Wedding Day Timings

The key to a great wedding is allowing enough time for all the things you want to include – photographs, entertainment, speeches, cake cutting and of course the first dance. My role as toastmaster is to ensure that everything happens when it should and I prefer to be booked early in the preparations so that I can give guidance on how long to allow for each event. On occasions, there has not been enough time for couples to simply enjoy the day as they are rushing from church to venue, photo’s to meal, and trying to get the speeches done before the evening guests arrive. Here are some things to consider when planning.

The Ceremony

At a church – 45 minutes

At the same venue as your reception – 30 minutes

Photographs

The time for photographs varies depending on how many you have planned.  At a church wedding allow 30 minutes – bearing in mind you then have to travel to your venue.

Welcome drinks and photographs

After a ceremony at the venue try to allow 2 hours for welcome drinks and photo’s before you go in to the wedding breakfast. As well as group photo’s, the photographer will usually want to take some shots with just the two of you.

You may want to include some entertainment during this period e.g. a magician or string quartet.

The Receiving Line

Something else to consider is whether or not you want to have the ‘receiving line’ when you greet your guests as they go in for the meal. Allow 30 minutes for 100 guests. The line-up can be just the Bride & Bridegroom or traditionally, include both sets of parents. If they are included you may want to ask your toastmaster to announce guests as the Parents of the Bride (who will be first in line) may not know who everyone is.

The wedding breakfast

A three course meal usually takes 1½ – 2hours depending on how quickly the Venue serves the meal and the type of service i.e. silver service or plated. A buffet meal is not necessarily quicker as each table is invited in turn to go up to the buffet. If you serve ‘substantial’ canapés with your welcome drinks it may only be necessary to have a two course meal.

The speeches are the next thing to consider. Traditionally they come after the meal but often, for those who are nervous, are done before the meal or even in between courses. They feature the Father of the Bride, Bridegroom and the Best Man. Try not to make them more than 10 minutes each, especially if they are to take place before the meal as guests will be hungry (children more so).

Entertainment

There have been occasions when special entertainment is laid on as a surprise in between courses e.g. singing waiters or Basil Fawlty lookalike interruption!! This can add roughly 30 minutes to proceedings. However if you choose to keep your guests entertained during the meal with a table magician or perhaps a musician or singer playing in the background, you do not need to allow any extra time.

Evening

The final time factor to consider is when your evening celebrations begin with the arrival of your evening guests.

Many venues require the room where the meal has been eaten to be vacated by guests in order for the room to be ‘turned around’ in preparation for the evening. This can involve things like clearing tables, dance floor being laid and disco/band set up. This can take between 45mins to an hour. It actually gives you time to freshen up, relax with & greet your evening guests or have more photograph opportunities.

 Wedding day all in same venue

 Noon               Toastmaster (TM) to check all is in place

12.25pm          TM will arrange for bridegroom to meet registrars.

12.40pm          TM will direct guests to be seated in ceremony room.

12.45pm          Bride arrives – arrival photo’s & meets with registrars

1pm                 The Wedding Ceremony

TM announces bridal party into the ceremony.

1.30pm            TM advises guests for reception drinks and                                                                                              photographs and introduces the new Mr & Mrs ……

1.50pm            TM assists photographer in assembling guests for photographs as required

3.20pm            TM arranges receiving line and calls guests to dinner.

3.55pm            TM announces entrance of Bride & Bridegroom If required, TM will say a grace or                            introduce a chosen guest to do so.

4pm                 The Wedding Breakfast will be served

TM remains on hand to ensure the meal runs smoothly, and remind guests to sign the guest book.

6pm                 TM introduces each guest who is to make a speech. (TM will ensure gifts and                                      bouquets are on hand for Bridegroom to present)

At the conclusion TM will close the formalities & take his leave unless required to:

 7.30pm            Greet evening guests as they begin to arrive and at

8pm                 introduce the cutting of the wedding cake, throwing the bouquet and the first                                dance.

 Wedding day at two locations

When two venues are involved the time you arrive at the wedding breakfast may depend on a number of factors:

v  the length of the service (anything between 40 mins and an hour)

v  the number of photographs taken at the church

v  the time it takes for you and your guests to travel to the wedding breakfast venue

The times below are therefore only a rough guide

12noon            Wedding ceremony

12.45               Photographs

1.20pm            Travel to wedding breakfast venue

1.50pm            TM will greet guests and guide for reception drinks & assist photographer as                                   required

3.20pm            TM arranges receiving line and calls guests to dinner.

3.55pm            TM announces entrance of Bride & Bridegroom If required, TM will say a grace or                           introduce a chosen guest to do so.

4pm                 The Wedding Breakfast will be served

TM remains on hand to ensure the meal runs smoothly, and remind guests to sign the guest book.

6pm                 TM introduces each guest who is to make a speech. (TM will ensure gifts and                                       bouquets are on hand for Bridegroom to present)

6.30 (approx.) At the conclusion TM will close the formalities & take his leave unless required to:

7.30pm            Greet evening guests as they begin to arrive and at

8pm                 introduce the cutting of the wedding cake, throwing the bouquet and the first                                dance.

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