A well planned timeline for your wedding is essential in combating a stressful day! Whether you decide to make one on your own or work with the vendors you hired, coming up with the best timeline for you and your fiancé will make all the difference in the world for everyone involved!
Every wedding is going to be unique in so many ways, but one thing every wedding should have in common is a detailed timeline! Not to sound overdramatic, but the timeline can either make or break the stress that comes around on your wedding day.
Whether you are having a small wedding that only lasts for a couple hours, or a large full day wedding experience, you want the day to be as stress free as possible. Unfortunately, even running a few minutes behind schedule can cause a domino effect for the remainder of your wedding day. We hate to see our couples getting stressed so I put together our top tips on how to create the best timeline for a stress free wedding day!
Start from Scratch
Coming up with a timeline is a bit like baking. You can’t just start throwing ingredients together and expect a perfectly baked cake. It all starts a bit of humor, a pinch of knowledge, a tablespoon of organization and a whole cup full of patience. In all seriousness, start from scratch with only your ceremony time as a starting point. Only then should you start looking at the other logistics of your day.
If you’re not sure where to begin, ask yourselves these questions.
1. Will the wedding party be getting ready at the venue or somewhere separate? This is a good question to answer because traveling between locations will add a little extra time that’s so easily forgotten on a schedule.
2. Will the ceremony and reception be at the same location? Another extra travel consideration. And with that being said, you’ll want to decide if you as a couple are providing transportation, or if everyone will handle that themselves.
3. Are you having a first look? This is a good one to consider, because if you are, sometimes having your bridesmaids and family photos taken before the ceremony will cut some extra time after the ceremony and leave you with more time for a cocktail hour or more photos of just you and your new spouse!
4. How long will your ceremony be? A lot of vendors will ask this question so now is a good time to lock down the amount of time for your ceremony!
5. Are you having a cocktail hour and how long will it be?
6. At your reception, are you having a grand entrance and/or first dances? This is something your DJ will usually ask you about , as the grand entrance is really the start of the reception.
7. How long do you have at your venue for your entire wedding and how long do you have your vendors for?
Once you’ve gone through all these questions and answered them to the best of your ability, you can start to be more specific with your timing. There are tons of wedding day timeline templates if you need the organizational help. At the bottom of this article, I’ll include a link to a pretty thorough template that you can download for free!
The early bird gets the worm
Now, in the case of wedding planning, there’s no such thing as too early! The earlier you know how your day is going to pan out, the quicker you can relax. No matter how big or small your wedding is, you’ll want to plan for everything to start earlier than expected. Ideally, if you’re having a ceremony start time of 4pm, getting ready at 9am may seem a bit excessive, but believe me, it’s not. Getting your hair and makeup done can easily take upwards of 90+ minutes if you are having it professionally done. Plus, you want to have enough time in between to actually enjoy your day, which brings me to my next point…
Add Buffer time to your buffer time
A lot of people plan every single minute of their wedding day down to the second. The problem with that is then there’s no wiggle room for anything in case you fall behind. And let’s face it, some things will take extra time, that’s just the nature of weddings. But don’t worry, this doesn’t mean that your whole day is ruined. To solve this problem, you’ll want to add extra time or as I call it “buffer time” to each event as they can and will drag out from time to time.
Buffer time helps to create flexibility within your timeline. For instance, if the hair and makeup take a little longer, there’s an extra 30 minutes added in as a buffer so that getting into the dress or heading out for the first look isn’t a huge rush. The important thing to remember here is that at the end of the day, you’re marrying the love of your life and there really is no need to rush and stress over every aspect of the day. Adding in that buffer time will create some breathability for you.
Communication is Key
On a wedding day, there are lots of moving parts, and lots of vendors moving throughout your day. Once you’ve booked all your vendors, you may find that you have a lot of different people to stay in contact with. A simple fix for this issue is to hire a wedding planner. Then they are the ones who are in charge of communicating with all the vendors about all the moving parts. However, if you aren’t planning on hiring a planner, don’t worry!
Establish a way of communicating with each vendor, making a list of all your vendors with their contact information is a good way to start! Another tip is to see which vendors need to communicate with each other. An example of this would be the photographer, Videographer and DJ. Apart from the getting ready portion of the wedding day, the photographer, the videographer and the DJ will need to have the same timeline so events aren’t missed. So when you meet with them, provide each with the contact information so that they can work it out without going through you, the bride or groom, you have enough on your plate as is!
Once you have a master timeline created, distribute it to everyone and anyone who needs it. Everyone having the same timeline is a game changer because we can all work smoothly and effortlessly without bothering you on your wedding day asking silly questions about how the events are to play out. Wedding days don’t have to be stressful and having a well organized timeline is one of the best ways to ensure that everyone is on the same page!
Also, click here for that timeline template I spoke about earlier! It's made by 101 planners and actually allows you to edit and make them online without any special softwares!