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An average wedding timeline.

In Spain, everything is a little later!

When it comes to hosting your wedding in Spain, depending on your venue and the time of year, you will find that most weddings begin much later than most other parts of Europe. The reasons for this are two-fold, firstly the south of Spain can reach quite high temperatures in summer months, so hosting your wedding in the blistering heat can be rather unpleasant for you, the guests and wedding/venue staff alike. The second reason for later starts is the traditional time of siesta, which breaks up the day for many of the Spanish workers. Lunchtime or Siesta in Spain is generally from 2 - 4 pm, meaning they are reluctant to begin setting up a wedding until after that time. The Spanish do not eat their evening meal until very late, 10 pm is the average, so I guess it's just part of the local culture too!

Of course, your wedding venue choice is going to make a big difference regarding timings, in a villa wedding, or with exclusive use of a venue, you may be able to choose your own start time to the day's proceedings. However, if you are planning a summer wedding in Spain, the heat should be a major consideration too! Trust us, it gets very very warm and relief is often only felt at sunset! This is a guide to setting up an average wedding timeline, but your actual schedule will be determined by many things, some timings may be predetermined, others you can juggle around to suit!

Lot's of considerations and thought needs to go into planning the perfect schedule for your wedding, an experienced wedding planner should be able to help you set out the days plans. Larger weddings can sometimes need a far more stringent timeline, allowing suppliers time to set up too!

Hair and make up.

Discuss how long it will take with your Hair and make up team

Depending on the complexity of this and how many bridesmaids you may have, hair and make up should be finished in just enough time to leave you feeling fresh and beautiful on your walk down the isle. You may also want your photographer available from this point. You may also consider some pre wedding ceremony photos, in which case, you also need to allow some time for this.

Guests arrival for Wedding ceremony.

The start of the wedding day proceedings.

This is the start to the day that needs some thought, if you have a lot of guests, or are transporting them any distance, then you will want them to have all arrived in plenty of time for the start of your wedding ceremony. If you are having a ceremony or blessing at the same venue as your reception, this is easier to work out, but if you are getting married in a church, then going back to a venue, transportation times can get a little more complicated. In any case, it's always wise to have your guests arrive at least 30/40 minutes early, if that is possible at the venue you choose. A lemonade bar or light refreshments can keep them hydrated until the ceremony begins.

The Ceremony

Let the wedding commence!

This is it! It's time for the ceremony, most certainly the most important aspect to the day and probably the one that sends those butterfly's fluttering around in your tummy! The average wedding ceremony can take anywhere between 25 minutes to 1 hour, occasionally a little longer in religious ceremonies, where there may be more readings and hymns. Your minister, priest or wedding celebrant can help you determine the length of the wedding ceremony proceedings you have chosen, which will help you decide the start time to the cocktail period.

The Cocktail or Champagne "hour".

Relax the first part is over!

The cocktail hour, as it is often known as, is the transition period between the end of the ceremony and the start of the meal, this is often an about an hour, but can sometimes stretch to 2 hours. During this period you guests may be served canapes, champagne, Cava or a variety of gastronomic and alcoholic treats. During this period is also a good time for the bride and groom to go off with the photographer for half an hour for post ceremony photos, while the guests are contented with treats and relaxing music. Often during this period the chairs from the ceremony are moved back to the dining area and the staff will be making final preparations for the seating of the dinner guests.

The Dinner and Speeches.

Its' time to eat!

Seating of the guests for the dinner is sometimes assisted by your ushers, or catering staff, normally coordinated by a table plan so that everyone knows where they are sitting and the caterers know where the dishes are going. A typical wedding meal will last around 2 hours, but this could be more if you have a lot of speeches, or some very long ones! One of the biggest questions we are asked is when do we do the speeches, there is no straight answer to this! Some like to do all the speeches before, or directly after the meal, which is fine if they are not too long that your guests become restless. If you have a lot of speeches planned, then splitting them up between courses is also a good idea.

Cutting of the Cake

Where do you fit this in?

The cutting of the cake is both a tradition and also another great wedding photo opportunity, but where do you fit this in your schedule? To be honest, it can be done at any time, but the most common is directly after dinner, just before the first dance. However, on occasion the cake may also be used as desert, in which case, cutting it before the meal is also an option, to allow your caterers time to slice and serve it.

The First Dance

Time to hit the dance floor.

The First dance usually marks the start of the party, with your band or Dj playing and the photographer clicking away as you smooch to your favourite song. This may sometimes be followed by a father-daughter dance, or other special dances, leading to everyone hitting the floor to celebrate the remainder of your special day. In some venues, this may well be well into the early hours of the morning.

Other considerations.

Things that may need to be slipped in between.

As mentioned, your wedding schedule may become even more complicated if you have larger numbers or travel in between the day's proceedings. Adding arrival and departure guide for the bus or coach, while also taking into consideration boarding time, maybe one of those. The arrival, set up and start times for your various services and suppliers may also need to be noted, although a separate suppliers timeline can also be thought out.

The perfect wedding plan does take a lot of thinking and time, so in many ways having a wedding planner help you with this is a good idea!


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Event planner Spain
Wedding planner Marbella