How long will parts of your wedding day take & have you allowed enough time?

This is a very common question and something I have many conversations about with my clients.  So here I want share five top tips to help you along the way to making sure you don’t run out of time. A badly planned or over optimistic expectation of what you’ll be able do throughout your wedding day can result in a less than perfect outcome.

 A little bonus I’ve included a quick time reference guide for you to download. It outlines  and answers some timeframes for both key and often overlooked parts of a wedding day. You’ll find the link again at the bottom of this article.

When first allocating times it can be potentially better to employ a little reverse engineering. This way you can aim to fit in and incorporate more of what you really want out of your wedding and less of things you’re not fussed about. What do I mean by reverse engineer? Use the better know or definable parts of your day to then help establish other things you’d like to incorporate based around them.

Take a simplistic approach;  becoming super clear about what you really want out of your wedding day means you’ll better allocate time and find opportunities for the stuff you want to enjoy doing the most; talking with guests or sharing a few quiet moments together etc..


My 5 tips to help manage time on your wedding day

  1.   Walk everything through on paper first – create your own schedule. 

At the very start you’ll most likely know  just the ceremony time. It’s fixed so its the perfect place to build out from. Everything else which happens on your day can effectively be moved around to suit.

Write down literally everything you can think of as you mentally walk through your wedding day: I mean everything morning to the evening! So many people overlook time consuming things such as the transitions during their wedding. So include 10-15 mins for people  to get out of the church or realistic time for travel, parking or walking etc. Loosing 15-20 mins earlier in the day can impact significantly on your drinks reception & meal times.

It’s a great idea to throw in some contingencies and alternatives for things like the ceremony starting ten minutes late or a wardrobe malfunction with bride, groom or bridesmaid.

Allow plenty of time for guests to talk and circulate – it’s the one thing you can guarantee they’ll want to do! You’ll be surprised how easily a bottle neck or issue later into your day will present itself – don’t forget to take look though my overview time guide here.

Now you will be able to allocate correct timings  and distribute the schedule YOU want for your wedding day.


2. Time to relax & time for main events

There are a number of key events during your wedding day, which from a time perspective may already be  pretty well defined. The ceremony for one, the sit down meal and perhaps even things like the evening reception.

Main events – The busy hours: many of the significant events of your wedding day  will take place during one short period. At most conventional UK weddings, the timeframe of ceremony to sit down meal is relatively short, sometimes only 3-3/12 hours.  I talk more about this is my guide which you can download here 5 secrets to plan the perfect wedding.

When the pressure’s off use time creatively – There could be some great opportunities where you can use time creatively. This is especially so after the meal, if you’re going for a relaxed feeling across the day then  you may want to consider placing some of your more elaborate plans during this time.

3. Prioritise the time you have – Planning to do less and executing it all very well  makes a lot of sense. By avoiding taking on too much it will help you to relax and will most likely pay off by making for a more enjoyable stress free day.

Times of some other things to consider –  take a walk together for 20 mins, get changed into an evening dress or play a game of rounders then make a plan which allows for it all –  with a bit of flexibility obviously.


It’s super important to prioritise the many events of your day; doing so means you can make sure there is physically enough time available for them. In addition to key events, incorporate all of things you actually want to do into your final wedding day schedule. 


4 Make a plan before you launch into booking vendors – communicating with vendors 

Make a list of all of the priorities you’ve identified from these tips and more. These areas will help you to identify a top priority what, where and when summary of the things you most valuable to you both.

Later you can build these priorities into your schedule and you be able to more effectively communicate them to help find suitable vendors you can partner with. Again there is huge amount of information and resource to be found in the free guide on this area – Download – 5 secrets to plan the perfect wedding.

5. Visualise how you want to feel on your day

My final tip!  This one is all about the two of you and it’s about getting in touch with your feelings…

Together, try and think about how you might want your wedding experience to feel? It might help you to consider how you’ll later look back on your wedding day – think about the things you’ll most like to remember doing and ideally how you would like to be feeling at those times? Just raising awareness will help you become more aware and will help you achieve this outcome.

This process will also identify and help avoid some potential emotional downers like feeling overwhelmed, stressed or uncomfortable at certain points of your day.  Make your wedding day work the way you want it to. You are in control, so make decisions which mean you can be as sure as you possibly can that you’ve physically allowed sufficient time and opportunity for things like;

  • Relaxing with each other
  • Feeling un-hurried – maybe before the ceremony or during the drinks reception
  • Feeling calm and not rush about – using vendors you trust will help enormously.
  • Plus whatever else you’ve identified as being most important to you.


What can possible go wrong!

Frankly quite a lot can go wrong ,and with bad planning or oversight, sadly it often does. It’s a cliche but with very good reason, you’ll never get the time back and you don’t get a chance to put it right afterwards?

The good news is that ensuring your day is planned well, incorporates sufficient time for the things YOU want to experience and do will make a difference.  Nobody sets out wanting to feel rushed from pillar to post, never seeing their guests, having one sip of your champagne before its’ whisked away and/or being moved along to the next photo or, the receiving line.

Get your schedule right and your day will be relaxed, fun and you’ll have that all important time to share with each other and your family and friends. Couple this with partnering  with vendors who share YOUR vision and can deliver the outcomes YOU want will make your perfect day the one you have long wished for.

Happy wedding planning!



Bonus free download – Time Checker



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