One of the most important parts of my job as a Wedding Coordinator is creating the wedding timeline for each of my couples. These timelines are a labor of love and what allows us to provide a truly stress-free wedding day for all of our clients. Over the years, I have developed a system for what goes into my wedding timelines, so here is what you can expect as one of my clients!
Your Wedding Schedule
At the core of a wedding timeline is the schedule of the day. Most notably, this includes the ceremony start time, cocktail hour start time, and reception start and end time. What you may not realize is also part of the schedule is what times each of your vendors arrives and leaves! This can be especially important for vendors that are paid hourly, such as DJs and photographers. By writing their arrival and departure times out on the schedule, you can make sure you have budgeted accordingly.
Another important part of the wedding day schedule is the hair and makeup schedule. Too many times I’ve seen bridal parties without scheduled times for each person’s hair and makeup and the day is running behind before it even gets started! I reach out to my client's hair and makeup vendors to plan who will have what services when and even allow time for touchups before final departure.
Although I would love it if wedding days could be planned down to the minute, there are just some things that do not happen on a timetable and instead are started with music or verbal cues. I include all of these important cues in my wedding timelines so that vendors or wedding party members can reference them whenever needed. Some common cue examples include the processional, the end of the ceremony, and the music cues for reception entrances. I find that this also helps so that other vendors who are prepping the next portion of the wedding day out-of-sight can be aware of the pace of the celebration if they can hear where we are on the timeline.
Every seasoned wedding vendor has gotten lost in a venue at least once in their career. But not with me as the coordinator! I make sure that every event on the timeline has a location clearly stated so there’s no question as to where people should be. And if the venue locations aren’t totally straightforward, I also make sure to include a map for everyone! While this may seem like a small addition to the timeline, it can truly make a difference in the day.
Personally, I find the number one most important item on my timeline is contact information. It is inevitable that at some point a vendor will have a question for me, or I’ll have to contact them, and it is so crucial that getting in touch with each other is not only possible but easy. Every vendor in your wedding will have a phone number, email, and social media handle on the timeline so that we can reach them if we need to, or just tag them in cute wedding prep photos!
I also find it incredibly helpful to have some family members of the couple on the timeline as well. I keep two sets of lists for these types of contacts. First, is the friends or family members who will help you wrap things up at the end of the night: who is going to grab your gifts, and who is taking the decor? If I have their contact information, the end of the night goes much smoother! And second is what I call “Emergency Decision Makers” - A few select people that I can go to if something is going wrong that doesn’t need to involve the couple. Perhaps an uncle had a few too many drinks, or someone isn’t feeling well? Who do you trust to handle the situation quietly and calmly? I find that it’s best if we have those people assigned ahead of time rather than scrounging for someone who seems capable.
As you can imagine, with all of the above information my timeline file can get pretty hefty. For that reason, I make abridged versions of the timeline for each vendor with only the parts that they need to know. Your DJ doesn’t need to know the hair and makeup schedule, but if you’re taking getting-ready photos your photographer does! Creating customized timelines for each vendor makes it easier for them to digest and more likely that they will actually refer to it throughout the day.
I love creating wedding day timelines and planning every moment of the day. I have found that each wedding is totally unique, and the timeline will be too! So many weddings have quirky moments or items that get added to the timeline, but the items listed above make up my tried and true wedding day timeline formula.
Are you getting married near Frederick, Maryland, and looking for a Wedding Coordinator? I’d love to chat!
Frederick Maryland Wedding Coordinator | Wedding Timeline Checklist | Planning a Wedding Timeline
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