If you've been following along, you've seen our Marketing Coordinator, Sam, take you through each and every step while planning her wedding, sharing her helpful hints and advice along the way. We've gushed over Sam's engagement ring, when she finally found the gown, and enjoyed hearing her hilarious anecdotes each step of the way. Sam was truly a vision on her wedding day, and the entire event was seamless and true to Sam's rustic aesthetic, interests, and style. Here is her final post with details on how to plan your wedding timeline.
In preparation for my wedding, creating a timeline was one of the hardest things to do - and it was not necessarily fun, but so necessary (think cake tasting without all the fun and frosting-filled parts)! I received lots of compliments from all my vendors about how I was the most organized I bride they had ever worked with. While of course this was a huge compliment, my thought process at the time was that if I can have everything planned out, to the point where no one should have any questions or doubts, everyone can do their job to the best of their ability. My Coordinator can do her best job, the vendors can do their best jobs, and I can have a relaxing and wonderful day - as it should be. The lesson I learned? The more you plan ahead, the less you'll have to do on the day of. Here are some things to take into consideration when planning your big day.
Logistical Points To Consider:
1. How long do you need to get ready? (if you hired professional hair and makeup, consult with them to make sure they have time to do what you've hired them to do).
2. How long do you want your reception to be?
3. If the ceremony and reception are in different locations, time the distance and then add time for people who might get lost or who take their time from the first location.
4. Write down how long you hired each vendor for.
5. How much time do you have at your venue? Be careful - some places are stricter than others!
6. Does the venue allotment time include setup and take down?
7. What's the earliest your vendors can start setting up, and at what time do they need to depart?
8. Just know that everything might not (or should not) go exactly to schedule. If there's a really great couple songs that everyone is dancing to, then you can/should delay your cake cutting by a bit. And if your ceremony cuts a bit into your cocktail hour - don't sweat it!
9. Lastly, don't worry about any of this once your day comes. It will be your mother, maid of honor and Coordinator's job to keep the schedule going and flowing! Enjoy your day and all the hard work you put into it. Also, because I had such a thorough and detailed timeline, it left no room for doubt because everyone knew what they needed to be doing and where and when. The more work you put into the wedding before it starts, the easier it will make the big day!
Creating The Timeline:
When creating the timeline, I found that is was incredibly helpful to refer to all the vendors and help by both their first name and by their title, ex: Florist Kim, Coordinator Margie. That way when other vendors are looking at the list, my DJ knows that Margie is the Coordinator, or the Coordinator's name is Margie. It makes for an easier introduction and then they don't have to go asking who is doing what, or who the florist is.
Determine who in your family and bridal party is capable of handling tasks that you can delegate. There were certain tasks while I was getting ready that I didn't have time to take care of alone and things the groomsmen needed that I couldn't be physically there for. Here's some of my small assignments that made the day easier for me (thanks again family and friends!):
Diann (mother-in-law): Breakfast, snacks and drinks for the guys' and girls' getting ready rooms!
Rachel (sister-in-law): Help bridesmaids with their makeup (she's got a nack for makeup).
Julie (bridesmaid): Gather valet tickets for girls' cars going to the venue and call the hotel's front desk to have them ready.
Chris (groomsman): Gather valet tickets for guys' cars going to the venue and call the hotel's front desk to have them ready.
My Wedding Weekend Timeline
To share my thorough and detailed timeline with you, I went through and removed some details and transformed it into a template and left certain information that should help you create your own! Also, make sure to make your timeline easy to understand for everyone involved in your wedding. A helpful tip is to be sure to think of questions they might have and be sure not to use words like me, mine, I will .... use your name or your title, bride to make it a little easier on everyone!
After you've made a draft of your timeline that you're happy with, share it with all your vendors and ensure they have enough time for prep, setup, take down. Finally, double check that the time you have them on the timeline for is in line with what you agreed in your contract (and paid for)!
Once your timeline is finalized, make sure all your vendors have a copy (I shared all mine to a Google Doc) and print up a few (I did 10) for the day of. I also gave copies to both parents at the rehearsal and to bridal party and family members who requested it. Also note that this is the timeline that worked for my wedding and it isn't a blanket template for every wedding out there. Other brides might have different traditions or needs for their wedding, but I hope this can at least help you think about key details and how to plan out the entire day or weekend.
~ Sam, Marketing Coordinator