There are so many important things wedding planners do and maintain for their clients throughout the planning process, but when it comes to the big day, a wedding timeline is a prized possession. It’s something we have down to a science!
We know there are many templates on how to build a wedding timeline, but through the years, we have a few key points that may differ from those you read online.
The Format of a Wedding Timeline
Start with a cover page to include all the important information. We typically add the location, along with addresses, timeframe, planner’s phone number, and the Maid of Honor’s and Best Man’s cell-phone.
Last Name/Last Name Wedding
Planner’s Name and Cell Number
MOH Name and Cell Number
BM Name and Cell Number
On the second page, you can begin to build the wedding timeline by typing out the times on the left hand column then tab over to write out what the activity is:
6:45 – Hair and Make-up arrives
7:00 – Hair and Make-up begins
The Basics of a Wedding Timeline
Start with the most basic information, usually the ceremony. You will know when, where, and how long, so that’s the easy part. Then back up from there, thinking about the order of events leading up to the ceremony and events following. For instance:
Hair and Make-Up: What time do you need to be dressed and ready by? How many girls? How long per girl? Etc.
Transportation: How are you getting there? When is pick up? Do you need multiple trips? Add it all into the timeline and be sure it matches your transportation company’s contract.
Photography: Talk to your photographer in advance about what photos you want. Ask how long you should budget in and insert into your timeline. Don’t forget to read our recent blog post on Must Have Wedding Photos!
Your wedding can’t go off without your vendors! Be sure to talk to each of them and see what time they will be arriving and add it into your wedding timeline. Generally, they will be able to tell you their arrival if you already know what time the event is and when set up can begin. Don’t forget to check their contracts to confirm they how long they are contracted to stay so you know when they will depart. We always add departures into our timelines, even if they stay until the very end.
Now that you have the basics down, insert the details. Go back to hair and make-up and add in the girls’ names and their appointment times. For your ceremony, add the order of processional and recessional for the ceremony. Insert the line-up of grandparents, parents, bridesmaids and groomsmen. Bonus suggestion: We usually put the song title next to the order to be sure your musician or DJ is on the same page.
When it comes to your reception, think about order of introductions, first dance, welcome speech, toasts, blessing, special dances, bouquet toss, garter removal/replacement and cake cutting. Add it all into the timeline in the order that makes sense for your event.
Confirm with all your vendors the week of! This is important because vendors are generally managing multiple events, times, and several events in one weekend. We are sure to do this with every single vendor for every single event.
We know, we know…you did not realize just HOW MUCH goes into one wedding timeline; neither did we until we began writing this blog and it just began to scratch the surface. Because we have been doing it for over 5 years now, it almost comes naturally. It also helps that we have seen what works best and what might not work so well, which is why we always guide our couples on the best flow for their big day and we’ll take care of the rest.