Okay so imagine this - you've chosen to not have a professional day-of coordinator for your wedding day. The big day comes and no one knows where they're supposed to be, what they're supposed to be doing, or what is actually going on.
Enter the "Wedding Day Timeline or Itinerary". If you do have a wedding planner or a day of coordinator, they should help you construct a timeline that fits your specific needs for your wedding day. But if not, here are some tips and tricks to constructing your own "Perfect Wedding Day Timeline". Below is an example:
Let's discuss the titles first: time, activity, and groups.
Time is so important on your wedding day - everything builds on the task before it. Pro tip: While I always have a timeline to go by, I feed off the energy of the evening to keep everything flowing nicely so there are no awkward time gaps.
The base time to start with will always be the ceremony time. So before starting your timeline the first thing to do is decide on a ceremony time (if you are undecided on an exact ceremony time, building a preliminary timeline can help you make a decision on this important detail). But don't worry, the timeline can be adjusted throughout the entire planning process based on new advancements.
The middle title is the activity for that timeframe. For example, at 9:00 PM on the sample timeline the bride and groom will cut the cake and following that your wedding planner and their staff will cut the remaining cake for the guests. The activity section is the most important part of the timeline process so put the most thought into this area!
The groups are an important part of the timeline because it states who needs to be where at what time. So each of the four main groups (vendors, bride & groom, bridal party, and family) should be provided with this timeline for the wedding weekend. (No worries if they misplace it or purposefully "forget" it - your wedding planner will have extras!)
Okay, moving on!
The first tip that I cannot stress enough is to start your timeline with the very first wedding weekend activity. For example, say you are having a little bridal party get together on Thursday night. Your timeline needs to start with the set-up for that event. This will help you to stay organized and on track, as well as keep your stress levels way down.
The example that I have included above starts with the rehearsal at 6 pm Friday evening. As your wedding planner, I have a strict timeline that I stick to the week leading up to your wedding as well as for the set-up and break-down portions of the event. (As any professional wedding planner should!)
The most important tip that I can provide you with is to be intentional with your time. If you do not have a coordinator for your rehearsal it is super difficult to stay on task and on time. My biggest tip is to have a coordinator, but also to be aware of the time and to stay on task. Having a coordinator will allow you to not have to worry about the time at all - they will keep you on time for all the important things!
I'm sure you have heard it a million times, "You won't have time to eat on your wedding day." It is so so important to stay nourished to keep your energy up. Throughout your timeline, I include little notes such as "have a healthy breakfast!" and "Don't forget to eat a good lunch! You have a long day ahead!" The last thing you want is to feel weak and hangry - so stay nourished! (Side note - don't over do it with the mimosas! You want to be fully present for this day!)
Including your vendor arrival times and tasks to your timeline helps your vendors to know when exactly they are expected to arrive. It also provides you with some peace of mind to know that your vendors know what time to arrive; your wedding planner knows when they are supposed to arrive; and everyone is on the same page because everyone was provided with this helpful timeline.
Keep in mind that all activities and times are subject to change. Things happen and circumstances change. Professional wedding planners are able to handle whatever life throws at them that day, but sometimes it is required that we change some things around on the timeline the day of. But don't panic! We have everything under control! The notes section on the right side is perfect for these situations. You can add in any miscellaneous notes that might pop up at the last minute! Always be prepared for any changing of plans!
I love to create my timelines in Google Sheets because it is super easy to share and collaborate with everyone through this channel. You can add as many people as you would like to have access to editing and being a part of your big day!
Hopefully after reading these tips and tricks you feel more confident about your own wedding timeline! But if not, reach out to me! I would love to help you construct the perfect day!