If you’ve started planning your wedding, then you probably know just how much effort goes into coordinating each detail of your special day. From saying yes to the dress to choosing your date, venue, colors schemes, floral arrangements and more ⎯ there’s a lot to keep track of! 

Even though the visual dynamics of your wedding may be coming together perfectly, what about everything behind the scenes? The day-of logistics are key to the successful execution of your wedding day – that’s why it’s so important to create a custom wedding day timeline to prevent obstacles on the day you say “I do.”

What is a Wedding Day Timeline?

A wedding day timeline is a detailed outline of the big day,  which includes activities, logistics, deliveries, vendors, and other small details. The last thing your wedding day needs is stress and confusion;  by having a clear timeline, you can stop a scheduling conflict or timing mishap before it happens!

Consider these important details and tips when creating the perfect wedding day timeline:

Each wedding is unique, so start fresh! 

The true beauty of weddings is that each one is unique. It’s okay to research other wedding timelines, but once you’ve done your homework, now it’s time to create your own! A general template won’t necessarily coincide with what you’ve envisioned for your special day. Make a list of all activities that will be occurring and a time estimate of how long it will take to execute each one. Once you have your list complete, you can plug each activity into your outline accordingly. With a well-compiled timeline, smooth sailing on your wedding day is all but guaranteed. 

Take your wedding’s logistics into account 

Locations for the ceremony and reception, transportation requirements for the bridal party and guests, photography opportunities, and limitations in vendor contracts – these are some of the most important aspects of a flawlessly executed wedding day, so when creating your timeline, you must take those key details into account.  Additionally, how much time do each of these tasks take? Make sure you know the answer before creating your wedding timeline!

In addition to the pre-wedding logistics, don’t forget to include reception details in your timeline as well. Your MC and/or DJ will want to know what time to anticipate things like the bride and groom entrance, cake cutting, first dance, parent dances, toasts/speeches, and what time to start winding things down at the end of the evening, the bartender will need a heads-up ont timing for the cocktail hour, and your caterer will want to know when dinner and dessert should be served. 

Give yourself extra time, so start early

 It’s always better to give yourself extra time, rather than find yourself up against an impossible deadline on your big day. Starting your wedding day as early, and build extra time into your schedule,because many of the activities you’re planning often take longer to complete than anticipated. Generally the rule of thumb is for ceremonies to last approximately 30 minutes to one hour, and receptions can often last four to five hours. Activities like hair, make-up, a first look, and wedding photos will often take more time than you first thought. It will be a long day, so take advantage of every minute of it!

Don’t keep it to yourself. Distribute your wedding day timeline!

 About a month before your wedding day your timeline should be finalized. Once it is, it’s time to distribute! Provide your timeline to all vendors, including your caterer/bartender, DJ, band, photographer, videographer, hair stylist, makeup artist, bridal party, officiant, immediate family members, and more. With everyone having the same timeline, they know where to be and when. It can also be a good idea to have your maid of honor and/or best man in charge of maintaining your schedule, by always keeping a close eye on the clock. Also, don’t forget to confirm your wedding day timeline again with all your vendors at least one week before your special day, to confirm no changes have occurred.

Last but not least…get advice from wedding planning experts!

Wedding planners and event coordinators, like our team at Crystal Gardens, are the best resource you can have on your side when planning your wedding day. Why not rely on an expert when preparing for the most important day of your life? Experienced wedding and event coordinators will know how long vendors take for set-up and prep, and their wealth of knowledge can be leaned on when developing all aspects of your wedding day timeline.

Ready to start creating your wedding day timeline? Connect with our wedding planners now at Crystal Gardens to get expert advice!