You’ve spent months, or even years planning, and when it comes down to it, you’ve just got 24 hours to live your wedding day, so literally every minute counts! No doubt you’ll want it all to go as smoothly as possible, and not waste any time. The key to this? A well planned schedule! So to lend a helping hand, we’ve put together an idea of wedding day timings to ensure your day goes without a hitch!

wedding day timings

The prep

The wedding day begins literally as soon as you get out of bed and it’s all systems go! Generally, you should allow the following time for hair and make-up:

  • Bride’s hair: 1 hour.
  • Bride’s make-up: 45 to 60 minutes.
  • Bridesmaid’s hair: 30 minutes per person.
  • Bridesmaid’s make-up: 45 minutes per person.

Remember, if you’re travelling to a salon, you’ll need to factor in extra time. When it comes to order, the hairdresser will usually start with the bridesmaids, while the make-up artist begins with the bride. That way, when the photographer arrives he or she can capture some photos of the bride having her hair finished, which the bride will be happy to do as her make-up has been beautifully applied.

The photographer will usually arrive an hour before the bridal party are ready to leave. However, this varies depending on personal preferences. During this time, I capture ‘getting ready’ shots, and detail photos of the bride’s dress, shoes, jewellery and other fantastic finishing touches.

Then, when the bridal party is ready, your photographer will usually capture some solo shots of the bride as well as the bridal party together, before heading off to the ceremony venue. These photos are quick, great for your album and won’t add on much time.

wedding day timings

The ceremony

The groom and groomsmen usually arrive at the ceremony venue an hour to an hour and a half before the ceremony begins. This allows them to ensure everything is in place. Plus they are there to greet guests when they arrive.

The bride and bridesmaids arrive at the ceremony time (or a little late in keeping with tradition). Depending on your ceremony type, the length can vary between 30 minutes to 1 hour. It’s best to check with your celebrant ahead of the wedding.

Following the ceremony, your guests will form a receiving line to congratulate you. If your guest list is 100 or under, this usually takes between 12 to 15 minutes, while 150 guests is approximately 20 minutes. If your numbers are 200 or above, some couples choose to skip this and save greetings for the reception.

Don’t forget to include travel time to your reception venue.

wedding day timings

Photo time

Your photographer will usually get a few photos of the two of you at your ceremony location before heading to the reception venue. Group photos can be taken here also. If you have a spot in mind for post-ceremony photos, ensure you inform your photographer of this ahead of your wedding, so that they can factor this in.

Your photographer will use this time to capture a range of shots, which isn’t limited to the following:

  • Family photos: Allow 2-3 minutes per shot (if your family is well organised).
  • Wedding party: Again, 2-3 minutes per shot.
  • Bride and groom: 30 minutes for just the two of you.

When it comes to these photos, the advice is always to be prepared! Make sure everyone knows where they need to be and when. Liaise with your photographer ahead of your wedding day to ensure they are aware of any special photo requests you may have.

wedding day timings

The reception

The reception will usually last between 6 to 7 hours, depending on your venue. The first hour to hour and a half, is usually when the bride and groom are having photos taken. This gives guests a chance to relax and chat while they wait for the happy couple to arrive. Two to three hours is usually dedicated to the meal, speeches and cutting of the cake. Following this, the evening guests will usually arrive, in time for dancing and bite-sized snacks later in the night.

Now all that’s left to do is jet off on that honeymoon, feeling reassured that everything went exactly to plan thanks to our wedding day timings!

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