What can you expect from a wedding day timeline?
You’re getting married! And this time around, you’ll find that it’s way different than going to any other wedding. So what does a traditional wedding day involve?
In Northern Ireland & Ireland, weddings usually last all day long and sometimes even extend until the wee hours of night – not atypical for celebrations to continue right into the next day either. Here’s a detailed timeline, outlining a typical Irish wedding experience so you can plan accordingly.
Raise & Shine!
6.00am – 11.00am: Get ready for your close-up! Most bridal beauty squads will come to your home or venue on the wedding morning, but don’t forget to factor in travel time if you plan on going to a local salon instead. The bridal make up & hair team will be with you long before me to start getting you ready.
10.30am – 12.00pm: Say cheese! I will arrive (and possibly your videographer) to capture those all-important preparation shots. I always arrive 2 hours before you are due to leave. This gives me lots of time to get those prep shots. Don’t forget to aim to be in your dress at least 20 mins before you need to leave for the ceremony and factor in travel time for me and videographer to get there before you.
12.30pm : The wedding cars will start to leave, although this will vary depending on how far you are from your ceremony location.
Time To Say “I do”
1.00pm: Deep breaths… It’s time to walk down the aisle and say, “I do!”
2.00pm: A traditional ceremony will usually take around an hour, then you’ve got to factor in some time for kisses and congratulations on the receiving line, and a few photographs at the ceremony venue. Services by registrar, humanist or other celebrants range up to about 30 mins max, depending on any songs, readings etc you may have!
Time To Celebrate
3.00pm-4.00pm: Allow for trial time but then it is time for a well-deserved glass of bubbly! Typically, I will take the bride and groom plus bridal party straight out for photographs at this point. If you go into your guests, it’s hard to get back out again and I want you to get your portraits as soon as possible so you can enjoy a cocktail with your guests. I generally have your portraits done within 30-45 min but have an hour on the timeline just as flexibility.
4.00pm – 4.30pm: At this point, I would grab your families for some very quick family portraits, if haven’t been already captured after the ceremony. I highly recommend choosing two people (within the bridal party if possible) to get family members together for those group shots. Keep group shots limited, as it will eat into your time for mingling. I recommend couple with parents, then add in siblings and then partners and kids from both sides. If you are lucky to still have your grandparents, they are very important family members and will definitely be included.
Eat, drink, and be merry!
5.30pm: Around about now, you’ll hear the call for dinner. Time for everyone to get seated, and welcome the bride and groom to the top table.
6.00pm: Dinner is served! Most venues now will recommend speeches and toasts before dinner is served. I know that the guys like this too as then they can relax and enjoy the meal. Traditionally, the father of the bride, the father of the groom, the best man, and the groom will all say a few words, although the line-up is entirely up to you.
9.00pm – 9.30pm: Get your dancing shoes on and take a twirl around the floor with your beloved. The First Dance is a magical moment… And then the party starts! I know you may think your evening reception will start at 8.30pm but this is rarely the case. Rooms have to be normally changed around, the band has to get set up and do sounds checks etc. The earliest first dance I have photographed is 9pm. I will be with you for the first few dances before I say my goodbyes.
10.00pm: Most venues will serve late-night nibbles at this point.
11.00pm – 12.00am: The band will finish up, but that doesn’t mean that the party is over! A DJ sometimes will take over depending on your booking and dancing into the early hours.