Having a wedding timeline is one of the most important elements to add to your wedding planning “To-Do” list. Wedding timelines are used to ensure that the day runs smoothly so that you don’t have to stress on the day of. A clear wedding timeline will eliminate confusion and scheduling conflicts, and it’ll keep everyone on the same page.
However, creating a timeline is no easy feat if you don’t know what you are doing. There are many things to consider when building your wedding timeline. In this article I am giving you all my best advice on how to craft the perfect wedding timeline.
It’s never too early to start thinking about how you would like the order of events at your wedding to occur. I do, however, recommend waiting until you have found your venue, accommodations, baker, photographer, florist and hair/makeup artist.
The reason I recommend waiting to craft your timeline until you have found all of your vendors is because each of them will have a required time they will need you for. For example, a makeup artist may only need two-hours if she is just doing the bride, but if she is doing the entire bridal party she may need a few hours!
There are several logistics that need to be considered when working with multiple vendors, so if you are overwhelmed with the thought of putting together your timeline – I highly suggest reaching out to a wedding planner to coordinate these things for you.
Still want to DIY your timeline, I created a short list to of questions to help you brainstorm:
There are so many sample timelines floating out there on the internet, while they are super helpful I highly suggest using them as a guide only (that goes for the timeline included in this post as well). Every wedding is different so copying a wedding timeline verbatim isn’t the best option when it comes to planning your own wedding. I recommend starting fresh and using golden hour as your starting point.
Golden hour portraits are the photos that 99% of people print and hang on their walls.
Building your timeline around this is super important if you value beautiful photos of you and your spouse. Golden hour photos are also a great excuse to sneak away and have a minute just with each other. Even if you dedicate 30 minutes to this you will be walking away with a much stronger gallery than if you decided to exclude this from your timeline.
Once you have figured out when sunset is, then you can use the list of events mentioned above to figure out what needs to happen before and after golden hour to start crafting the rest of your timeline.
Wedding days go by incredibly fast and you want to make sure you enjoy every minute of it. Trust me when I say, you don’t want to feel rushed on your wedding day. This day only happens once and you need to savor each moment.
Adding buffers into your timeline allows you to relax if something doesn’t go exactly as planned. There are always little details you can’t plan for. Having those buffers in place will allow you to relax knowing you have plenty of time in-between events. Personally, I like adding in 15-minute buffers before the first look, to travel between venues, before the ceremony, and before the grand entrance. But don’t put these on the schedule of event pamphlets that you hand out to your guests!!
Okay, so maybe not everyone…but you definitely want to give your timeline to your entire bridal party and close family members. I highly recommend varying the way you send your timeline to them as well. Text it, Email it, and Print it!
You should always have extra hard-copies of your wedding timeline to give out to everyone the day-of. This ensures that people aren’t pulling out their phones at inappropriate times, and trying to sift through their messages in hopes they will find it. Your wedding timeline needs to be easily accessible so that your A-listers can quickly check to make sure they are where they need to be.
Yippy! You made it to the end and you’re still up to the challenge of creating your own timeline! Well here is my final tip – don’t finalize your timeline until about a month out from your wedding date. Most people start planning their wedding a year in-advance if not earlier. But a lot can change in the time between when you start planning and your actual wedding date.
Giving yourself a month is plenty of time. It allows you to make calls and emails to your vendors to finalize any last-minute details. Also, It allows you time to distribute your timeline to your guests, and allows you to talk through any concerns they may have or things you didn’t think of! Then once you get to your “1-week” out date, I would finalize any last minute details and “day-of” timeline.
Okay, so I couldn’t write this article and not talk about Kiernan and Rebecca’s wedding (the images being showcased in this blog). This wedding was one for the books. It took place at the wedding venue – Arbor at the Port in Rochester, NY.
The Arbor at the Port is a very cool venue featuring bright and airy modern touches. The venue also overlooks the river and has a beautiful indoor and outdoor space. Due to it being so hot I was really appreciative that they chose to keep their wedding indoors with the AC blasting! But it was also really fun that they had an outdoor patio space which is lined with planters – a great space for their guests to mingle.
Kiernan is a musician so music is a big part of their relationship and they made it a part of their wedding day as well. There were so many small details showing off their love of music even down to their adorable cake topper which featured a guitar and their cat. One of the coolest moments during their reception was that Kiernan even played some music for their guests!
I loved that they chose to have their first look at the Charlotte Lighthouse and I LOVE how this gave them variety in their photos. Overall, they had such a beautiful wedding and I can’t wait for the opportunity to work at this venue again.
Reach out and let’s talk about how I can be a part of your wedding experience! I want to help you plan all the amazing details and help you bring your wedding dreams to life, full of intimate moments and romance. If this sounds like a great fit for you and your partner – contact me here to start chatting all about your wedding day vision.
Rachel Rapoza: desserts @rocncakes
Arbor Venues: venue, décor @arborvenues
Folk Catering: food @rochesterfolk
Stacy K Floral: florist @stacykfloral
Lovely Bride: wedding dress @lovelybriderochester