As wedding planners, creating the perfect wedding day timeline is one of the most important tasks that we undertake. Planning a wedding is a rollercoaster ride of emotions and decisions, from choosing the perfect dress and venue to picking out the perfect cake flavor (yum!). But one thing that often gets overlooked is creating a timeline for your big day. Trust us, a well-planned wedding timeline can make all the difference between a chaotic day with added stress for everyone and a smooth-sailing celebration that you (and your guests!) can enjoy to the fullest.
So, we’ve got your back! In this blog post, we’re sharing some expert tips, advice, and the whys on creating the perfect wedding timeline to ensure that everything runs like clockwork on your special day.
Let’s dive in!
One of the first things we do at Cassandra Nichole Events with our couples is start creating the foundation and baseline structure of our couples’ wedding day timelines based on their TOP priorities. We begin by focusing on the non-negotiable times of the day, such as the ceremony start/end time and the reception start/end time. This helps us establish the framework for the day’s schedule and allows for better organization and coordination of vendors and services.
Once we have established the key timeframes, we work backwards to fill in the details and create a more comprehensive timeline. This includes determining the time required for photography coverage, catering services, entertainment, and other elements of the wedding day.
By creating this initial framework and outline of the timeline from the beginning, we can help you secure vendors and package options more efficiently. For example, knowing that you will require photography coverage for a certain number of hours helps us to select the best package and vendor for your needs.
When it comes to planning your wedding day, it’s important to have a clear idea of your top priorities so you can factor them into your timeline. By discussing your priorities with your partner and planner, you can ensure that your wedding day runs smoothly and that everyone is on the same page.
For example, if photography and capturing all the details are essential to you, then you may want to build in more time for portraits and detail shots of the ceremony and reception space. Alternatively, if dancing and having a lively party is your top priority, then you may want to ensure that dinner doesn’t take up too much time.
Perhaps food and beverage are your top priority, and you’ve always envisioned having a plated, coursed-out meal. Whatever your priorities may be, it’s important to discuss and establish them upfront when creating your wedding day timeline. Communicating your priorities and collaborating with your team will make this process less stressful and will ensure your day is set up for success, making for a more enjoyable and memorable experience for all.
Ceremony Start Time
Choosing the perfect ceremony time is super important when planning your wedding day timeline. It sets the tone for the whole day, so it’s important to make sure you pick a time that works best for you. If you’re having an outdoor ceremony, keep in mind when the sun sets. Your photographer will need at least an hour before that to snap some gorgeous outdoor shots of you and your crew. This means your ceremony start time should be at least 2 hours prior to sunset (more if you are planning to have a longer ceremony).
Pro tip: Some couples choose to do their pics before the ceremony, which frees up more time to party later. So, you could even schedule your ceremony to be closer to sunset if that speaks to you.. Make sure you also take into account any travel time between the ceremony and reception venues and build in a buffer to allow for any delays or unexpected events.
Build in Buffer Time
Planning your wedding is exciting, but we all know that things don’t always go according to plan on the big day. To avoid any unnecessary stress and feeling rushed, it’s important to build in some breathing room throughout the day. This way, you’ll have some wiggle room to deal with any unexpected issues without messing up the whole schedule.
Let’s face it, someone from your wedding party is bound to wander off during pictures or need to use the restroom when your planner is trying to hustle everyone out the door. And with all the excitement and adrenaline pumping through you (and your crew), even simple tasks can take longer than expected. Plus, you’ll have to pose and stage for pictures even while getting ready, which can eat up more time than you’d think.
So, even if it seems like you have more than enough time to get ready, trust the process (and your planner!). That extra 30 minutes to get dressed is there for a reason: to give you some buffer time and to allow you to enjoy every single moment of your special day. And hey, if everything goes smoothly and you don’t need the extra time, that just means you’ll have more time to dance the night away with your new spouse!
Plan for the Small Details
As much as the bigger picture timing details matter, like your ceremony time, you can’t neglect the smaller timing details. For example, don’t forget about travel time! If you’re getting ready at a hotel or a different location than your ceremony or reception, make sure you factor in enough time to get there without feeling rushed. Even if everything is in one location, consider adding in travel time from different locations on the property. If you have elderly family members or friends involved in the wedding, or small children, make sure you account for their timing needs, too. You don’t want anyone to be late or miss out on any important moments of the day!
Trust us, taking the time to think through these little details will make your day run so much smoother. And when you’re not stressing about being late or feeling rushed, you’ll be able to fully enjoy all the amazing moments that make your wedding day so special.
If you’re interested in working with a professional planner who will handle all of these touchpoints and planning details seamlessly for you, reach out to us today and set up a complimentary consultation!