Wedding Day Timeline
Let's face it - wedding planning can be stressful. One of the biggest complaints I hear from clients is actually scheduling their wedding day. Most couples avoid this tedious (but super important!) task because of the focus and attention to detail that is required. Plus, there are a few details that are missed or not thought of, since it's usually your first time creating one.
To make the most out of your wedding day and ensure you are not stressing over the schedule, there are a few things to consider:
Decide Whether You Will be Doing a First Look or Not
Choosing to do a First Look allows the couple to complete a lot of photos prior to the wedding so that they don't have to leave their guests for too long after the ceremony and begin the reception sooner. Not to mention a First Look creates a special moment for the couple to be with one another and soak in the magnitude of the day together.
Determine Where You and Your Bridal Party Will be Getting Ready
Many couples will choose to get ready at the wedding ceremony site to save on traveling time. Check in with Hair and Makeup Artists to ensure they are willing to travel to your venue if you choose this option. If all bridesmaids are getting hair and/or makeup done, allow for 1 1/2 -2 hours per person getting ready time.
Always Include Padding When Drafting Your Schedule
Things change, that's just a matter of fact, so allow yourself an extra 5-10 minutes here and there when it comes to the schedule of events on your wedding day. This way, if you run behind in one event, your whole evening won't be thrown off schedule, leaving you rushing through your evening frantically trying to get back on schedule.
Be Familiar With What Time Sunset Occurs
Many couples choose to take sunset photos with their photographer, so be aware of what time the sun sets and incorporate this into your schedule. This will also help you have an idea of when to expect your guests to remain inside, ready to hit the dance floor.
Don't Push Dinner Back
When you're allowing for more buffer time, avoid pushing back your dinner time. This will be the activity that likely takes the longest during the reception and you don't want to get backed up, or lose time with your Photographer/Videographer. If you wait to have dinner for too long, you might run out of contracted time with your photographer and miss coverage of events like the Cake Cutting or Bouquet Toss.
Allow Yourself Time to Eat
This is HUGE. So often couples schedule one thing after another and end up mingling around with guests and lose their opportunity to sit down and eat. Schedule in time for you to sit down and enjoy your meal so you have stamina to last the night.
Don't Let Time Drag On
It's all about finding balance. You don't want your cocktail hour to drag on too long or your guests will get bored and anxious and some might start to leave early. You also don't want to schedule every single event through the evening one after another as it will feel too structured and more like a show your guests are witnessing rather than a party they can participate in. One tip I always give couples is to open the dance floor after toasts, cake and formal dances are complete and hold off on the bouquet and garter toss. This way guests can get involved and enjoy the reception and let the flow of the dance floor determine when to do these events (having a DJ is key when it comes to reading the flow of a dance floor).
Be Familiar With Your Vendor Contracts and Timing
Finally, understand your vendor's contracts fully when it comes to scheduled time and overtime. Some vendors will allow you to add on extra hours on the day of the wedding if your guests are enjoying themselves with no sign of slowing down. However, be aware of any noise ordinances or compliances with your venue - just because your DJ has agreed to stay longer, doesn't mean the venue will allow it.
Make sure you give yourself time to take it all in. Usually the best time is right after the ceremony. Give yourself a few minutes to soak in the fact that your are now officially married! If you don't stop and really allow this moment to absorb, before you know it the end of the night will arrive and you will be saying your good-bye's to the guests. This is also a great time for your photographer to snap a few photos of the both of you.
Still feel overwhelmed when it comes to details and scheduling? Hiring a day-of coordinator or full-service wedding planner might be just what you need. Contact me to receive a free consultation for your wedding.