Why do you need a wedding day timeline you might ask? You can ask any married couple and they will tell you; your wedding day will feel like it came and passed much too quickly! From the time you wake on your special day, until you are dancing the night away at the reception, the entire event will fly by much quicker than you think.
Get A Free Complete Wedding Day Timeline Template and Sample Timeline At The Bottom
With that in mind, having a detailed wedding day timeline is essential to managing the finer details of your day and keeping your celebration running smoothly and most importantly, making sure there is time to create every magical moment you want included.
Just like so many couples, you probably are struggling with where to begin. Our best advice is to rely on your wedding planner or wedding day of coordinator to provide you with a wedding day timeline template. But, if you haven’t hired a planner or coordinator for your special day, don’t stress about it-The Inspired by Design team has a lot of experience creating wedding day timelines, whether you need a timeline for a 1pm ceremony or a wedding day timeline for a 4pm ceremony, we are here to walk you through the step-by-step process!
How To Start The Timeline
Your wedding day timeline will vary depending which events you have planned. The first consideration is whether your ceremony and reception are in the same location. If they are not, you will have to add in travel time. Start by adding in all of the activities with locked in times that are not negotiable. For example, what. Time is locked in on the wedding invitations. Once you have mapped out all of the key events of the day, start filling in the time in between. Think of all of the activities you want to occur throughout the day, such as a luncheon with your brides’ maids or hair and makeup. Working your way forward and backwards from the key events that have a locked in time will make it easier to determine the remainder of the timeline.
Remember to account for any travel time, such as commuting from the accommodation to the venue. Everything takes more time than you expect, so be sure to add 10% to the amount of time you think you’ll need.
Ever wedding is different but here is a list of details that are usually included in the wedding day schedule
- Waking up and having breakfast
- Wedding party arrival
- Wedding party hair and makeup
- Getting dressed
- Groom and Groomsmen preparation
- Pre-wedding photos at accommodation and/or at venue.
- Bridal party transport
- Arrival of vendors and set up
- Post ceremony photos
- Cocktail hour
- Reception entrance of guest
- Reception entrance of bridal party
- Dinner served
- Speeches and toasts
- First dance
- Family dance
- Cake cutting
- Dance floor open
- Reception exit of bride and groom
- Reception end-clean- up/tear down begin
With these details in mind, go through the key elements you have and add in the details from the list and any other details that apply. Think about how much time you have before, during and after the ceremony and divide the time up how many minutes you anticipate it will take to complete each activity. When adding in time for your vendors, go straight to the source and ask each vendor how much time is needed for them to set up. For example, check in with your hair and makeup artist to ask about how much time you should allocate towards getting everyone done, or touch base with your wedding decorator to see how much time they’ll need to set-up the decor. Your wedding vendors have done this many times before and should be able to give you pretty accurate estimates based on your ceremony and reception times and guest numbers.
Add The Details
After you’ve slotted in a time for all of the activities in the flow of your wedding day, add notes to each section to clarify who is involved and what is happening at that time. Consider the who, what, where and when for each item in your timeline. For example, who is your wedding cake supplier, what does he or she need to bring and where do they need to be and when. Be sure to include contact details for each vendor so they can be easily reached.
Remember, your wedding day- of timeline will be a reference document for all of your wedding vendors as well your bridal party. Try to complete and distribute your timeline at least 2 weeks prior to your big day, to give yourself enough time to make any necessary amendments after receiving feedback from your vendors.
If you are not working with a wedding day of coordinator, make sure you have allocated someone you trust, such as a close relative or friend as an emergency day of point of contact for your vendors.
Get A Free Complete Wedding Day Timeline Template and Sample Timeline Here