Forum home Receptions

Wedding day timings, advice and what are you all doing?

PinkafroPinkafro Posts: 1,211

Ridiculously, after planning for 9 months, this is the first time i've sat down and properly thought about what happens when. The caterer was the one to first talk about timings of everything when we met her in April, but I was kinda winging it and guessing because I hadn't really thought it through. What we have so far is..

2.00 ceremony. This one is actually booked so know this
2.45 reception drinks and photographer with wedding party
4.00 sit down afternoon tea
5.00 speeches and champagne toast

Then, caterer suggested/put in her quote evening guests will invited for 7, the evening buffet will be served for 8-8.30. And she separately said The cake can be cut into before the first dance. We can then remove the cake to prepare for serving with the evening buffet.

I had originally imagined people eating the evening hog roast before the band starts. But this would mean no dancing until quite late when we have to be out before midnight so was getting panicky about not enough time! Plus, this would mean cutting the cake after hog roast image so they wouldnt be served together. I havn't been to a lot of weddings, is evening food usually served after the band has got going? As we are having afternoon tea rather than wedding breakfast, the evening food is the more proper meal with salads and breads and potatoes and mediteranean veg. I'd ideally like the cake cutting to be when the evening guests are there. I'm thinking I could bring the evening invite time forward to 6.30 but no earlier to be sure that they don't arrive during speeches and feel awkward.

What is everyone doing with evening timings? Its so complicated!


  • LilygirlLilygirl Posts: 429

    I can't help I'm afraid, I am totally confused too!

    I wanted to get married at 1 or 1:30, but then my mum asked what exactly we would do with people for the rest of the day, so now got no idea about any of it!

  • PinkafroPinkafro Posts: 1,211

    Lilygirl my mum did the same to me! She convinced me to have ceremony at 3 (she wanted later) because shes been to too many weddings where there was a gap inbetween where guests had to amuse themselves, or there was just general lots of waiting around for guests. It was the caterer who convinced me to go for 2 (luckily hadn't booked ceremony before caterer! Thought I had to wait til the year mark til she informed me otherwise) so there was more time fior everything. And after reading so many reports here saying the day went by so quickly I'm kind of wishing it was earlier.. but at the same time want plenty of time getting ready in the morning without having to get up really early! With enough planning guests shouldn't be bored image

  • LilygirlLilygirl Posts: 429

    We are going to be leaving to go to our hotel about 11:30, so want loads of time with everyone...honestly, mothers can be such a pain image

  • jayellekayjayellekay Posts: 793

    If it is my plan......


    1pm Ceremony

    1.30pm drink reception (pianist is playing during this time for entertainment and photos will get done too.  We also hope to use this time to ensure we have spoken to as many guests as possble so then we can relax and enjoy ourselves!)


    3.15pm Dinner

    5.15pm Speeches (including a toast)

    6pm Coffee

    6.30pm Evening guests arrive (and get their glass of champers)

    7pm cut the cake (so our evening guests are incuded)

    7.05pm first dance

    8.30pm buffet

    There is a bt of a lull after the speeches, but the guests wll have coffee at this point, so hoping they wont be bored just talking amongst themselves.  I wanted to build in a little "overrun" time just in case we need it!  So this time might get reduced.  We are lucky we don't have the leave the room so it gets turned around, but I am worried people will be bored sat at the tables.  If they go for a wander around, I am hoping organising the cake cutting and first dance will enough of a "pull" to get everyone to jon the same room again!

    We couldn't have a later ceremony (we are getting married in December, so didn't want the photos in the dark!)  We're still playing with it a little, bu there isn't much chance to move much around.  A longer drink reception (before food) and we have to pay for canapes (think this is how the venue ensures no-on gets too drunk to quick!) which we dont have the budget for.  So this is how it evolved!

  • PinkafroPinkafro Posts: 1,211

    That is helpful thankyou image thats quite similar to what I came to after my first post. Cake, dance, buffet is the way forward image I've got a very siilar gap between speeches and evening guests, but figured when they finish we can just start mingling, spilling out onto the patio and there will still be stuff about for guests to go and entertain themselves with. So my evening plan I'm thinking now is..

    5.00 speeches, champagne toast
    5.45 mingle with guests, bar set up in lower barn
    6.30 evening guests arrive, caterers clear away some tables and chairs from reception to create room for dancing
    6.30-8.30 ice cream tricycle outside/in marquee (unlimited ice cream, hopefull booking soon if they have availability but I've been waiting to sort out when I want them!)
    7.15 cut cake
    7.30 band starts, first dance
    8.30 hog roast

    much happier with this! Feels like more time for evening fun image and evening guests can have an ice cream so hopefully won't be too hungry waiting til 8.30 for food. Hope the caterer is happy with slightly later buffet timing

  • jayellekay

    Thanks for sharing x

  • PinkafroPinkafro Posts: 1,211

    go away!

  • Hi Lilygirl,

    We are getting married at 1.00pm and everyone will be busy all day.

    Our timings are;

    1pm - ceremony

    1.30pm - photographs, canapes & drinks

    3.00pm - receiving line

    3.30pm - speeches

    4.00pm - wedding breakfast

    6.00pm - mingling time with guests

    7.00pm - evening guests arrive

    7.30pm - chocolate fountain opens

    8.00pm - first dance & cutting of the cake

    9.00pm - evening buffet

    1.00am - leaving time

    So it doesn't leave much time for the guests to be hanging around not doing much.


  • Our times!


    3pm - Ceremony

    3.30-5pm - Champagne, Canapaes & Photograph

    5-6.45pm - Wedding Breakfast

    6.45-7.15pm - Speeches

    7.15-8pm - Cake Cutting, Mingling time 

    8pm - Evening Guests Arrive

    8.30pm - First Dance/Father & Daughter Dance

    9.15pm - Fireworks & Sparklers

    9.30pm - Fish & Chips

    Midnight - Finish! 

Sign In or Register to comment.