This is the second of a five-part series written to help brides who are planning their weddings. The “Five Things” are my wedding-day must-haves. They’re the things, in my opinion, that are non-negotiables for your wedding day to run smoothly. ENJOY! I hope you find these posts helpful. Check back each Wednesday for the next “Five Things” post.
Last Wednesday I began a five part series on things you need to make your wedding day great. The first “must have” in my book is a mistress of ceremonies, or day-of wedding coordinator. HERE’S the link if you want to learn more about this Melanie Wasko Photography wedding day must-have. Today I want to talk to you about timelines. Exciting, I know.
While creating a timeline isn’t as fun or exciting as choosing your wedding dress, doing a cake tasting, or picking your flowers, the benefits of having a wedding day (or even a wedding weekend) timeline cannot be overstated. While I’m not a truly Type A person (some of my friend might argue this, but I know I’m not), I can’t imagine a wedding without a detailed timeline. There are so many parts to a wedding day and so many people involved; the chances of everyone knowing what to do when are slim to none without a plan.
Creating and following a timeline will help you in many ways. First, it will ensure that you avoid un-budgeted fees caused by extending time with vendors. Your venue and most of your vendors are being paid, in part, based on their time, and often extending the time you use them will increase what you need to pay them. I’ve never run across a venue that throws in extra time for free just like a massage therapist won’t give me a two-hour massage when I’ve paid for one hour–I know, I’ve tried. Creating and following a timeline will ensure that you don’t go over your budget.
Second, it will help you love your guests better. Starting the ceremony on time, arriving at your reception when you say you will, and having a plan for your reception communicates love and thoughtfulness to your family and friends, and it also keeps them from waiting while wondering where in the world you are. (One quick tip: If you plan to have pictures taken between the ceremony and reception and know that you will not arrive at the reception right away, tell your guests. A simple and elegant sign at the entrance to the reception is all you need. Something to the effect of: “Kyle and Anna will be officially introduced at the reception at 7:30. Until then, please help yourself to drinks and appetizers.”)
Third, an implemented timeline will bring peace to your day by eliminating the need to remember what to do next. With a great wedding coordinator to lead everyone through a thought-out timeline, your day will have direction, order, and peace. Thinking through all the details in advance and planning for them means you won’t need to do that on your wedding day.
When creating your timeline, there are no hard and fast rules, but here are some things that I am always sure to include in the ones I create.
Seven Elements of a Great Timeline:
1. Margins. I recommend leaving 10-15 minute buffers between events, and allowing about 10 minutes more for each phase of photography than you think it will take. This will make up for the time it takes to walk to your location as well as any unexpected event that might delay the day.
2. Arrival times for everyone. (15 minutes before they really need to arrive if your wedding party and family are famous for being late.)
3. “Be Ready” times for everyone. (I suggest 15 minutes before you really need them to be ready.)
4. Locations, who should be there, and beginning and end times for all photography.
5. “Must Have Shot List” incorporated into the timeline. As a wedding photographer I do this for all of my couples and then forward it to the wedding coordinator. It is a beautiful thing!
6. Reception events and timing of everything…introduction, opening remarks, salad course, cake cutting, bouquet toss, special dances, couple saying good-bye to parents, guests lining up for exit, exit, etc.
7. Contact information for everyone involved in the wedding (parents, wedding party, vendors, bride and groom)
A thorough wedding timeline coupled with a wedding coordinator will bring much peace to your day and free you up to do your wedding-day job–looking pretty, having fun, and getting married!