How long will I need? – Your Guide to Timing your Wedding Day

Wondering how you will fit everything into your wedding day? We have a way to customize your timeline and create a solid plan.

Start with your wedding ceremony. Once you have a set start time, work backwards to create an outline for your wedding. Every wedding runs on a different time line, you can use this as a guide to bring the overall vision for your day to life. Once you have a general idea of what your timeline will look like, make sure you speak with your vendors. They are the pros and have done this many times. They will have a really good idea of how much time they will need to help create your perfect wedding day.

Vintage Wedding Couple

Hair and Makeup

A general rule of thumb for most hairstylists is 1.5 hours for the bride and 45 minutes for a bridesmaid. Talk to your girls about their hair in advance and get a couple of key pieces of information. Will your hair be staying about this length when the wedding rolls around? Will you be doing it up or down? By answering these 2 questions for each bridesmaid, your hairstylist will be able to provide you a more exact schedule for the morning of the wedding.

Most makeup artists will typically set aside 40-50 minutes for a bride and 25 -40 minutes for a bridesmaid. A  good question to ask your bridesmaids in advance is: Will you be wearing false eyelashes? As these take a bit more time to apply than regular mascara.

Getting Makeup done on Wedding Day

The Ceremony

A great starting point for your wedding ceremony is about 20-25 minutes. A wedding of this time-frame would include the following: Procession, opening words, a reading from a loved one, exchange of traditional vows, exchange of the rings, signing of the wedding licence, first kiss and the recession. If someone will be singing or you are having a unity sand ceremony, it is important to you than make sure to include that extra time in the traditional ceremony outline. Remember to speak to your officiant about time when you are planning the ceremony for the most accurate estimate.

Classic Wedding Ceremony

Featured here: Classic Wedding Theme

Photos

Make sure to meet with your photographer for a consultation closer to the wedding. This is a wonderful opportunity to get to know them a little better, review times, addresses and a few shoot locations before the big day. Talk about a list of family photo combinations (ex: Bride’s parents with Bride and Groom. Brides parents with Bride, Groom and Siblings etc.) Your photographer will be able to call out the names and your family photos can be done in record breaking times! Once you have gone through the details of the day with your photographer, ask him/her for a time estimate. Keep in mind that you may need to cut out a location, or adjust a few things.

Bride posing for photo

The Reception

It is a good idea to set aside 1 hour for dinner. This will vary depending on the number of guests, and style of service (buffet/table service), but this is where your Master/Mistress of Ceremonies are going to be very important. They can keep an eye on things and once things start to settle down and everyone has eaten, they will be able to get things rolling for the program and speeches. If you are worried about how much time the speeches and toasts will take, just mention it in advance. Provide the speakers with a set time to keep their toast within. 3-5 minutes per speaker is a great starting point. It is very important that your Master/Mistress of Ceremonies are kept in the loop. Provide them with the plan for the evening so that they can keep their eyes on the clock and make sure everything moves along smoothly.

Here are some of our favorite tips to help you stay on time:

1) Delegate: If you’ve hired a wedding planner, they will be extremely helpful in moving the day along and sticking to the schedule. But don’t worry. You don’t need a wedding planner to stay on time. Speak to a reliable member of your bridal party or family member about helping in this area. If you provide them with the day-of schedule and ask them to help move things along, they will be able to keep an eye on the clock and make sure no one loses track of time.

2) Prioritize: Ask yourself “what is the most important part of the day?” Is it the photography? Is it having some alone time with your new husband? Once you have answered this question you will have a good idea of where to prioritize your time. It is also a really good idea to schedule in an extra 15 or 20 minutes for your most important item. Which brings us to our next tip!

3) Leave yourself a little wiggle room: Even the most organized of wedding days will often have a few unexpected surprises. The good news is that if you plan for them, they won’t be a problem. There are 2 ideal times to leave some”buffer space”. #1 is before the ceremony and #2 is after the ceremony. Leaving yourself an extra 20 – 30 minutes is sure to keep you on schedule and keep your guests happy.

 

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