What to Consider When Planning Your Order Of The Day

There is so much to think about when planning your order of the day, and whilst we wouldn’t recommend a minute by minute account, it is important to have a timeline for the day which includes all the key moments. This will help to ensure that the day runs to time and nothing is forgotten! If your venue has a coordinator, most will help you with this process and be able to advise on what works well at your specific venue. If you are using a dry hire venue, or getting married in a private garden, you may need to create your own order of the day or consider finding an on-the-day coordinator to help with this.

It can often feel a little overwhelming and you may struggle knowing quite where to start or what to include when starting to plan your order of the day, and whilst there is no right or wrong way, there are certain key things which your day will normally include and a typical structure for most weddings! Here are a few of our top tips.

Order of the day by Bewilderly captured by Lorna Newman.

Where to Start

We would recommend starting by writing down all of the key moments of your day, these could include arrival time of key suppliers, the drinks reception, and the evening guest arrival. Once you have a list start to assign times to things which are set in stone. For example, your ceremony time and the time which the venue asks music to finish by.

The Ceremony

Typically, most weddings will start with your wedding ceremony, and this will help to shape and initiate the timeline of the rest of your day. Typically guests will be invited to arrive 30 mins before the ceremony is due to begin. Remember to let guests know an arrival time, as well as a ceremony time to avoid anyone arriving late.

A Moment before I & S's ceremony at Horsley Hale, captured by our team.

The Drinks Reception

The ceremony is normally followed by the drinks reception, and these are typically filled with drinks, canapes and a perfect opportunity for guests to mingle. Normally the drinks reception will last between 1-2 hours. Don’t forget to adjust the amount of drinks and canapes you serve depending on the length of your drink’s reception!

The Wedding Breakfast

Following the drinks reception, guests will be called in for the wedding breakfast. You should remember to allow 10-15 minutes for guests to be called in and take their seats, and 10-15 minutes for the couple to be announced in. Your caterer will be best advised to help suggest the time it will take to serve your guests.

If you are having a more informal wedding breakfast, such as food stations or opting to have a non-seated meal, you should agree a start time and cut-off time with your caterer. Make sure to factor this into your order of the day too!

Ready for the Wedding Breakfast. Long Tables in the Lady Elizabeth Wing at Holkham Hall. Flowers by Constance Rose, Tableware by CMA hire, styled by our team.

The Evening Bar

Once the wedding breakfast is over it’s time to think about drinks! You will need to decide when the evening bar is going to open and also what time it needs to close.

The Wedding Cake

Most couples will also choose to have a wedding cake and so you will need to choose a time for this to be cut. If you are serving the wedding cake as dessert this will need to be done before the wedding breakfast, but if you are waiting to serve this in the evening then you can do this later and it can be a nice way to begin the evening celebrations.

Wedding Cake by Buns of Fun at The Holkham Hall Showcase, captured by Tatum Reid.

Your First Dance

You will also need to choose a time for your first dance! This is the first dance of the night and typically starts the party. Try to choose a time which isn’t too early so the party doesn’t peter out, or too late so that it doesn’t have time to get started!

Evening Guest Arrival

If you have more guests arriving in the evening you will need to set a time for them to arrive.

An epic moment in the evening reception captured by Kerry Diamond at Voewood.

You Suppliers

When working out timings for the day don’t forget your suppliers and to confirm with them their arrival and end times, you will also need to factor in their set-up times. When choosing your photographer think about when you want them to capture images, and what time you want them to stay until.

The End of the Night

Finally, you will need to set a time for the celebrations to end. This may already be given by your venue, however, you may have to set this yourself. Remember to let your guests know so they can arrange taxis home beforehand.

If you need any help more help designing your order of the day don't hesitate to contact us and a member of our team will be happy to help.

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