Wedding Day Schedule

February 9, 2018

How to plan your wedding day schedule for a stress free day

by Wedding Photographer Gloucestershire

When photographing a wedding, we want our couples to have a fun, relaxed and stress free day. But over the years we’ve captured a lot of weddings and learnt that if anything is going to cause you stress on your wedding day. It’s feeling rushed and pushed for time. If a relaxed and fun filled day sounds like your perfect wedding, along with some lovely natural photographs of the days events as they unfold. Then we’ve put together some advice for you on how to plan your wedding day schedule. And ensure you have enough time for all those lovely photos.

Getting Ready

  • 2 Hours – ready half an hour before you need to leave

how to plan your wedding schedule

To capture the bride getting ready, I like to be with you for 1.5 – 2 hours. I spend the first part of the time capturing your wedding details, such as your outfit and flowers. Plus all the natural moments that are happening as people are getting ready. I then capture the finishing touches to your hair and make up. Then lastly if you’d like a photograph of you getting into your outfit, and your parents or friends seeing you for the first time. Aim to be ready half an hour before you need to leave. That way I can capture those moments and get the all important head start to the venue.

For Groom prep again two hours would be brilliant even if the last part of that is with you in a pub. It’s all about capturing the story of your day.

Top Tip

If you have quite a few group photos you’d like, or your short on time or sunlight after the ceremony. Being ready early means you can get a group photo with your bridesmaids or groomsmen before the ceremony. It really helps the flow of your day and  means you have more time in your Wedding Day Schedule for eating, drinking and hugging. All the good stuff.

The Ceremony

  • Variable

how to plan wedding timings

The amount of time to set aside in your Wedding Day Schedule for you ceremony, obviously depends on the type of service you plan. You should be able to roughly time any readings and vows before the big day and your celebrant or registrar will be able to give you a guide to how long their service will be.

Receiving Line – The Line Up

  • Variable

how to plan wedding schedule

A receiving line is often where time blockages occur if you haven’t allowed enough time in your schedule. If you haven’t heard of them. It’s where the newlyweds greet each of their guests, traditionally at the exit of the ceremony. But lets say for example, you have 100 guests. Each of which is itching to give you a huge hug and congratulate you. Which takes at least 30 seconds.

0.5 minutes x 100 = a whopping 50 minutes

To help avoid feeling pushed for time after your ceremony. It’s a good idea to consider having your receiving line at the start of your wedding breakfast. It often takes guests a little while to find their seats, so you can point them in the right direction in the process.

Confetti Throw

  • 5 Minutes

wedding timings wedding schedule

The best time to do your confetti throw is straight after the ceremony. Whilst your guests are all still together and bursting with cheer from your knot being thoroughly tied.

Group Portraits

  • 5 Minutes per group

how to plan wedding schedule

If you’re ceremony and reception are at the same venue and your not doing a post ceremony receiving line. You might want to consider allowing half an hour so you can catch up with your guests, have a glass of champagne and enjoy the canapés.

If you’re moving from the ceremony venue to the reception venue, it’s best to get your group portraits done straight away. Allowing you and your guests to relax. Because as soon as your guests are anywhere near a bar, rounding them up will be like stuffing an octopus back into a string sack.

Couples Portraits

  • 2 x 15 minute sessions = 30 Minutes

wedding schedule wedding timings

Splitting your couples portraits into two parts is a great way to avoid feeling like you’ve been in front of the camera all day. It also gives you both some lovely time out together away from the action. It’s surprising how little time you actually get together on your wedding day!

Golden hour is the last hour of sunlight and my absolute favourite time to shoot in, especially between Spring and Autumn. It’s the time of day when the sun is lowest in the sky, creating flattering lighting and the most colourful skies.

If you’d love some night time shots, depending on the month you’re getting married just before your cake cut and first dance is a perfect time for this. That way you don’t miss any of the party.

I often like to keep my couples portrait sessions fairly short and sweet. But if you have any specific ideas in mind, or feel that you’d like to take a little more time on this part of your wedding photography. Allow a little more time in your schedule, and chat through any ideas with your photographer.

Sitting down for dinner

  • 20 minutes

how to plan wedding schedule

This one again depends on the number of guests you have at the wedding. But it can take a bit of time for guests to find your table plan and find their seat.


  • Variable

wedding timings

If you’re having a catered sit down meal, it’ll depend on the number of courses you’re having. Whereas if you’re opting for a relaxed bbq or buffet style meal, you should add a little extra time for guests to que or help themselves to food. It’s a great idea to get in touch with you caterers for an idea of how long to allow for your meal.


  • Variable

wedding schedule

Timing any speeches means everyone gets a good practise before the big day, and you know exactly how long to allow in your schedule.

Room Turnaround

  • 30 – 45 minutes

wedding schedule wedding timings

This may vary depending on the venue and the size of your wedding. But if you’re evening party is in the same room as your reception, the venue may need to transform the room from being fit for a banquet to a dance floor for all those moves and shapes you’re going to be throwing. This time usually acts as a nice comfort break for guests.

Cake Cut

  • 5 – 10 Minutes

This part is usually super short and sweet. The only part that takes a bit of time is rounding up all your guests. So whilst all your nearest and dearest are all together. It works really well to go from your cake cut straight into your first dance.

First Dance

  • However long your song is!

wedding day schedule wedding timings


  • Variable

wedding schedule wedding timings

How much time is left in you Wedding Day Schedule will naturally be dictated by when you have your first dance and when you have your venue booked until. If this part of the day is super important to you, you can always start the part earlier to full enjoy it. We love this part of a wedding and stay to capture the first hour after the first dance, so show us your best moves!

And that wraps up my advice on how to plan your wedding day schedule. And hopefully you’ve found it useful, if you do have any questions about planning your schedule. Don’t hesitate to get in touch.

Looking for a creative Wedding Photographer Gloucestershire?

It also goes without saying if you’re planning a wedding and looking for a Gloucestershire wedding photographer, I’d love to hear from you! 


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