One of the most common things I hear from past couples, is that the day went by in the blink of an eye. This is why it's so important to capture the day to look back on. Throughout a wedding day I pay close attention to time. "how long until the ceremony"..."how long do we have until its time to be seated"...."how much daylight will we have in the evening"...and much much more. It's important that I get the most out of the day for you, whilst also allowing you to enjoy your day with family and friends.
There a few things i have picked up from my time in the wedding world, that I refer to as "time stealers". Certain things that can add up to several hours over the course of the day. Some of these things may be worth considering when planning your wedding so that you can get the most out of your time.
1. The big one...Speeches. It may surprise you to know that I have been at weddings where the speeches have lasted for over two hours. If you consider that as a percentage...its a huge chunk of your day. For a fairly typical wedding day, there are usually 3 speeches. I would advise couples to allow 10 minutes each for these. Half an hour in total is appropriate.
2. Travel. Its not always possible to have everything close together when theres a church ceremony. But overall it's worth considering keeping travel to a minimum. This may mean getting ready closer to a church or venue. Or getting ready at the venue itself. It seems a shame to spend upwards of an hour in total, sitting in a car.
3. The receiving line. It's quite an old tradition that doesn't happen all that often anymore. But occasionally couples will stand at the door and greet guests as they enter the room for the wedding breakfast. It tends to be a suggestion made by the venue that couples go along with. The down side to this, is that it can easily take 30 minutes or more and leaves all of your guests stood in a queue in a hallway. It's not great for them and there isn't a great deal that you can do with it from a photography point of view.
4. Family/group shots. To make the most of the time for group shots, it's a good idea to give a list to the groomsmen so that they can help round everyone up. Let them know that if they do this they will be rewarded with their meal.
5. Church ceremonies can be fantastic and I am a fan of them from a visual perspective. But bear in mind that a church service tends to be 45 minutes to an hour in length. Catholic ceremonies can often be up to two hours. Once you add in travel time to and from the church it becomes a few hours. A church service might be perfect for you, but if you aren't particularly religious, it may be the case that a civil ceremony at the reception venue is a better option. They typically last from about 20 minutes to half an hour and you have plenty of scope to tailor them to your own style with personal vows and readings of your choice.