Wedding Day Timing

My post entitled ‘A Wedding To Do List’ is helpful in working out what needs to be done leading up to the wedding day.  What about the actual wedding day timing? 


Around a month before the wedding day, I chat with all my wedding couples in regards to finalising their wedding photography.  Here are some of my tips, thoughts and suggestions that I go through with all my couples.


Start your timing plan with the wedding ceremony.  Even if you are unsure of the exact time you wish the ceremony to commence, write down an ideal time and then later everything can be adjusted accordingly if needed.


Let’s say the ceremony ideal start time is 3pm.  Now the ceremony duration will depend if you are having a church wedding or civil ceremony.  As a guide a traditional Catholic mass can be around one hour, while a normal church wedding is around 45 minutes including two readings, minister’s sermon, signing the register and walking out.


However a civil ceremony ranges from 15 to 30 minutes.  Speak to your minister or celebrant who will help you finalise a more accurate duration time.


After the ceremony, there are three possible areas you need to be aware of in regards to time.  Firstly do you wish to have a large group shot of all your guests (approx 10-15 minutes)?  Secondly think about how much mingling time you would like to share with your guests.  Thirdly are the family photographs. 


Working out the time to allocate for family photographs will be hard but as a rough guide allocate 5 mins for the first family photograph and then two minutes for each family photograph after that.  I strongly recommend you speak with your photographer in detail about your family photographs and in particular the timing.


From this point, now jump ahead in the timing planning to the reception arrival time for the bridal party.  Let’s say you want to arrive at 6pm to your wedding reception.  Now you can work out the time you will have remaining for travelling and ‘location’ bridal party photographs.


Recapping: wedding starts at 3pm and the duration is 30 minutes (civil ceremony).  Afterwards let’s say you want a group shot (10 min), mingling time (30min) and then ten family photographs (20min).  This will mean you will have one & half hours for travelling and ‘location’ bridal party photographs.


If an hour and a half is not enough time (or too much time), then you can decide to change the ceremony starting time, have longer mingling time or perhaps even arrive earlier to the reception to share pre dinner drinks with your guests.


I will share more information in future posts about timing before the ceremony and at the reception.

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Passionate tree hugging, animal loving, professional Australian photographer & entrepreneur.... Wow try saying that five times!!

3 thoughts on “Wedding Day Timing”

  1. This is more of a question. I have been preparing to get married. Now my finance finally ask the question we will have two weeks to our wedding day. My dress is already made and floral arrangements taken care of. I would not need to worry for catering my sister has a catering business. My worrry is can we truly full off a wedding in two weeks. The only thing that is left outstanding are the bridesmaid dresses. Please send me some tips.

    Thank you, Marie

  2. Hi Marie,

    Yes you can organise a wedding in two weeks time but some options won’t be possible.

    For example planning the bridesmaid dresses will mean the girls will have to buy them off the racks in a shop instead of having them made.

    One advantage in organising a wedding under two weeks is that wedding suppliers who are not booked may offer you a discount to secure your booking, as it would be unlikely that they would book another wedding for your date.

    Have a look at my post ‘A Wedding To Do List’. This outlines just about everything to think about in planning a wedding. Go through the list and highlight those things you want or still need to do.

    Then once you have this list DELEGATE things to be done to parents & bridal party – you are going to need help!

    Another positive point in planning a wedding in under two weeks, is things you have requested will be fresh in wedding suppliers minds come your wedding day. Hence I believe there will be less chance of error and hence things more likely going to plan.

    Good Luck and don’t allow yourself to become burden with the challenge.

    How fun for you!

    Sarhn 🙂

  3. Thanks for some other informative site. Where else may I am getting that type of
    information written in such a perfect manner?
    I’ve a challenge that I’m just now running on, and I’ve been at the look out for such info.

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