Of all the questions we get from brides in the wedding planning process, there is one topic that comes up especially frequent, often accompanied by stress or total cluelessness: wedding timelines. Forming the wedding timeline will seem like an incredibly daunting task at first. Most brides have no clue where to start and will grow overwhelmed from there. The good news is, there are several easy steps you can take to transform the process from a daunting one to a simple one! We’ve comprised a list of five ways to ease the undertaking!
1. Keep your vendors informed.
It should be obvious that your coordinator or planner needs to know the minute-by-minute plan, but it’s also just as important for your other vendors! For example, your photographer needs to know when they can take the wedding party shots, detail shots, or even shots of the couple getting ready. These things, of many more, are all totally dependent on the time you allot for them in the schedule, so make sure you communicate this with all vendors.
2. Work backwards.
Where should brides start when planning these hourly details? Start at the very end. What time do you want to be sent off from the reception? Decide on a time – now back track from there. Then think about the time you need to take for dancing, cake cutting, dinner, toasts, and figure out what needs to get done preceding each event! Make sure you follow this process all the way through the start of your day, and deciding on a ceremony time will be so much easier!
3. Use the invitation “start time” to your advantage.
We all have those friends who are late to everything. Perhaps it has crossed your mind that the ceremony might not get started on time because people will still be walking in. This would cause anyone anxiety, as it disrupts the timeline from the very beginning! An easy way to solve this is listing the ceremony time on the invitation as 15-30 minutes before you’re actually planning to start it. That way guests will be there early enough, and you can start right on the dot!
4. Factor in travel time, down-time, and small details.
When creating the schedule, it can be easy to forget about things like traveling from ceremony to the reception (if in separate locations), or having time to relax after getting ready before the ceremony. Make sure you actually set aside (and write down) time for these things to happen so there’s no confusion the day of!
5. Don’t forget about tear-down!
Lastly, please don’t make the mistake of cutting the tear-down team short on time! If your venue rental ends at 1 am, don’t keep dancing through midnight. Communicate with your volunteers, coordinator, etc. to ensure that the unsung heroes of the night have enough time to clean out everything and take care of any last bases before leaving! It will keep everyone happy, and ensure everything is returned properly.
In the end, yes, there are lots of options for how to structure the day-of schedule. But simply sitting down and deciding on the few key things will allow everything else to fall in place. We hope you would feel equipped to now tackle this big planning step, and go forth empowered and free!