Perfect Timing: 5 Timing Mistakes to Avoid at Your Wedding.

 In Real Weddings, Wedding Advice

Bride in front of clockIt has been said that timing is everything. This rings true during your wedding as well. Here are a few tips to make sure your wedding flows seamlessly:

1. Ceremony Start Time

You should plan for your ceremony to start about 15-30 minutes after the time listed on your invitations. I have seen some wedding ceremonies start exactly at the invitation time, and some guests walk in right in the middle of it. This can be a distraction for you and your other guests, and also makes the late guests feel very awkward.

I have also seen ceremonies start too late. This sets the schedule for the rest of the evening back and this can really disrupt time-sensitive events such as dinner.

2. After Ceremony Photos

Your photographer wants to get that perfect shot, and sometimes they will take a bit too long to make it happen. Weddings with large families also can take longer than expected, so have a game plan and a shot list planned in advance of this time. Cocktail hour should take just that, one hour. If you are still off taking pictures, it pushes the Grand Entrance back, which then pushes back every other event of the evening. Try to be conscious of the time you are taking for photos and get back to the reception in time.

3. Toasts

Toasts at the reception can take either 3 minutes or up to 25 minutes depending on how many toasts you have, as well as how long-winded your toasters are. Try to let them know to keep it short and sweet if possible. Many of your guests are hungry and waiting for dinner, and if the toasts take too long your guests might start conversing amongst themselves and create a distraction.

I also recommend doing the toasts directly after the Grand Entrance. This way, we have your guests attention, the caterers can make sure the champagne glasses are full during the cocktail hour, and there won’t be a lot of distractions like servers busing tables or forks clanking on plates. Also, make sure to let your toasters know when they will be giving their speech, so they can be sure to have their notes with them and be prepared to speak.

4. Table Greetings

If there is one thing I’ve seen slow down more weddings and cause things to run behind, it is the table greetings. Couples want to go around to each table during dinner to say hello to their guests and thank them for coming. The thing they don’t realize is that if they spend more than 2-3 minutes per table, the time can really start to add up. I’ve also seen some couples who don’t even have the chance to eat the meal at their own wedding because they are too busy going around to each table.

My advice would be to try to hurry it along if you can, or choose to do a receiving line instead. I understand that you want to talk to all of your guests, but it can really cut into the time for the other formal events as well as dancing. I’ve also seen some couples have their photographer go along with them for the table greetings to get a photo with each table, and they can help move things along for you.

5. Money Dance

If you choose to have a Money Dance or Honeymoon Dance at your wedding, the same rules for the table greetings apply. The longer you dance with each person, the longer the Money Dance will take over all. I recommend having your Maid of Honor and Best Man act as “gatekeepers” to take the money for you and move the line along. 20-30 seconds per person seems to keep the money dance to around 15 minutes.

I hope that you found these timing tips helpful! If you have any questions feel free to comment below or send me an email at:

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