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Wedding Day Planner
When it comes to planning the timing of The Big Day, there are many considerations and everyone does things slightly differently. This is just a suggestion of how the day might look. It will give you an idea of how long each element takes, and gives a few gentle suggestions to make sure the bride stays serene and everyone stays happy.
A Wedding Day Unfolds. . .
You might have butterflies in your stomach but we advise not skipping breakfast. Relax with a little Bucks Fizz – go on, you’re getting married today!
Hair and Make up Time
You, bridesmaids, mums, (even the men) will need plenty of time to make yourselves look gorgeous. Leave more time than you think.
Boys’ lunch/Girls lunch
Lunch at the pub with the best man and ushers always helps calm the nerves but remember to go easy on the pints and eat something! Ladies, ditto! No-one wants to hear a rumbling tummy during the ceremony.
Groom’s party arrive at the church/venue
This is usually around an hour before the ceremony begins.
The arrival of the bridal party
And yes, you are allowed to be a little late, though anything more than 15 mins might knock all your scheduling back so try not to linger in the wings for too long!
The ceremony begins
The most popular times for ceremonies to start are 2pm, 2.30 or 3pm. A civil ceremony will normally take around 30 minutes, a humanist ceremony will usually take around 45mins and a religious ceremony will normally be around an hour.
Straight after the ceremony is an ideal time to get your group photos, so whether it’s in front of the church or on the grand staircase of your wedding venue get your people organised!
Drinks reception starts
Your drinks reception should last long enough for you to have your pictures taken and give you mingling time with your guests. However, if it’s too long your guests might start to get restless so try to make it no longer than 1½ hours.
Receiving your guests
The receiving line is one tradition that is slowly fading from most modern weddings. It does give you the opportunity to greet all your guests but it can take a lot longer than you think. If you like the idea, why not just have you and your betrothed welcoming people, rather than the whole bridal party?
The great speech debate
Before or after dinner? Traditionally the speeches take place after dinner and are seen as an end to the formalities of the day. However these days many speech-givers prefer to do their bit early on so they can relax and enjoy rest of the wedding. As your event caterers and planners we don’t mind, just make sure they’re not too long!
The wedding breakfast
For a relaxed meal that you and your guests have time to enjoy, we recommend allowing an hour and a half for a three-course wedding breakfast.
Evening guests arrive
7.30pm is the usual time for evening guests to arrive
Cutting the cake
It’s nice to include evening guests in this element of your day; either way, cake cutting usually takes place at some point between the end of the meal and before the dancing begins.
The first dance
Your band or DJ will have been discreetly setting up while the meal takes place – the atmosphere will change once the music starts and if you’ve practiced your Strictly moves, now is the time to show them off! Or just grab your bridesmaids and ushers and get everyone out on that dance floor.
Time to go
Traditionally no guest would leave until the bride and groom changed into their going-away outfits and were waved off in their wedding car. These days the bride and groom might be staying the night at the venue and are often keen to make the night last as long as possible, but it can be an idea to make an exit, even temporarily, so older guests feel they can make their move.