Wedding Day Timelines

Wedding Day Timelines

A question I often see pop up in forums, is what the timeline for the day looks like and how long to schedule for each section of the day.

Every wedding is different, and a lot will be determined around what time your ceremony starts, travel times, the size of your bridal party, and what time your reception starts. 

Things to think about: 

  • As a rough guideline, you will want to allow approximately an hour and a half per person for hair and make-up, but closer to 2 hours for the bride. 
  • Getting your dress on can take time, especially if it is lace up.  I recommend allowing 20 minutes just to get into it, plus then time for photos of you pre-ceremony.
  • Don’t forget to think about how long it takes you travel to your venue (unless you are getting ready on-site), as you will want to leave a little bit of time for traffic etc.  Fashionably late is a good thing for the bride, but you don’t want to leave everyone waiting too long!
  • Straight after the ceremony your guests will want to come up and congratulate you, so ensure you factor that in.
  • Rounding people up for group photos is harder than it sounds … there will always be stragglers! 
  • Whether you’re staying on-site or heading off for photos will determine how long you need.
  • If you’re having a decent number of speeches, it can be nice to split them up between courses so that it’s not so long to sit and listen in one go.

Talk to the experts

ALWAYS talk to your vendors when setting your timeline.  The best people to tell you how long things take, are the people you’ve hired to do them.  Your hair and make-up artists will know how long to allow.  Your celebrant can give you an indication of ceremony length.  Your photographer will know how long they would like for photos.  Your venue and/or caterers will have a plan for how long each course will take.  So talk to them.  This might be a first for you, but it’s unlikely it’s a first for them.

What about setting up?

One of the biggest stresses on the wedding day, can be setting up the venue.  Many venues have a co-ordinator who will do this for you, but if not, try and get in to the venue the day before, or consider hiring a professional to do it for you.  Putting out place names, putting on chair covers, and setting out seats for the ceremony, all take much longer than you might anticipate.  You have likely spent a long time planning this day, and envisioning what it will look like, so why not employ someone who will guarantee it will look just like the picture you have in your mind (and not what a family member or friend thought you wanted).

Expect the unexpected

On the day, things will always go wrong.  The best you can do is assume that something will, and stay as cool, calm and collected as possible.  Allow additional time in your timeline so you have a bit up your sleeve if something doesn’t run exactly to schedule.  Make sure that all your vendors have a copy of your timeline, and that phone numbers of vendors and other contact people are included.  Assume you won’t have your phone handy, and give vendors a contact at the venue, and someone else in the bridal party to contact rather than you!

Your wedding day should be relaxing and enjoyable, and one part of achieving this is being as organised as possible. 

Happy Planning!

Posted: Wednesday 9 November 2016