Having run weddings at her Oxfordshire countryside venue for over 25 years, Emma has some great tips to help couples establish the perfect timeline for their wedding ceremony!
Can an early wedding ceremony work?
During the initial stages of planning, many couples will mention a preference for an early ceremony because they feel this will help to make the most of their wedding day, particularly during the darker winter months. Earlier ceremonies – think 12 or 1 o’clock are absolutely possible however it may be helpful to know what the implications are when kicking off with an early start.
Let’s take the 12.30pm ceremony as an example. We tend to recommend that guests arrive no earlier than 30 minutes before the ceremony (12 midday) however, guests often give themselves ample time to arrive at the venue to allow for traffic etc and as a result may arrive between 45 minutes and an hour beforehand. This would equate to an arrival time of 11.00am. It would be highly unlikely that these guests will have thought about lunch but will potentially be offered a welcome pre-ceremony drink and following the ceremony, out come reception drinks. Not good for any empty tummies!
To counter-balance the risk for any guests peaking too early, our caterers would recommend that couples offer guests ‘substantial canapés’ (as opposed to their standard canapés) which will incur an additional expense but helps to fill the gap before the Wedding Breakfast would be served at 2.45pm. Definitely something to bear in mind.
The ceremony time dictates the flow of your whole day so to achieve the perfect timeline for your wedding ceremony, we often recommend that couples decide on the time they would like their evening to begin and work backwards. A 12.30pm ceremony equates to an evening guest arrivel time of around 5.30pm. Possibly a little early to be doing the First Dance and hanging up the Disco Ball. If 7.30pm sounds more like the time to hit the dance floor then, working backwards, this gives you a ceremony time of 2.30pm…and so on. Once couples have considered these elements of their day, they will be closer to achieving the perfect timeline for their wedding day and this in turn brings a wonderful and natural flow to your celebrations.
Feedback over the years has highlighted that for many brides, the ‘getting ready’ on the morning of their wedding – either in The Nook or at The Farmhouse – is one of the most exciting and enjoyable moments of their wedding day. You certainly don’t want to feel rushed during this time and remember this is your day to completely indulge both yourself and your bridesmaids – so our advice would be to make the most of it! A 12.30pm ceremony with a bride arriving at The Nook at 9am allows for 3.5 hours of prep time which could work but possibly not if the bride has a number of bridesmaids – time does go very quickly.
Lots to think about when it comes to establishing the perfect timeline for your wedding ceremony but if you have any further questions, please do get in touch with our office on [email protected].
Photography: Chloe Mary Photo
Flowers: Signature Flowers