The secret to a smooth running, stress-free big day is great organisation. Whilst you don’t need to schedule every second of your wedding day to achieve your idea of perfection, having a rough timeline for the important bits is vital.
As well as helping the bride, groom and wider wedding party get to exactly where they need to be on the day itself, a timeline will guide your wedding vendors so each and every part of your wedding day goes by without a hitch and with minimal intervention from you.
Here we take a closer look at devising a wedding timeline that works for you so you can enjoy every moment exactly how it should be enjoyed!
Decide on a start time for your wedding
The first step for devising a wedding timeline is deciding on a start time. For most couples, the best time of the day to get married is between 11am and 1pm. Yet with couples hosting very different wedding ceremonies and receptions, it often works well not to follow the crowd. At Country House Weddings, our wedding ceremonies are between 1pm and 3pm, as we offer exclusive use of the venues from 12pm to 12am.
Wedding Ideas explains more about the perks of opting for a different time of day to get married:
“There are benefits of marrying a little later in the day once the crowds have dispersed, though. A 5pm ceremony means you only need to cater for one meal, saving you a significant sum of money that could be invested in your honeymoon instead. On the other hand, if you’ve booked multiple entertainment acts, then it makes sense to hold your ceremony earlier to give you time to enjoy it all.”
Prep begins long before the ceremony
Even if you do want to stick with tradition and opt for an earlier time, you’ll need to start your wedding schedule much earlier to ensure your day proceeds without a hiccup.
Typically, hair and makeup begins around four hours before the ceremony, starting with your bridesmaids, which means an early start of 9am for couples tying the knot at 1pm. The bride is generally the last of the bridal party to receive her big day makeover, by which point, bouquets will be delivered and other wedding vendors will begin to make an appearance at your venue.
Set aside around one hour for your bridal hair and makeup, and don your gown before your photographer arrives. After a breather and a much deserved glass of something bubbly, it’s time for your close up with bridal party photos taken around 1 hour before the ceremony.
The bride and groom’s journey to “I do”
After your bridal party shoot, head to your ceremony venue, which will be just a stroll away if you’re marrying at a Country House Weddings venue and have indulged in a pre-wedding slumber party courtesy of our night before packages.
The groom and his groomsmen should arrive before the bridal party, usually about 30 minutes before the ceremony starts, just as your wedding guests arrive.
When the clock strikes 1pm, you’ll take that fateful walk down the aisle to reunite with your groom. Non-religious, civil ceremonies last around 15 to 20 minutes but allow 30 minutes for this part of your day.
Once you’ve said “I do”, you’ll depart for your first photoshoot as newlyweds. Allow at least 30 minutes for your photoshoot, leaving your guests to enjoy drinks and canapés. When you return, there’s more time in front of the camera, with group photographs typically taking place next.
Time to eat, drink and be together
You and your guests should be seated for your wedding breakfast at 3pm. Allow several hours for your meal if you’re opting for a traditional three-course menu. At 5pm, it’s time for those iconic wedding speeches and a much-needed catch up with your day guests.
The second part of your celebration will begin later, with evening guests arriving from 7pm onwards. It’s during your reception that you’ll cut the cake and have your very first dance, which will officially mark the opening of the dancefloor.
This is just one example of a wedding timeline at CHW. You can personalise your big day timeline to your exact requirements, and have plenty of fun doing it. Happy scheduling!