Your Perfect Wedding Day Timings

One of the most important things to consider once you have booked your wedding venue and have an idea of guest numbers is what your wedding day timings should be.  If you get the timings right on the day, everything will flow smoothly without any rush or feeling of things going too fast, but get it wrong and you could end up having bored guests who are left twiddling their thumbs wondering when the food is going to be served.

Here at Briar House Barns, we’ve held so many weddings that we consider ourselves experts on the subject! So we have a good idea of the best timings to ensure that your wedding day runs smoothly without any hitches.

The Ceremony

The time that you hold your ceremony sets the mark for the timings for the rest of the day and so arguably is the one to decide on first.  Whilst legally you can get married at any time of the day, here at Briar House Barns we recommend that you consider a 1pm ceremony time for weddings during the winter months and a 2pm ceremony time for summer weddings.  We suggest 1pm in the winter because that ensures plenty of time following the ceremony to have your drinks reception and photographs taken in natural light. A 2pm wedding in summer months allows for both you and your guests to have a light snack before arrival, given that your wedding breakfast will not be until later in the afternoon.

Guest Arrival Time

Assuming you choose a 2pm ceremony time, we suggest that you request your guests to arrive at 1.30pm.  This allows them plenty of time to arrive, greet their loved ones and take their seats for the ceremony, but also ensures that your guests will not be hanging around for too long.

The Drinks Reception

Following your ceremony, you will be served your reception drinks and canapes to allow your guests time to mingle, soak up the atmosphere and for your official photographs to be taken. We recommend at least an hour and a half following your ceremony, to allow plenty of time for chatting and congratulations before our staff start asking your guests to make their way into the wedding breakfast. So, if your ceremony lasts approximately 30 minutes and then a further 10 minutes for you to sign the register and for your guests to leave the ceremony area, we suggest inviting your guests to join you for your wedding breakfast at approximately 4.15pm ready for service at 4.30pm.

The Wedding Breakfast

The length of your wedding breakfast will depend on your choice of food. If you plan on having a three-course meal followed by coffee and petit fours while having your speeches, you will need to allow for approximately two and a half hours. This will give the meal a relaxed feeling, with plenty of time for chatting between you and your guests, without them feeling rushed to finish each course.  This will also allow plenty of time for the traditional wedding speeches, gift giving and cake cutting if you decide to do this following the meal.

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The Arrival Of Your Evening Guests

If you have a separate list of guests who are just joining you for the evening, it is really important to ensure that there is no overlap between the day’s festivities, that they have not been invited to, and the evenings celebration. We suggest that you invite your evening guests to arrive at 7.30pm, which will ensure that the wedding breakfast and speeches have ended prior to their arrival.  This also allows for your day guests to adjourn to the terrace or gardens with a glass of something cold while the tables are cleared and the DJ or live music is set up.

The First Dance

The first dance usually signifies the start of the party, so we recommend doing this around 8pm when all of your evening guests have arrived. If you have not already cut the cake following your wedding breakfast, this can also be done just prior to your first dance allowing all of your guests enjoy the moment with you.

Evening Food and Snacks

Evening food is essential if you want to ensure that everyone has the energy to stay on the dance floor for the whole evening! If you are planning on offering evening food for your guests, we recommend doing so around 9pm.  This leaves a suitable time since the end of your wedding breakfast but is not too late for your guests that have just joined you for your evening celebrations.

The End Of A Perfect Day

At Briar House Barns, the music ends and the bar closes at 11.00pm and we ask that all guests have left the venue by midnight. We ask that you are respectful of our neighbours when you leave and that any taxis are prebooked, as we are in a rural location and our local taxi firms do get very busy particularly at the weekends.

Obviously all of these timings can be adjusted to suit you and the wedding day that you are planning, but this will give you a idea of the timings that we find are the best to ensure a smooth running wedding day.

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