Congratulations, it's your big day! All the months of ideas and planning are coming to fruition and everything is going according to plan!
It might not be because, after all the planning and conceptualizing, there's no game-day plan. No one knows what time the caterer is supposed to arrive because the only time that was communicated is what time dinner was to be ready by.
And where's the cake? When are the tables and chairs being set up?
The worst part is that EVERYONE IS CALLING YOU. Everyone is looking to you for answers on all this stuff
and it's stressing you out and ruining your fun wedding day vibes.
Why you need a wedding day timeline
One of the quickest ways to deflate your wedding day is not having a detailed timeline put together.
You've spent months, and in some cases (especially with COVID) years planning the ins and out's of the day and you want it to be everything you've ever imagined.
And there's no reason it shouldn't be!
What should be included
In short, everything.
My recommendation is to include details that may seem irrelevant to the overall plan but in the end, eliminate a lot of confusion.
For instance: Who will be taking any leftover food and the cake top home for the couple? Who's vehicle will all the gifts be put in and who will be moving them? When considering family and extended family photos, who needs to be present, at what time, and at what location?
How to put it all together
It's best to work with a wedding planner or coordinator as they have tremendous experience on how much time it takes to move through every planned element of the day.
But if you're more the DIY couple, here are some things to consider while creating your timeline:
Start at the ceremony time and work backward
Why? Because this is the kick-off time when everyone needs to be ready and lined up at the ceremony location! Knowing what time everyone needs to be ready allows you to determine what time you need to start, when hair and makeup need to be at your getting-ready location, and when the guys need to start.
How many hours you booked your photography team will determine when they need to show up
Now that you've determined your ceremony start time and what time you need to start getting ready, you'll want to determine what elements in the day you want your photography team to capture. Are you doing a sparkler exit at the end of the night or do you need to do a faux exit so your photographer can document it? If so, you'll want to confirm your finish time with the venue so you can work backward and determine what time the photography team needs to arrive.
However, keep in mind that if your venue exit time is 11 pm and you have an 8-hour package, that would mean your photography team would need to arrive at 3 pm. That may not be enough time to photograph getting ready photos, detail photos, a first look, and immediate family photos prior to the ceremony start.
Be sure to talk with your photography team and they can help you work this all out.
Be sure to include travel time between the ceremony site and the reception site
Not factoring this in can break the entire flow of the day. Too little time between the end of the ceremony and your grand entrance and you can end up throwing the rest of the evening off. Too much and your guests are getting hungry, impatient, tipsy, and may leave early.
You'll want to make sure you allot enough time to wrap up any additional photos of you and your now spouse, immediate family, extended family, and bridal party photos in addition to the travel time between the two venues. Give yourself an extra 15 minutes just in case there's traffic!
A well thought out timeline will give you a sense of ease on your wedding day. All your vendors will know what's going on and at what time and will limit the number of questions they will have for you.
However, a well thought out timeline takes, well, time! If you're at a point in your wedding planning where you just can't manage adding more to your to-do list, seek out a wedding coordinator's help. They can pick up where you're at anywhere between three month's prior to your wedding to a few weeks out.
At Bitterroot and Blue, we offer an exclusive Timeline Creation package. This is an ideal option for couples who need this one element put together. This can be done in person OR distantly!