How To Plan The Order Of The Wedding Day
Updated: Nov 10, 2020
I flippin' love planning - hence why I chose to do what I do I guess. Although I'm all up for being a free spirit and to go with the flow, having an Order of the Day is vital for a wedding (even be it a loose one), so people know what's happening and when.
More importantly, you should have someone in charge of it so everything runs smoothly or things could get out of hand and precious party time will be lost (if you are in a venue that has a strict lights-out at midnight policy for example).
I personally don't think it's fair to ask your maid of honor, your sister or your mum to do this as they won't be able to relax and enjoy the wedding properly, or they'll enjoy it too much and totally miss important things. And you shouldn't be in charge of if for sure. You are the bride & groom. You shouldn't be constantly checking the time, and running around sorting stuff out, right?
Most commonly the Order of the Day is presented on a board placed at the venue entrance welcoming your guests. You can DIY one of these signs easily from driftwood or a wooden pallet, or if you aren’t crafty (or bothered), you can get one made - there are loads of suppliers on Etsy (like the one pictured above). You can opt for a printed version that can be provided by your stationery designer and displayed on an easel, there are perspex ones, menu-like ones that you can place on the table for each guest to find and read or anything else that takes your fancy. There are no set rules so let your creative juices flow.
The Wedding Day Plan:
You always start with the time of the ceremony, that being either morning (let's say 11 am), midday or early afternoon. The ceremony runs for about an hour to an hour to 90 mins depending on what you’ve arranged.
After the ceremony, you may want some petals or confetti throwing (you can place the individual cones of confetti or petals by the welcome sign so the guests can collect them on arrival. Make sure you run the schedule past your photographer so no epic photo opportunities are missed.
Then it’s time for some well deserved celebratory drinks and possibly nibbles. Make sure you eat. Often the wedding couple misses out on nibbles, being too busy with chatting to the guests and posing for photos.
If the reception is at the same venue as the ceremony, give it an hour for mingling and photos. If not, you will have to allow for travel time.
Think about how much time you will allow for drinks, canapes, photos, carnival rides (if that is your bog), garden games, etc.
The next on the list is the wedding meal. It’s super important to set enough time for this, so all your guests are sat down ready for your arrival. Traditionally, the speeches will follow the meal but if you’re smart (and kind) you’ll schedule the speeches before you eat. Give the nervous speakers a chance to get it over and done with while still relatively sober and not ramble on for ages fueled by booze - trust me this happens too often. Then they can relax and enjoy their meal without going through the whole stress of waiting for 2 hours, not eating much, just sitting there, sweaty-palmed, knocking down back too many glasses of bubbly...
You might want to save the cutting of the cake for later when your evening guests arrive so that they don’t feel like they’ve missed out. For a sitdown meal, I would give it at least an hour and a half or even 2 hours.
The Wedding Evening Plan:
This is your second part of the plan (after you and your day guests have been fed and watered). It’s when your evening guests are due to arrive and so it’s when your first dance should happen too.
This could include any of the following:
- Photo booth. There is usually a two-hour window for guests to use it so make sure people know about it and don't miss out.
- Band or DJ start time
- Sparklers for your guests to hold when you enter the party room after the cake cutting
- Late-night snack for the hard party crew. This is usually served around 10:30. You can hire a retro pizza van for example that rocks up at the venue and serves fresh stonebaked pizzas - invaluable for soaking up the booze.
- And for the end, mark the time for the “Last Dance”, maybe with your chosen song, so the party crew knows not to pester the DJ for that one last tune. Give it a half our chill-out period so that you can say your goodbyes before everyone orders their rides home.
And that’s it!
A rough example of a wedding day schedule:
11:00 - Spend the morning getting pampered (try to relax)
12:00 - Start getting ready with your gals and have a good brunch
15:00 - Ceremony
16:30 - Petals / Confetti
16:45 - Drinks reception, group photos, garden games, etc.
18:00 - Seated for dinner
18:15 - Speeches
19:30/20:00 - Cake cutting & First dance
20:15 - Party kicks off
22:30 - Evening snack
23:30 - Last song
24:00 - Hometime
If you rather hand over the stressful task of making sure everything runs according to plan to a pro, give me a call. Planning, logistics, and making sure things happen when and how they should are my Jedi power ;)
Love Zuza x