Timeline10 Stages For Your Wedding Day Timings

A Complete Guide to Planning Your Wedding timings


People often forget to think about their wedding as a whole day. Your wedding day will fly by so quickly so let’s talk about timing!

Are unsure about your wedding day timings?

How much time should you allocate to the morning timing?

How much time do I need for family photos, for the mass, greeting guests etc?


People ask me so often for some tips on planning wedding day timings based on my experience.

Wedding planning and wedding timing goes hand in hand. How do you plan everything to be sure everything runs smoothly?

It’s the first wedding for most of you and you have one go to make it right ;)

This is a very detailed post, but it will give you a good idea of how to map out your timings on your wedding day. I hope that this post can help you with planning your wedding day.

  • Morning of the wedding


    Wedding Day TimingsMorning Wedding Day TimingsWedding Day Timings

Very often people think that the Bride should go last for hair and make-up. To be very honest, this is not a good idea. Let me explain and let me give you some tips too!

Your photographer and videographer need to be in the church around 20/30 minutes before the Mass starts.

If the Brides makeup is last the photographer and videographer will capture a lot of nice moments with Bridesmaids taking selfies, enjoy drinks etc. but the Bride will be sitting in the makeup chair or will have no makeup done yet!



If the Bride is last for makeup or hair – very often the videographer will have to leave the house even before the Bride is in her wedding dress.



How to avoid that?:

It’s best to have your makeup done around 11 am


Click here for a separate post on this:   https://www.dkphoto.ie/bride-guide-wedding-blog/morning-schedule-wedding-day/


Have the make-up of the most important people at the beginning – The Chief Bridesmaid and Mum if they will be helping you with your wedding dress first, then you and then the rest of the Bridesmaids after that.

Then if ANYTHING goes wrong and if it gets late the Bride can put her dress on before the videographer or photographer leave the house.

As your Mum or Chief Bridesmaid are ready, they can help the Bride when the rest of the Bridesmaids are still having their makeup or hair done.

I hope that makes sense. I have seen this happen so many times. All my photos are with Bride in the make-up chair, while the Bridesmaids are fully ready and enjoying the morning.


I recommend having the following makeup/hair running order:

– Mum or Chief Bridesmaid first if they will be helping you with your wedding dress.

– If Mum will not be helping with the dress, then she can be last.

– The Bride next so that she is ready in the middle.

– Then the rest of the Bridesmaids.

If there is a small Bridal party there is less of a chance for any delay and then the order is not as important.


You should be in Your wedding dress approx 30-40 minutes before planning to leave the house – to avoid any stress if anything goes wrong :)


  • Getting to the Church

If You are getting married in the city, make sure that you allow extra travel time for traffic.

If it’s Christmas or Friday or Saturday, of course, traffic will be heavy, more so than usual.

Don’t be too late!!! It’s your wedding day and it’s your wedding time but don’t lose precious minutes of your own wedding time. I think 5-10 minutes late is the max amount of time.



  • The Wedding Ceremony

If you are having a Catholic full Mass, it’s around 1 hour – 1 hour and 30 minutes. No less!
You can have Mass without communion. In the Winter as the days are short, it’s a great idea to skip communion to save some daylight. You can save 20 minutes by having Mass without the communion.

If it’s a Civil ceremony it will be around 30 minutes – max 40 minutes.



  • Greeting guests after

This always takes 30 minutes to 1 hour

If you are getting married in the winter, keeping the daylight is an issue. If you are having a late ceremony it is better to skip greeting your guests until you are at the hotel.



  • Family photos

Always keep your family photo list short!


Here is my recommended list:

Bride & Groom – Bride Parents
Bride & Groom – Bride Parents plus Brothers and Sisters
Bride & Groom – Bride Parents plus Brothers and Sisters plus kids and Partners
Bride & Groom – Bride Grandparents

Bride & Groom – Groom Parents
Bride & Groom – Groom Parents plus Brothers and Sisters
Bride & Groom – Groom Parents plus Brothers and Sisters plus kids and Partners
Bride & Groom – Groom Grandparents

Bride + Bridesmaids
Groom+ Groomsmen
Bride & Groom + Bridal party (flower girls page boys)



If you add cousins or extended family in it can take ages to gather all people.


The photographer and videographer CAN’T HELP as they don’t know your Family!


It’s a great idea to instruct your Bridesmaids and Groomsman to help!


Family photos are hard to time. It depends on how long your list is and how fast people gather in front of the photographer’s camera. It can be done in 15 minutes but I have seen it take an hour!


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  • Photos with the Bride and Groom

If you book an inexperienced photographer it can take ages!

How do I avoid losing half of my wedding day getting my wedding photographs taken?

Book a photographer with experience. If you book a cheap option you might regret that decision for the rest of your life. Your wedding day is only once in your life! The pressure is on to get it right!

I always work very fast. My photos with the Bride and Groom take around 10-20 minutes max.


  • Drinks Reception

Now, most hotels ring the dinner bell at 5.30 pm, so let’s add up all the timings to see how much time you will have left with your wedding guests to drink Guinness and have a good time :)

  • Mass 1 pm – 1 hour
  • Greeting guests – 30 minutes
  • Family Photos – 30 minutes – (Average with gathering people etc)
  • Travel to the venue – 1 hour (To cover any traffic/checking in)
  • Photos with Bride and Groom – 30 minutes


In this case, your drinks reception would be 4.30 pm -5.30 pm. 1 hour with your wedding guests to have a drink and to have fun!


This is why I recommend having a Winter Mass at around 12 pm/1 pm ONLY if your venue is super close.



  • Dinner

I think the average time it takes to have dinner is 2 hours.



  • Speeches

These can take from 5 minutes to 1.30 hours!!!

The best option, from all my experience attending weddings, is to keep speeches to approx. 5 minutes per speech. Then people are listening, engaged and it’s interesting for people.

If speeches are longer than that, people start to talk, walk around the room, get up to go to the toilet or have a smoke – THEY DONT LISTEN! :)



  • First dance

Most first dances are between 9.30- 10.30 pm
If speeches are long it can be very late. Be sure that you have a package that covers the first dance.
If you have a package with the videographer until let’s say 10 pm, ask what is the extra cost to cover first dance if it’s at 11 pm.

I hope that all my tips and recommendations make sense :)
I hope it will help your wedding planning and that you now understand how to map out your timings.

Enjoy Your planning!

Photos from weddings shoot at: