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#31: General Wedding Day Timing

Before wrapping up this timeline talk series we're going to cover some day of basics so that you feel ready to get started.

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You’ve made it this far on our wedding planning timeline series. This is the first time we've ever covered this topic so we're covering the basics to help you get your footing. If you're looking for more help shoot us an email!

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So let’s fine-tune now. It's time to check back and give yourself a quick refresh on venue access, how much time you have for services, your vendor's timing and so much more! Jump over and take listen for additional resources.

Wedding day timing - services and venue access

  1. What’s your full venue access?

    1. This will help figure out how much time you need for set-up, ceremony, reception, and clean-up. We always like to recommend a full-day option! Helps ease the stressor of the day.

  2. How long do you have your security? And Bar?

    1. Most of the time the bar service time goes hand in hand with the security. If you’re in Texas, the bartender must be there while alcohol is being served. For example, at the venue, it's required for the security to be present either during cereint if there are 75 guests or more and 15/30 minutes after the exit. So just be mindful of what the venue policies are with the bar and aware of how long you have those services for.

  3. Of course, last but least, your staff, if you have staff included.

    1. It’s always helpful to chat with your venue coordinator to help with when to schedule the staff. In the end, they do this all the time and know the sweet spot time for everything at their venue. They are there to help you and make this day easy for you!

How long should you plan for your ceremony?

Usually, outdoor ceremonies last anywhere from 15-30 minutes max! Of course, if you’re doing a full church service then that’s a little different, but be sure to keep in mind the travel time from the ceremony site to the reception site. If you’re having it all in one place, that does help with travel time, guests being settled, etc.

If you are unsure of your ceremony length/time ask your officiant they will have a very specific time for you based on the details of the service you have chosen and planned for.

How long does a wedding reception typically last?

Typically receptions are about 4-5 hours in total. In some cases, it could be shorter, but this usually means that is the timeframe to have your security there, bar staff prepped and ready, and event staff ready for the day!

Keep in mind if you only have your event staff for 4 hours and your reception is 5 pm - 1030 pm that you won't have them there to do "all the things". Ideally, the event staff is wonderful in helping you:

  • Set up decor, including lighting candles as you are walking in from your ceremony

  • Welcoming and directing guests

  • Bussing tables during and after dinner to keep your photos free of trash and debris.

  • Clean up and trash removal during and after the evening ends.

3 Things people forget in wedding timelines

Now let's talk about what people leave out of their timelines, what events either take more time than expected, and vice versa!

  1. Bustling your dress - you want to practice bustling the dress at least once and have 2 (or 3) people who can help you out. Typically a mom, sister, or bridesmaid is happy and ready to help out.

  2. Saying hello! Your guests are EXCITED to celebrate with you two and they want to not only snap a photo but get to have some sort of conversation with you even if it's a short one. This is one of those things that if you don't make time for it, it can easily fall through the cracks.

  3. Eating! (I’m talking to you, the couple) Whether you want to have a quiet 15-minute meal alone in a romantic spot, sneak away to the dressing room where your planner has full plates waiting or eat in the main hall with all your guests you NEED to eat. It's a long day and it is busy enough to forget.

Timing your toasts and special dances

  1. Toasts - most of the time we see only 15 minutes scheduled for toasts. Although this can work well in many cases, it's better to give yourself a buffer so that if they go long you have some wiggle room. Sometimes the best man/maid of honor surprises you with a long toast, sometimes they can't be found and it takes 10 minutes to get them to the microphone and other times there may be a technical issue. Either way give yourself a buffer of 10 minutes per toast with 5 - 10 minutes for "setting up".

  2. Specialty wedding dance - By this, we mean your first dance, dances with parents, anniversary dances, etc. It is pretty uncommon for the entire song to be played for the dances so look at the song length, and stick with that. It gives you some extra time as you change dances, even though the entire song won't be played.

  3. Also … again… take time to eat and truly enjoy the moment!



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