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For Couples

August 11, 2021

The First Four Things to Consider When Creating Your Wedding Day Timeline

Your wedding day timeline is crucial for the day-of, but we know they aren’t always the easiest thing to create! 😉 It’s why we work with our couples on key essentials very early on in the planning process. Naturally, there are a few planning pieces that need to be established before the timeline; those would include:

 

  • Selecting a date
  • Booking a venue (this post is a great resource!) 
  • Booking primary vendors

 

So now that you’ve nailed down your date, booked your venue and many of your vendors, you are at the point in your planning process where you are going to begin thinking about the timeline for the day-of. 

 

It’s important to remember that the goal of a wedding day timeline is to serve as a roadmap. The timeline should be detailed but also flexible and allow for all of your priorities as a couple to be highlighted… while also ensuring you have a fun & stress-free day! 

 

When creating your wedding day timeline, it’s important you start with Four Essentials: 

  1. Ceremony Start Time 
  2. Cocktail Hour Start Time 
  3. Dinner Start Time 
  4. Reception End Time 

 

These first four timepoints  are your guiding points. They form the anchor of your timeline and will serve as the points around which the rest of your timeline will fall into place. 

 

We recommend starting with these four essentials and building everything else off of them! You’ll be able to communicate these times to your guests + vendors moving forward, and the rest of the timeline pieces will naturally fall into place. 

 

Here are a few additional tips for each of these essentials: 

 

Ceremony Start Time – 

  • If your ceremony is religious – reach out to your officiant to begin the conversation on how long the ceremony usually lasts & what elements you want to be included. 
  • If your ceremony is planned on site at your venue – we typically see these lasting on average about 30 minutes +/- 5/10 minutes 

 

Cocktail Hour Start Time – 

  • The cocktail hour is traditionally 60 minutes in length unless a flip of a space is needed & therefore more time needs to be allowed to complete that design OR you want to create a unique food + drink experience for your guests so you extend to allow for more time to enjoy! 

 

Dinner Start Time – 

  • Dinner typically takes place following cocktail hour. We recommend building in some transition time to allow for guests to move from cocktail hour and find their seat. The amount of time needed will depend on two main things: (1) your guest count (2) distance between cocktail hour and dinner. We typically recommend anywhere from 10-20 minutes for transition time. 
  • The actual start of dinner will depend on what formalities you choose to include prior to dinner service commencing. This includes things like introductions, speeches, welcome toasts, blessings, and formal dances. 

 

Reception Start Time – 

  • The start of the reception usually takes place at the conclusion of dinner. It can be marked by parent dances or simply an invitation for all guests to join the dance floor. This is truly when the fun portion of the evening begins. We often encourage our couples to think of ways during this time to enhance their guest experience – think things like late night pop ups or ice cream trucks, fun pop up favor stations, etc. The options are truly endless. 

 

Building a realistic timeline is critical – we want to encourage you to work with your vendor(s) moving forward to really take into account every vendor’s needs. This is one of the advantages of working with an event planning team – they are able to be that middle team member making sure all the voices and needs are heard. We love working with our couples to ensure their day-of is smooth, while also factoring in vendor needs so the service is exceptional for all involved! 

Looking for more wedding timeline development guidance? We’ve created just the resource! The Modern Wedding Planner! We’ve taken our signature planning approach used with hundreds of clients and channeled it into a comprehensive, step-by-step, results driven resource that empowers you with the tools, the strategy, the industry based secrets, and the assurance/confidence to make your dream wedding a reality! CLICK HERE to watch a lesson completely free, our gift to you!

The First Four Things to Consider When Creating Your Wedding Day Timeline// Your Sweetest Day Events (relevant hashtags: #weddingplanning #timeline #weddingdayschedule)

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