Wedding Tips

Guest Post – Wedding Timeline Tips, Simply Stunning Events

September 23, 2011

There is so much that goes into making a wedding day run smoothly and having a well-thought-out, detailed timeline can make a world of difference. When we {Simply Stunning Events} create timelines for our couples we include everything the bride, groom, and wedding party is doing throughout the day, all of the vendor activities (such as arrival times, equipment load-ins, set-ups, and service), the full photography schedule, and of course each wedding activity from the processional to the grand exit from the reception and everything in between. This way everyone is on the same page as to what is happening, where, and when and there is no confusion (we hope).

Today I’d like to share some tips in creating your own wedding day timeline (or in working with your wedding planner to do so!).

1. Never assume anything! I try to make our timelines as detailed as possible and include the when, what, where, and how for each item. Never assume that the vendors know which church it is or that the band knows what to play for the first dance. Most likely they do, but it’s always helpful to list those sorts of details in the timeline JUST IN CASE.

2. Know what time sunset is. It’s amazing how many couples don’t consider the sunset when deciding on a ceremony time. Especially if you are planning to take a lot of photos outside after the ceremony, you need to be sure there will be enough light!

3. Along those lines, discuss with your photographer the best times to shoot outdoor photos. Typically the worst time is between 11 am and 3 PM when the sun is going to be the harshest. Plan to start photos a bit later in the afternoon and the light will be much prettier.

4. Consider the number of hours you hired your vendors for!  It’s imperative that you read your vendor contracts and understand how many hours you’ve contracted them for. If you only have your photographer for 7 hours and you want photos to begin during hair & make-up and last until your grand exit from the reception, it’s probably not going to be enough time.

5. Consider having a “first look”. Nothing makes a wedding day run more smoothly than a bride and groom seeing each other before the ceremony. Everyone is much more relaxed, you won’t have to worry about the logistics of making sure you each don’t accidentally run into each other before the ceremony, you’ll have much more time to get all of your portraits taken since you’ll be able to do so before the ceremony, and you’ll probably even make it to your cocktail hour!

6. Be sure to contract enough time with your reception venue to cover set-up and tear-down. I’m not sure why so many venues insist on such short windows of time for set-up as most wedding receptions require at least 4-6 hours MINIMUM. Typically it takes 2-3 hours to load in rentals, 2-4 hours to set lighting, 2-4 hours for the floral designers to work their magic, 2 hours for catering to load-in, 2 hours for the band to load-in, and another hour to finalize all the little details. And while some of these things can happen simultaneously, you don’t want your vendors all rushing and tripping over each other. Typically our team likes to have 6-8 hours to transform a room for your reception and another 1-2 hours to tear it all down at the end of the night. So including your actual reception time, it’s best to contract your venue for at least 12-14 hours.

Hope this list is helpful in putting together your own timeline!

Guest post by Kristin, Simply Stunning Events // Images –  Jason + Gina Wedding Photographers // Floral Designer – The Flower House

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