Church Wedding Timings for the Big Day

When planning your church wedding ceremony it will be a lot less stressful if you consider all of the timings for the day well in advance, it is still fine for the bride to be fashionably late, but if the photographer takes too much time or the speeches are really long it can play havoc with the running order, so tell the relevant people how much time they have and give a timings list to the ushers so they can help keep things on track. Make sure that you work out how much time it will take to travel between venues in case the church is some distance from where you will have the reception. If you have a small wedding at a rural church you may only need to walk over to the church hall, but if you are getting from a city centre church to a large hotel on a Saturday afternoon that will take considerably longer. Ask the vicar or priest how long the actual church wedding ceremony will take, factoring in the music, hymns or readings that you choose and then you will know what timings you need to work from at the venue for drinks reception, photographs and the seating time for the wedding breakfast. It might take a while to work out all of the timings, but if it makes the day run smoothly it will be worth it. Ensure that ushers know what they need to do as they will be able to get guests together for the relevant photographs, as well as seating guests at the ceremony and setting up the receiving line. The services of a Wedding Planner or a Toastmaster on the day can also be invaluable as you won’t be able to run around after people yourselves.

Here is an idea of a possible running order for your big day if you are having a Church Wedding (If you are having a Civil Ceremony see our other blog at )

Church Wedding

11.30 guests start to arrive

12-12.15 ceremony starts (depending upon how late the bride is)

45-60 min service (Depending on what type of service you have)

1.15 allow an hour for photos at the Church (Give a list of shots you want to the photographer and ushers beforehand and also ask the ushers to help get people together before the next photo)

2.15 travel to venue, you can time this journey in advance as you will probably visit the Church and venue a few times before the wedding day

2.45 arrive at your venue

3.00 drinks reception and more photos (Give a separate list for the reception photos to the photographer and ushers)

4-4.30 receiving line (To speed things up announce the guests to go into the room first)

4.35 bride and bridegroom to be announced into the room

4.36 – 6.00 wedding breakfast

6.05 cutting of the cake (optional timing)

6.10 speeches (45 minutes is average)

6.55 leave room and meet evening guests – allowing the room to be turned around and the entertainment to be setup

7.55 guests return to room

8.05 cutting of the cake (optional timing)

8.15 The Bride and Groom’s first dance


9-9.30 buffet to be announced

9.45-10.15 buffet is served

Second dance (try and get as many people on the dance floor first then start the dance, this will get the party going straight away)


12-1.00 carriages