Monday, June 30, 2014

Crafting a Timeline for Your Wedding Day


I'm the kind of procastinator where if I don't know how to start a project, I will completely and totally avoid it until the day before it's due.
 
So when our day-of coordinator (here on out abbreviated as DOC) emailed me asking for our wedding day timeline, I knew the deadline was looming in the not-so-distant future.
 
Knowing it was now or never, I eventually I came up with a pretty comprehensive timeline.  But it took a lot of Googling and reading to really get it straight.  Lucky for you, I complied a step-by-step list for creating a wedding-day timeline; and I'll share ours with you at the end of the post. 
 
Step One:  For Sures
Start with your "for sure" times.  Don't feel like you need to start at midnight and schedule out your whole wedding day from start to finish. 
 
So my "for sure" times were:
- Ceremony is for sure (scheduled to be) starting at 2:30pm
- Dinner is for sure starting at 4:30pm
- Reception is for sure ending at 9pm
- After-party is for sure starting at 9:30pm
 
Ok, so not great, but it's a start.   
 
Step Two: Vendors
Start filling in the vendor arrival times.  I searched through all my email exchanges and vendor contracts to get these. 
 
- Hair and makeup team will arrive at hotel between 7:30 and 8am
- Breakfast and coffee will be delivered at 8:00am
- Photographers will arrive at hotel between 10:30 and 11am
- DOC will arrive at The Atrium at 12:00pm
- Florist will arrive at The Atrium at 12:30pm
- DJ will arrive at The Atrium at 1:30pm
- Shuttle will arrive at hotel to take guests to The Atrium at 1:45pm
- Baker will arrive at The Atrium at 2:00pm
- Photobooth will arrive at The Atrium at 2:00pm
- Shuttle will depart the hotel for The Atrium at 2:00pm
- Ceremony is for sure starting at 2:30pm
- Photobooth will open at 3:15pm
- Dinner is for sure starting at 4:30pm
- Photobooth will close at 8:15pm and begin teardown
- Reception is for sure ending at 9pm
- Final return shuttle trip to the hotel will depart from The Atrium at 9:15pm
- After-party is for sure starting at 9:30pm
- DOC will pack and box items and leave The Atrium no later than 11:00pm
 
Looking better, right? 
 
Step Three: Travel
Add in travel times for the wedding party.  For us this included, leaving the hotel, going to the first look spot, and going to the ceremony and reception site.  For others, it can include going to a separate ceremony site like a church or going to more than one photo site before (or after!) the ceremony.
 
Google Maps is your friend here!  Use the estimated travel times to figure how much time you'll need to get from one place or the other.  If you're taking photos at one of your destinations, this will help you determine how much time you'll have for photos.  Make sure to add 5-ish minutes for getting in and out of vehicles. 
 
For me, this was a real eye opener!  I knew it was about 10 miles from the hotel to our first look spot but when I mapped it, I realized it took 20 minutes to get there.  Big difference! 
 
- Hair and makeup team will arrive at hotel between 7:30 and 8am
- Breakfast and coffee will be delivered at 8:00am
- Photographers will arrive at hotel between 10:30 and 11am
- Bride and Groom leave hotel separately with parents and head to first look spot at 12:00pm
- DOC will arrive at The Atrium at 12:00pm
- Wedding party leaves hotel in party bus and heads to first look spot at 12:15pm
- Florist will arrive at The Atrium at 12:30pm
- First look and wedding party photos from 12:30-1:45pm
- DJ will arrive at The Atrium at 1:30pm
- Shuttle will arrive at hotel to take guests to The Atrium at 1:45pm
- Bus will leave first look spot at 1:45pm
- Bus will arrive at The Atrium at 2:00pm
- Baker will arrive at The Atrium at 2:00pm
- Photobooth will arrive at The Atrium at 2:00pm
- Shuttle will depart the hotel for The Atrium at 2:00pm
- Ceremony is for sure starting at 2:30pm
- Photobooth will open at 3:15pm
- Dinner is for sure starting at 4:30pm
- Photobooth will close at 8:15pm and begin teardown
- Reception is for sure ending at 9pm
- Final return shuttle trip to the hotel will depart from The Atrium at 9:15pm
- After-party is for sure starting at 9:30pm
- DOC will pack and box items and leave The Atrium no later than 11:00pm
 
Alright!  Now we're cooking!!  At this point, your time before the wedding should be pretty much mapped out. 
 
Step 4:  Cocktail Hour, Photos & Intros
Ok, you've got your pre-wedding stuff more or less taken care of, now its time to map out the cocktail hour, your photos afterward, and intro to the reception.
 
