Best timings for your wedding day: things to consider before you book your wedding ceremony

“The day is going to fly by”. This is something we hear a lot and it’s true! Every time we say goodbye after filming a wedding, the couple says “it’s been amazing but it’s gone by so fast!”.

We also often hear that couples wish they’d had longer to spend with their guests and with each other. This is really important to us on our own wedding day so we’ve written what we think will be the best timings for the day. Here are some things you might want to consider when planning your own wedding if, like us, spending time with everyone is a big priority. Our suggested timings are based on having a civil ceremony as they tend to only last 30 minutes.

What are your priorities for your wedding day?

Do you want to spend as much time as possible with your guests? Are you wanting it to be a really relaxed day and not in a rush? It’s important to think about what your priorities are when planning the timings of your wedding day.

Best timings for your wedding day - things to consider before you book your wedding ceremony. What to prioritise if spending time together and with your guests is most important to you.

For us we want to spend as much time with everyone (and each other!) as possible. Therefore we think we will go for a relatively early ceremony, perhaps 12.30.

Best timings for your wedding day if spending as much time with your guests is really important to you

I’m only having two bridesmaids so getting ready shouldn’t take too long (famous last words!). I’d also really like to have all the people who are close to me (who I’d have love to have as bridesmaids but logistics/money say otherwise!) come over for Prosecco and photos at 11.30am. That way I can have some photos with my closest friends and family without Pete and it won’t need to take up time during the formal photographs. I want to be really calm on the morning and have fun so allowing 45 minutes to have a drink with my closest loved ones will really help I think.

Liz, one of our past brides, kept her dress a secret and then surprised everyone on the morning of the wedding. Watch the video above for the brilliant reactions! This is always one of my favourite moments because everyone is so excited. I’m definitely considering keeping my dress a surprise. It’s great to watch back on film too!

Best timings for your wedding morning if spending time with your guests is most important to you

What type of ceremony are you having?

This is important because it effects how long the ceremony will take and where it will be. Religious ceremonies tend to take longer than civil, humanist or personal ceremonies.

Best timings for your wedding day - Liz and Luke after signing the register - wedding photography and videography by Veiled Productions

We plan to have either a civil ceremony or a personal ceremony because we aren’t very religious. We are hoping for a civil ceremony, assuming the registrars can fit us in when we want! If the only time they have left, on the day we choose, is 3pm we won’t be doing that! Spending time with everyone is so important to us so a late ceremony isn’t an option. If that’s the case then we will get legally married at a registry office on a separate day and have a personal ceremony on our wedding day (Pete isn’t sure about this but I love it!).

If you’re having a religious ceremony then you may want to consider an earlier start to allow for the longer ceremony (and travel times if applicable).

Formal photographs

How many guests are you having? How many formal photos would you like? All of this will take a certain amount of time and we highly recommend talking to your photographer prior to the day for advice. For us, the photograph of everyone is really important so we will do that immediately after the ceremony to make sure all of our guests are in the photo! Taken from a balcony or first floor window always works best for this shot too.

Best timings for your wedding day if spending time with your guests is most important to you. Jamie and Alex and all their guests. Photography and videography by Veiled Productions

We will obviously treasure the photos so want to allocate a bit of time for formal photos and photos together. However, we will also want to chat with everyone during the afternoon so will think carefully about the amount of formal photos. It is definitely worth talking to your photographer about how long formal photographs will take and if there are any other opportunities during the day.
Best timings for your wedding reception if spending time with your guests is most important to you. Photography and videography by Veiled Productions
For us, we are thinking we will have something set up for photos in the evening too. We still have our photo-booth backdrops so might set up a DIY booth depending on if our photographer offers something like this or not. This way we can have some photos with our evening guests too.
Best timings for your wedding day - having a photo-booth set up means you can have fun photos with your evening guests too. Photography and videography by Veiled Productions

Wedding Breakfast

This is likely to happen after your ceremony and formal photographs. Is your venue providing food or have you got external caterers coming in? Has an allotted time been set for the wedding breakfast by your venue?

We haven’t chosen a venue yet so don’t know what food we are having. One thing I heard, which I love the idea of, is sitting at a different table for each course / speech so that we get to talk to everyone. Logistically, I don’t know how this will work yet but I like it because it means we will have more chances to catch up with our guests.

Best timings for your evening reception if spending time with your guests is most important to you. Photography and videography by Veiled Productions


Are you having speeches? How long do you think your speeches will be? I’d recommend having a maximum time for each speaker. I’m very conscious of guests getting restless when hearing lots of stories! For us, it’s important the speakers don’t speak for longer than 7 minutes each. We think it’s about right then and definitely won’t last more than 30 minutes in total.

Best timings for your wedding day - Micia and Dan speeches - we recommend limiting your speakers to 7 minutes each. Photography and Videography by Veiled Productions

Evening Reception

We also want to allow time, between finishing food / speeches and the entertainment starting, for sunset photos (fingers crossed!) or at least photos of us together and with the wedding party. When we’ve filmed and photographed weddings these have always been our favourite. Taking 15 minutes out of the day to spend together and have a giggle will be memories we can treasure forever.
Best timings for your wedding day if spending as much time with your guests as possible is one of your biggest priorities. Suggestions by Veiled Productions - fun, unique wedding films for modern, family focused couples
Are you having a first dance? In the past we’ve found that 7.30pm is slightly too early for the first dance and most couples end up having it at 8pm. We appreciate background music will be great for entertaining guests whilst we are having evening photos. Hopefully the DJ we choose can start at 6.30pm after the speeches, then have cutting the cake at 7.50pm followed by the first dance at 8pm. If the photo-booth opens at 7pm as well, there will be lots to keep everyone entertained.
We know the day will go by really quickly and we are so excited. Hopefully these are the best timings for your wedding day to make the most of seeing everyone!

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