Making Your Wedding Day Timeline

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.

Next:

  • 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
07:10 PM Introductions
07:15 PM First Dance
07:20 PM Parent Dances
07:30 PM Dancing
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
10:05 PM Dancing
11:00 PM End of Reception

Make sure you put arrival and departure times for everyone, including vendors, and time how long it takes to get from one location to another in your wedding day itinerary. Pad the time it takes to travel and to finish tasks like hair, photos and decorating.

Your wedding day itinerary will not look like anyone else’s, or have the exact same timing.

Work with your vendor on the timing for dinner (especially sit down dinners, which take more time), dancing, and traditional events like the cutting of the cake.

No two bride’s will have the same wedding day schedule.

Don’t forget to communicate your wedding day itinerary to all your vendors and wedding day participants!

10:00 AM Hair and Make-up begins
12:00 PM Sage Arrives
12:00 PM Eat Lunch!!!
01:00 PM Photographers arrive at the house
01:30 PM Sage goes to the church
02:15 PM Limo arrives at the house to pick up girls
03:00 PM Ceremony begins
03:45 PM Ceremony Ends
03:50 PM Receiving Line
04:30 PM Formal Portraits In The church Begin
04:45 PM Bubble Exit
04:50 PM Leave for pictures – Location TBD
05:00 PM DJ arrives at GV to set up
05:45 PM Formal Pictures End – Head to Grandview
06:00 PM Cocktail hour begins
06:30 PM Kristin & Jeremy Retreat to Bridal Suite
07:00 PM Guests seated for reception
07:15 PM Introductions
07:20 PM First Dance
07:25 PM Parent Dance (F/D, M/S, SM/S)
07:40 PM Dinner Order Taken
07:50 PM 1st Course Served
08:00 PM FOB speech
08:05 PM MOH / BM Toast
08:15 PM 2nd Course Served
09:00 PM Dinner Served
09:45 PM Cake Cutting
09:50 PM Bouquet Toss
09:55 PM Garter Toss
10:00 PM Dancing
11:00 PM End of Reception

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s