- Hair and makeup team will arrive at hotel between 7:30 and 8am
- Breakfast and coffee will be delivered at 8:00am
- Photographers will arrive at hotel between 10:30 and 11am
- Bride and Groom leave hotel separately with parents and head to first look spot at 12:00pm
- DOC will arrive at The Atrium at 12:00pm
- Wedding party leaves hotel in party bus and heads to first look spot at 12:15pm
- Florist will arrive at The Atrium at 12:30pm
- First look and wedding party photos from 12:30-1:45pm
- DJ will arrive at The Atrium at 1:30pm
- Shuttle will arrive at hotel to take guests to The Atrium at 1:45pm
- Bus will leave first look spot at 1:45pm
- Bus will arrive at The Atrium at 2:00pm
- Baker will arrive at The Atrium at 2:00pm
- Photobooth will arrive at The Atrium at 2:00pm
- Shuttle will depart the hotel for The Atrium at 2:00pm
- Ceremony is for sure starting at 2:30pm
- Ceremony ends at 2:50pm
- Family and "OMG We just got married!" photos from 2:50pm - 3:30pm
- Cocktail hour begins at 3:00pm
- Photobooth will open at 3:15pm
- Cocktail hour ends at 4:00pm, reception space doors open, guests find seats
- Wedding party introduced at 4:20pm
- Dinner is for sure starting at 4:30pm
- Photobooth will close at 8:15pm and begin teardown
- Reception is for sure ending at 9pm
- Final return shuttle trip to the hotel will depart from The Atrium at 9:15pm
- After-party is for sure starting at 9:30pm
- DOC will pack and box items and leave The Atrium no later than 11:00pm
 
 
Step 5: Reception & Traditions
Make a list of all of your reception "must haves" and traditions - you know, like cake cutting, first dance, bouquet toss, toasts, and the like.  Figure out about how long each will last.  Use Google when and if necessary.
 
- Hair and makeup team will arrive at hotel between 7:30 and 8am
- Breakfast and coffee will be delivered at 8:00am
- Photographers will arrive at hotel between 10:30 and 11am
- Bride and Groom leave hotel separately with parents and head to first look spot at 12:00pm
- DOC will arrive at The Atrium at 12:00pm
- Wedding party leaves hotel in party bus and heads to first look spot at 12:15pm
- Florist will arrive at The Atrium at 12:30pm
- First look and wedding party photos from 12:30-1:45pm
- DJ will arrive at The Atrium at 1:30pm
- Shuttle will arrive at hotel to take guests to The Atrium at 1:45pm
- Bus will leave first look spot at 1:45pm
- Bus will arrive at The Atrium at 2:00pm
- Baker will arrive at The Atrium at 2:00pm
- Photobooth will arrive at The Atrium at 2:00pm
- Shuttle will depart the hotel for The Atrium at 2:00pm
- Ceremony is for sure starting at 2:30pm
- Ceremony ends at 2:50pm
- Family and "OMG We just got married!" photos from 2:50pm - 3:30pm
- Cocktail hour begins at 3:00pm
- Photobooth will open at 3:15pm
- Cocktail hour ends at 4:00pm, reception space doors open, guests find seats
- Wedding party introduced at 4:20pm
- Dinner is for sure starting at 4:30pm
- FOB Welcome Speech start when guests are seated and ready to eat - 4:35pm-ish
- MOH/BM speeches as people are eating - 5:15pm-ish
- Dinner ends, cake, candy and cookies available at 5:45pm
- First dance starts at 5:50pm (Thank you speech as music starts)
- Father/Daughter and Mother/Son dance at 5:55pm
- Dance floor opens
- Anniversary dance and bouquet giveaway at 7:30pm
- Photobooth will close at 8:15pm and begin teardown
- Final song played at 8:55pm
- Reception is for sure ending at 9pm
- Final return shuttle trip to the hotel will depart from The Atrium at 9:15pm
- After-party is for sure starting at 9:30pm
- DOC will pack and box items and leave The Atrium no later than 11:00pm
 
Now this looks pretty impressive!  
 
Step 5: Extras
Our schedule is pretty much set at this point, I just needed to add a few extras like sneaking off for sunset photos towards the end of the reception, allowing for final hair/makeup adjustments before leaving for the first look. 
 
