Wedding Day

The bride and groom should plan out the times of events of the day. The timing of the wedding day is crucial: good planning and timing can help the day run without a hitch. A schedule for the wedding should be mapped out, and all suppliers informed of the expected running order

The following is a rough timeline for the big day, from the ceremony to the end of the reception.

Arrivals at the Ceremony

Ushers 45 minutes before; best man and groom 45-30 minutes before; guests: up to 30 minutes before; groom's parents: 15 minutes before; mother of bride and bridesmaids ten minutes before; bride and father five minutes before.

See Ceremonies

See Transport

Church of Civil Ceremony

20-60 minutes (civil ceremonies are shorter than religious ones)

N.B. Allow plenty of time to get from the ceremony venue to the reception, if applicable, especially if the area is prone to heavy traffic.


20-30 minutes

Note: Allow approximately ten minutes for pictures of the bride and groom, ten to twenty minutes for other shots.

See Photography

Drinks Reception

90 minutes, usually extends to two hours

Note: A receiving line takes about 40 minutes and well organised photographs take 20-30 minutes.

See Reception Drinks

See Hosting the Reception

See Guest Information

Seating guests

Up to 30 minutes.

See Seating Plan

The Wedding Meal

Two hours for three courses.

See Reception Food & Drink


30 minutes, usually extending to 45 minutes (at least ten minutes per person, assuming there are three speakers).

See The Speeches

Cake Cutting

15-20 minutes.

See Wedding Cake


Approximately three hours.

Note: This depends upon when the bride and groom leave, and how long the party lasts, and the style of the venue/reception.

See Entertainment

Going Away

15 minutes (throwing bouquet and saying goodbye).

See Going Away

See Wedding Photography Key Moments

Debrett's wedding guide

Debrett's wedding guide

Happily Ever After Wedding Notebook

Happily Ever After Wedding Notebook

Debrett's Wedding Services

Debrett's Wedding Services

Debrett's Wedding Services

Debrett's Wedding Services

Whether you are just engaged or approaching the big day, Debrett’s Wedding Essentials services can help you plan and perfect your wedding.

Debrett's Notebooks

Debrett's Notebooks

Think in Ink Notebook

Think in Ink Notebook

Celebrating the power of the written word, encouraging ideas to flow and thoughts to be recorded.

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