Your wedding day schedule inspiration starts right here.
You might be looking for a super-traditional celebration or exactly the opposite. Whatever your preference, it’s handy to know the standard running order of a wedding day so that you can follow it down to the letter, pick-and-mix the bits you like, or rip up the rule book completely!
So, from the ceremony to the first dance (and with some ideas for adding your own spin), let’s take the wedding schedule from the top.
The details and order of your official ceremony will depend on whether you choose a religious or civil ceremony, and will, of course, vary between religions. Be sure to discuss the details with whoever will be conducting your ceremony and ask them to give you a running order of what will happen and when, so you know what to expect.
Typically, after the ceremony, the next step of the wedding schedule is when the newlyweds and wedding party are whisked off for pictures. This usually happens in or around the wedding venue while guests enjoy reception drinks. Your photographs can take as long (or be as speedy!) as you like. Nail down a shot list with your photographer in advance to make sure you get all the images you want.
Are line-up shots and traditional newlywed posts not your thing? Of course, you can skip formal photos altogether and ask your photographer to focus on reportage-style shots throughout the day instead – it’s up to you.
You may want a formal receiving line or relaxed, cocktails-and-canapes affair. Whichever you prefer, this is a chance for your family and friends to meet and mingle before you all sit down to eat.
The meal after your ceremony (traditionally known as the wedding breakfast) can start whenever you like. And if you don’t fancy a big, sit-down evening meal, more and more couples are choosing alternative options such as food stations or wedding brunches. Talk to your venue to see what they can provide and what you’re allowed to hire in.
The wedding speeches are traditionally made after dinner. It’s completely up to you though, as nowadays, many couples choose to schedule them beforehand, so that pre-speech nerves don’t spoil anyone’s appetite.
It’s completely up to you what order the speeches go in. Many modern couples also give brides, mums and maids their turn on the mic too. Why should the guys have all the fun?
The newlyweds make the first cut and then the cake is taken away to be sliced. This means you can then serve it as a dessert (a great way to stretch your budget, rather than having a wedding cake AND a separate dessert), or give it to guests to take home.
Traditionally, couples tend to kickstart the evening reception with a romantic slow dance. Whilst this is still the Holy Grail of first dances for many brides, the custom has now evolved so that your first foray onto the dancefloor as newlyweds can be anything you want it to be.
If you don’t fancy smooching in front of an audience, choose an upbeat tune, ask all your guests to join you on the floor or rehearse a routine to knock their socks off. This is your dance, so do it your way.
It’s also traditional for the bride to dance with her father afterwards. Again, this can be as much or as little as you both feel comfortable with.
What’s next in the wedding schedule? There’s only one thing left…PARTY!