Your wedding day itinerary – sometimes called a wedding day timeline or a wedding day schedule – is a non-negotiable, must do wedding planning task.
The itinerary is a comprehensive plan for who is going to do what, where, and when on your wedding day.
Even the smallest or most casual wedding is still a production – a lot is happening at the same time on your wedding day that must be managed.
If you have a Day of Coordinator or Wedding Planner they will handle the complicated task of creating the timeline for you. If you do not have a coordinator or planner you will need to make a wedding day itinerary, even if you’re convinced you won’t need it. Save yourself the potential grief down the road.
In order to make the schedule, you need some basic information:
Find out when your venue will be available to your vendors for set up. Sometimes party rental companies need to deliver tables and chairs the day before the wedding, so make sure this works for your venue. Tents may also need to be set up the day before.
Contact each individual vendor – caterer, baker, florist, DJ or musicians, limo, party rentals — anybody providing a service or a product on your wedding day — and work out their arrival times, set up times and any additional needs they may have.
Contact your photographer and determine how many photos on your shot list you will take before the ceremony, how many you will take after the ceremony and before the reception, and what photos you need at your reception. Work out with the photographer when he or she needs to arrive (and where) in order to get the shots important to you.
Work out when attendants and any family members need to be available for pre-ceremony photos, the logistics of how many different places your photographer will be taking photos, and how the photographer will get photos of both you and your fiancé getting ready, if you want this.
If you’ve contracted or borrowed transportation, make sure it’s available when you need it for photos.
If you do not want to miss any time with your guests, plan to have most if not all of your pictures taken prior to the event. This has become much more commonplace.
Put all the above info into a timeline formatted itinerary of the day.
Add info on any personal appointments for you and your attendants, like hair or makeup.
Include your ceremony and reception outlines in the schedule if you like, or just your reception outline.
Add any additional volunteer help for your wedding to the schedule, like friends picking up out of town guests at the hotel, decorating the reception venue, or delivering furniture or other borrowed items.
Once your wedding day itinerary is done, make a contact list of all the names and numbers (including emergency numbers) for every business and individual involved in your wedding day.
Before the wedding be sure each vendor or volunteer contributor has the numbers for anyone they may need to contact.
Make your preliminary wedding day schedule around a month out from your wedding date.
Expect your itinerary/schedule to be several pages long.
A week before your wedding, use your schedule to send out emails to everyone involved to confirm times, actions, and any relevant contact info.
Copies of the wedding day itinerary (with vendor info pulled out) can be handed out to the wedding party and family at the rehearsal dinner if you like, but always back it up with an electronic copy via email.
Your day of coordinator or wedding planner will always carry extra copies of the itinerary and the contact list on your wedding day. If you do not have a day of coordinator or wedding planner designate someone to carry a spare copy or two.
Here’s a sample wedding wedding day timeline– for you to use as a template when you make your own itinerary. This wedding day itinerary is for a 3pm wedding. Adjust your own wedding day schedule accordingly.
Sample Wedding Itinerary:
|07:00 AM||Wake up & light breakfast|
|08:00 AM||Hair and Make-up begins for bridesmaids (7 ladies 1 every ½ hour)|
|10:00 AM||Florist Arrives at Brides home|
|11:30 AM||Hair and Make-up begins for bride|
|11:30 AM||Photographer & Videographer Arrive at Brides Parents Home|
|11:30 AM||Coordinator Arrives at Brides home|
|12:00 PM||Light Snack/Lunch|
|12:00 PM||Photographer Arrives at Best Mans Home|
|12:45 PM||Bride’s hair and make-up complete – Get Dressed|
|01:00 PM||Formal Dress Shots begin at Brides Parents Home|
|01:00 PM||Coordinator goes to the church|
|01:30 PM||Limo Arrives at Best Mans House to pick up Groom & Groomsmen|
|01:45 PM||Limo Arrives at Brides Parents House to pick up Bridesmaids and Flowergirl|
|01:55 PM||Limo Leaves for church|
|02:00 PM||Bride and Parents leave for church in Rolls Royce|
|02:30 PM||Limo arrives at church|
|02:45 PM||Bride arrives at church|
|03:00 PM||Ceremony begins|
|03:40 PM||Ceremony Ends|
|03:45 PM||Receiving Line|
|04:20 PM||Bubble Exit|
|04:30 PM||Rolls Royce Pictures|
|04:40 PM||Formal Family Portraits In The church Begin|
|05:00 PM||Leave for pictures|
|05:00 PM||DJ and Florist arrive at venue to set up|
|05:30 PM||Head to Venue for pictures|
|06:00 PM||Cocktail hour begins|
|06:00 PM||Bride and Groom arrive at venue and take extended family Pictures|
|06:30 PM||Bride and Groom Retreat to Bridal Suite|
|07:00 PM||Guests seated for reception|
|07:05 PM||Dinner Order Taken|
|07:15 PM||First Dance|
|07:20 PM||Parent Dances|
|07:45 PM||Dinner Music Starts|
|07:45 PM||1st Course Served|
|07:45 PM||Uncle gives the blessing|
|07:55 PM||Maid Of Honor / Best Man Toast|
|08:00 PM||Father Of the Bride speech|
|08:15 PM||Dinner Served|
|08:30 PM||SURPRISE – Aunt will sing a song for the Bride and Groom|
|08:45 PM||Dancing Music Resumes|
|09:45 PM||Cake Cutting|
|09:50 PM||Bouquet Toss|
|09:55 PM||Garter Toss|
|10:00 PM||Dessert Bar Opens|
|11:00 PM||End of Reception|