When you start wedding planning you dream of the flowers and your gown, you dream of the first dance and writing your vows. None of those things will come together without the perfect timeline that is personalized and created based on your specific details. Arguably the timeline is the most important part of wedding planning, to maintain that everything goes off without a hitch. A timeline starts before the big day, it starts the moment you begin wedding planning! It can be overwhelming but we are here to help make it a little easier to overcome!
The Importance of a Wedding Timeline
When do you start creating a timeline?
The efficiency and timing of a wedding is so important, we can’t stress that enough! Our ideal situation is that our couples would book us first before even booking a venue. Why? Because there are huge factors to booking a venue that will later on effect the outcome of your timeline. For example, if your venue access doesn’t begin until 1:00pm, but they have a lovely bridal suite to get ready in and you have over 10 hair and makeup services happening, you won’t be able to get ready there! Ideally you’d want a venue you could arrive at 10:00am or earlier to take advantage of the getting ready suite. Now with that said, once our couples book us, and they have a venue we will set up their client portal and our questionnaire process to start working on the timeline immediately after booking! We like to have a big planning meeting without couples at the start of booking to go over the following: Vendor priorities, budget, and timeline. When that meeting is over they will have a timeline their inbox from us within the week! The unique aspect of this is, that meeting is for every single couple of ours no matter what package of ours they book, we want the full planning client all the way to our event management client to feel supported.
What does a typical timeline include?
The perfect timeline starts with your vendor arrival times, who is setting up what and where. It first starts off with when hair and makeup will arrive as they are usually the first one’s on site. The next big vendor on site is usually your rental company and or your caterer as they will handle all the heavy lifting of setting up tables, chairs, etc. Within that we also add when you and your fiancé will arrive, the wedding party, family, andy any other VIP guests that we should know about. The timeline not only shows vendor arrival times but it naviages the day for anyone participating in the event as it pertains crucial set up details that all vendors need to know about. When everyone is ready we move on to the next order of business which is guest arrival and the ceremony! Music generally starts about 15 minutes prior to the ceremony starting so your guests can have something nice to listen to while waiting for the ceremony. From there of course it’s a run of show handled minute by minute for optimum efficiency throughout the day. We add in a lot of buffer time to everything on the timeline to ensure that we always have enough time, and for that reason we have never been late on anything and oftentimes have more time to spare for the dancing portion of the evening!
What does a timeline look like?
While every single couple and wedding day is unique to you and your fiancé and there are a lot of factors that go into creating a timeline we can give you a few tips to make sure you are on the right track!
Consider the time of year, you want to make sure that your ceremony start time is about 1 hour-1.5 hours prior to the sun setting for optimal coverage of the day. For example, if you are getting married in the winter or early spring before daylight savings, your ceremony time might be at 4:30pm while later spring and summer weddings would starts at 5:30pm-6:00pm.
Take into account how long you need for getting ready, and if you are doing a first look and photos before your ceremony start time. You’ll want roughly 90 minutes for this to get everything you need! A first look/couple’s portraits generally take 30 minutes, family photos take another 15-20 depending on your shot list, wedding party photos are also another 20 minutes.
Make sure you account for the little things like bustling your dress, touch ups, switching into a different outfit, everything takes time and needs a good transition, also keep in mind the amount of time it takes to move from one aspect of the day to another. For example, it will take a bit of time (15 or so minutes) at times to get your guests from cocktail hour to reception. They need time to find their seats and grab a drink before we welcome you as the newly married couple!
Here is a highlight of what our spring wedding timelines look like
9:45am Bride and Bridesmaids arrive at Venue (hair and makeup arrive)
10:00am Hair and Makeup begins
12:00pm Photography and Videography Arrive for getting ready photos
1:45pm DGE Team Arrives at Venue
2:00pm Catering and Rentals Arrive
2:30pm Hair and Makeup Completed (girls into gown)
2:45pm Bride into Gown
3:15pm First Look, couple portraits, wedding party photos
4:45pm Guest Arrival
4:50pm Wedding Party Lines up
3:00pm Florals Arrive
3:30pm DJ or Band Arrives
5:00pm Ceremony Starts
5:30pm Ceremony Ends (family photos)
5:30-6:15pm Cocktail Hour
6:15-6:30pm Guest Transition to Reception Space
6:40pm Grand Entrance into couple’s first dance
6:45pm Welcome Speech/toast
6:50pm Dinner Service Starts
7:30pm Toasts Begin
7:40pm Special Dances
7:50pm Open Dance Floor
8:30pm Cake Cutting
9:00pm Bouquet/garter toss
9:45pm Late Night Snack
10:15pm Last song of the night
10:20pm Guests transition to outside for send off
10:25pm Couple has private last dance
10:30pm Send off
10:30-11:30pm Vendor Breakdown
Keep in mind, this is just en example and a generalized one at that! Our timelines are created for YOU and are personal to your specific details! Make sure you are hiring a wedding planner to ensure you are having the most fun and efficient wedding. The last thing you want is for your guests to be sitting around wondering what is happening next!
Images The Brothers Martens