Trying to determine the best timeline for your wedding day can be challenging, you want to strike the balance right to ensure you have enough time for preparations and getting ready, but also enough time to do all the things you want to do for your wedding without feeling rushed or hurried. We’ve created a checklist of the things you should be considering when putting your timeline together.

What’s the best timeline for your wedding day? It’s the one that works for you both and allows you to do all you want to do! Ok ok, that’s a bit vague when you are trying to put together your timeline, so read on for some key tips to think about.

Allow Plenty of Time

You want to give everything plenty of time on your wedding day. From hair and makeup, getting into wedding attire to moving guests from one place to another, speeches and group photos – everything tends to take longer! It’s a really good idea to have additional slots of time built into your timeline so that if things do run over, you are not scrambling to ensure things still happen. Best case scenario, if you are ahead of time on your schedule, you have more time to relax with your guests and soak up the most amazing day of your lives!

Consider The Time of Year

Depending on the season you are getting married in, it may make sense to have your ceremony earlier or later in the day. For example, those gorgeous winter wedding ceremonies are often held earlier in the day to make the most of the daylight hours. Daylight savings may also be a consideration – in summer you can afford to look at a slightly later ceremony and avoid the intense heat of the middle of the day or early afternoon.

Consider The Time of Day

The last thing anyone wants is to be rushing on their wedding day. While 3pm is a very popular time for a wedding ceremony here in New Zealand, and it may well be the time you choose – ensure it works for you rather than just choosing it because everyone else does. Consider the rest of your day and how that might impact the ceremony time. Are you planning a first look where you have photos before your ceremony? Do you need to travel to your ceremony? Keep in mind that the earlier you have your ceremony, the more food and beverages you will need to supply.

Got a Big Wedding Party?

Ok so this one is probably more for the girls, but if you have a larger bridal party, your on the day preparations are going to take longer. Your hair and make up artists are the best people to advise, but with preparations taking around 1 hour per person on average, and possibly longer for the bride, when you have four or five bridesmaids, your getting ready time is starting to become longer. It may mean a very early start, having more than one hair and make up artist or considering the time you start your wedding at and moving it later.

Plans for the Day

If you know you want to spend a good amount of time taking bridal party photos, or you have a super cool cocktail hour planned that you want to make the most of (check out our blog here on fab cocktail hour ideas!), you might choose to push dinner back a little later so you can accommodate this or ensure you have extra food being served during the afternoon. One word of warning however, don’t make your guests wait too long for the reception to get underway and dinner to be served. Not only is it good host responsibility to ensure guests have plenty of food while drinking alcohol, your guests will thank you for not letting them get super hungry.

Timeline Template

Below is a very standard timeline of weddings with a 3pm ceremony in New Zealand. Feel free to use this as a starting basis for your wedding! Note, if you are not getting ready at your venue (like you can at Waipuna Estate – check out our wedding packages including accommodation here), you’ll need to add in additional travel time. This timeline is also based on your ceremony and reception being at the same venue.

8am: Bridal party preparations begin
2pm: Bridal party dressed
3pm: Wedding ceremony
3.30pm: Wedding ceremony concludes and congratulations with guests
3.45pm: Group photos begin
4.15pm: Bar open & canapes begin
4.30pm: Bridal party photos
5.30pm: Bridal party back to venue
5.30pm: Guests invited to be seated for dinner
5.45pm: Bridal party enter reception, cut the cake and be seated
5.50pm: MC welcome
6pm: Dinner and speeches
8pm: First dance

Ultimately, it’s all about how you want it – the best timeline for your wedding day is the one that fits in all you want to do and one where you don’t feel rushed or under pressure. Start planning your timeline well in advance and you’ll have plenty of time to tweak and change it as you need to.

Want to know more about how your wedding can unfold at Waipuna? Check out our wedding packages here. Then if you want to come and check us out, book your viewing here. We’d love to chat with you!