Once your big day arrives, you’ll find that it whizzes by really quickly. The trick to enjoying every second, and being able to relax knowing that everything is happening at the right time, is by getting your schedule sorted down to the last minute.
So here’s our handy hour-by-hour guide to your wedding day. In this case, the wedding is starting at 2pm so you might need to adjust timings a bit – also if the weather is bad, you’ll need to plan in some extra time. Remember, this is only a guide, so adapt it to suit your big day.
Chances are you’ll have woken up before now feeling excited about the day but try to have a bit of a lie-in to relax and think about the day ahead. Nine o’clock is a good time to get up and have breakfast. We’re not suggesting a full English, but you do need to eat something to give you some energy we don’t want you fainting during the day. Wholemeal toast and a banana are good, or some breakfast cereal. You can have a glass of Champagne to toast your big day but try not to overdo it.
We’d also suggest you drink plenty of water, especially if it’s a summer’s day. You don’t want to get dehydrated standing at the ceremony.
The atmosphere will start to build as your bridesmaids should arrive around about now. You should tell them in advance to wear button through tops that can be taken off without ruining hairstyles or make-up. The bride should have her hair done first so the style can be perfected.
You don’t want to have too many people in the room with you at this stage. We suggest keeping it to yourself, bridesmaids, the photographer, make-up artist/hairdresser and your mum.
Time for a small snack. It’s probably going to be a while until you eat again and you need to keep your blood sugar up.
Your bridesmaids will be having their hair done now. Your make-up should be being applied at this time, by the make-up artist, yourself or whoever is doing it.
Everybody’s hair and make-up should be done to perfection by now.
So it’s the big moment, the time when you step into your dress, sigh. Be prepared for your mum to shed a tear at this point.
If you’re wearing a slinky sheath style number, put it on over your head, taking great care not to smudge your make-up. If you’re wearing a big dress with a full skirt then you should step into it. Ask whoever is doing up your dress to wash their hands first or wear gloves – you don’t want a last-minute disaster.
Once your dress is on, it’s time to give your bridesmaids their presents, especially if you’ve bought them jewellery or accessories you’d like them to wear on the big day.
At this point the photographer will probably step in to take some shots of you and your maids before you leave for the ceremony. You’ll all be looking fresh and lovely so this is a good time.
You should delegate somebody to be your point of contact at the venue and you should also give your phone to the same person – last-minute issues don’t need to be your problem now.
Everyone will now leave for the ceremony, leaving you to have a few quiet moments alone with your Dad. If you do have a little cry, just be careful of that make-up!
Your nervous groom, his best man and the ushers will all arrive at the ceremony ready to welcome the guests and chat. They should seat the bride’s family on the left hand side and the groom’s on the right.
The atmosphere is really electric now. Your bridesmaids will arrive at the ceremony, followed by you and your father, or whoever is giving you away.
The wedding co-ordinator will signal for the processional music to begin and you make your grand entrance. If you’re a little shy, you can send your bridesmaids down the aisle first to set the scene. If you’re having young flowergirls and pageboys this is a particularly good idea as they won’t stand on your train and they can sit with their parents.
You’re married and it’s time for some confetti! Your photographer will be snapping away – remember to give him a detailed list in advance of the shots you want taken, so nothing gets forgotten.
Your guests arrive at the reception venue and are offered drinks and nibbles while chatting and catching up with friends and family. Meanwhile, you and your new husband and the bridal party will be having your formal photographs taken, allow about 40 minutes for this.
Time to serve the wedding breakfast. If you’ve opted for a formal three-course meal, this will take up about an hour and a half.
It’s speech time. This may, of course, not involve you personally unless you’ve opted to say a few words. So you can relax, sit back and be entertained. The father of the bride makes the first speech, answered by the groom and then the best man. If you are planning on making a speech yourself, you should follow on after your new husband.
Everyone’s glasses should be charged with Champagne or a similar drink so that they can toast the happy couple.
Around about now you cut your wedding cake, which is then served with coffee after the meal. You can take the opportunity afterwards to sneak away and check on your hair and make-up. Some of your older guests may decide to call it a day at this point, so you could have a few goodbyes to say, too. Your evening guests will probably start arriving around about now.
If you’re opening the dance floor it’s time for your first dance together as a married couple. If the thought of this makes you nervous, you can limit the time you’re the centre of attention by asking the DJ or band to invite friends and family onto the dance floor halfway through the song.
If you’re having an evening buffet this should be brought out around now. Remember you only need to cater for about 80% of your wedding guests as many will still be full from the earlier meal.
Track down your new husband and find somewhere quiet to spend a few minutes together to catch up on the day’s events and soak up the atmosphere. You’ve created a wonderful day together so take time to enjoy it.
Now is the time for the both of you to leave.
You don’t want to still be at the reception when the overhead lights are put on to signal the end of the evening, so leave when the party is still in full swing.
Goodbye and goodnight Mr & Mrs and welcome to your new life together!
If you’re looking for more ways to organise your celebration, our friendly brides on the Wedding Ideas Forum are here to help you plan your big day!