Don’t know where to start on your timeline? We have done hundreds of them and could basically do them in our sleep. However, most couple’s have not and don’t know all the tricks for how to squeeze everything in. There are also some important parts of the day that need to be accounted for in the time Here are some tips from us on what to make sure you add in!
1. Breakfast and lunch
This one is pretty easy to add in. If you’re the bride, you can snack and have lunch while your bridesmaids are getting ready as you wait your turn. If you’re the groom, you’re lucky and don’t need to start getting ready as early as the girls. Depending on when the ceremony is, you’ll likely have time to go grab a bite with your guys before you start getting ready.
If you’re morning people, why not schedule breakfast with immediate family and have someone deliver it to where you are all staying?
Either way, its a long day and you need to eat. A lot of people say they didn’t have time to eat at the reception (ummm, we make sure you eat) so if you skip breakfast and lunch either, its going to make for a hangry reception.
2. Hand out gifts
Your wedding party and parents have been helping you out for the last year with all the nitty gritty details of the big day. It doesn’t need to be anything extravagant if you are on a budget (things from the heart always mean the most) but take the time to show your appreciation and thank them for the countless midnight phone calls when you were super stressed out. If its a tight schedule, add it in to the rehearsal dinner or night before the wedding.
Make sure you and your partner talk about if you are getting each other gifts. Imagine having him get you something awesome and you not have anything for him. Even if its a letter, make sure you are on the same page. Give someone in the wedding party the job of exchanging these items if needed.
3. Add cushion time!
It’s almost guaranteed that the whole day wont run on schedule. Hair and makeup is usually a big culprit of running behind so add extra time in here! Whether its an extra 10 minutes per person or adding on an extra hour of cushion time, you’ll be glad you did.
Don’t forget travel time! If you’re getting ready somewhere other than where the ceremony is going to be, you still need to get there! Will you put your dress on before you leave or when you arrive at the venue? Keep in mind there may be traffic and add extra time there too.
4. Steaming dresses
Some of your bridesmaids (and maybe you) are probably out-of-towners and will be traveling with the dress. It will likely get wrinkled and need to be steamed. Don’t wait until the last minute to check out the dresses. Get them out of the bag and hung up early and determine whether it needs to be steamed early in the day so its ready to go when its time to put it on.
5. Confirm your vendor times with the timeline
How upset would you be if your photographer is only scheduled until 8:00 and you plan for the bouquet toss at 8:30? How about if you plan to leave for the ceremony at 2:00 but the transportation isn’t schedule until 2:30? Make sure you match those things up when confirming with them. Double and triple check your contracts with your timeline so you don’t have issues on wedding day.
6. Sign your marriage license
Yeah! You’re married! And you’re excited! Don’t forget to make it official! Most of the time your officiant won’t be staying through the reception and you’ll need to sign it right after the wedding. You’ll have a lot going on right after, so make sure someone has the job of getting the officiant the marriage license and grabbing you to get it signed. You could even note on the timeline to snap a picture of it being signed as a memory of the day.
7. Pack up your belongings
This actually needs to happen more than once during the day. If you are getting ready somewhere that you need to be out of after (like a hotel), you’ll need to add time for everyone to gather their items before leaving. How about at the ceremony? The church probably closes within an hour of the ceremony, so designate a bridesmaid or family member (if you don’t have a planner) to clear out the rooms you waited in. Leaving for the hotel in the getaway car at the end of the night? Make sure you and your new hubby have your luggage, purse, etc packed up and ready to get put in the getaway car. Again, designate someone the job of making sure those items make it into the car.
8. Sound check complete
What if your band didn’t know what time the ceremony was and thought it was ok to do sound check right in the middle of that in the next room? Bad news! When confirming with them, be sure they know when the ceremony starts, when guests arrive and when they need to have their sound check complete.
9. Sunset/twilight photos
These are going to be some of your favorite photos from the day. Check what time sunset is before you even start on the timeline and try to plan around that if you can.
10. Alone time
Take some time, even if its just 5 minutes to be alone with your new husband. Soak in the fact that you are now married. Talk about how great the food was. Kiss! It goes by so fast, you’ll want a minute to really experience how you are feeling on your wedding day.