?
Find out in my blog post the 20 most overlooked wedding details.