A to Z Wedding Planning T for Timings

This week’s A to Z Wedding Planning, and we’re talking about T for timings.

Timings are quite a big thing to think about, and sometimes you might want to leave it a bit late and think about it right at the end, but really, you need to be thinking about wedding day timings right from the very beginning. When you’re looking at venues, when you’re thinking about locations, you need to think about what time is your wedding going take place? And then how everything will sit in with what that time is you’ve chosen for your wedding.


There’s a few things you need to be thinking about right off the bat. Really be flexible. Build in contingency, allow times for it to go different ways, as it were. Allow for moving your guests from A to B. The length of your guest list will make quite a big difference. And do allow for, and think about, if things run over, because often with weddings, they do, by moving the guests, or the service, how long things take. So do allow that contingency time in your wedding, in the timings of your day, to allow for things maybe not going as you planned them.


Talk to your suppliers, and discuss with them the timings. They know weddings. They’ve done them all before. So have long chats with your suppliers about what times they need for certain elements, to do their job. And then ultimately, on the day itself, really don’t worry. Just let the day flow, as it were. If you’ve thought it out before the big day, then you really shouldn’t need to worry too much on the day itself.


So things to consider when you’re thinking about your timings of your wedding day running it from start to finish. Sometimes I think it’s worth working backwards. So, what time do you have to be out of your venue? How much time do you want for the dancing and that part of the day? And then as you’re working your way back, you can work out that’s a good time for your ceremony to start? So if you know you want a band, a band normally plays for a couple of hours. Are you going to want a band and a DJ, so do you need a bit more evening time?


And then think, what’s your service like in terms of your dinner? Are you having a very formal, three-course sit-down meal? How many guests? That’s going to affect the length of time it takes to serve the meal. A 3-course meal usually takes 2 hours.

And then the speeches, speeches can really impact a lot in the terms of timings of your evening celebration. Because, how many are you having? When do you want to have them?

And also, no matter how long the people giving the speeches say their speeches are, I always say, allocate a bit more time. I’d even go as far as, if they say they’re going to be a five-minute speech, allow 10 minutes. People generally do tend to talk for longer than they think they’re going to talk. It’s rare that they sit down and actually time their speeches. It can be a last-minute thing, so they put their speech together, and they haven’t even had time to practice it, or even if they have practised it, once they get the live performance, as it were, that will affect the length of their speeches.

So I always say, allocate a good amount of time for your speeches. Generally, if you say three people are giving speeches, I would say at least 30 minutes. But if you’ve got more, or you want to do it at different parts of the day, in between courses, then talk with your caterer about it, just so they know when service fits in and around the speeches, and allow ample time for that.


And then when you’re thinking, for your guests, if we’re working backwards, how long do you want for your drinks reception? Do you have lots of photos that need to be taken? Have a chat with your photographer about when would be good times to go off and take your portrait sessions. They might want to do some golden hour shots. Again, that depends on the time of year that you’re having the wedding. So allocate time into your schedule for photography. If you’re having a standard drinks reception it’s about an hour and a half. If you know you’ve got a lot more guests, and you’ve got to transport people to different locations, you might want to pad in a bit of extra time there.


And then in terms of your ceremony time, if you’ve worked your way backwards, you know the absolute latest you can start your ceremony. That’s not to say you can’t start it a bit earlier, again, giving yourself a bit more flexibility in time there. And also think about, when you’re thinking about that ceremony time, what time do you want to start that day, where is the wedding happening? Have the guests got a long way to travel? Are they coming for the whole day? Is there time for them to get there? Are they checking into hotel rooms? There’s kind of a weird time between 12:00 and 1:00 where maybe guests can’t check into hotel rooms, so they might have to go to the ceremony first. So you might want to have a little think about that.

I always think 2:00 is quite a nice ceremony start time. It’s not too early, it’s not too late. It means can guests can have breakfast, potentially a light lunch, before they get to the wedding, and it means you won’t have to feed them as much. If you do decide to go for an early ceremony, I always say, have lots of snacks and foods available, again, because they might’ve had to miss lunch.


And then bear in mind your timings in the morning, in terms of having hair and makeup. If you’ve got a big bridal party, really allocate enough time in the morning. Bear in mind, the earlier the ceremony time, the earlier the start time for you in the morning that you’d have to get your hair and makeup done. And I’ve heard of 5:00, 6:00 AM start times, so do have a little think about that. You might want to, if you’ve got a big bridal party, maybe get a bigger hair and makeup team, just so that you’re not necessarily all having to get up some ridiculous time in the morning, and it becomes a very long day.

And then in the morning, do remember to allocate a little bit of time for just getting in and out of your dress. Is it buttons? Is it a zip? It can take longer, getting into different dresses. Do have a little rehearsal beforehand, to make sure that you know how long it takes. When girls have got their dresses done, and you’re all made up, it can take a little bit longer than you might expect.

So I’ve done a kind of reverse thinking about your wedding, because I think that if you work backwards, you can think how much you’ve got to fit into the day. Either way, just really think about those points. And as I said at the beginning, really be flexible, build in that contingency time for you to be able to, if things don’t necessarily go as planned, maybe they run over a little bit, you’ve built a little bit of contingency time into your wedding day. Allow for moving your guests around. Allow for things running over. And just, on the day itself, kind of chill out, be relaxed, and hopefully, by that point you’ve handed the whole running of the day to someone else, so you don’t really need to worry about it, and you can just take time to enjoy the whole day, take it all in.

And so the last thing I would say, in terms of the timings of your wedding day is to take a little bit of time out with your new husband or wife. Allocate time to make sure that you’ve got alone time together, (the portraits are often good for this) just the two of you to really take in the moment, and really enjoy it all.

Struggling with your timings for your wedding day? As part of my full wedding planning service I will make sure your wedding day is perfectly timed out so you get to enjoy the whole day. I’ll be there to watch the clock so you don’t have to! Get in touch today if you want to discuss my wedding planning services.

At Always Andri we are passionate about making your wedding day truly memorable. With 15 years of experience wedding planning in London, we specialise in creating a distinctive celebration of your love story while saving you a whole lot of time and stress.

If you’re ready to transform your wedding day vision into a reality, we would love to hear from you. Get in touch with us today to discuss your ideas and let us bring it to life. Visit our wedding planning services to explore how we can help you and view our portfolio of past weddings in London and the southeast.

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