In today’s episode, we are talking about Timeline Crushers. These are the things you may not think about that can set you back, or derail your wedding day plans.
Don’t worry, none of these will destroy your day, but as wedding vendors, they are the usual pitfalls we see all the time. No matter what, you can get back on track, but they are things that we as vendors look out for and try to help couples avoid.
It’s natural for big events like this to have natural ebbs and flows in the timeline, but with a little bit of preparation and a few tips, you’ll be much better equipped to keep the delays to a bare minimum and have the best day ever!
We have literally seen toasts go 45 minutes or more. When your event is only 6 hours or so, 45 minutes is a big chunk out of the day, and you probably didn’t plan for that.
In our experience, if a toast goes on longer than 15 minutes, people naturally start to tune it out.
We understand that people get nervous and start to ramble, it’s just natural. The best thing you can do to control the toast length and help them out is to give the toast givers some parameters.
Here are our tips:
Remember, these are just tips for those concerned with the timing. If you don’t care and you want to give people the freedom to speak as long as they want, then do that!
The seating chart is one of the big ones that can throw the timeline off track. If it’s not big enough or it’s not in a place where it can be easily seen, then there’s usually a bottleneck of guests trying to find their seats and file into the reception, which can really slow things down.
We like to recommend having two seating charts: one by the door, and one by the bar.
The hour you have for cocktail hour is a great time for people to wander around and figure out where they will be sitting during dinner, and having a chart by the bar makes it really easy for people to see.
You can also have your wedding planner, DJ, or ushers encourage people to check the seating chart so they know it’s there and have lots of time to find their seat.
A few more tips:
The newlyweds will get served dinner first, and then afterward you may want to walk around the room and greet or thank guests. After dinner is a good time to do that but, without having a strategy to get to everyone, this can end up eating up a huge chunk of time. Here are a few parameters that we have found helpful:
But the bottom line is that a little bit of pre-planning can help make sure you see the people you want to say hi to the most!
Everyone has friends or family that are notoriously late.
A recent trend is to put the starting time on the invitation as 15-30 minutes before you intend to start to make sure that all the guests are present before the ceremony starts. While this may be a good tactic for catching a movie on time, it can lead to confused and restless vendors and guests.
We always recommend staying true to the start time that you put on your invitations. If you are about to start and there are a couple of last-minute guests coming in, we suggest letting them find their seats and then starting right away.
By starting the ceremony as close to the actual time as you can, you set the tone for the rest of the event. If you take on the mentality that you are going to wait for everyone to arrive, you might find that you end up starting 45 minutes late, which can really derail the rest of your event.
The length of your ceremony is completely up to you, but here are a few things to keep in mind:
No matter how prepared you are for your big day, there are always unexpected little things that always come up!
Here are some of the most common little things:
You don’t have to plan a ton of extra time for these things, but they are good to be aware of. After all, 15 minutes here and 5 minutes there can really start to add up. Check our Wedding Day Checklist to help you prepare for some of the little things you may not have thought of.
Making sure all of your vendors have the same timeline can make the day go much smoother.
When planning the wedding, you might get a timeline from the DJ, caterer, photographer, and florist and realize that they are all different from each other and no one is on the same page.
Have a conversation with each vendor well in advance. Ask them, “What do you need?” “How much time do you need?” and “What time are you arriving?”
All of that information can be put on one and given to each vendor so that everyone knows exactly what to expect.
This can go a long way in making sure your event is as efficient as possible! Without a timeline, you might find that some of the shots the photographer wants will extend their time by 45 minutes. This can cut into dinner and cause the caterers to have to scramble to keep the food hot, for instance.
If you have a planner, they will take care of this, but it’s good to be prepared for it if you are doing the planning! Whether you are organizing your timeline, or your planner is, it’s a good idea to have it finalized at least a week before the wedding.
The best part about all of this is that it all works out. It really does.
If your big day is creeping up, just know this: we know that sometimes it can feel overwhelming to read posts like this but don’t panic! These ideas are only meant to help you prepare for the unexpected.
If you have professionals hired, they are used to anticipating the time crushers and dealing with them so you don’t have to.
However, if you are doing the planning yourself, it will help to have even a basic timeline put together to keep your day as stress free as possible (and we can help!)
Check out our top tips for How to DIY Your Wedding and our Wedding Timeline Example or download the Wedding Planning Bundle to help keep the planning process moving smoothly.
We also offer 1:1 virtual planning sessions where we will sit down with you help you work through any part of the wedding planning process that you may be stuck on. Whether it’s creating a timeline or finding the right song for your first dance, we can help! Check out our virtual planning sessions!
And as always, no matter what happens, your wedding day is going to be fabulous and beautiful because it is all about you and your partner and your love for each other.
Wishing you a wonderful wedding day!
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