(Closed) Wedding day timings (for a UK wedding)

posted 5 years ago in Reception
Post # 3
345 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: October 2012

We had our Evening guests arrive just after the dessert buffet was served and before the first dance.




Our wedding was at 2pm and Evening guests arrived from 7 onwards 🙂




2pm ceremony


2.30pm canape and drinks reception


4.10pm Speeches


4.30pm – Main Meal


6.00pm – Dessert Buffet and Coffee


7.00 – 7.30pm – Evening Guests Arrive


8.30pm – First Dance


9pm – Evening Buffet


12am – All over




Post # 5
855 posts
Busy bee

Evening guests to arrive just before the first dance, def.

We’re having ceremony at 2pm, dinner at 6pm, evening guests arriving at 8pm.

If some decide to show up later, then that’s fine – but at least then they can’t complain about missing the first dance!!


Post # 6
2073 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: July 2014

It all looks ok to me except I wondered whether people will be hungry if you do speeches first, then food? It also runs the risk that if the speeches run over, dinner will finish late, the food might get cold, people might still be eating when the guests arrive, etc. Just a thought.

Post # 8
6350 posts
Bee Keeper
  • Wedding: August 2014

Ours is:

12pm: Ushers, best man and groom arrive.

12-12.30pm: Guests arrive, are seated, and are entertained by the string quartet.

12.45pm: I arrive to meet with the registrar, along with my bridesmaids and dad.

1pm: I walk in, ceremony starts.

1.20-1.30pm: ceremony finishes.

1.30-1.45pm: guests make their way to the reception venue (a 2 minute walk away).

1.45pm: quick group shots taken of the whole party.

2pm: drinks reception commences, and OH and I join our guests for a short time to relax and mingle.

2.20pm: OH and I, and our family and bridal party, have our photos taken.

3pm: OH and I rejoin the drinks reception.

3.30pm: drinks reception finishes; people filter in for the wedding breakfast.

3.45-5.30: wedding breakfast, toast, and speeches.

5.45pm: guests head to their rooms or other areas of the hotel, to freshen up before the evening, and to give the venue chance to set up.

7-7.30pm: slideshow of images from the day in our cinema; evening guests can pop in for a nosy if they choose.

7.30pm: evening guests arrive.

7.50pm: cutting of the cake.

8pm: first dance.

11pm: band finishes and music streamed through an iPod.

1-2am: start playing more mellow music.

2-3am: most people will be in bed; party finishes.


Ours is a bit different as it’s more informal, and, though our ceremony is later, it’s shorter, and our evening reception is longer; so, we’ve spaced things out quite a lot in the hope that the day feels relaxed and leisurely even if things over-run. I’d say that if you’re finishing at midnight, 7pm is a good time for evening guests to arrive.

On our evening invites we’re going to let people know about the slideshow, and will have the wording indicate that guests are to arrive for 7.30pm, as the cutting of the cake and first dance will take place before 8pm; we don’t want people wandering in while we’re cutting the cake, for eg, so want to make that clear.

Post # 9
2073 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: July 2014

@EnglishWifey:  That makes sense if the best man is very nervous. I think you should have enough time – I suppose the speakers will be hungry themselves so they might talk less than if they’d just had a big dinner and a couple of glasses of wine, lol! As long as they are aware that people will get bored if the speeches go on for too long and they are hungry. Short and sweet!

Post # 10
855 posts
Busy bee

@Audrey2:  With canapes first no one should be STARVING and certainly not by 4pm!

We’re doing speeches first, then food. It means those doing the speeches can relax whilst eating. My dad is terrified about doing his speech, so it’s nicer for him if he gets it out of the way so he can enjoy his meal!


@EnglishWifey:  15 mins each for the speeches is PLENTY. a good Best Man’s speech should last 5-7 mins. 15 mins is a LONG time to talk. I remember doing presentations at Uni… 15 mins lasts forever! You need one hell of a lot of content to talk for 15 mins.

Post # 12
850 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: September 2013

Thanks for posting this thread, I’ve been wondering about timings. My Dad too will be nervous so I thought speaches first would be a good idea.

I was thinking about a 12pm start in the Chruch then 3pm dinner…..but as we are 20-30 mins drive from the reception I’m now wondering if that is a bit tight. English Wifey’s schedule looks more doable. I might copy that!

On the plus side ive never heard my Dad make a speach that lasted more than 3 minutes before! And I doubt the Best Man will want to do one at all…..so they should be short and sweet.

Can I ask what you girls are having for your wedding breakfast?

For the evening we were thinking about a hog roast and just inviting everyone we know.

For the meal we wanted something different, and the chef has agreed to make up a menu with us. But now I have limitless choice I dont know what to do. I love the idea of a mix of an informal start (lots of picky bits people have to pass around and share as an ice breaker) then maybe a more formal fish course and main, then something that is just fun for pudding, maybe along the Heston Blumbenthal rout so that everyone is laughing at the end.

Post # 14
855 posts
Busy bee

@LilLis:  We’re having canapes on arrival with a glass of sparkly rose. Then a duck salad starter, slow roasted lamb with dauphinoise potatoes and chantenay carrots, then wedding cake for dessert (chocolate and raspberry!)

Our evening buffet will be pretty light (as we’re eating at 6pm) – cheeses and cold deli meats with crackers and chutneys. I’m also going to have a mini dessert buffet, too, for those who prefer sweet over savory!

LOVE the idea of a Heston dessert!

Post # 15
2073 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: July 2014


@Miss Jackrabbit:  I do agree that no one should be really hungry and it does sound like speeches first will work best! I agree that 15 mins is a really long time in practice – sounds like your timetable is fine 🙂

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