How to Plan Your Wedding Day Schedule

by Caroline Gould

Everything is booked, you’ve found the perfect dress, and you’re about to get married to the love of your life.  But what will actually happen on the day, surely it will all just come together?  It will, but with a little planning you can ensure your day is truly fabulous.


To start planning your wedding day schedule I suggest you start with the things you know, for example the wedding ceremony and work around that.  Say your wedding ceremony starts at 1pm and you will be sitting down for your wedding breakfast at 4pm.  You now have the start of a plan.  You can work backwards from the ceremony time to plan a schedule for hair, make-up and getting dressed.  You will also need to schedule time for photographs and travel time to the ceremony venue.  In this example the ceremony is at lunchtime so I would definitely recommend scheduling in time for something to eat and drink.  A lot of brides do not eat before they get married and this can lead to you feeling light headed and even faint during the ceremony.  Make sure you have a drink (Champagne doesn’t count!) and something to eat before you leave for the ceremony.  After the ceremony schedule some time for photographs and make sure you also schedule some time where you can both circulate and talk to your guests as an alternative to having a receiving line.  Receiving lines can be a great chance to talk to everyone but typically you will talk to each guest for around 30 seconds – if you have 100 guests that’s 50 minutes!  Once you have finished your wedding breakfast it is traditionally time for the speeches, the traditional order is father of the bride, the groom and finally the best man.  Cutting the cake and your first dance as husband and wife usually come next.  That takes care of the formal agenda, its then up to you and your guests to dance the night away and have a great time celebrating.


Here’s a rough guide of how long things typically take on a wedding day:

  • Ceremony – civil ceremony from 20 minutes, church ceremony from 40 minutes
  • Drinks Reception – 90 minutes
  • Formal Photographs – around 30 minutes
  • Receiving Line – 40 minutes (depending on the number of guests)
  • Seating guests – 30 minutes (depending on the number of guests)
  • Wedding Breakfast – 2 hours (for a typical 3 course meal)
  • Speeches – 30 minutes
  • Dancing – 3 hours


Once you have planned your wedding day schedule, ensure everyone has a copy from the wedding party to all of your suppliers, including the venue staff and your wedding planner to ensure the day runs perfectly.

Images by Ross Dean Photography


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