The first point to remember is that the day should happen exactly how you want it to; it is your wedding after all. However there are a few things that you could or should consider. To start with draw a time-line with hourly or ½ hourly gaps then in pencil start to plot in events onto that time line.
The first thing I would consider is what time you want or need to leave the venue. Are you going away on honeymoon that day? Do you have to catch a flight? Or are you staying at a different hotel and need to travel there. Plot this time on your timeline to start with.
The next thing to think about is what time you want to eat, rather than what time you will have your ceremony. Consider if you have any elderly or infirm guests or children. Will they need to eat at a certain time? If you are considering having a buffet later you will need to think about allowing a sensible gap in between without making your evening guests wait too long for their food.
So what time should you have your ceremony? Think carefully how much time you will need in between the ceremony and your meal and of course add on how long the ceremony will last. A civil/hotel ceremony will last about 30 minutes but a church service with hymns and readings will be at least a hour, possibly longer. You should then allow some time to mingle with your guests, confetti throwing etc.
After that it is usual to have your photographs taken. This commonly is divided in to two sections. The groups and the Bride & Groom photos. The amount of time needed for the group shots will vary depending on how many you have but you need to allow at least 30 minutes. You also need to allow a good amount of time for your Bride & Groom pictures. I would recommend 30 minutes as the absolute minimum. Do consider that the more time you give your photographer the more they can achieve for you. Do not forget that if you decide to have your photographs taken somewhere other than the venue you need to allow travelling time for this. Consider at this point if your wedding is a winter wedding or if you are planning to have your pictures taken on the beach. You will need to check the sunset and tide times. There is no point in arranging your whole day and then realising it will be dark for your photographs or you cannot get to the beach as the tide is in.
Now you have plotted in your ceremony and photography times. Another question – is this time okay for everyone? Have you got anyone travelling a long distance? Will your…