I got an email last week from one of my 2018 brides who was trying to organize her wedding timeline.
When I first book my clients, I always tell them that I will be there with them through the whole process and, if they need help… to definitely email me so that we can work out the “kinks” together. Heck, I even send them a 90-page booklet to help them plan their day (which I’m working on updating by the way). Anywho, when she sent me that rough timeline, I realized that there was a lot that had slipped her mind! Well, not slipped because this is her first time doing it, not mine. There’s no way that you could know what should be in a wedding timeline for it to run smoothly if you have never done this before. So, I figured I would write a post in case you are at this stage as well.
Here are 5 things that you should ALWAYS be on your wedding timeline.
1. ENOUGH TIME IN THE AM TO GET READY
Depending who your photographer is, some will like to have more time than others in the AM. Some don’t care. Some photographers also don’t split up with their assistants (i.e me) and need to travel from the boys to the girls. Most importantly, Makeup and Hair run late A LOT. Not their fault btw. It just happens. You need to make sure that there’s enough time for them to do so. Makeup and Hair is one of the most important things of the day because, if you don’t like it… It might ruin the whole day for you. And we don’t want that. If a lot of people in your party are getting their hair and makeup put on by pros, make sure you know if a) those professionals have assistants or if they are alone (which means that only one person will be getting ready at a time) and b) that everyone has done a TRIAL before the big day. You don’t want people to start saying “Oh I don’t like it, do it over.” It will waste a lot of time and everyone will run late. The most important people for you (i.e mom, sister etc) should be done FIRST. And you should be done right before you need to leave so that your photographer arrives as you start. As soon as you are done, we go! If there’s anyone else that’s a little “less important” (poor choice of words) they can be done after you leave. This is if you have a first look, of course. If we are going straight to the ceremony… Everyone should be done before you. Because nothing starts without the bride. Luckily, boys a little easier when it comes to this. But the same rules apply: The groomsmen SHOULD BE SHOWERED and ready by the time the groom needs to get ready. Bottom line is ANTICIPATE PEOPLE RUNNING LATE. Which brings me to :
2. HAVE LOTS AND LOTS OF BREAKS
DO NOT PLAN EVERY MINUTE OF THE DAY. You’ll be very very disappointed on your big day if you do. Instead, plan blocks of time. Example: 10am to 12pm – Getting ready boys | 8am to 1pm – Getting ready girls | 2pm to 2h30 – Ceremony etc. Notice how I left a big block of time with nothing between 1h and 2h? Yea, that’s a break. That means that if ever we are running very late in the getting ready part, we can spill into the break time and catch up (be back on schedule) once we get to the ceremony. If you plan every minute, it will only be disappointment after disappointment for you… which will cause you stress. And do you really want to be checking your watch all day? Yea I thought so. These breaks will also give you the opportunity to RELAX and take in the day when you are running EARLY (yes, that happens too) and wouldn’t it be awesome if you can just sit down and do nothing with your hubby for 30 minutes?
3. TRAVEL TIME
We live in Montreal in case we didn’t remember. The CAPITAL OF THE CONSTRUCTION CONES. Our roads change daily and chances are, that dry run that you did to make sure you’ll get there on time, will have changed by the time it’s your wedding day. Make sure you put enough time for travel! Usually, I tell my couples put .5 x more than what you think. So If you think it’s 30 minutes to get to the venue, put 45 minutes. If you think it’s 1h, put 1h30. Because the last thing you want is to arrive late to your own entrance. Remember, people have to gather their things, get to their cars, get through traffic … that takes a lot of time. It’s not just “let’s go and poof, you are in your car”. Something a lot of people forget to think about. By the way, this is not a sponsored post but I wanted to mention that I use WAZE for my traveling around town. It’s a GPS that is user-generated which means that its users are the ones that mark which roads are closed, how long is traffic or if there’s an accident somewhere AS THEY ENCOUNTER IT. They update the app and it updates the app for EVERYONE. Which means that it’s always 100% accurate. It will tell you exactly where to go and how long it will take to get there. Google Maps is great but isn’t updated by the minute. With our roads changing daily, it’s useless. I recommend downloading the app for your wedding day.
4. TIME FOR PHOTOS
You paid your photographer a sum of money and, hopefully, you chose one who you LOVE. You should take advantage of their “expertise”. Give them time to do what they do. And remember that your wedding photos aren’t only about you and your new hubby. In addition to the creative portraits of you two, don’t forget to schedule: Your family photos (usually right after the ceremony), your wedding party photos (usually right before your own) and the photos of all your details BEFORE your guests enter the room (taken whenever is more convenient for the venue). Afterall, you spent a lot of money on that stuff… you should have a visual memory of it. If you don’t have a lot of “details” or really don’t care, good for you. I approve.
5. RECEPTION PLAN
Your timeline shouldn’t end with entering the reception. Luckily for this part, you should have a DJ to help you out. Based on when your photographer leaves, make a plan of all the “events” that you want to be photographed doing. If the first dance, parents dances, and the speeches are important to you, make sure that the DJ knows that it needs to be done before the photographer goes home. Your DJ would want to know this WAY in advance so that they can prepare too. Don’t bring this to them the day before, or your party will suffer big time.
There you go, 5 things that you should always include in your wedding timeline. Of course, this doesn’t include the obvious things like the makeup schedule, the hair schedule, the ceremony part, the cocktail hour time, the entrance to the reception etc etc etc… But I’m sure you got that part down. They should be on every blog… I’m pretty sure.
If you have any more questions about this or anything else that you might be struggling with, just send me a quick email at firstname.lastname@example.org and I’ll write another blog post about it! That way, everyone can benefit! Hope you enjoyed this one 🙂