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Your Wedding Day Timeline - Make time for the things that matter to you.

an elegant wooden day of timeline with gold accents.

Whether it is your order of the day signage or the hour by hour breakdown of guest movements, supplier timings & venue operations compliled by your planner; a timeline will naturally make for a more relaxed and seamless wedding day.

Now, dont get me wrong, the timeline below is by no means a strict set of rules; it is more of a guide to ensure that you allot enough time to the things that matter to you.

Adjust this at your will - and don't worry if things dont go 100% to plan; having your timeline means that you have wiggle room to manage any little crop ups - and they do happen.

The best thing about a timeline, especially when combined with a wedding planner or on the day coordinator is that it will allow you to truly just be in the moment. You get to enjoy your day safe in the knowledge that things are running smoothly & you aren't herding cats / guests / suppliers when you should be soaking in the memories as they happen.

"... just be in the moment"

So let's get into it...

Morning Prep: 2-4 hrs

No matter how you view it - a time to pamper yourself with your nearest & dearest; a glass of something in hand & something deliscious to start your day off right; or, an hour to shower, throw on your fancies & head to the bar with your inner circle - there will be some kind of morning prep.

Traditional - Couples get ready seperately, each with their own entorage of 'the chosen ones' to help with preperations. This creates an opportunity to include something like "a first look" moment before the ceremony; or leaves the big reveal for the head of the aisle.

two grooms are sitting in the honeymoon suite looking into one another's eyes and having a cheers before their ceremony

Together - A number of my couples have chosen to get ready together this year which has been equally wonderful to see. They told me that they woke up together with that "Christmas Morning" feeling & appreciated the intimacy of it being just the two of them.

Remember - neither option is right or wrong - it comes down to what you feel comfortable with.

Depending on what you need to do in the morning i.e. hair, makeup, cultural traditions etc; I suggest allocating around 3-4 hours. If you are having a large wedding party - it is also worth checking with any prep suppliers e.g. hair stylists & makeup artists as to how much time they need & where 'you' fall in the order of party prep.

Capturing the moment: 1 hr - (part of the prep above)

a father, the groom adjusts his young sons tie during wedding prep.

If you are having a pre-ceremony photoshoot; I would allow around an hour (discuss this with your photographer beforehand). A true prep shoot is more than just a few posey pictures of ties being put on and a couple of flat lays (although these are gorgeous & I highly recommend). A prep shoot can be a crucial part of the day. It captures the raw emotions and anticipation. Treasured friends and family reactions & ensures that every special moment is immortalised.

And - if you're not too bothered about all the gushy stuff, if nothing else, it will help you to feel at ease in front of the camera!

The Ceremony: 30-45mins

When you are all ready, it might help to calm any last minute nerves knowing that you will only have to be stood in front of your guests for a little while; so try not to worry about it too much - just stay focused on your person. They love & support you.

If walking down the aisle seperately; one of you may wish to arrive 30-45 minutes prior to the ceremony in order to greet guests (if you want to); and be ready to begin.

If you are having a civil ceremony - the registrars will need to interview both of you seperately around 30minutes before the ceremony. A celebrant may wish to meet with you both; but it is not a legal requirement.

The length of the actual ceremony depends on the number of readings, songs & moments you have chosen to include; but they seem to average 30-45 minutes.

Remeber to factor in time for your guests to arrive, for the ceremony to unfold organically, and for you to soak in your first moments as a newly married couple. Eeek!!

Drinks Reception / Cocktail Hour & Couples Photo's: 1-2 hrs

After the ceremony, you might want a drink! Toast with one another - your guests - aaannnnddd relax!

This is also the perfect opportunity for your photographer to capture any group shots; a few candid snaps and of course - those gorgeous couple shots while you are still wrapped up in the moment; and guests are occupied.

The Feast: 2 hrs+

Also known as the wedding breakfast. Who knew weddings were such hungry work?

Discuss food service timings with your cateres as these vary significantly dependant on course numbers; dish type etc; but generally, a couple of hours allows for a leaisurely meal & an opportunity for guests to catch up.

Speeches: 30-45 mins

Have them -or dont have them. There really are no hard and fast rules around speeches any more and many couples are choosing to forego them altogether. I personally LOVE a good speech - especially if its a tear jerker or particularly funny. However - you may want to avoid multiple lengthy speeches - this is a celebration of the two of you, not a monologue.

30-45 minutes is usually long enoug for your key people to speak; but short enough to hold guests attention... trust me!

A bride and groom laughing during a speech. The groom is pulling a sheepish face and raising a toast.

Cake & First Dance: 5-20 mins

These do not have to be done at the same time; but guests will typically want to watch you cut the cake AND gather round the dancefloor for your first dance; so it makes sense to combine the two things.

Alternatively; you could cut the cake before the speeches; during the evening reception; or at the end of the evening (as long as people haven't gone home). However, these options may involve awkward pauses and crowd control - FYI interrupting guests mid-party isnt much fun!

Over to dancing - once you & your new spouse; or you and your chosen ones are on the dance floor - it is a natural transition for everyone else to join you. Make it clear to a few people what the plan is - no one ever seems to know whether they are allowed to get involved at this point, so make it simple.

This also signifies the start of the evening & its party time from here on out.

The Evening Reception: 4 hrs+

Evening guests usually arrive around 7-8pm; just in time for or just after the first dance; and stay until you say goodnight.

If you are serving evening food, this is usually served around 8-9pm depending on when your ceremony started.

You made it!...

Remember, you can't plan for every eventuality - as much as we would like to. Use these timings as a guide to help you through the day, but don't worry if you waver a little. Let it be organic, fun and memorable.

Hope that has helped - if you need any more advice, just drop me an email.

Speak soon,

Dani x

Photo credits (in no particular order):

Andrew Dawson

Francesca Checkley

Olive & Wilde

Sarah J Scott

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