Tips on Timings:
As there are so many elements to a wedding day, getting the
timing right is not an exact science and it has to be
expected that some things may run ahead of schedule and
others behind. Allowing ample time for each element may be
less stressful on the day than feeling that you are chasing
The length of your wedding ceremony can vary greatly
depending on its location, whether it's religious or civil
and what special features you are including (such as songs,
live performers and readings). If your wedding ceremony is
being held in a church or chapel, you would expect it to
take more than an hour. A civil ceremony will invariably be
a lot shorter.
After your ceremony, you may want photographs taken. Take
into consideration that, if the weather is inclement, this
could alter your timings greatly.
During the winter when daylight fades fast in the afternoon,
your photograph session could be a lot shorter than on a
sunny summers day.
If your ceremony is in a different location to your wedding
reception, consider the journey time carefully. The choice
of vehicle or carriage is endless. If a slower form of
transport is chosen, such as a vintage car which has a top
speed of 30mph, it can double or treble the journey time to
your wedding reception.
For your wedding breakfast, if you have chosen a serviced
three course meal for your guests, allow approximately an
hour and a half. Speeches can be scheduled for before or
after the meal, but a general guide to duration is half an
hour. You know your family best and will know if they are
comfortable with public speaking and whether you need to
allow more or less time for this.
If your wedding breakfast is utilising the same room as your
evening wedding entertainment, venue staff will need to turn
the room around. This is common practice in many venues in
Northern Ireland. During this period, guests will be invited
to go and relax in a lobby area or separate bar. This
normally takes anything from half an hour to an hour. This
is an ideal time for your evening guests to be invited to
attend as they will turn up while you are relaxing and it
also means that they will be present when the evening
reception entertainment starts and you have your first
The turn around period is an ideal opportunity for your
evening entertainment to set up, whether its a band or
Disco. Their set up time varies greatly from one to another.
Be sure to ask them how long they normally need as times
could vary between 20 minutes and 2 hours (especially for
Tips on choosing your entertainment
Your entertainment will play a major role in ensuring your
guests enjoy your wedding day. The duration for most evening
receptions is 5 hours, which is a significant part of the
Many couples are attracted to live entertainment. When
booking a band bear in mind that they will play in sets of
approximately 45 minutes or an hour. Consider what happens
while they take a break. Many bands play a particular genre
or style of music. Always be aware of their repertoire and
ask yourself whether this style would entertain all of your
guests or just a proportion. Also consider the size of the
band and the space available in your function room. A larger
band will often take longer to set up, thus time taken out
of your celebrations.
Some bands offer to supply music during their breaks. This
may just be a random selection of music played from an i-pod
or CD and can result in the energy level dropping in the
The ideal scenario if you are very keen on live
entertainment is to book both a band and professional DJ
separately. This way you are ensuring that your guests have
the best of both worlds. It is recommended that you plan for
both the band and DJ to set up at the same time. If not, you
could have long periods of silence while the band packs away
after their set and a DJ replaces them. Also, if a DJ is
already set up, you have the option of asking them to play
your first dance before passing over to the band. This way
you are not limited in choice.
The advantages to booking a DJ as opposed to live
entertainment is that a DJ can cater for all ages and tastes
in the room. They have access to a variety of musical genres
and can make your evening wedding entertainment very unique
as many offer additional services such as games, children's
hour and quizzes.
Tips on choosing a date
With 365 days to choose from and four seasons, its not an easy
choice. The wedding season has traditionally been a Saturday
between May and September. In recent years, especially now
the churches and registrars have made other days possible,
any day of the week is popular. Winter weddings are also on
the increase and give rise to some imaginative theming and
colour schemes which would look out of place during summer
months. For budgeting, off peak times can save a substantial
amount of money. Holiday times can initially seem a good
idea such as new years day, but bear in mind you might be
limited with your service suppliers such as hair and make
up and some of your guests may have a vacation already
Tips for ceremonies
Music is an essential part of your wedding ceremony whether
you choose a string quartet, organist, solo instrumentalist
or other music provider such as a DJ.
Many of your guests will arrive up to half an hour before
the ceremony is due to start. Having music playing quietly
in the background can create the right atmosphere and make
an otherwise quiet room more inviting.
You will need special pieces of music for walking down the
aisle (processional), signing of the register, and walking
back down the aisle (recessional). For your processional
music, it may be better to choose something serious and
sedate as this is the start of the formal part of your
wedding. The recessional music signifies the start of the
celebrations so a more up-beat tune can be chosen.
It is often advisable to have three tracks prepared for the
signing of the register. Although the actual signing can be
completed in seconds, if your photographer is allowed to
take shots, including different groupings, this can easily
take more than a standard 3 minute song.
Your choice of music can reflect your personalities and the
atmosphere you want to create. There is a wide choice, but
bear in mind that music has to be approved by the registrar
or church and there are strict guidelines on using anything
sacred during a civil ceremony. Musical styles can range from
classical to more up-to-date suitable tunes. With
modern technology and the wonderful internet, it is possible
to source a variety of musical versions of the same song.
Tips for the quiet times
With so many elements to the wedding day, there can be times
when you may worry what your guests could do. Surprisingly,
these times aren't as big a problem as they first seem when
written on paper. In reality, the day goes very quickly, and
breaks between the proceedings are an ideal time to freshen
up, relax and chat with friends and family.
Saying that, there are a lot of activities that you can
arrange and make available. An increasingly popular option
are the large lawn games that can be hired such as giant
connect 4, chess, etc. These are only suitable if you can
accommodate them indoors, or are blessed with good weather to
have them in the grounds of your venue.
Hiring a casino for after the wedding breakfast can add an
unusual aspect to your celebrations. This can be a real
talking point and a source of fun.
Table top activities are ideal for the time before the
breakfast, or after it. There is the traditional guest book
which can be passed round and other written activities such
as wedding anagrams, wedding crossword (especially if the
questions are about you) and special memories of the bride
and groom or a quiz.