HOW TO MAKE A WEDDING DAY SCHEDULE (+ FREE EDITABLE TEMPLATE)
When we started planning our wedding, I pretty much thought that being as I was in the ‘wedding industry’ there wasn’t going to be a lot about planning a wedding that I didn’t already know. Boy was I wrong. It’s like going on a crash course! You must learn how to communicate clearly with strangers, budget finances and become a stylist amongst many other things within just a few short months and sometimes with very little help. I was extremely lucky, I had friends in the industry I could question, a pool of knowledge I could draw from if I wasn’t sure about something but I’m acutely aware this isn’t the case for others. So, I’ve been determined ever since to ensure this blog has all the tools and knowledge you will need to make planning a wedding much easier.
Last week I shared my budget review along with a free editable wedding budget spread sheet and this week I’m going to discuss how to plan your wedding day schedule.
Before planning a wedding I’d never even given a second thought to a day-of wedding schedule, when you consider all that’s going on makes perfect sense. The more detailed the plan the better as not only will it help you keep track of what’s going on but it will help keep suppliers organised too. I split mine into boys and girls so Mr T and his groomsmen also knew exactly where they needed to be at what time.
The schedule starts from the moment you wake up and ends when your days over and you get in your taxi to go to your accommodation for the evening. I started planning the wedding day schedule about two weeks before my wedding but in hindsight should have started a lot sooner – I would probably recommend starting once the ceremony is booked and adding to it as you continue book suppliers etc. It’s important to review the schedule regularly with your suppliers especially your day of co-ordinator at the venue, caterer, photographer and videographer to ensure all the timings are correct and realistic.
In typical ‘Emily Style’ I used a good ol’ spreadsheet to do his which was b.o.r.i.n.g and exactly why I’ve made a much nicer looking FREE Editable Wedding Day Timeline for you guys. It’s so pretty believe me, you’re going to want to get started with schedule RIGHT THIS SECOND! And to make it even easier I’ve supplied my own wedding day timeline below for you to use as a guide.
Please keep in mind that we got married and held our reception at the same venue, so if you’re getting married elsewhere, you’ll need to add this in and take travel time into account. A typical ceremony lasts between 30 mins to an hour dependant on the type of ceremony your having. Ours was a humanist ceremony so lasted about 20 mins so make sure you ask you whoever is performing your ceremony how much time you need to block out of your wedding day schedule to ensure everything else runs smoothly. We also didn’t do a cutting of the cake or bouquet toss, so you’ll want to schedule these in too. If you’re not sure about timings speak to your day of wedding co-ordinator. You might also want to add time on for traffic, and make sure you allow an extra 15-20 mins on top of your schedule to account for hold any ups whilst on the road.
Right here we go…
Make sure you get an early night – don’t do what I did and stay up until 2am writing your speech. Give yourself time to wake up and be excited for the day ahead. Because guess what? YOU’RE GETTING MARRIED!!!!
8am – Breakfast
Make sure you have something substantial, my bridesmaids made me a dairy free yoghurt, granola and fruit bowl, along with my favourite dairy free croissants and a cup of tea. I know a lot of people struggle to eat when they’re nervous but I really didn’t have that problem- ha!
8:30 – 9:30 am – Bridesmaids Hair & Makeup
Obviously, this will differ dependant on how many are in your bridal party so I’d say schedule 30 – 45 minutes for each bridesmaid.
9:30am – Flowers are delivered
It’s important to get the timing right on this as most florists will make your bouquets etc the night before and keep them stored in the right conditions for freshness. To long in too hot or too cold temperatures and the flowers may begin to droop and discolour so speak to your florist about this.
9:45am – Photographer &Videographer arrives
Having the photographer and videographer arrive 15 mins earlier meant I could have photos with my bridesmaids in our matching ‘getting ready’ robes before the makeup artist started on my makeup.
