My Guide to Creating your Wedding Day Schedule 

It is safe to say that your wedding day will no doubt go by in a flash. You spend months, sometimes years, planning your special day and every little detail that goes into it, and then the day itself comes and goes quicker than you ever anticipated!

To really ensure the smooth running of your wedding, it is crucial to have a well thought through schedule so that your venue, all your suppliers and also your guests know exactly what is happening throughout the day. A wedding planner will organise your schedule for you and will distribute this to key people prior to the day, so you don’t need to worry about a thing. But, if you have decided not to have a planner, I have listed some helpful tips on how to put together your timeline below.

So why do you need a wedding day schedule?

Having a schedule with every part of your day documented means that everyone involved in your wedding will be clear on what is happening when and what to expect at key points throughout the day. It will basically act as a useful tool for all staff and suppliers to refer to, to ensure your special day runs smoothly from start to finish. And by ensuring everyone else has clear instructions, this means that you can relax in the knowledge that every little detail is being taken care of. The last thing you want is to be chasing suppliers or worrying about timings on your wedding day.

Your schedule will not only be important for those running your wedding, but it will also be a useful guide for you and your partner during the planning stages. So I would always advise creating a rough timeline from the very beginning of your planning journey and especially when you start to confirm your chosen suppliers.

Where do you start with your schedule?

If you don’t have a planner, talking to your venue will be the first place to start when it comes to organising your schedule. They will have a good understanding of the general running times of the day and the experience of what works best.

Once you have spoken to your venue, you then need to think about the key elements of the day and work everything else out around those. For example, your ceremony time, when your drinks reception will start, your wedding breakfast sit down and your evening reception start and finish time. I would start by deciding what sort of time you would like to have your ceremony and book this in as soon as possible. Once the ceremony time is confirmed, everything else will fall into place around it.

Filling in the gaps

With your main timings confirmed, you can then start to work backwards from your ceremony time to figure out the rest of your morning’s schedule. For example, what sort of time you need to leave to get to the venue (if you’re not there already), when you should be getting hair and makeup done, what time your photographer should arrive for those all-important getting ready shots and finally, when you should be waking up and having breakfast!

You can also work forwards from your ceremony to complete the rest of the day’s schedule. For example, you can factor in photo opportunities during the drinks reception, timing of speeches, cake cutting and first dance.

And of course, you can always alter the timings at any point in the lead up to your wedding, provided they fit around the confirmed ceremony time (which will be a non-negotiable timing once booked).

Liaise with your suppliers

Don’t forget to talk to all of your suppliers about your timings and confirm they are happy with the proposed schedule. They may also be able to guide you on certain timings that work well. For example, your photographer may suggest the best time of day for certain shots in order to make use of the best light etc.

All of your suppliers should be sent a copy of your schedule ahead of the big day and it is also useful to send a copy to key people, such as the Best Man, Maid of Honour etc. This is one of the many tasks a wedding planner will do on your behalf.

My rough guide for a wedding day schedule:

The timeline below is based on having a 1pm civil ceremony at the venue itself and the bride already being at the venue. But of course, if you are having a religious church ceremony, this will usually last a bit longer (around an hour) and then you’ll need to factor in time to transport your guests from the church to the wedding venue. And if you’re having any other religious ceremony, this may well start in the morning and go on for a couple of hours, so the below timings will need to be tweaked accordingly.

07:30 – Wake up, shower and don’t forget to eat breakfast!

08:00 – Hair & makeup arrives and work on the first bridesmaid begins

10:00 – Somewhere in the middle, the bride has her hair and makeup

10:00 – Photographer & videographer arrives

11:00 – Flowers are delivered

11:30 – Photographer & videographer leave to take photos of the groom

12:00 – Bride gets into her dress

12:30 – Groom has his pre-wedding meeting with the registrars

12:45 – Bride has her pre-wedding meeting with the registrars

13:00 – Ceremony begins

13:30 – Ceremony ends and the drinks reception starts

14:00 – Bride & Groom have couple shots followed by group shots

15:15 – Guests called in for the wedding breakfast

15:30 – Wedding breakfast is served

17:30 – Speeches and toasts

18:00 – Room turnaround/ band or DJ sets up

18:30 – Evening guests arrive

19:00 – Cutting of the cake followed by first dance

20:00 – Evening food to be served

Midnight – Finish

This is just a rough guide with the main elements of the day, but you might need to allow extra time for any additional extras you have going on. Perhaps you have some entertainment like dancers or fireworks, or maybe you would like to include a cocktail hour or time for an outfit change.

Seeking help from an experienced wedding planner will definitely relieve any stress when it comes to organising your wedding day schedule.

You can take a look at my services page or get in touch via my contact form if you would like any guidance at all with your wedding day schedule.

Wishing you the best of luck with your wedding planning.

Lydia x