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My BIGGEST pet peeve of late is a wedding without a timeline.  In fact, I can hardly believe a wedding should take place without one!  Call me OCD.  Tell me I’m crazy.  It’s ok: I’m used to it.  🙂  However, as a wedding planner/coordinator (and for every other vendor on your wedding day), a timeline is ESSENTIAL. 

– A timeline sets our mind at ease, ensures your vendors are all on the same page and offers a sense of organization to the hustle and bustle of the day.

– A timeline ensures your vendors arrive on time and leave on time, keeping you from accruing additional charges for services that run beyond the contracted time.

– A timeline keeps both vendors’ and guests’ activities organized and running smoothly on your wedding day.

Your next question, I’m sure, is “who makes the timeline?”  For those of you who have hired a wedding planner (yay!), he or she will work with your other vendors to implement a timeline incorporating your needs and ideas with those of your vendors.  For those of you without a planner (shame on you!), often the DJ or photographer will work up a rough timeline, at least for photographs and reception activities.  Working with your photographer or DJ, I encourage you to fill in their timeline to keep you, your bridal party and other vendors in the loop. 

A few tips for working on your wedding day timeline:

1.  ALWAYS start with the DJ, photographer or venue’s timeline.  They are on a time crunch and have a strict deadline and a long list of responsibilities.  The photographers are working with daylight schedules, contract schedules and your list of “must-have” photographs.  A DJ has to make sure that your bouquet is tossed, cake cut and all of the important songs are played.  Work with them; they will work with you in return. 

2.  Start from the beginning.  Don’t leave out your hair appointment, bridesmaids’ luncheon or other activities you have planned before the wedding. 

3.  Allow ample time (but not too much time) for each activity.  Remember that each dance will last AT LEAST 3 minutes and that guests need plenty of time to eat/mingle/grab a cocktail. 

4.  Make sure each of the vendors involved in your Big Day has a copy of your timeline.  Go over any quirky details or concerns that either of you has.

5.  As your wedding begins, if you do not have a coordinator/planner hand off your timeline.  There is no need to have it attached to your hip – you don’t want to stress out the entire time!  Allow a close friend or needs-to-be-involved family member (NOT your parents or in-laws!) to orchestrate your events.  Your ceremony should follow the outline in your program, while your reception will follow your DJ’s list of activities.  Your photographer has worked through his or her timeline for photographs and your DJ takes over once the reception begins.  Don’t be a timeline crazy!  (NOTE: Discuss your timeline with your vendors in length but remember, they are the professionals! Take suggestions of change kindly and work closely with them.)

6.  Overwhelmed by the thought of a timeline?  It can be a difficult task!  HIRE A WEDDING DAY COORDINATOR!  With anywhere from 3 -10 vendors involved in your big day, keeping everything straight and on time can be a major headache!  A wedding coordinator is one of the greatest investments you can make for your wedding and for many brides, a saving grace! 

Your day will run much more smoothly if you work up a timeline for you, your bridal party and your vendors for wedding day activities.  Need timeline help?!  Shoot us an email!  We’ll be glad to discuss with you ways a wedding day coordinator can organize your vendors, activities and the highlights of your BIG DAY!

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