The chances are that you have already attended a few wedding of friends or family but on those occasions you've just been concentrating on having a good time, wishing the bride and groom your congratulations and probably running to the bar as quick as possible. This means that you've not really noticed or paid attention to how the wedding day was run or the order or timings of affairs.
Well, now that you are getting married that's about to change and you'll notice just how detailed a wedding timeline can be.
If you are not sure where to start or feel that you are a little over whelmed I would recommend hiring a wedding planner or co-ordinator to help you, they'll have experience of what works best and an idea of realistic timings. If you think you are a quick dresser and think that it'll only take half an hour to get ready in the morning, I can tell you, it won't. Also, if you hire a local wedding planner they will more than likely have worked with at least some of the other wedding vendors that you'll have and so will have a good idea about how long they take to do their thing. I would also talk to your wedding venue as they'll know how to plan a wedding timeline that will work well at that venue.
As a general rule your basic timeline will look something like this:
1) Getting ready
2) Travelling to the ceremony
3) The ceremony
4) Travelling to the reception venue
5) The reception
6) The wedding breakfast and speeches
7) The evening and first dance
Generally this will be about a 12 hour timeline, starting at 9am and finishing at about 8/9pm. The evening and first dance of course will probably continue until very late at night or the small hours of the morning.
When you are planning the order of affairs you have got to make sure to give yourself enough time for each part of the timeline, for example 30 minutes to get ready isn't enough you are probably looking at the best part of 2 hours for this.
And if you want the best photographs possible then each part of the timeline will probably be extended by a bit as myself or any other photographer that you hire will want extra time to get the perfect shots. This is especially the case during the bride and bridemaids getting ready and the couple portraits. Also make sure that when you meet your wedding vendors you run through your timeline with them in as much detail as possible so that they know their timings as well.
After the bride and groom have booked me to photograph their wedding I will go through their timeline with them to give them an idea of how long I will need at each step of the way to capture the images that they want, this helps everyone to be clear about where they should be at what time and everything should just flow after that.
Now the above timeline is just a standard one and could very easily not reflect your desired timeline but whatever your wedding day is going to look like you should still go through it in minute detail with you wedding vendors and the venue so your day can go off without a hitch and that any guests that you have invited don't even realise that they is a wedding day timeline that has been poured over for hours.
Most importantly of all though is to enjoy your day, there is no point in worrying about anything as your wedding day is supposed to be a happy occasion and if you've hired a wedding planner or co-ordinator that will make the process even easier.