Tips for Keeping you Organised and Your Day on Schedule
Welcome to part two of my wedding planning timeline guide. In part one I talked you through planning your morning, ceremony and the drinks reception timelines for your wedding so that your whole day runs to plan, ensuring nothing is rushed or missed.
Having an on the day wedding planning timeline is important for not only coordinating where your suppliers need to be and when but also so that every component of your day happens in the way you envisioned. With a well-organised timeline, you, your wedding suppliers and venue team can have a clear idea of when key moments of your day are happening and ensure everything is set up and organised. It’s also key to help manage time effectively, ensuring that everything runs on schedule throughout the day. This is particularly important for weddings where a delay in one area can create a domino effect, causing other activities to run behind schedule.
Overall, having an on-the-day wedding timeline is so worth it and ensures a smooth and stress-free wedding celebration and keeps everything to plan. If you missed the first part of this blog make sure you head on over to our blogging area to read more tips on keeping organised and your wedding day on schedule.
The Wedding Breakfast
Now things start to get a little more complex! The wedding breakfast is always completely unique from wedding to wedding, meaning that the wedding planning timeline will need to be adjusted based on a number of factors such as the number of courses you are having, any speeches and even by the number of guests.
Traditionally the wedding line up usually starts a wedding breakfast. The practice of having a receiving line is becoming less common, but some couples still prefer to have it as a way of ushering guests into the wedding breakfast. One benefit of having this tradition is that it ensures every guest has a brief moment to congratulate the newlyweds. However, it can be time consuming for larger weddings.
A big component of the wedding breakfast timings is the food. If you’ve got a lot of guests and a lot of mouths to feed, your wedding breakfast is going to take longer.
One way to streamline your wedding breakfast and keep timings shorter is to cut out a dessert course. Many couples decide not to bother with a dessert course and have a cake table or dessert bar instead. Having a cake table is a nice way of leading into the cake cutting too. Other weddings decide to skip the starter and serve entrees or canapes instead with the welcome drinks.
The next consideration for your wedding day timings will be the speeches. When it comes to the speeches, it’s generally expected to have three, but you can opt for as few or as many as you like, or none at all.
Traditionally, the father of the bride speaks first, followed by the groom and then the best man. However, it’s becoming increasingly common for other members of the wedding party to also give a speech. The speeches are a significant and memorable part of the day, however it’s important to ensure they don’t drag on. Keeping things concise and to the point can prevent guests from becoming restless. It’s also advisable to keep each speech under 10 minutes in length. This timeframe is usually sufficient for sharing some emotive stories, sharing in some laughs and telling a few memorable stories too.
As for timing, the wedding breakfast usually lasts between 2-3 hours, depending on the number of guests you are having, courses of food you are serving and the duration of those speeches.
5. The Evening Reception
At last, it’s party time! The great thing about the evening receptions when it comes to working out your wedding timeline is that it’s probably the most flexible part of the day!
Unless you are lucky enough to have different rooms set aside or a great big giant room with space for everything for your whole wedding breakfast and the evening do, your evening reception will usually start logistically with a turnaround. For this, the venue staff will need some time to clear out some of the tables and set up your dance floor. They’re complete pros at this, so you probably only need about half an hour to get everything ready – which gives your DJ or band time to set up too.
If you have guests coming just for the evening, it’s important to have your wedding timeline worked out so that you can make sure guests know to arrive before evening events like your cake cutting or first dance begins.
Some people like to cut the cake during the evening reception just before the first dance happens. It doesn’t take too long to do but usually you’ll have some extra photographs during this part.
Your wedding DJ will need to know rough times for your first dance and any extras you may be doing too. The traditional setup for the first dance actually includes a dance for the newlyweds, one for the father of the bride and one for the mother of the groom, however it is incredibly rare that all three happen at modern weddings.
Again, the first dance doesn’t take much time but there’ll be some preparation and photographs involved so is something that does need factoring in on your wedding timeline.
If you’re not a fan of first dances and feel potentially awkward shuffling around the dance-floor, it’s important to remember that you don’t have to do it if you don’t want to. In my experience as a wedding supplier, I’ve seen different approaches to the first dance. Some have involved members of the wedding party, others have choreographed routines and some weddings where no first dance takes place at all.
Ultimately, it’s your day, and you should do what you want. Don’t feel pressured to include something just because it’s tradition.
When it comes to your evening reception catering, most couples like to include evening food for guests which is often a buffet but it can be anything you like from fish and chip stations, hog roasts, grazing platters to bacon butties. When you are looking at your wedding itinerary, you’ll want to make sure your evening food is being served at a decent time after the wedding breakfast, but before people are ready to call it a night.
The ideal time for the evening food in your wedding day schedule is typically between 7 and 8pm, this is the perfect balance of being far enough away from the wedding breakfast so guests can feel hungry again and not too early that they are too full to dance the evening away!
The evening food is typically served for around an hour, while continuously being replenished. After that, your venue may still provide small bites and nibbles for the remainder of the evening, depending on your available catering options.
Essentially your wedding reception will last from the moment your speeches are over until your DJ plays the last song and the music is turned off at the end of the night, but sorting our a wedding timeline gives you the chance to make sure all guests have arrived to witness the parts you’d like them to.
Everything else is just dancing!
Hopefully with the help of our two articles you’ve got a comprehensive idea of what’s involved in creating your wedding timeline – and why it’s so hugely important to have one. Your big day will absolutely fly by, and don’t doubt for a second that your timeline will be something that will need to be flexible from the second you start your day, but by having a timeline in place, and having a good idea of how long things should take, it’s going to help you when you’re planning your timings for everything.
It’s really handy and can help you choose easily what time to have your wedding ceremony right the way to what time your evening reception will start. Plus if something unexpected does happen, your on-the-day timeline is going to be the key to dealing with everything stress-free so everyone will know how to get back on track without fuss or worry – and without a single guest even noticing!