- Hair and makeup team will arrive at hotel between 7:30 and 8am
- Breakfast and coffee will be delivered at 8:00am
- Photographers will arrive at hotel between 10:30 and 11am
- All hair and makeup complete by 11:30am
- Dress on, final hair and makeup touch ups
- Bride and Groom leave hotel separately with parents and head to first look spot at 12:00pm
- DOC will arrive at The Atrium at 12:00pm
- Wedding party leaves hotel in party bus and heads to first look spot at 12:15pm
- Florist will arrive at The Atrium at 12:30pm
- First look and wedding party photos from 12:30-1:45pm
- DJ will arrive at The Atrium at 1:30pm
- Shuttle will arrive at hotel to take guests to The Atrium at 1:45pm
- Bus will leave first look spot at 1:45pm
- Bus will arrive at The Atrium at 2:00pm
- Baker will arrive at The Atrium at 2:00pm
- Photobooth will arrive at The Atrium at 2:00pm
- Shuttle will depart the hotel for The Atrium at 2:00pm
- Bouts on, bouquets in hand, RB and FG have their signs by 2:25pm
- Ceremony is for sure starting at 2:30pm
- Ceremony ends at 2:50pm
- Family and "OMG We just got married!" photos from 2:50pm - 3:30pm
- Cocktail hour begins at 3:00pm
- Photobooth will open at 3:15pm
- Cocktail hour ends at 4:00pm, reception space doors open, guests find seats
- Wedding party introduced at 4:20pm
- Dinner is for sure starting at 4:30pm
- FOB Welcome Speech start when guests are seated and ready to eat - 4:35pm-ish
- MOH/BM speeches as people are eating - 5:15pm-ish
- Dinner ends, cake, candy and cookies available at 5:45pm
- First dance starts at 5:50pm (Thank you speech as music starts)
- Father/Daughter and Mother/Son dance at 5:55pm
- Dance floor opens
- Anniversary dance and bouquet giveaway at 7:30pm
- Bride and Groom sneak away for sunset photos at 8pm
- Photobooth will close at 8:15pm and begin teardown
- Bride and Groom return at 8:30pm
- Final song played at 8:55pm
- Reception is for sure ending at 9pm
- Final return shuttle trip to the hotel will depart from The Atrium at 9:15pm
- After-party is for sure starting at 9:30pm
- DOC will pack and box items and leave The Atrium no later than 11:00pm
 
And here is the final product, all items in green indicate vendors and tasks we won't see happening.

7:30-8:00am – Makeup and hair stylists arrive at hotel
8:00am – Breakfast and coffee delivered from Panera
9:30am – Vendors arrive at The Atrium for setup
10:30am – Photographers arrive for getting ready photos – one to bride, other to groom
11:30am – All hair and makeup finished
11:45am – Dress on, final touches
12:00pm – DOC arrives at The Atrium to assist with setup
12:00pm – Bride and Groom leave hotel separately and head to first look spot
12:15pm – Wedding party leaves hotel in bus and heads to first look spot for photos
12:30pm – DJ arrives at The Atrium, begins setting up ceremony sound, uplighting, booth
12:45pm – Wedding party arrives at first look spot for group photos
1:45pm – Wedding party leaves first look spot and heads to The Atrium
1:45pm – Shuttle arrives at hotel
2:00pm – Pittsburgh Photobooth arrives at The Atrium to set up photobooth
2:00pm – Baker arrives at The Atrium to set up cake
2:00pm – Bus departs hotel for the Atrium
2:00pm – Wedding party dropped off at The Atrium, bridal party separates – flowers picked up, bouts and corsages on, FG and RB have their signs
2:15pm – Shuttle arrives at The Atrium with guests
2:30pm – Ceremony start time
2:50pm – Ceremony end time
2:50pm – 3:30pm – Family photos
3:00pm – Cocktail hour begins, bar opens
3:15pm – Photobooth opens
4:00pm – Cocktail hour ends, reception space doors open, guests find seats
4:15pm – Photobooth closes for dinner
4:20pm – Wedding party introduced
4:30pm – Buffet opens
4:35pm – Bride Dad Welcome Speech, toast
5:15pm – Photobooth re-opens
5:15pm – MOH and BM speeches
5:45pm – Dinner ends, cake is cut in the back and placed on plates on cookie table
5:50pm – First dance (Thank you speech as music starts) (invite all wedding party couples to dance)
5:55pm – Father/Daughter and Mother/Son dance
6:00pm – Open dance floor
7:30pm – Anniversary dance
8:00pm – Bride and Groom sneak away for sunset pictures in Atrium garden
8:15pm – Photobooth will close and begin teardown
8:30pm – Bride and Groom return
8:55pm – Final song played
9:15pm – Shuttle departs for Rachel’s and after party

I'm not gonna lie and say this was a piece of cake, but when you break it down into little sections, I think it's soooo much easier to take on.   

But what do you guys think?  Do you see any glaring errors where I'm not budgeting enough time?  Or too much time?  Am I missing anything essential? 

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