We know you are going to want to make the most of every second on your big day so it’s essential to get your timings and wedding day schedule right. Knowing exactly what the agenda is, removes the risk of nasty surprises and rushed proceedings.
Follow our handy, hour-by-hour plan and everything should run like clockwork. Remember this is only a guide. We have theoretically assumed the wedding is starting at 2 pm.
Top Tip: You should build in extra time in case of bad weather.
Your 10 Hour Wedding Day Schedule
You’ll probably be awake way before this time with excitement, but 9 am is a good time to rise and have breakfast. We’d advise against something too stodgy but you definitely need something filling. What about smoked salmon, eggs and avocado? A glass of champagne is encouraged but limit yourself to one as you don’t want to overdo it too early on.
The bridesmaids should be with you now. Make sure your bridesmaids are wearing button-down tops that can be easily removed without ruining their makeup or hairstyles. As the bride, you should be having your hair done first so the style can be perfected.
Try to avoid having too many people in the room – only the bride, bridesmaids, photographer, make-up artist/hairdresser and perhaps mum should be with you now. Too many people can cause stress and create a manic setting. Keep the numbers low so you can enjoy it and stay relaxed.
We would recommend you have a small snack to keep your blood sugar levels up. The last thing you want to do be fainting at the altar. A banana is a great option.
At this point, bridesmaids should be having their hair done while your make-up is being applied.
12:00 – 12.30
All hair and make-up should be done now and it’s time to get your dress on. Slinky sheath dresses should be put on over your head, taking care not to smudge your makeup. If you’ve got a big dress then you should be able to step into it.
This is the time to give your bridesmaids their presents, especially if you’d like them to wear their gifts on the day. Your photographer will want some time to take shots of you and the girls before you leave for the ceremony, so now is the best time.
Delegate someone to be the main point of contact with the coordinator at your venue, and give your phone to that person – last-minute issues are not your problem now. As everyone else is getting ready to leave for the ceremony, have a quiet few moments alone with your Dad, this is a big moment for him too.
Groom, best man and ushers should have arrived at the ceremony by now, welcome guests. Remember the bride’s family sit on the left and the groom’s on the right.
Bridesmaids arrive at the ceremony, shortly followed by the bride and her father. It’s time for the big gig. Your coordinator will signal for the processional music to start and then it’s time to make your entrance.
If you’re having a flower girl or pageboy, send them first. If you’re shy, you can send your bridesmaids down the aisle ahead of you, or if they are following you, make sure they keep an eye on your train.
Time for the confetti and post-ceremony pictures. Make sure your photographer has a detailed shot list so no special pictures are forgotten. Leave the confetti somewhere obvious so your guests can get handfuls – or cupfuls- of it.
This is likely to be when the drinks reception begins. The couple and main bridal party will go off to have their formal pictures taken which will usually take 30-40 minutes. Wedding guests will be mingling at this point, enjoying the bar and canapes.
The wedding breakfast is served. If you’re having a three-course meal, allow around an hour and a half for service, there is likely to be teas and coffees too before the real party begins.
Speeches times! Father of the bride goes first, then the groom and then the best man. If you want to make a speech it’s best to go after the groom. Everyone should have a glass of Champagne or similar for the toasts.
The cutting of the cake – to be served with coffee. This is a good opportunity to sneak away and refresh your hair and make-up before your evening guests arrive.
The first dance. This is a big moment for you, enjoy it. No doubt, you’ll have poured over your first dance song for months. If you’re nervous, ask the DJ or band to invite friends and family on to the dance floor halfway through.
This is when the evening buffet should be brought out if you’re having one. Only cater for 80 per cent of the guests as the day guests may still be full from their earlier meal.
Find your husband – yes, you will get separated throughout the evening – and take a few moments to soak up the atmosphere and enjoy the wonderful day that you have created.
Bride and groom depart. Your carefully decorated reception room will not be a pretty sight when the lights come on, so leave while the party is still on a high. Goodnight, Mr and Mrs!
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