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How to set a wedding day timeline

Planning your wedding can be so much easier with great advice from professionals in the wedding industry. We've asked highly recommended wedding photographer Lisa Webb to give us her insight into how to set a wedding day timetable. Lisa is a down to earth and incredibly talented wedding photographer based in Shropshire, she covers the UK and beyond. Her creative style perfectly captures those precious moments of true emotion.


All Photos by Lisa Webb - www.lisawebbphotography.co.uk

A timeline for a wedding day is one of the most important aspects of the day. It will determine how long you have to spend with your guests, how long you have to get ready and ultimately just the entire flow of the day. It can be really hard to come up with as it's likely you don't get married that often or perhaps haven't done it at all before. I've photographed over 100 weddings so I can definitely help with that all important wedding day timeline! Here are a few tips to set a good wedding day timeline.


1 - Set the ceremony time

The main aspect of any wedding day is always the ceremony itself. I would recommend setting your ceremony time first and working around that to schedule in the other aspects of your day. A few things to consider when setting your ceremony time are: time of year, time it will take you to get ready and how much time you'd like to spend with your guests. If you're getting married in Autumn or Winter I'd recommend having your ceremony at 12 to 1pm, I definitely wouldn't have it any later than 1:30pm, especially in the darker Winter months. Natural light in winter is pretty sparse and if you're having a photographer, natural light always best to photograph people in. By having an earlier ceremony you can make the most of what daylight is available.

If you're getting married in Spring or Summer you've got more daylight to play with so you can have a later ceremony of 2pm onwards if you'd like to. Obviously, the later you have your ceremony, the more time you will have to get ready but the less time you will have to spend with your guests afterwards. Someone who has lots of bridesmaids might want or need more time to get ready in the morning, whereas it might be really important to you to spend lots of time with your guests after your ceremony. This part is totally personal preference but I would definitely have a good think about your ceremony time as the rest of your wedding timeline will revolve around it.



2 - Set a time for your Wedding Breakfast

So now you've got your ceremony time figured out you need to decide what time you and all your guests should eat. From a photographer's perspective I would always suggest setting aside 2 hours from the end of your ceremony to the start of your wedding breakfast. This will give you and your photographer enough time to capture any group family shots you'd like taking, time for couple portraits of just you and your new spouse and also gives you time to chill out and spend time with your guests. I wouldn't go beyond three hours between the end of your ceremony and wedding breakfast, as it's likely that your guests will be really hungry by this point!



3 - Set aside time for photographs

Following on from that is making sure you set aside enough time for photographs. Every photographer works differently in this aspect. You may have booked a completely documentary photographer who doesn't do family shots or set anything up. I describe myself as a creative and relaxed photographer, I always ask my couples for a list of family group shots they'd like capturing on their wedding day and I also love shooting couple portraits. I always shoot family group shots and couple portraits before anyone sits down to eat their wedding breakfast. There are many reasons for this, shooting after the wedding breakfast risks people being drunk, spilling food down themselves, being tired (especially the kids!) and also not being able to find people. I always shoot group family shots as soon after the ceremony as possible. I tend to suggest my couples limit their group shots to about 6 to 8 so that they don't get bored and get to spend more time with their guests. It can take about 5 minutes per group shot to round guests up so it's important to set a limit with these. This is also normally when I would do the confetti shot too!

If you'd like some couple portraits taking I would recommend setting aside 20 minutes to have a wander round with your photographer. This is again something I do before the couple sit down to eat. If they're being announced into their room, we can often do some of these while their guests are being seated, so they don't miss out on too much time with their friends and family.


4 - Get the party started!

The final thing to think about when setting your wedding timeline is setting a time for your band/DJ/playlist to start. The party normally kicks off with first dance but you can choose to do this however you like. I would really recommend not having a huge amount of time between the end of your wedding breakfast and your party. You need just enough time for everyone's food to go down but not so much time that your guests get tired. An hour to an hour and a half between the end of your wedding breakfast and the start of your party is optimal. If you'd like a little longer than that I'd just suggest giving your guests something to do, games are always a great idea, they keep up the party spirit! You can also fill this time with sparklers if you're having a winter wedding, or perhaps a second confetti shot in summer!


These are my top tips to setting a good wedding day timeline. It should give you enough time to spend with your guests, get great photographs, keep everyone fed and amused.

Thank you to Lisa for this fantastic advice, we hope you find it useful when planning your big day. If you'd like to hear more about Lisa Webb and her work, make sure to visit her online, or follow her on Instagram or Facebook.

Love as always SP xx



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