Prestwold Hall: Guide To Wedding Day Timings & Schedules
Planning your wedding day involves many elements, from organising the flowers and the cake, the stationery and the styling. In all the excitement, don’t forget to also think about your wedding day timings and schedule. It can be tricky to work out how much time to factor in for each element of your celebration, particularly if you’ve never done it before! There is no one-size-fits all approach to this and at Prestwold we encourage you to have the day you really want, but we can help you out with an insight into how it could look!
Wedding Day Timings: The Morning
Your wedding schedule needs to start here, as this will have an effect on the rest of the day. Consider the time you’ll need to leave for the ceremony, and work back from this to understand what time you need to start bridal prep. If you’re working with a hair and makeup artist they’ll be able to advise you on how long this might take, but it will depend on a number of things:
- – The size of your bridal party and how many members will be getting ready with you
- – Whether you are having your hair and make-up done professionally or doing them yourself
- – The time it takes to travel to your ceremony location
- – The time that your ceremony begins
- – Time for photos, food and loo stops!
The morning of the wedding is going to whizz by in a flash and you want to soak up every second of it before the lovely chaos of your wedding day follows. The more time you allow yourself, the more you can enjoy it. It’s far better to be relaxed than it is to be stressed!
TIP: Brides often forget to factor in time for putting on their dress! This takes longer than you’d think, so put aside at least 30 minutes for this so you don’t have to rush during this very special time.
Let’s move onto the wedding day timings of the ceremony. We recommended politely asking your guests to arrive 30 minutes before the ceremony starts, as there are guaranteed to be a few running a little late. Traditionally, the groom and his ushers will arrive around 45 minutes prior to the ceremony start and the bridesmaids should arrive 15 minutes beforehand, while the bride should be ready and waiting no later than 5 minutes before it is due to start. However, at Prestwold you don’t have to stick to tradition – whether that means ditching traditional timings or traditional marriage roles!
When it comes to the length of your ceremony, it will depend on whether you are having a Civil Partnership, Non-Religious Ceremony or a Religious Ceremony. If you are having a humanist ceremony, they can be completely personalised to you so you will find that each and every ceremony is different!
TIP: We would always recommend factoring in time for photographs after your ceremony, including that all-important confetti shot. Group photographs can also take longer than you’d think, so don’t expect them to only take a few minutes. Your photographer will be able to help advise you on this.
The Drinks Reception
When your guests have arrived at your reception, it’s time for them to enjoy canapés and champagne and start mingling! On average, a drinks reception lasts for around two hours, which should be long enough for your photographer to capture the newlywed shots, as well as your group photographs. Check out this blog on our sister venue Hodsock Priory’s website, which lists the must-have wedding photos for your big day.
TIP: Put together a list of any guests you would like included in your group shots and delegate this task to a member of your bridal party so they can round guests up.
The Wedding Breakfast
You’d be surprised at how long it takes to gather guests together to sit down ready for the wedding breakfast – this alone can take 30 minutes or more! Again, we suggest asking a few members of your bridal party to usher guests to their seats so this doesn’t take too long. You and your new husband or wife can also steal five minutes together to take in the moment – we always recommend building this into your wedding day timings somewhere along the way, as the whole day will go so fast!
If you’re feeling unsure about how long you should allow for your wedding breakfast, ask the experts. Your caterers will be able to advise depending on the number of guests, the number of courses, the type of meal and the number of staff available. As a rule of thumb, we’d say two hours will generally be enough time. Check out our top tips for your wedding catering at Prestwold here!
Speeches are different at every wedding – some are short and sweet, while others can go on for a little longer! It’s completely up to you (or the guest who is doing the speech) but we would advise no more than 10 – 15 minutes per speaker. 30 – 45 minutes is enough to engage with your guests without them getting bored!
The Evening Reception
It’s time to get the party started! While you can relax the wedding day timings and schedule slightly during the evening reception, it’s still helpful to keep in mind any important elements. If you want to tick off the first dance, cake cutting, and bouquet toss we recommend doing so within an hour of the wedding breakfast finishing. If you’re inviting separate evening guests, ask them to arrive 45 minutes after the breakfast. This allows for time just in case the meal overruns – after all, you don’t want your evening guests arriving as you’re tucking into the main!
Tackling your wedding day timings and schedules can feel difficult, but our expert wedding team here at Prestwold Hall will have you looked after from start to finish. Contact us to chat to one of our friendly, experienced team!
Images from Hannah & George’s wedding taken by Megan Wilson