The timeline. It’s one of the top questions your vendors will be asking about. When does your ceremony start? When does it end? What time are you eating? What time are you cutting the cake? Question after question after question. Don’t panic! I KNOW it is overwhelming, especially when you’re in the early stages of planning and haven’t even THOUGHT about it yet! All that you have on your mind is picking your venue, booking your photographer, and dreaming about dress shopping… and the last thing you’re thinking about is what time your first dance is supposed to start… and that is O K A Y! Take a minute to breathe and put the panic at ease.
I’m here to share with you some things to think as you start thinking about your ideal timeline.
- Are you a wizard? But really… People often forget that you can’t be in two places at once. Unless you’re standing over the equator or a state line – it’s impossible. When the timeline says you will be done with getting ready at 1:30pm and the first look is at 1:30pm – holy cow, you’re a wizard! Haaaa, but really – you need buffer time. You need to remember that it actually takes you TIME to walk down the hall or down the stairs to get to wherever you are going. It’s best to add in small buffer times so that if you do run 5 minutes late you aren’t freaking out about turning into a pumpkin.
- Do you own a helicopter? Again a silly question but a serious answer. Don’t forget about the fact that the rest of the world around you is doing their every day life. Meaning – there will most likely be some kind of traffic on your wedding day to add into the mix. If your ceremony site is separate from your reception site – it’s important to factor those things in. For example: if your wedding is in DC -even though the church and the reception venue are 5 miles apart – that could mean anything from 10 to 30 minutes of travel time! 5 miles in the country is WAY different than 5 miles in the city! I wish I had a helicopter for those moments when we’re stuck behind a dump truck going 2 miles per hour… but I don’t.
- What time is sunset? If you’re looking to have a 7pm ceremony in December… remember that with daylight savings time, it gets dark at 4:30pm! Unless you want all of your photos in the dark – you may want to rethink that decision! On the opposite end of the spectrum remember that the hottest and brightest part of a Summer day is around Noon to 1pm and you would most likely be squinting throughout the entire ceremony! Eeeek! No one likes black holes for eyes on a sunny day! **If you can, visit your wedding venue at the time you’d like to have your ceremony so you can see what the site looks like! If you get there and it’s in direct sunlight with no shade on a Summer day – you might want to see what other ceremony locations your venue has!**
- Are you doing a First Look? The first look is a wonderful new tradition happening more and more for brides and grooms who want more portraits on their wedding day. As much as I love having extra time with the bride & groom on the wedding day, it’s actually a win-win for YOU as the bride and groom because you are able to go right from the ceremony to the cocktail hour with all of your guests! First Looks also go hand in hand with the question above as well… If you don’t plan on doing a first look but want a sunset ceremony – you wouldn’t have any opportunity for bridal party and bride & groom portraits in the prettiest light of the day! (More on why I love First Looks to come in a later post!)
- How many events do you have scheduled before dinner? Remember that people will get hungry. The last thing you want is a room full of hangry (hungry & angry) guests. Don’t give your guests a chance to start losing interest after the ceremony. Most people jump into the cocktail hour with light apps and drinks which is great. Also think about this too though, once you enter into the reception – are you going to want to start with dancing? or go straight into dinner? What time is it? If it’s already 7:30 and you have 5 first dances planned and 17 speeches from special guests – chances are you are going to have a lot of restless wedding guests. No one likes to be hungry – not even me. We’re all human and our tummies all grumble. There are a few different ways you can “layout” the evening – I won’t bore you with all of the possibilities, we can talk about that later!
I hope some of these tips have been helpful to you as your writing out your big to-do lists and things to think about! Another great resource for wedding day timelines is hiring a wedding coordinator or day-of planner to help you figure these things out! If you need a suggestion for a planner – message me! I wish you the best in your wedding planning! Be sure to check out the blog posts below for other wedding day tips!
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