Here at Coombe Trenchard, we are very fond of a spreadsheet. Wedding days have so much detail, components and contributors that we find it infinitely useful to see the day take shape in clear, concise lines; something we begin compiling from the very first meeting. Most brides want a relaxed day, and the very best way to ensure this is to plan your day in detail, meaning everything has been thought of, decided on and magically taken care of by Coombe Trenchard: total relaxation ensues.
When compiling these wondrous lists of wedding day glory, we often get asked about what time things ‘should’ be done, how long parts of the day generally take and what we would recommend. And, when planning a wedding for the first time, it’s likely you won’t have a clue how to pace and plan the precise timings of your special day. So, combining our experience and pure delight in making things easier for our bride and grooms, we thought we’d write a blog post about it.
We asked the wonderful Elle Hitchens for her top make-up tips for brides to be, which you can read here, and she estimates that your make-up will take around an hour, with final touches taking place just before the ceremony. Consider when you will need to get up, plan a leisurely breakfast of your favourite foods (Sarah will be happy to discuss!) and ensure plenty of time to get ready without a rush. Your preparation time will depend on your bridal squad numbers and how intricate your bridal look is, but we recommend ensuring at least 3 hours of preening and excitement before even thinking of putting your dress on.
When deciding on the time of your ceremony, it is worth giving consideration to feeding your guests. If the ceremony is before 2pm, guests may not have had lunch before coming to your wedding, and so you would need to think about food being available after the ceremony (we would highly recommend one of Coombe Trenchard’s famous high teas!). Any time after 2pm, and guests will likely have eaten before arriving, and you can simply think about your wedding breakfast later in the afternoon (possibly with canapé during your drinks reception).
You can find out more about the legalities of getting married here, but if you are having a civil ceremony at Coombe Trenchard, it will last around 20-25 minutes (depending on readings). A confetti shot under the clock tower takes another ten minutes, and so approximately 35 minutes after the start of your ceremony, you can be planning your drinks reception.
The standard time for a drinks reception is 2 hours. This gives time for you to mingle with your guests, sneak away for some photographs within Coombe Trenchard’s incredible grounds and soak up the elation that comes from being pronounced husband and wife. It’s also a great time to make use of Coombe Trenchard’s lawn games, including croquet & Jenga!
Speeches can be short, or last for a very long time! It can be worth giving speakers a guide, perhaps allocating approximately 10 minutes per speech so that you know how much time to plan for this part of your day. Speeches no longer need to happen in a strict order during/after dinner. We have bridal couples using the Main Hall’s Minstrels’ Gallery to enjoy afternoon speeches (groom’s do like to get this part out of the way!) or couples deciding to spread the speeches out over the course of the day. The choice is yours and we are happy to discuss ways in which to make your speeches less nerve-wracking as well as utilising our beautiful spaces.
Your wedding breakfast will take longer than you think. Of course, a three-course meal will take longer than say a picnic, or hogroast to be served, but it’s worth allowing extra time to savour, chatter and, of course, enjoy coffee afterwards! Depending on whether you have provided food after the ceremony, and the timing of your Mr & Mrs moment, your wedding breakfast can be served anywhere between 4pm-7pm. Discuss timings with your caterer in more detail, and we will liaise with them to ensure guests are where they need to be, and food is served promptly.
Most couples like to serve evening food at around 9pm, depending on when your wedding breakfast finished. This can be anything from a Coombe Trenchard Treat Table to pizzas or cheeseboards. Ensure food is available for a decent length of time, guests will be enjoying themselves so much it may take some time for everyone to snack sufficiently.
Whilst this general guide is intended as a starting point when approaching your wedding day timeline, we work closely with all of our bridal couples to create a bespoke and enjoyable timeline for their day: all part of the renowned Coombe Trenchard service.