Your wedding day timings

Your wedding day timings are the key to preventing stress on your wedding day.

The first most crucial timing is your preparation. You need to, firstly, consider the following:

  • How big is your immediate wedding party?
  • What are you having done to your hair and make-up, and who, out of your Bridal Party, is having what done to their hair and make-up?
  • How much have you already prepared yourself?
  • What time is your wedding ceremony?
  • What is the distance between where you are getting ready and the location of your Ceremony?Grooms party getting ready
  • Are you planning on having any photographs with your Wedding Party before the Ceremony?

When considering your wedding day timings, most can be organised by talking to your suppliers. Your Hairdresser will know how long certain hairstyles will take to arrange. However, a general rule of thumb is to allow a couple of hours for the bridal hair and 45-60 minutes for each member of your bridal party.

The best advice is to work back from the time of your wedding ceremony (including travel time) to putting on your dress (allow 30 minutes depending on the style of your dress), the time it will take to do your hair and make-up to give you a starting time (Don’t forget to include time for breakfast)

Leave about an hour extra to ensure that you are not rushed and that you can enjoy the morning relatively stress-free.

(Put together a playlist of your favourite feel-good tunes, also, have a glass (or two) of prosecco in your hand!)

The Ceremony

The first thing you need to consider for your wedding day timings for the Ceremony is what time everyone should arrive. Here is a quick guide:

  • Groom/Best Man/Ushers should arrive 45 minutes before the Ceremony
  • Guests usually will start to arrive about 30 minutes before the Ceremony
  • The Groom’s parents should arrive 15 minutes before the Ceremony
  • The Mother of the Bride should come with the Bridesmaids 10 minutes before the Ceremony
  • The Bride and her father (or whoever is giving her away) should arrive 5 minutes before the Ceremony.

You also need to think about how long you should allow for the Ceremony when thinking about wedding day timings. This is all dependent on what type of Ceremony you are having.

Generally, consider the following:

  • Non-religious Ceremonies take 30-45 Minutes
  • Civil Ceremonies take 20-30 Minutes
  • Religious Ceremonies take 60-90 Minutes (Although this does depend on the denomination)

Suppose you have photographs at your Ceremony Venue. In that case, you also need to factor this in when thinking about your wedding day timings. Again, it is advisable to talk to your Suppliers – they’re the experts!

Your Photographer will be able to guide you on how long the photos should take.

Drinks receptionDrinks Reception

For your Drinks reception, allow 1 ½ – 2 Hours. This gives your photographer plenty of time for both the group photographs and the portrait shots of you both. It also gives you time to mingle with your Guests.

It is, however, essential to provide your Guests with canapes while you are having photographs.

Group and Portrait Photographs

This all depends on your Photographer and how long they will require – Speak to them before planning your wedding day timings.

A general rule of thumb is to consider 5 minutes per group photograph and 30 minutes for all personal portrait photographs.

Make a list of the photographs you would like to be taken, and also employ one of your Ushers to gather up your Guests for the group photographs.

Seating Guests

Dependent upon how many Guests you are having to your Wedding Breakfast, allow up to 20 minutes for your Guests to move from the Drinks Reception through to the Wedding Breakfast (Allow 40 minutes if you have a receiving line)

Employing a Toastmaster or someone to coordinate your day is ideal for gathering your guests up and assisting them through to their tables – Plus, your Guests will sit a lot quicker if someone is organising them!

Wedding Breakfast

Speak to your Caterer to decide on how long your meal will take. However, a three-course meal will typically take about 2 hours.

wedding speech


So as not to bore your Guests, ideally, your speeches should take no more than 30-40 minutes, with each speaker allocated up to 10 minutes for their speech.

Evening Reception

This is the part when timings tend to be more relaxed. However, you need to consider the timings for the first dance andEvening Wedding Reception cutting of the cake. This will typically be up until the time when the Photographer finishes. Ideally, it is advisable to cut the cake no more than 45 minutes after the end of the wedding breakfast, with the first dance following straight after. (Quick note: Make sure that your Wedding Cake is positioned near the dance floor so that your guests are in the same area when you cut your cake and then have your first dance).

Ideally, Evening guests should be invited to arrive 30 minutes after the wedding breakfast is scheduled to finish.

Are your wedding day timings still stressing you out? Get in touch, and I can help you with the production of wedding day timelines and schedules to ensure that your day flows and is stress-free. Drop me an email by clicking on the link or give me a call on 07980 679575.


Photo images: Pixabay and Unsplash