10.16.2012

{wedding wednesday: the wedding day timeline}

As my husband said when I asked him to review the document I put together, I'm giving away some valuable information today. One of my biggest responsibilities as a wedding planner is to put together the wedding day timeline. It's an art, really, and is really dependent on the priorities of the couple, the expectations and needs of the vendors, and the feel of the guests. 


{via}

I've created a basic wedding day timeline for you to print out and use when planning the order and timing of the events on your wedding day. I didn't include the time it will take you and the members of your wedding party to get ready, since that can differ for everyone. Be sure to ask the person/people doing your hair and makeup how long it will take to get everyone done, and plan accordingly.

Also, I didn't include time estimates for the individual parts of the reception, since it's pretty self explanatory. What really matters is the order, and I gave you a general order for the day. Obviously, the order can change according to your own preferences. For example, you may want to do your first dance after toasts, and you may not do the bouquet or garter toss at all. 

Another big alternative for the timeline is doing a first look. Most wedding vendors, myself included, prefer when a couple does a first look, for a variety of reasons. Regardless of sentimentality and tradition, first looks reduce the amount of time you need for pictures after the ceremony and let you enjoy your cocktail hour or reception with your guests earlier. If you choose to do a first look, you can choose to do all of your photos before the ceremony and go straight into the cocktail hour or grand entrance, or you can do only some of your photos before. You'll want to talk to your photographer about how much time they like to allocate for a first look. 

Whenever I meet with a new client, I always tell them how I handle the reception. I definitely put timeframes for reception events, but I make it clear that the times, and even the order, can change. It's all about getting a feel for the atmosphere and the guests during the actual event. For example, there are times when a reception can feel like it's dragging, like if some guests are done with dinner but others are still eating. In cases like this, I may decide to start toasts early to keep guests from sitting in their seats, bored. You may not realize when your reception is dragging as the bride or groom, so it's important that you are open with the DJ as to whether or not you want them to make these types of decisions. 

Once you go through and create this timeline for the day, be sure to send it to your vendors to get their input and approval. You'll want to include their contact information (including a phone number that they can be reached on the day of the wedding) and their arrival times so that you can all be on the same page. Send the completed timeline to all necessary parties once it's confirmed. You can create a simplified timeline for your wedding party and family as well, to make things easier for everyone. 
Click the above image to download the two page document.

Do you have any other questions about your wedding day timeline? Leave them in the comments and I'll answer them!


12 comments:

Joelle :: Something Charming said...

I think this little document will be coming in VERY useful! Thank you for sharing it. It's really difficult to know how long certain things will / should take so it's great to see the opinions of a pro!
Nikki Joy x

Joelle :: Something Charming said...

seriously this is what stressed me out about the wedding day the MOST. I was dying for a coordinator when it came to this part of planning!

Joelle :: Something Charming said...

love this printable and i have to pick your brain on how you got it to show without the google docs toolbar! we definitely thought about a first look and i know logistically it makes a lot of sense, but that's one of the traditions i was really set on. i just had to have a pic of my guy at the end of the aisle seeing me for the first time. makes me tear up just thinking about it. xoxo

Joelle :: Something Charming said...

a) thank you for this list - there are things on here that I hadn't thought about!
b) OH NO THERE ARE THINGS THAT I HAVEN'T THOUGHT ABOUT!


hehe :)

Joelle :: Something Charming said...

And this is why you have a fabulous wedding planner to help you!

Joelle :: Something Charming said...

I honestly didn't even know it wasn't showing up! And the first look can be controversial, but I think couples would be surprised at how meaningful that walk down the aisle still is. We both still cried when I did, and we saw each other before the wedding!

Joelle :: Something Charming said...

It can be really stressful, that's for sure! I feel like I should offer my services just to go over a wedding day timeline with couples!

Joelle :: Something Charming said...

Thanks Nikki! I really do hope that someone finds it and uses it! xoxo

Joelle :: Something Charming said...

I love that you have such a fabulous list! I work with a wedding photographer sometimes, and when there isn't a wedding planner/day of planner, it usually becomes the photographers job! That's when I start to want to rip out my hair....


xo,
Maya {www.charminglystyled.com}

Joelle :: Something Charming said...

This is going to help so many people, including myself! I already started mine, even though we've got 6 months to go, just so I can fill in and edit as needed.

Joelle :: Something Charming said...

It's best to get started as early as possible! Hope this helps a bit ;)

Joelle :: Something Charming said...

This is so cool!
When I marry Taylor Lautner and move to Cali, we will definitely be hiring you. We'll recommend you to all our celeb friends too!

I can see you going very far with this business - you just know so much!!