Wedding Day Timings

When it comes to planning the running schedule of your big day we know there are a lot of factors and elements to consider and we hope these helpful tips will help you plan the perfect running order for your day.

There are two things to consider for this part of the day.

Firstly, what time should you have your ceremony and what time should everyone arrive for the ceremony?

We generally advise the following for this:

  • To have your ceremony between 12 and 1.30pm as this enables you to enjoy the full use of the venue without feeling rushed
  • Groom, Best Man/Men and Ushers to arrive 45 minutes before the Ceremony
  • Guests – 30 minutes before the ceremony
  • If the Bride and Bridesmaids are coming by car – 10 minutes before the ceremony
  • Have the guests seated – 5 minutes before ceremony

Secondly, how long will the ceremony take?

This completely depends on whether your having a Civil Wedding Ceremony, Religious Ceremony or a Non-Religious Ceremony.

  • Civil Wedding Ceremony – 30 to 45 minutes
  • Religious Ceremony – 60 to 90 minutes
  • Non- Religious Ceremony – 20 to 45 minutes

Allow 1.5 hours for your drinks reception as this allows plenty of time for your photographer to capture your group and personal portrait shots. It will also give you enough time to mingle with your guests and enjoy your canapes and bubbles.

As a general rule of thumb, allow 5 minutes per group photo and at least 30 minutes for your personal portrait shots. But the following is worth doing to make sure this part of the day doesn’t over run!

  • Ask your photographer to scope out some potential backdrops in advance
  • Make a list of the photos you want of your family and wedding party so there’s no confusion on the day
  • Choose someone responsible! To round the relevant people up who are needed right after the ceremony so that nobody goes AWOL for those needed shots

Allow 15 minutes for your guests to get seated for the wedding breakfast from where you have had your drink reception and them finding their seat.

To make this run smoothly and efficiently designate at least two Bridesmaids or Ushers to direct and sweep up any stragglers!

Allow no more than 30 minutes for the speeches allowing between 5 to 10 minutes for each speaker.

It’s important to stick to these timings as if they take any longer guests get restless and your evening may lose momentum.

For this part of the day we say to allow for 2.5 to 3 hours which includes the speeches.

Your chosen caterer will be able to guide you on the timing of this part of the day depending on the number of guests, food choices and the number of courses.

With guest numbers over 75 the wedding breakfast will take up to 3hrs.

We have found that if you are having singing waiters this will add 30 minutes to this part of the day, so we do recommend to start the day earlier so this doesn’t run into your evening party.

To help turn the venue around quickly for the evening party its a good idea to nominate a bridesmaid or an usher to announce your guests through to the bar area so the room can be turned around efficiently for the evening.

If you have roughly gone with the timings above your evening party will start around 6pm to 6.30pm to give you plenty of time to party the night away!

If you are having evening guests, its best to invite them to arrive at least 30 minutes after the wedding breakfast just in case it over runs.

We recommend that the start of this part of the evening is a nice time to cut the wedding cake so your evening guests can enjoy this part of the day with you, whilst the venue is being transformed for the evening party.

Then you can take to the dance floor for your first dance and party the night away!

We know every wedding is unique and times will vary but we do find from our 20 plus years of experience that following this formula will enable your day to run smoothly. But if you are struggling with your schedule in anyway, please do not hesitate to contact us as we are more than happy to help.

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