How to create your wedding day schedule.
Grab a coffee this is a long one....but informative!
Your wedding day is going to feel like a whirlwind! Any Bride or Groom will tell you it'll go by in the blink of an eye and you need to try and enjoy every moment! With this in mind I 100% suggest having a wedding day schedule to help the day run smoothly and manage the finer details of the day. If you have no idea where to start on creating your schedule don't panic - I have given you my top tips and example of a timeline all in this post for you!
A schedule can be known by many different names - timeline, run sheet, day of information etc etc. They all mean the same thing but some suppliers/venues may use different terms so keep an eye out for this. These timelines are a reference point for anyone involved in the running of your wedding day. By making this timeline this will give your bridal party and suppliers a clear idea on what needs to be done and when and what time the whole day will start and finish. This can also help save time and stress through out your planning process too. Planning your wedding and putting together a schedule for all of these people may seem like a mammoth task and very overwhelming but breaking your day down into these smaller sections of time will help you understand how things will flow on the day.
First things first - KEY TIMES FIRST!
To start your timeline start with the sections of your wedding that are definite and confirmed for example the ceremony start and finish time and reception finish time. This may also include things like what time your suppliers are allowed on site from, guest check in and what time all suppliers need to be out of the venue by. Putting these things in first should give you the overall idea for the flow of the day.
Weirdly the best way to map out the key elements to your day is to work backwards. For example from your ceremony start time work backwards to figure out what times you need to leave your accommodation, then from there work out how long you can allow for pre ceremony photos then what time your hair and makeup need to be finished, what time you need to have breakfast and then what time you need to wake up! It sounds silly but honestly its the best way to work out timings. This will also work for the wedding reception and wedding breakfast. Don't worry you can always go back and change these around slightly if suppliers or venues think it may need to be edited slightly, but mapping out this rough timeline is a great starting point and will really help your suppliers when you are sorting out arrival/set up times.
Your timeline will become a main reference point for all of your wedding suppliers. Along with the running of the day you time line can also include relevant information for your suppliers. Depending on your suppliers you can include information like arrival time, how long will they be on site, what time will they be packing down, what time will they be out? Try not to make estimates about this make sure you drop your suppliers an email and just say would you be able to answer these questions for me so that I can complete my schedule. Your suppliers would have done this many times before so will be able to give you helpful estimates on how long each part will take based on your venue and guest numbers.
Once you have sorted out the general wedding day timeline its time to start the additional details. Go through the schedule and start adding details to different sections of the timeline and just detail and clarify whos involved in each part and what is happening. Think about the who, what and when for the each section of the timeline. Where do they need to be and what are they responsible for?
Make sure you include a cover sheet of all the suppliers details including who they are, what they are providing and a contact number (if possible 2 just in case you cant reach them on the 1st number).
The more detail you include the better - imagine that you are having to hand over your schedule to a stranger who has to run your wedding based on your information! Make sure all the information they would need would be in there and don't feel silly for putting little or what you think are obvious details in, the more details the better, no detail is too silly!!
EXAMPLE TIMELINE - IDEA OF TIMINGS FOR YOUR DAY.
9am - Wake up and have breakfast
10am - All bridesmaids and bridal party to have arrived and be with bride
10.30am - Hair and Makeup to start on all bridal party
12.30pm-12.45pm - All hair and makeup to be done
1.00pm - Any pre wedding photos to be shot now
1.30pm - Groom and Ushers should be at the ceremony - Groom to have interview with registrar if civil ceremony
1.45pm - 1.55pm - All guests to be seated.
1.50pm - Bride and Bridal party arrival at venue
2.00pm - Bridal party enter ceremony
2.30-.2.40pm - Ceremony to finish (Based on a civil ceremony - church ceremony last longer -closer to 1 hour)
2.40pm-4.00pm - Drinks reception and formal photos and couple portrait photos
4.00pm - Guests to take their seats for wedding breakfast
4.30pm - Bride and Groom to enter
4.45pm - Wedding Breakfast served
6.15pm - Wedding breakfast to be finished (depending on guest numbers - more than 100 allow 2 hours)
6.15pm - 6.45pm - Speeches!
7.00pm - Evening guests to arrive
7.30pm - Cutting of the cake and first dance
8.30pm - Evening buffet to go out (if having one)
Midnght - Finish!
This is a basic timeline based on around 80 guests with ceremony and reception in one venue. Obviously if having a church wedding you would need to factor in travel time for guests and any potential room changes at the venue. Also if you have more than 80 guests remember to allow longer for the wedding breakfast!
TOP TIPS FOR YOUR SCHEDULE
- Make sure to leave some time in your schedule as a buffer for 'just in case'. For example if the ceremony transportation runs late, weather is bad so slows people down, if speeches over run etc. The last thing you want to feel on your wedding day is rushed, gives yourself some flexibility through out the day. You will thank yourself for it in the end.
- If you are not working with a wedding planner make sure there is a key contact who will act an an emergency on the day contact for your suppliers. This could be your maid of honour, a bridesmaid, or venue coordinator. Just make sure it is someone you trust to make last minute decisions on your behalf.
-Aim to send out your timeline to everyone 2-3 weeks before the wedding this will give you enough time to make any amendments if needed.
- If you have any pre or post events make sure you include these in your schedule too!
- Don't panic! You have worked so hard on your timeline now relax and trust that your day will run the way you have planned, and if anything does go wrong or things run late dont worry! These things happen and promise your guests wont even notice! :)
If you are struggling to put your timeline together and would like some professional guidance. Get in touch to see how I can help you!