25 Tips for writing your own wedding timeline

In my last post I stressed how important it is to have a great timeline for your wedding to run smoothly. And I said I would help you figure out how to write one.

So here I am doing that. One really easy way to get help with that is to hire a wedding planner. The End. I’m kidding. (Seriously, planners are super awesome though.)

If you’re the DIY type, here are some things to think about:

  • Use a timeline planning tool.
  • You can use examples from online to help, but make your own timeline. Your wedding is yours and you may need more or less time for things than examples from other weddings.
  • If you have friends and/or family who got married recently, ask them if they have any advice for your schedule.
  • Delegate. Make sure the people who are setting up know that’s their task and they know what to do, when to do it, and where things go.
  • Communicate with your vendors. Ask them how much time things take. They can help you estimate time for parts of the day.
  • Think about how much time you have contracted with your vendors and when they will arrive and leave.
  • How many people are going through hair and makeup? 
  • Are you getting ready in the same place as the ceremony?
  • Plan 10-15 minutes of seating and shuffling between the ceremony time on the invite and the actual start of the ceremony.
  • How long do you want your ceremony to be? Do you have readings or singers or other special ceremony items to include?
  • Is the ceremony in the same place as the reception?
  • Don’t forget to include travel time between locations.
  • How much family will be in family portraits? 
  • Will you do a first look?
  • Include 15-30 minutes of alone time for you and your love to be alone and take it all in together. Either after a first look and before the ceremony or just after the ceremony when you can sneak away. 
  • When are things being set up and delivered? Who are the points of contact for vendors? Who is setting up?
  • Make sure your guests are entertained and taken care of while they wait for your entrance at the reception, especially if you’re planning extra time for portraits. 
  • People like to eat and they get cranky when it’s supposed to happen at a certain time and it doesn’t. 😉 
  • Make a schedule for toasts, dances, cake, garter and bouquet and anything else you’re doing at your reception.
  • How many toasts do you think you’ll have?
  • Will you do a lot of special dances?
  • When does the party end? 
  • Is there a send-off?
  • Is there an after-party?
  • Who’s on clean-up? Very important. Hopefully not you. Get someone else to clean up. It’s your wedding day.

Some extra advice:
A lot of these things take longer than you think. Estimate a time and pad it a little. 
Take that little slice of alone time. For real. 
The most important thing … things may run late or go wrong. Remember you’re there to celebrate your love and to have fun.

Have a question about weddings that you think I can answer in a blog post? Send me a question!