The Ultimate Guide To Your Wedding Day Schedule
Your wedding day is finally here and you are so excited! The bridesmaids arrive, your hair and make up artist arrives, everything is going swimmingly. What feels like a short while later, someone asks what the time is and you all panic as you realise that you need to leave in 20 minutes, that none of you are in your dresses and that it takes you a good 20 minutes with at least 3 people helping to get you into your wedding dress! Panic ensues, the photographer doesn’t get the photographs you want and your other half is stood waiting at the alter as you walk in, 15 minutes late.
No one wants a stressful wedding day. Yes, there is lots going on and lots that needs to be organised, but with a well planned schedule that everyone in the bridal party and all your vendors know about, your day will flow smoothly along and you can keep your hair in place and just enjoy the day. Below are some tips to help you when you are planning your wedding day schedule and then at the bottom you will find a rough schedule outline that you can use as a base.
Work your timings out backwards from the wedding
You know the time you are getting married right? This is one of the first things that gets booked and planned! So use that time as a starting point to knowing what time you then need to be beginning to be getting ready in the morning.
Most photographers will want to take a few photographs of you and your bridesmaids at the wedding venue before you go in - this shouldn’t take longer than 5 minutes. Then think how long it will take you to get to the venue - is it a 20 minute drive down lanes, a 10 minute drive through the centre of a city (with the potential to get stuck in traffic) or a 3 minute walk from the main house to the chapel on site? Always factor for potential traffic, the fact it might be a slower walk in heals and there are going to be a number of you in tow too. For example, if your wedding ceremony is starting at 1.30pm, you will want to arrive around 1.25pm. It takes a 20 minute drive so you will want to aim to be getting into cars at around 1pm (who knows how long it will take to work out how to get your dress into the car!).
Have you tried getting your dress on? How long will it take you, how many people do you need etc. These are all very important timing issues. Your photographer will more than likely want to take some photographs of you as you are doing up your dress and with your bridesmaids once you are all changed - don’t underestimate how long it can take to do up some buttons when you have emotions, beautiful long nails that actually aren’t that practical when it comes to tiny fiddly buttons and high heels in the mix!
If you are having a Hair and Make Up artist, talk to them about how long it will take them to do your hair and make up and if they are doing your bridesmaids too. Consider having a practice of hair and make up and time it! Then order who will be having their hair and make up first, second etc. (we would suggest you as the bride should go first - you will want your Hair and Make Up Artist to get your look perfect before they move on to your bridesmaids. They can always touch up your lipstick and check your hair before they leave).
Discuss timings with your vendors
Before you set your timings in stone, it is a really good idea to talk to your vendors about timings. Your venue’s wedding co-ordinator has probably started mentioning timings since you first started looking around - what time the drinks and canapés will appear, how long your formal photographs might take, what time you will need to be seated for your meal etc. By all means, please listen to them and take on board what they are saying, after all, they have hosted many weddings at their venue, but do make sure you talk to your other vendors that will be involved at this point too. Your wedding photographer will probably have their own thoughts on timings about the photographs. These may be completely in line with your venue, or they may need a little bit of tweaking, but you won’t know until you talk.
Once your schedule is sorted - distribute this out to everyone. Your Wedding Co-ordinator, your venue, your Photographers, your Hair and Make Up Artist, your Bridesmaids, your Groomsmen, your Groom, your Parents (both sets!). Make sure everyone is singing from the same hymn sheet and are all prepared to help you keep to timings. Especially as you are more than likely not going to have your phone, a watch or some kind of time keeping device on you throughout your wedding day.
Wedding Day Schedule
Please remember that this is not an exact schedule and will need to be altered depending on your wedding ceremony timings, number of bridesmaids etc. This wedding day schedule is based on your wedding ceremony starting at 1.30pm.
8am - You have probably been up for a while already but this is a great time for breakfast. Try to have something light but filling and a glass of champagne is always encouraged but make sure you don’t overdo it too early on!
9am - Hair and Make Up Artist should have arrived and be working through the bridal party, starting with you. They can always finish your hair and make up right at the end by checking everything is secure and putting on the last layer of lipstick if you want them to.
10.30am - Don’t forget to have a snack in the middle of the morning. You may not be eating until around 4pm which is a very long time between breakfast and then! The last thing we want is a bride with low blood sugar feeling faint.
11.30-12pm - All hair and make up should be done by now so it’s time to get your dresses on. Your photographer may want some photographs of you in your getting ready outfits at this point (especially if you have matching dressing gowns and PJs). This is also a great time to give your bridesmaids their presents, especially if you would like them to wear or use their gifts on the day.
12.30pm - Your photographer will probably want some photographs of you getting into the dress, getting ready and with your bridesmaids. You don’t want to rush these - these will always be beautiful photographs that you will treasure forever, of you getting ready with your besties.
12.30pm - Groom, Best Man and Ushers should be arriving at the ceremony. They are there to welcome the guests, make sure everyone has an order of service and keep the Groom busy!
1pm - Get into cars and head to your wedding ceremony venue.
1.30pm - Bridesmaids arrive at the ceremony, shortly followed by you and whoever is giving you away. The music will start, your bridesmaids will walk in and everyone will say ‘WOW’ when you saunter in after them. Remember, you look beautiful!
2.30pm - Now it’s time for the confetti photos and post-ceremony pictures. If you have to travel to a second venue, make sure to factor this is and please make sure that everyone (especially Bridesmaids and Groomsmen) have directions!
3pm - The drinks reception begins and so do the formal photographs. Most family photographs should have been taken after the ceremony and so this should be just photographs of the Bride and Groom and their bridal party. Have a think before hand where you would like these to be. Is there somewhere special you and your new husband would like to head off to (in the grounds of your venue) to have your photos taken? This both gives you some time alone from your guests and a special meaning behind your images. Your guests will be absolutely fine, milling about and enjoying the drinks reception, the canapés and the bar.
4.30pm - The wedding breakfast is served!
6.30pm - It’s time for the speeches.
7pm - Cutting of the cake - this is often served with tea and coffee and can also be a good opportunity for you to refresh your hair and make up before your evening guests arrive.
7.30pm - Evening guests arrive
8pm - The first dance! This is such a special moment for you so enjoy it. You’ve chosen your favourite song, you’ve practiced the dance moves and now you are ready. Forget all the faces smiling at you from the crowds.
8.30pm - This is when the evening buffet should be brought out if you are having one. Don’t feel you have to cater for everyone though as a lot of your guests who have been there all day will probably still be full from their earlier meal.
And finally, kick off those shoes, find your new husband and party the night away! Enjoy and soak up the atmosphere.
Paul & Heidi