How to Create a Wedding Timeline
Do I really need a wedding timeline?
If you want your wedding day to run smoothly and on time, you need a timeline. If you have hired a wedding planner, most likely they will create a timeline for you and distribute it to the rest of your vendors.
Ideally you will have two timelines, one for your wedding party and immediate family and the other for your wedding vendors. Creating one timeline for both may overload people with information and they will be less likely to carefully read it, so it’s best just to send them the information that pertains to them. The timeline for your wedding party and family will help ensure everyone knows where to be and when, hopefully reducing the number of phone calls and texts you get during the wedding weekend to ask about these details.
The timeline you provide your wedding vendors serves several functions. The timeline will serve as a final confirmation of arrival and departure times for vendors and the order of events for the day. Compiling all of the key events chronologically into one document can help you and/or your vendors foresee and address issues with timing in advance. For example, maybe the bakery is supposed to place the flowers on your cake when they deliver it at 1:00 PM but the florist can’t deliver the flowers until 2:00 PM.
When do I send out the wedding timeline?
Wedding vendors are unlikely to pay much attention to your timeline until the week of your wedding. I would suggest sending out your timeline on the Monday prior to your wedding. Ask that each vendor review it and email you back with a confirmation that all the details are correct or to advise you if any changes need to be made. If revisions are required, send out a revised timeline at least two days prior to the event and confirm it has been received by all vendors that are affected by any changes that were made.
Creating a Timeline for Your Wedding Party
Include the Date, Time and Location for the following wedding weekend events:
- Welcome dinner
- Bridal luncheon
- Wedding rehearsal
- Rehearsal dinner
- Salon appointments
- Day after brunch
The wedding day timeline should include:
- The time and location(s) where the wedding party will be getting ready
- What time everyone needs to be photo ready and times photos will be taken
- Ceremony start time
- Time the wedding party will be introduced at the reception
- Time toasts will be given and who will be giving them
You may also want to provide additional details on the following:
- Reminders of anything they need to bring, for example, cash to pay the hair and makeup artist or a pictures of how they would like their hair styled
- Let them know if you are providing breakfast and/or lunch
- Remind the ladies to wear a button up shirt so they don’t mess up their hair or makeup when they change
- Details on transportation if you are providing it
- Details on parking
- Contact information for someone other than you that can help them if they are lost or need help
Creating a Wedding Day Timeline for Your Vendors
The timeline you distribute to your wedding vendors should include:
- Your name and your fiancé’s name, phone numbers and email addresses
- Wedding rehearsal date, time and location
- The wedding date
- The ceremony venue, address, start and end time
- The reception venue, address, start and end time
- Vendor contact information including their business name, service provided, contact person, phone number and email address
- You should ask your vendors who will be your point of contact on the day of your wedding and confirm the best number to reach them that day.
- The name and number of a designated person other than the bride and groom that vendors may call with questions on the wedding day
- The location where the wedding party will be getting ready, start time
- Time the wedding party will arrive at the ceremony venue
- Arrival time of the caterer, officiant, photographer, hair & makeup artists, musicians, bakery, florist, rentals, videographer, lighting company, bar service, security and any other vendors.
- Departure time of the photographer, musicians, videographer, bar service and security
- Transportation schedule including pick-up and drop-off locations and who transportation is being provided for
- Time photography will begin
- Your photographer may be able to provide you with a schedule of what will be shot when so that you can best plan how to use your time.
- Time the venue allows vendors to begin setting up
- Time music should begin and end
- Time bar should open and close
- Time cocktail hour beings and ends and the location
- Time ballroom doors will be open for guests
- Time hors d’oeuvres and dinner are served
- Time and location vendors will be fed
- Time for cake cutting
- Time for first dance and parent dances
- Time for bouquet toss or garter toss
- Time for toasts
- Time for grand exit
You may want to provide these additional details:
- The processional order
- Song title to be played during the processional, the brides entrance, the recessional, grand entrance, first dance and parent dances.
- How you would like to be announced for your grand entrance including the names of your wedding party if applicable
- Any announcements that should be made
- Phonetic spelling of any uncommon names