“Plans are of little importance, but planning is essential.”
― Winston Churchill
Creating a wedding day timeline will give you, your family and your vendors a peace of mind and a clear picture of how the day will run from getting ready to the final farewell. Allowing you to really enjoy your day and not have to worry about the little details.
A wedding day timeline will give you an idea of what happens when, how long it will take and who needs to be where on the day of.
1. Pencil in Your Key Times First
Jot down any non-negotiable items in your timeline first, since they are already locked in. Things such as ceremony start and finish time and reception start and finish time. These key elements will give you a framework to start with when you are finalizing your wedding day schedule.
2. Work backwards and then Forwards to Fill in the Blanks
Working backwards and forwards from your key appointments is the best way to figure out when things need to happen on the day of. From your ceremony start time work backwards to figure out when you need to leave from where you are getting ready. Are you having portraits done or a first look before your ceremony? What time do you need to be there? Then you can work out when you need to have hair and makeup done… all the way back to when you need to get up and get moving that day.
Go through and figure out what activities are happening within your day from the time you wake up until you leave your venue at the end of the night.
Include time in your schedule “just in case”. Someone will get stuck in traffic, the speeches will run over, your bridesmaids hair needs a little extra spray. You don’t want to feel rushed or stressed out so give yourself the flexibility where needed
3. Plan Out Time Alone
Make sure that you include some buffers in your timeline but also so you won’t feel rushed. Give yourself time to sit down alone beforehand, or schedule in a few minutes with just the two of you to soak it all in. “We just got married! What!?”
4. Seek Help (ask a photographer)!
We know the best lighting, the best scenarios, and are familiar with the venue! We are at weddings every single weekend and we know a thing or two about the best flow for the day. We can help you plan out the timeline based on experience, and adjust accordingly to your vision and how that works with the time allotted.
You will want to speak to other vendors to ask how long set-up will take, prep time for flowers, speakers for DJs or band set up. Talking to them and asking how long it will take them to complete tasks will be essential.
The reason that some weddings seem so effortless and smooth… there is probably someone behind the scenes (a wedding planner, or a type-A friend) who helped with outlining what happens next and knows where people need to be at certain times.
If you don’t have a wedding planner, appoint a “Time Keeper” to make sure to keep an eye on the clock and enforce the schedule.
And make sure that you have assigned someone the “emergency on duty” contact person. Who can make decisions for you (and you don’t even have to worry) should things go awry.
5. Distribute the Schedule!
Your wedding day timeline should be typed up clearly and given to everyone in charge of making this day run smoothly. Send an emailed copy to your venue, photographer, DJ, musicians, caterer, makeup artist and so on.
The more people that know the better. Bridesmaids, family members and VIPs should be included and that way everyone knows where they are supposed to be when.
A timeline that is well thought out makes everything move smoothly the day of. It creates a seamless and comfortable transition for guests and helps vendors to do their best work.