Our Guide to Wedding Day Timings

Your wedding is one of the biggest days of your life, and probably the biggest event that you have ever had to organise. Here at Coombe Lodge, wedding venue near Bristol, we have helped organise many weddings and strive to make sure that our bride and groom’s big day is everything that they want it to be.

One of the hardest things to work out when planning your wedding, is how to time everything so it runs smoothly throughout the day. It can be a struggle to decide how long to allocate for each element for your day, and how to piece it altogether – but don’t worry, you’re not alone! Whilst there is no ‘one size fits all’ to wedding day timings, our guide and top tips will hopefully help you start building your unique timeline, and your day will run like a dream!


You want to make sure that you start your special day perfectly, and as stress-free as possible. To allow for this there are several factors for you to think about, to make sure you run to time:

  • How long will it take for your hair & makeup?
  • The size of your bridal party
  • The time of your ceremony
  • The distance from where you’re getting ready to where your ceremony is going to be
  • Allowing time for photos

Firstly, start by asking the experts! If you’re having your hair and makeup done professionally, then ask them how long they think it will take. Generally, 2 hours is allocated for bridal hair and makeup and an additional 45-60 minutes for each member of your wedding party.

At Coombe Lodge our brides have access to their luxurious Bridal Suite prior to the ceremony, which is a great time to get your beautiful prep shots and of course, the all-important dressing of the bride!

Top Tips

Double the time you have allocated for putting on the dress, as this certainly takes longer than you think!

Give yourself 30 minutes of extra time to get those memorable bridal party shots.

Always make time for breakfast & a glass of bubbles or two!



The main moment you have been planning for… the wedding ceremony.

Timings for the Bridal Party:

  • Groom and Groomsmen to arrive 1 hour before the ceremony so that they are ready to greet guests as they arrive
  • Arrival of guests – 45 minutes before the ceremony
  • Bride & The Bridesmaids – 5 minutes before the ceremony

How long should you allow for the ceremony?

  • Civil Ceremony – 30 minutes
  • Religious Ceremony – 60 minutes

Top Tips

You may want to get some photos of your journey from the Bridal suite to the ceremony, so make sure you allow time for this.

Make sure your entrance music is long enough for you and your bridesmaids to walk down the aisle.



At Coombe Lodge, we advise to allow for 1 ½ hours for your drinks reception.  This will give your photographer time to get the group and personal portrait shots. More importantly, this also gives you enough time to mingle with your guests and enjoy your canapés and bubbles – after all it is a celebration!

Top Tips

Give somebody trustworthy (usher, bridesmaid) the job of getting your guests together for the group shots to help save time.

The Balcony at Coombe Lodge is a great place for your photographer to capture the group shot of your guests in our Courtyard!

If you want a longer drinks reception then it is essential to keep your guests entertained and provide plenty of drinks and canapés.



Allow up to 15 minutes for your guests to move from the drinks reception to the wedding breakfast and for them to find their seats.

If you’re planning on having a receiving line, then always allocate an extra 30 minutes on top of this.

Top Tips

This is the time for the ushers to help direct the guests, assist with the receiving line and speed up any wandering guests!

Whilst your guests are being seated, this is a great time for you and your loved one to steal some ‘one on one’ time together and to capture those couple shots!

Decide who you would like to announce you into the room. Often at Coombe Lodge, it is the job of the dedicated event manager to give you your grand entrance.



There are a few things to bear in mind when allocating your time for the wedding breakfast:

  • How many guests do you have?
  • Choice of food
  • How many courses you are having
  • Type of Venue

Here at Coombe Lodge our general rule is to allow around 1 ½ hours for this part of your day. We always recommend extending this to 2 hours if our bride and groom decide on the delicious Valencienne sharing platter menu.

The main thing is for you and your guests to enjoy the food and the atmosphere, let us worry about running to time!

Top Tips

Take a look at our menus to decide what you are looking for.



We recommend allowing no more than 30 minutes for the speeches.

The running order traditionally starts with the Father of the Bride, then the Groom and then closed by the Best Man.

Top Tips

Make sure to leave 30 minutes between your speeches ending and your evening guests arriving. If, for any reason your speeches over run, the last thing you want is for your evening guests arriving in the middle.



Before you let your hair down and dance the night away with your loved one, you still have a few bridal jobs to do!

It is a great idea to cut your cake before your first dance to allow your evening guests to feel more part of your day.  The band or DJ will always need around an hour to set up their equipment and do their sound checks but don’t worry, this time won’t be wasted.

During this turn-around time, your guests can grab themselves a tea or coffee in the cosy Library or grab a drink from the bar. They could also take a romantic evening stroll through the gardens, and take in the beautiful views of the Mendip Hills, recognised Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, in which Coombe Lodge is located. 

Top Tip

Make sure you get your magical sunset shot!

For more inspiration - why not head to our Ultimate 12 Month Planner Checklist!

We hope that you have found our Wedding Day Timings guide and top tips helpful, and that it has given you some great ideas when it comes to your own special day! If you would like to discuss having your wedding at Coombe Lodge, then contact us today on 01761 463355, or email admin@coombelodge.co.uk to arrange a viewing.

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