WEDDING DAY MANAGEMENT - HOW TO WRITE YOUR WEDDING DAY SCHEDULE
UK WEDDING PLANNING ADVICE BY EMILY 10TH JUNE 2021
When it comes to wedding day management writing your on the day schedule is one of my favourite parts of wedding planning. This is where your months of hard work all come together in the form of a timeline that factors in every single element from deliveries and collections, to the set-up of the day itself, and the breakdown afterwards.
Wedding day timings are possibly one of the hardest things to gauge. Particularly if your wedding is the first large-scale event you have ever planned or organised! Whilst there is no one size fits all template, using all my wedding day management knowledge, here is a rough guide on some of what needs to be considered at every stage. Also looking at whom you might need to allocate jobs to if you haven't hired a planner on the day.
ALL PHOTOS: EMMY SHOOTS
Setting Up Your Wedding Venue
What time can you access your wedding ceremony and reception venue for the set-up of your day?
What needs setting up and managing the morning of, who is responsible for what, and how long will each styling element take to be wedding day ready? Finding this out will then allow you to organise the times each supplier or styling element is set on the day.
Do you have entertainment? Find out how long they need to soundcheck for and factor this in prior to any guests arriving in the spaces they are performing in!
THE MORNING PREP
Getting Everyone Ready
What time do you and any of your wedding party need to set off for the wedding ceremony?
Factor in a small relaxed breakfast/early lunch and a glass of bubbly - trust me you NEED to eat!
Factor how long your hair and makeup is going to take for you and the rest of your bridal party.
Schedule some time for your photographer/videographer to obtain those 'getting ready photos! What time do you need them to arrive?
I always add an extra hour of time for getting ready, it means that if any small disaster or delay strikes in the morning my clients don't become overly flustered or stress because they know we have an extra hour to sort everything!
If you don't have a planner on the day will you want to go to the venue beforehand and ensure everything is set up how you envisioned?
Your Wedding Ceremony Timings
Make sure your partner and their wedding party are set to arrive 45 minutes before you. Ask your guests to start arriving 30 minutes prior, and your wedding party 10-15 minutes prior. You and whoever is giving you away should aim to arrive 5 minutes prior to the start of your ceremony.
Your order of service timings for the ceremony itself should also be added into the wedding day timeline.
Will you be factoring in a confetti shot when you leave your ceremony? If so when and think how long this may take, and who will set your guests up for this? (e.g it could be whilst you sign all your legal paperwork)
Who is plugging in the music/pressing play or instructing musicians when you walk down the aisle?
Is there any decor from your ceremony venue that needs to be transported to the reception and set up there after you're married?
DAYTIME WEDDING RECEPTION
Drinks Reception, Photographs, Wedding Breakfast
How long will it take for everyone to travel from your ceremony venue to your reception venue?
Factor in at least 1-2 hours for your drinks reception this gives you time to mingle with all your guests and have a few photos too!
What time will your caterers start circulating your canapes, how long will these take to serve?
Your photographer should have an idea that you have discussed together about where you're going to be taking photographs. Allow 5 minutes minimum per group shot and around 30 minutes for you to go off and have your own personal shots.
Make sure you get someone who knows everyone to round up people for group photos!
Never underestimate how long it takes guests to move everyone from one area of the venue to another and all be seated! I always allow 30 minutes for this to happen and if you have an interactive or exciting escort card system it could take longer!
Who is going to light all your candles, do final checks of the tables, and help guests to find the right seats or keep them on track to sitting down?
The time it takes to serve and enjoy your wedding breakfast will depend on a few factors! Ask your caterer for these timings.
Are you having speeches? If so how many and how much time do you want to allocate each person? Guests will usually only fully concentrate for 30-45 minutes at any one time if just listening to talking so it's good to bare that in mind!
EVENING WEDDING RECEPTION
Evening Guests Arrival, The Party, The Exit
Always schedule evening guests to arrive at least 30 minutes after your wedding breakfast is due to finish. That way there won't be any awkward crossovers if your speeches run over!
Depending on the logistics of your wedding venue you need to think about how to smoothly transition from wedding breakfast to evening reception! If you are having 2 separate rooms who and when is the evening area being set up? Who is overseeing and checking this? How long will it take and when does it need to be completed by?
When will you be scheduling your first dance?
Are you cutting a cake or pouring a champagne pyramid?
Is there evening food what time will this be served?
What are the timings for your entertainment? When will they start and how long will they play for? What time does your music or entertainment need to stop?
What time does your venue need everyone to be leaving for?
How are you going to make your grand exit? Does anything need setting up or coordinating to facilitate this?
Have you arranged transport or taxi service for guests, when is this going to arrive? And will you provide a guest shuttle service that is available earlier in the evening for guests that may not want to party the whole night?
Is there anything that needs picking up as you leave? Who is taking your presents or keeping them safe?
WEDDING DAY MANAGEMENT
Hiring An Experienced UK Wedding Planner For Help
Although your wedding day timings need to be detailed, there also needs to be an element of flexibility as your day should not be determined purely by a schedule. Anyone who is in charge of your wedding day management (and it should not be you!) should be able to operationally coordinate any immediate or desired changes.
The best events we attend are the ones where exactly what we wish was happening begins to happen and having someone with an ability to read the crowd adapt to the atmosphere and the environment is priceless.
What happens if no one dancing, or if your venue lighting is far too bright? Who authorises for the entertainment to begin early because the speeches were shorter than expected, everyone's sat around and the atmosphere is dying?
You may feel like it’s manageable and that everyone will chip in, but do you really want your family and guests to have things to do, or enjoy their time with you? Will you be able to relax knowing you need to be looking out for and coordinating all of these things?
Hiring a professional for your wedding day management will ensure you are not in white, double-checking your centrepieces, clock watching to make sure timings are being stuck to, or asking your venue manager to serve the toast. Your wedding planner will give you the knowledge you can relax and allow you to enjoy each and every element of your once in a lifetime wedding just as you planned for your guests to experience.
Each wedding is unique and timings and elements will vary drastically between celebrations. These wedding day timings are a loose standard guide that can be adapted to suit your plan!
My wedding day management experience means no problem phases me and there is nothing that cannot be discreetly solved. I will make sure your venues are set up to perfection in the morning, can look after all your guests, and easily operationally coordinate any small changes to the day whilst you sip champagne and soak in the atmosphere.
I would love to help you feel relaxed on your wedding day