10:00 – 10:45am – Bridal Hair & Makeup
Whilst I was having makeup done, the bridesmaids and flower girls finished getting ready so that they’d be ready in enough time to help me put my dress and crown on. I only had makeup but I’d recommend leaving an hour if you’re also having your hair done but it would be wise to consult your MUA who will be able to advise you on this.
10:45am – Dressing
I must admit getting ready in 30 mins did feel like a bit of rush and I do feel like I’d had more time to enjoy this so schedule 30 minutes to an hour for this as I also missed out of more photos with my bridesmaids and family. I especially regret not having more photos with my mum.
11:15am – Depart for the Ceremony
Because we were getting married at a venue that was about 20 minutes away from my house, we needed to allow plenty of time to get to the ceremony as well as allow 15 minutes before the ceremony for formal interviews with the registrar.
12pm – Start Time as listed on the Invitation
Most weddings start a little later than what is proposed on the invitations to allow for everyone to arrive and make sure all seats are filled.
12:15pm – Actual Ceremony Start Time
Typically non-religious ceremonies will last about 30 minutes whilst religious ceremony can last up to an hour.
(I can’t tell you much about what happens next because it passed in a blur, but it looked something like this…)
12:45 – 1:30pm Cocktail Hour for Guests
This is traditionally where you will take photos with your family and bridal party before having couples photos whilst your guests enjoy cocktails.
1:45pm – Bride & Groom Entrance
It is usually the job of toastmaster or day-of wedding coordinator to welcome you to your wedding breakfast, we asked one of Mr T’s best men to do which felt all the more special.
2pm – Wedding Breakfast is Served
We had a buffet style vegan feast,so tables were asked to take their plates to the serving table where they could choose from a selection of vegan delights, including pizza, bao buns, tofish & chips, salad and hummus.
2:45pm – Band Arrives to Set Up
We scheduled this in because we wanted to make sure the band were almost done setting up before we did the speeches as to avoid any interruptions.
3pm – Speeches
Our speeches were a little untraditional besides the fact that my dad spoke first, I did what tradtionally be known as the ‘grooms speech’ and instead of one best man speech, Mr T had two so it meant double the embarrassing stories!
4:00pm – Band Plays Acoustic Set
We wanted the guests to have something to dance along with pretty early on. We both love live music and knew this would be the perfect way to get guests up and mingling after the food and speeches.
5pm – Photos with All Bridal Party
This was by far one of the best parts of the day, as we got to run around a field with all our bridal party, letting off smoke bombs, lauching dancing and generally having the time of our lives!
6:30pm – Sunset Photos
By the time sunset photos come around I was so done with photos but I’m so glad we did them. Not only do the photos look amazing, it was half an hour of just Mr T and I being in love and reflecting on everything that had happened (whilst being papped ofc). It was a much-needed ‘us’ time which if you’re an INFJ like me – you need to recharge.
7pm – Evening Reception Begins
We tried to welcome as many of the evening guests as possible and I think between us we managed it but in all honestly by 7pm I was exhausted, I just wanted a drink and to party!
8pm – First Dance & Band Starts evening entertainment
Once the music started the dance floor didn’t empty once.
12pm – Reception Ends & Taxis
In my own wedding day schedule I did do a little micro-scheduling too, like exactly what photos were taken at what time and the times the band played acoustic, live and DJ sets, just so I had a clear picture of the day in my head beforehand. It’s important to note however, that not all your timing will go to plan. I’ve listed here that our buffet opened at 2pm and speeches were at 3pm, in fact this was a miscommunication and it was actually meant to be the other way around which led to my bridesmaids photos being rather hurried as I stressed about the fact that it hadn’t gone to plan when in reality it was fine exactly how it was.
Talking of things not going to quite to plan? Here’s a funny story to leave you with. I mentioned earlier that your schedule ends once your in your taxi on your way to your accomodation for the evening. Well just make sure you do have a taxi or some way of getting home booked. It was only at 12:30pm when I asked Mr T what the hold up on our taxi was, that he informed me he’d forgotten to book one. Luckily a minibus full of our guests took pitty on us and bundled us in theres so we didn’t end up stranded. LOL!