Wedding Planning Advice

How To Plan The Timings For Your Wedding Day

15th January 2020

How to Plan Your Wedding Timings

You have your wedding day coming up, you’re on it, just need to sort the timings! On your Wedding day, you have a lot packed into just one day. It can always be a bit of daunting at the start of your planning. After all, you might have also experienced only a handful of weddings and in most cases, you have never planned one before.  You’ve booked your date and your venue now it’s time to start getting your head around how the day is going to flow and your wedding day timings.

A good place to start is to have a chat with your wedding venue and professionals you may have booked such as your wedding videographer and photographer.   They will have lots of experience of wedding day timings to draw upon and will be able to help you with what works well. 

Time Of Year Effects Timings On Your Wedding Day

A big part of planning your day has to be to look at the time of year you are getting married.  If you are getting married in the middle of summer when sunset is nice and late in the evening you can afford to have a later wedding ceremony and plan your day around it however, if you are getting married in the middle of winter when sunset is much earlier then an earlier ceremony is always a good place to start.

Planning Your Wedding Timings

Planning The Wedding day Preparations Timings

Brides chat to your hair and makeup artist about the number of people needing hair and makeup.  They will normally come up with a list of timings for the wedding morning to ensure, on the day, everyone is ready on time.

If your wedding ceremony is happening in a different location talk before the day to your wedding transport company around their recommendations on the timings of the journey.  Google maps might say that it takes 20 minutes but a vintage car will probably take longer.

Think about what time you want to be actually ready for, it will be nice for you to have a glass of bubbly and chill with your bridesmaids.  As a wedding videographer, I normally look to arrive at the ceremony venue around 20 minutes before the ceremony start time so if you are ready in good time it allows me to get across to the ceremony ready for you.  Grooms, just get there in good time! I would say look to arrive between 40-60min before the ceremony.

Planning your wedding timeline

The Type of Wedding Ceremony Effects The Timings Of The Day

The type of wedding ceremony that you then choose can have a big influence on the timings of your day.

If you are opting for a civil ceremony then normally once you have said your vows and signed the register you are looking at around 30 minutes but a church ceremony can be up to an hour, with some religious ceremonies lasting even longer.

If your wedding day is all in one place that does make things easier for both you and your guests. However, if you are looking at having your wedding reception and ceremony in different places, our timings need to be looked at as you need to factor in your travel time on the day.  When I got married I had a half-hour journey between venues, in a vintage car this became 40 minutes.

I think once you are adding too much travel time between venues you are starting to lose precious time with your family and friends.

Planning your wedding timeline

When Doing Your Timings Plan Some Time For You On Your Wedding Day!

Don’t forget when planning your wedding day timings there needs to be some time for you! While it can seem an odd thought. It can be so difficult to get some alone time to actually let everything sink in.

You haven’t seen each other until you are back together at the top of the aisle.  Timings wise, a short car journey between wedding venues can be perfect for this as can your time away on the day with your Photographer and Videographer!

It may feel awkward at first. This is a perfect time for you to reconnect after what has been a bit of a whirlwind!  Factor in some time into your day to head off away from everyone with your Photographer and Videographer to get some you time and also capture those magical memories for you!

How to plan your wedding day timings

Factor In Golden Hour

Golden Hour is the hour normally before sunset where (nice weather permitting) magical things happen to the light.  It can go from being harsh to being a gorgeous golden colour.

This is the perfect time for capturing stunning footage and pictures so if you are planning your wedding day timings it is always worth planning this in. It would be a real shame if your wedding film missed out on some gorgeous stunning golden light or sunset!

How to plan your wedding day timings

Your Family Will Want Group Photos

Your family will all be wanting group photos.  Group photographs are one of those traditions that everyone expects. I find often the bride and grooms don’t tend to actually look at too often.

When factoring group shots into your wedding timings it is always worth thinking about on the day less is more.  I always tell engaged couples that they should factor in 3-4 minutes per photo.

Many photographers can, of course, work quicker than this but it is a rough guide.  It only takes someone to be in the loo at the wrong time!  My advice (and many photographers I know) would be to stick in the 8-10 bracket.  This can soon take 30-40 minutes of your day for something that your family will look at a lot more than you probably will.

Planning your wedding day

The Speeches On Your Wedding Day

Another tradition that needs a little thinking is your speeches.  I often see lots of different ways of arranging the timings for your speeches on a wedding day.  Some before the meal, some after, some in-between.

This completely comes down to you and your preference, for me as your wedding videographer, after the meal is simpler.  I have to set up ready for speeches. In some situations, this may mean me having to come away from what is going on if the speeches are before the meal.

If your wedding speeches are before the meal. I usually set up during your group photos.  One thing I would thoroughly recommend to help your timings is having a time limit for each speaker.  3 speeches at 7-10 minutes each will soon hit half an hour.

Wedding Day Timings

The Timings Of Your Party Are Led By Your First Dance On Your Wedding Day

Are you having a first dance?  It’s a great way to kick the evening off and get the party started! That being said it is always worth thinking when you want that party to get started!

Do your first dance too early and it probably won’t have the desired effect. Too late and there is less time for the party to kick-off! On an average wedding day I tend to find around 8pm being a bit of a sweet spot, timings wise. Venues then tend to bring out food around 9pm so it gives a nice hour before people stop for food.

Wedding First Dance Timing

In Conclusion

So that’s my ramblings about planning the wedding timings for your big day! I am not saying I know everything and it is totally up to you as it’s your day. The most important thing is that your wedding day reflects you as a couple!

But if all this seems too much. Perhaps you need to look at a wedding planner like Jo at One Curious Dream.

About The Author

Mike Savory Best Wedding Videographer

Mike Savory is an award-winning Wedding Videographer from the UK.