Photo By: Jana Williams Photography
When it comes to your wedding, timing is everything! That’s why creating a wedding day timeline is absolutely vital — even running a few minutes late can throw the whole day off-track. Keep in mind though that each couple’s wedding timeline will be unique to their own wedding day, and is dependent on vendors and venues and families and more, so be sure to work from scratch when creating your own wedding day timeline. That being said, there are some tried-and-true wedding day timeline secrets that, if followed, will help your big day go off without a hitch.
Here are tips on creating a wedding day timeline that will help your wedding run like clockwork!
1. Think about your wedding’s unique logistics.
There are several decisions you’ll need to make before you can start creating your wedding day timeline. If you can answer these questions, you’re probably ready to start creating your wedding schedule!
- Will you be getting ready at your ceremony location or somewhere else?
- Are your ceremony and reception in separate locations? If so, you’ll have to factor travel time into your wedding timeline.
- Will you be providing transportation for your wedding party members and/or guests? If so, this can make travel a bit smoother and quicker.
- How long will your ceremony be? This will require a discussion with your officiant.
- Will your cocktail hour take place between the ceremony and reception or before the ceremony?
- How many toasts or special dances will you have?
- Does your reception venue have a curfew, meaning you’ll have to end the reception at a specific time?
- Are you doing a first dance or other ceremonial dances at your reception?
2. Start your wedding timeline from scratch.
Every wedding is different, so copying a wedding timeline template you found on the internet word-for-word is probably not going to work for your big day (of course you can use these templates as inspiration, though!). Start fresh, and use your ceremony time as a starting point. Make a list of all of the events that need to happen before and after the ceremony and then determine how long each of these will take. You can then start to plot your wedding day agenda accordingly.
3. Talk to the experts.
Wedding planners and venue event managers are usually the go-to sources to assist you in creating your “official” wedding agenda. They’ll have a good idea of how to plan out the day based on their experience, and know how to adjust your vision to fit the realities of time. You’ll also want to speak with your other vendors to find out how long they’ll need for set-up and preparation so that you can schedule them accordingly and provide them with enough time to complete their tasks.
5. Add some buffers.
There are going to be some little (but important) details you will forget for the wedding; including eating breakfast (super-important!), signing the marriage license, and more. Your wedding planner or venue event manager should know what these are and can help you schedule them in, but make sure that your schedule allows for lots of cushion time. If there’s any form of transportation involved (to the ceremony or from the ceremony to the reception), be sure to allow at least a 15-minute buffer in case there’s unexpected traffic or other delays. You’ll be glad you planned ahead!
6. Remember your photographer.
Photography packages usually include the number of hours your photographer will work on your wedding day, this is super-important. If you want your photographer to photograph your whole entire day—including you and your bridesmaids getting ready — you’ll need to pay for at least eight hours of coverage — and that may not even take your photographer to the very end of your reception. Think about how much time you have with your photographer, and when you’d like him or her to start and finish shooting on your big day. If you’ve paid for less than eight hours, you’ll need to be strategic about when your photographer will start and finish and decide if it’s more important for your photographer to shoot your getting-ready activities or the end of the night.
Written by: Kim Forrest