Why does a wedding day go so fast?
Up there with the Bermuda Triangle, it’s one of life’s great mysteries: Why do wedding days go by so quickly?
As someone who is usually present for everything at a wedding day, as I hide in the corner during bridal prep and try to navigate the scrum of people moshing to Mr Brightside at the end, I’ve got some ideas why.
Firstly, it isn’t hard to accept the concept that in life, whenever we’re doing something we enjoy or have been looking forward to, time seems to go by super quickly. Conversely, when there’s something we’re dreading or not enjoying, how often how have we checked the time with a groan and wished it would hurry up? So we know that time seems to flash by at times we’re enjoying ourselves.
So how can we slow this down? I’ve got some ideas.
Wedding Day Timings
This is a really obvious and easy way to ensure your wedding day doesn’t fly past in a flash. If there’s one piece of advice you’ll hear over and over (and probably give it out yourself) is that your own wedding day goes really quickly, and that’s really nuts when you think about it, as you’ll have been planning it for months and months.
From experience, I don’t think brides and grooms actually dedicate enough time to the parts of the day that will help ensure time doesn’t fly past. I believe nowadays a wedding day has typical elements and milestones and couples are hard-pressed to fit it all in, in a reasonable time; prep, ceremony; drinks; photos; confetti; dinner; speeches; cutting the cake; first dance; dancing…. if you only gave 30 minutes towards these basic milestones, that’s 5 hours already! And we all know that certain elements take much, much longer.
With that in mind, here’s my brain dump on what’s wrong with wedding timings these days – enabling you to see where you potentially should be better spending your time:
Bridal prep – Increasingly these days I’m seeing bridal parties starting to get ready at 6.30am, and I even saw one schedule starting hair and makeup at 5.45am. What the….? I don’t think I even got out of bed until 6.30am on my wedding day, and we were still setting up the venue at 9.30am! I guess it depends on your bridal party size, but honestly, try and stay rested and get ready at a sensible time!
So let’s say you’ve been doing hair and makeup since 7.00am and your ceremony is at 1.00pm… that’s at least 5 hours of getting ready time. Remember this number, as I’ll be mentioning it later 🙂
Ceremony – A civil ceremony with no readings will last 15 minutes. I kid you not, it will be no longer than 15 mins. Then I’ll take one minutes’ worth of staged register signing photos, then you’ll be back up that aisle a married couple in less than 20 minutes.
Reception drinks, incorporating photos – Most couples give an hour and a half for this, before they need to sit down for the wedding breakfast, when really they need more time (remember, you’ve spent 5/6 hours getting ready for an event that’s last 15 minutes, and now it’s only 1.5 hours until dinner).
This is the time when you should be enjoying yourself; chatting to guests, having a drink, really enjoying yourself and your beautiful surroundings. If you booked your venue for it’s beautiful grounds, have a stroll around. Be present in the moment. During this time we’ll likely try and get a few snaps too, and remember, any photos of formal groups takes around 5 minutes each – you want 8 groups photographed? That’s 40 minutes out of your timeline where you’re stood still waiting for people to shuffle into your photo.
In an ideal world, you should be allocating two (2) hours in between your ceremony ending, and being seated for dinner. Venues like to get you inside and start spending money on drinks as soon as they can. They will also ask for guests to be seated 15 minutes before the meal is due, so make sure you check these times, as otherwise it turns into one hour 15 mins between your “I Dos” and din dins. And then Whoa – it’s already dinner time? If you’ve given yourself two hours in between your ceremony ending and being seated for dinner, this is plenty of time to really enjoy yourself and, you won’t feel rushed about from pillar to post. Don’t feel bad about dedicating more time to your drinks reception, where you’re actually enjoying chatting to your guests.
After dinner – Once dinner is over, and you’ve been sat at a top table watching all your mates from afar, as they’re having a brilliant time way down at the other end of the venue (this is true, sorry), after speeches there’s a small period of time to chill and perhaps welcome evening guests, until you cut the cake, then it’s the first dance, and suddenly everyone’s dancing and it’s already last orders at 11.30pm and Bon Jovi is playing…. erm, weren’t we just sitting down for dinner a minute ago??
Remember: You can choose to take 5 hours to get ready, but it’ll take less time to actually have your ceremony, get married, have reception drinks, photos, confetti, sit down for dinner, eat a three course meal, and commence 3 x wedding speeches. Phew.
Jobs For The Boys! And Girls.
An element which helps the day run really smoothly, thus putting some more minutes into your wedding day time bank, is when bridal party members are super helpful. I can’t tell you how great it is when ushers or groomsmen and bridesmaids come up to me during the day, and say ‘just let me know if you need help with anything’. It actually makes me sob with happiness a little on the inside.
Yes, get your bridesmaids and groomsmen to organise people for group photos, whisking them in and out of the frame so there’s more time for everyone to enjoy themselves. Yes, ask them to hand out confetti up and down the confetti line, so people aren’t waiting for ages as a 4 year old flower girl spills it everywhere out of a tiny basket at ankle height.
Yes, ask the Best Man to check in with the wedding coordinator at the venue to see what’s next and if anything needs doing. Where’s the knife for the cake cut? Sometimes there’s no knife and no coordinator to be seen – cue standing next to a cake for 10 minutes when you could be enjoying yourself.
Give your bridal party jobs and ask them to make themselves useful. They’ll love being even more a part of your day, and will take pleasure knowing they’re helping it move along smoothly.
Be More Present
The phrase being more ‘present’ makes me laugh because I’m sure some of you readers will chalk it up to hippy millennial clap-trap, but it certainly applies here. You’ll have seen me talk previously about unplugged wedding ceremonies and the importance of guests being present in the moment; here I’m talking about you being more present in the moment, whether it’s taking time away from your wedding guests with your new Mr or Mrs, just the two of you, or taking a moment at points in the day to really observe what’s happening around you.
At certain points of the day, just take a moment of silence and reflection, to look around you and enjoy what’s happening. Just observe that moment for what it is, and say to yourself, that you’ll remember these moments in the future. I do it all the time, so I make a mental memory note when I’m feeling thankful, such as when the sun sets really nicely when I’m walking the dog. Being aware and present of the things around us helps life slow down for a moment.
Ultimately, the day will go past really quickly whatever happens and no matter how much time you devote to things. What matters, is you feeling as happy and contented, as you and your other half begin this new chapter in your lives.