You’ve managed to tackle your seating plan, your guest list is under control and you’ve even had time to delegate a few tasks to each member of your bridal party. It sounds like you’ve nailed this wedding planning stuff doesn’t it? But the question is… have you created your wedding day timeline?
Creating an accurate timeline to follow is absolutely essential for the smooth-running wedding of the day, so if you haven’t quite got around to it, now is your chance. If you’re already feeling overwhelmed, don’t fret! We’re here to guide you through each and every element when it comes to create your wedding day schedule, including how long to factor in for each element!
If your wedding is the only major celebration you’ve ever planned, it can be quite a daunting task to create the timeline and although there isn’t a ‘one size fits all’ schedule, here at Aleeka Events we can give you a quick and handy guide to get you started.
The Morning of the Wedding: Bride & Bridesmaids
Let’s start with the bridal preparation on the morning of the wedding. The time you start getting ready will impact the rest of the schedule, including the number of people getting ready, whether everyone is getting hair and make-up done, the distance between where you’re getting ready and your ceremony, and the bits in between. For instance, don’t forget to factor in breakfast, bubbles and any photographs you might want to have taken while you’re having your hair and make-up done with your best girls.
If you are having a professional hair & make up artist, ask them how long they think it will take for each member of the bride party. From experience, we would allow for at least two hours for the bride and then an hour per person. Don’t forget to allow for at least half an hour for putting on your dress – you’d be surprised at how long this can actually take!
Factor in travel, along with the time of your ceremony start and you should have a vague idea of your morning schedule. Then, add an extra hour onto that. It’s better to be early than to be rushing and stressing on the morning of your wedding!
The Wedding Ceremony
Your guests should arrive 30 minutes ahead of the ceremony, while the grooms and his groomsmen should be there around 45 – 60 minutes beforehand. The bridesmaids should generally arrive 10 minutes ahead of the ceremony, while the bride should be there just 5 minutes beforehand. The timings of your ceremony will depend on whether you’re having a non-religious, religious or civil partnership. While a non-religious ceremony can take anything from 20 to 40 minutes, a religious ceremony can take up to 90! Again, don’t forget to factor in time for those all-important confetti shots and any group shots outside the church or ceremony space.
The Drinks Reception & Group Shots
Now the fun really begins! Your drinks reception should take around two hours to give you time to capture your group shots and couple photographs while your guests are mingling. Your photographer will be able to guide you on how long you should put aside for your photographs, but for ease, we suggest discussing backdrops ahead of the big day so that everything runs as efficiently as possible.
The Wedding Breakfast
It usually takes 20 – 25 minutes to get your guests seated from the drinks reception to their tables – ask a few members of your bridal party to usher and direct guests to their seats if you want to make sure this doesn’t drag on for too long! We recommend asking your caterers about how long you should schedule in for the wedding breakfast. The timeline will depend on how many guests you’ve invited, the number of courses, the number of staff available and even the style of food you will be having. For a three-course meal, ensure you have allowed for at least 2 hours. After the wedding breakfast, the speeches should take no longer than 30 minutes – the perfect amount before guests start getting bored.
The Evening Reception
Generally speaking, as soon as your evening guests start arriving you can soon forget about your wedding day timeline! However, don’t forget to factor in your first dance, cutting the cake and even the bouquet throw. Depending on how long you’ve hired for your photographer for, this should be done no later than an hour after your wedding breakfast.
We can safely say no wedding day timeline is ever the same, however, you can use the above to give you a vague idea of what to expect. If you’re finding your schedule stressful and need a bit more guidance, feel free to get in touch, and we’d be happy to help.
Aleeka Events provide 'Luxury Wedding Planning and Event Design/Styling' services. We are located in the UK, and specialise in creating modern, stylish, design-led and luxury event designs, for discerning clients with impeccable tastes. Each event is bespoke and personalised to you! Want to know more? Get in touch now for a complimentary consultation over here.