Wedding Day Schedule – What Should Happen (And When) Part 1

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Weddings are very busy occasions – there’s an awful lot to fit in to just one day, and as it all goes by so quickly, it can be difficult to know where to start when planning an itinerary.

While you should always be prepared to go off-schedule, it can be helpful to have a list of key moments with approximate timings to make sure things get done, and to help ease your anxiety.

However, always remember that it’s more important for you to enjoy your day with friends and family than it is to ensure (in a Bridezilla fashion) that everything runs like clockwork.

This guide can be adapted for weddings with different start and finish times, and for weddings that have the ceremony and reception at the same venue. For the purposes of this guide, the ceremony is at 12.00PM, and the wedding ceremony and reception are at different venues.

Part 1 – The Ceremony

· 8:00am – Getting Ready

The amount of time required to get ready can depend on the size of your Bridal Party, and the complexity of the hair and makeup looks. The Bride’s makeup and hair can take around one hour and 30 minutes, with each Bridesmaid taking approximately one hour. If you can afford to have more than one hair stylist and makeup artist, it’s worth the extra expense to avoid panicking and rushing.

Bridesmaids should get ready first, and if you want photos of the getting ready process and the “first look” from the Bride’s parents, have the photographer arrive one hour before the Bride needs to leave for the ceremony. Ideally, hair and makeup will be done at home rather than at a salon, to cut down on travel time.

Top Tip – It’s very common for the Bride and Bridesmaids to stay together the night before the wedding. Anything to cut down on travel and waiting time is welcomed! Also, the Bride and Bridesmaids should wear button-up PJs, to prevent any damage to hair and makeup when getting dressed.

· 12:00pm – Wedding Ceremony

The Groom and Groomsmen should arrive around one hour before the ceremony is due to start, with the Bride and Bridesmaids arriving shortly before the ceremony start time. Allow an extra 15 minutes if you want a photo of the “first look” when the Groom sees the Bride for the first time.

The ceremony should be scheduled to start 15 minutes after the time stated on the invite, to allow for traffic conditions and late arrivals. The ideal ceremony length is around 30 minutes, though this is likely to be influenced by your choice of ceremony, and whether it is a religious or civil ceremony.

At this stage of the day, the Bride and Groom should take a few minutes to themselves before making their way to their reception venue. This day will go past in a flash, so make sure to acknowledge that you are now officially married, before you go off to join in the celebrations.

Check out our Wedding Day Schedule – What Should Happen (and When) Part 2.

By Rachel Doherty, Excalibur Press