10 Tips for Creating Your Wedding Timeline

You can be the chillest bride in all the land, but you (and your vendors) still need a wedding day timeline.

  1. ALWAYS put an end time. That way there is NO question about when the reception is over. It seems like an obvious one, but you'd be surprised. There was one wedding I coordinated that the DJ, venue and caterer ALL had different end times given to them by the bride. In order for your event to flow effortlessly, this needs to be determined well in advance.
  2. Make sure that all of your main events happen before the photographer and/or videographer leave. Again, it sounds obvious, but not all photographers/videographers offer an unlimited amount of time on the day of your wedding. Make sure you don't have the cake cutting planned after they are scheduled to leave, for example. Plan your hours of coverage around the main events. Are the "getting ready" photos as important to you as those end of the night dancing photos?
  3. Be sure that all of the vendors' timelines correlate and that you can put it into one main timeline for the entire day. You don't want your photographer to plan on taking family photos while dinner is being served. Make sure that everyone's timing is the same, and if it's not, get it there.
  4. Put the timeline in order. Skipping around causes confusion. When everything is in order, you can check things off as they happen.
  5. Include the vendor's contact information right on the timeline. If someone is late and you need to call them, you won't have to search through your stack of contracts for their phone number.
  6. Leave a buffer. You should definitely leave a little extra time between things like your hair and makeup being finished and your first look, or the length of your ceremony. Things happen and sometimes things take longer than planned. Be prepared.
  7. Go with it. If all of your vendors are on the same page, but your timeline isn't being followed minute by minute, don't stress. As long as your vendors are working to improvise the timing together, and everything that is planned will get done, just sit back and enjoy your wedding day. I had one bride who literally looked at her watch the entire night, asking "Are we going to cut the cake soon?" when her dance floor was packed with dancing guests. The DJ and I were reading the crowd, and at that moment, guests were enjoying themselves and we made a decision to hold off on asking guests to sit down so the couple could cut their cake at that exact moment.
  8. Lines are KEY! If your caterer or the venue is providing table linens, these are one of the first items that need to be setup. The florist cannot set the centerpieces and the coordinator cannot set up any table decor if the table linens are not dropped yet. Plan accordingly.
  9. Get your vendors fed first, or at least when you eat. If they are served dead last after the guests, they barely have time to take a bite before they get back to work. You don't want cranky, hungry vendors on your wedding day. Most of the time, they have been on their feet for hours, and they're human too. They get hungry. Take this is into consideration when speaking with your caterer or venue. Tell them you want your vendors fed with you so that nothing is missed when it's time to get the party started.
  10. Distribute the final timeline to ALL vendors at least a week prior to the wedding to allow for any discrepancies that may need to be fixed. You don't want to be scrambling the day before your wedding to fix a major timing issue.

*Bonus Tip: ENJOY YOUR WEDDING DAY! Don't sweat the small stuff. In 10 years, no one is going to remember that dinner ran a few minutes late or you didn't cut the cake immediately following dinner. Enjoy being surrounded by friends and family that are only there to celebrate the love you have for each other.