Planning a wedding is a mammoth task, but what makes it easier is knowing exactly what should happen during the day, and when.
Here is a standard wedding schedule that breaks down the day’s timings that you can use as a guide. (Note: this is hypothetical of a wedding ceremony that commences at 2pm).
8:00am - Rise and shine
On the morning of your wedding your excitement levels will be high and you will likely up at the crack of dawn. However, as you have a long day ahead, try to get as much beauty sleep as possible and stay in bed until around 8:00am. Then, you can have a slow and luxurious morning, and maybe dance around to some of your favourite songs!
9:00am - Breakfast
You should have a substantial breakfast at around 9:00am, but make sure it’s not stodgy or you might feel bloated or uneasy throughout the day. A good breakfast for brides is either oats with berries and honey, or poached eggs, smoked salmon and avocado. It is also customary for the bride to enjoy a glass of champagne with her breakfast - but don’t have more than one!
10:00am - Bridesmaids arrive
10:00am is when the bridal party should arrive to the bridal suite and hair and makeup should begin.
11:00am - Snack time
11:00am is a good time to have a small snack to keep your energy levels steady. Opt for a banana, apple or an energy bar.
12:00pm - Gifting
Once hair and makeup is done, it’s time for you to give your bridesmaids their presents, such as jewellery which they can then wear during the day.
Once the gifting is complete, it’s time for you to get into your dress. This time of day may be emotional, especially as your closest friends and family will see you wedding-ready for the first time. But be careful not to ruin your hair and makeup!
12:30pm - Photos in the bridal suite
Once the bridal party is ready, the photographer can start to snap away. This is a time to enjoy time with your girls over a glass of bubbly.
Last touches should be made here, and excitements levels will reach fever pitch.
1:15pm - The groom and groomsmen to arrive at the ceremony
This is the time when the groom, best man and ushers should arrive at the venue ready to greet your guests.
1:30pm - Guests arrive at the ceremony
For a 2:00pm ceremony, guests should arrive at 1:30pm so that they have plenty of time to find their seats. If they are your guest, they must sit on the left-hand side of the ceremony, and if they are a guest of the groom they must sit on the right-hand side.
1:45pm - The groom’s parents arrive at the ceremony
The groom’s parents should arrive at 1:45pm.
1:50pm - The mother of bride and bridesmaids arrive
The mother of the bride and the bridesmaids should arrive at the ceremony at 1:50pm, ready for your arrival.
1:55pm - You should arrive with your father
At 1:55pm, the father of the bride should walk you down the aisle and deliver you to your beau. Tissues at the ready!
2:00pm - The wedding ceremony begins
The wedding ceremony should begin at 2:00pm sharp. For reference, a non-religious ceremony will take between 20 and 45 minutes, and a religious ceremony can take between 60 and 90 minutes.
3:00pm - Photographer to take photos
Once the wedding ceremony has finished, you and your guests should head outdoors (weather dependent) for photos. This is the time to get that key confetti shot!
3:30pm - The drinks reception commences
At 3:30pm, the drinks reception should commence. This gives guests time to mingle and chat about your ceremony, whilst enjoying a glass of bubbly and a canapé or two. In the meantime, you and your husband will be getting your formal photographs taken.
5:00pm - The wedding breakfast is served
After photos have been taken, it’s time for everyone to sit down for the wedding breakfast. A 3-course meal will take between 1 1/2 and 2 hours in total, and you should allow 10-15 minutes at the beginning for your guests to make their way to the dining room and locate their place settings.
6:45pm - Speeches!
Speeches are a highlight of the day, as long as they don’t drag on. Each speaker should speak for no more than 10 minutes, or else you risk the guests becoming bored and fidgety.
7:15pm - The cutting of the cake
After the speeches, it’s time to cut the cake!
7:30pm - The evening ceremony begins
If you have more guests arriving for the evening’s festivities, they should arrive between 7:30pm and 8:00pm. This ensures that no one arrives while other guests are still finishing their meal.
8:00pm - The first dance
The very special first dance between you and your now-husband should take place at 8:00pm to signal the joining of families and the commencement of the evening party.
A wedding reception band can then get the party started by playing your wedding playlist, which will no doubt get your guests onto the dancefloor!
8:30pm - The evening buffet
You should serve the evening buffet - consisting of small bites and desserts - at 8:30pm. Most of your guests will still be full from the wedding breakfast, but it’s recommended to always have some food and drink on offer.
10:00pm - Remember to enjoy the night with your love
By 10:00pm the party will be in full swing and everyone will be enjoying themselves. Chances are that you haven’t spent a lot of time with your new husband as you both will have been chatting to friends and family, but you must remember to have a quiet moment together and bask in it all.
11:45pm - You and your Mr. to depart
Before midnight you and your groom should depart the wedding venue and man and wife!