Tips for Creating Your Wedding Day Timeline
In my opinion, a wedding day timeline is the single most important element that can help your wedding day run as smoothly and seamlessly as possible. Timelines are essential to eradicating potential stressors that could otherwise be avoided on your big day. Many times, couples mention that they’re very laid back or that they want the day to feel relaxed. Those are all reasons why you need to have a timeline your wedding day.
Think about any corporate event or conference you may have attended, there is always a schedule of events. The same should be true for your wedding day. With so many moving parts & little details, it is essential to have an order so no details get missed or forgotten. You may be tempted to leave things to chance but no matter how intimate or low-key your big day may be, there should still be a lot of structure. If you’ve hired a wedding planner, he or she will be able to guide you in crafting your wedding day timeline. If you’ve gone the DIY route, here are a couple tips on creating your wedding day timeline.
First, gather your priorities. Assess what is most important to you on your wedding day. Do you want to ensure you get as many photos as possible? Maybe consider doing a first look & taking photos before the ceremony. Do you want to enjoy every little bite of the menu you carefully selected? Budget enough time to enjoy a leisurely dinner. Do you want to dance the night away? Consider a later start time for the ceremony & reception. Add space for extra time in these areas that are your “must-haves” & build your timeline around these items. I always suggest my couples work backwards from the time they want to end. Remember, some venues have limits on what time you have to be out of the venue or how long alcohol can be served.
Coordinate with all your vendors & ask specific vendors for their timeline suggestions. For example, many couples don’t realize how much time to allocate for a plated meal. Guest counts, multiple courses, & toasts will all affect the overall dinner schedule. Ask your caterer for their suggestion on the flow and timing of dinner service. Another vendor you will want to coordinate specifically with is your photographer. Your photographer will be able to tell you how long certain groups of photos will take and help you plan around the best lighting & backdrops.
Typically I begin coordinating with vendors six to eight weeks in advance of the wedding day to ensure everyone is on the same page regarding the timeline & flow of events. This allows for enough time to make suggestions & changes before finalizing all the day of details. Some questions to ask vendors are: What is your team’s time of arrival? How long will your team need for set up? Are there any special requirements your team has? I always create a wedding week packet with this and other important information for vendors, the bridal party, family, & important friends so everyone knows where they need to be and what to expect.
Don’t underestimate the importance & need for a wedding day timeline. You don’t want to throw away all the planning & hard work up until this point by thinking you will “just wing it” on the day of. While there may be many stress points throughout the wedding planning process, your actual wedding day shouldn’t be one of them.