• Raina

The Importance of a Wedding Timeline


Many couples get swept up in the excitement of their wedding day planning and as a result they forget about the inner workings of the actual wedding day and how it all comes together. This is where the importance of the Day-Of Timeline comes in.

We want you to have the best day possible, so if you haven't hired an experienced wedding planner to handle all the details, here are our top 5 things not to forget when working on your timeline.

1. Consider Travel Time

Traffic is unpredictable at best. Especially here in Music City. Some days it will take you 10 minutes to get to your desired destination where as on other days it can take over an hour to go 7 miles. As any local, I-24 is truly the bane of our existence. Avoid this headache by adding a buffer for travel time into your event day timeline. We always like to schedule a day to do a trial run for a better sense of actual travel time. For example, if you are planning to leave your hotel at noon on Saturday to head to your venue for pre-wedding day photos, time the drive on a Saturday at noon from point A to point B. We suggest that you do this for all other routes being taken that day as well. That said, with all the moving parts on a wedding day from hair and makeup to retouching mom's face when she starts to tear up at your first look with dad (remind her to use waterproof mascara!!); we suggest that you add a 20 minute buffer just in case you run late or hit unanticipated delays. We also suggest that you check to see if there are any major events also scheduled for your wedding day that may cause road closures such a a parade or marathon. This way you can already have an alternate route in mind.

2. Timing The Vendor Load-In

Most weddings take roughly 3-5 hours to entirely set up depending on your overall design. If there is tenting involved, anticipate for even more of a time requirement. Between your caterer, rentals, floral and décor not to mention the band or DJ, you could easily have upwards of 10-15 people all attempting to simultaneously load in their gear, goods and perishables. Of you are not careful, this can cause major chaos. We recommend speaking directly with your venue about specific load-in times and then confirming with your vendors so you are able to work out time slots that best suit everyone in terms of staggered arrivals.

3. Invite Time vs Guest Arrival vs Ceremony Start Time

Timing is crucial. Especially when considering the overall experience from the point of view of your wedding guests. The time that you put on your wedding invitation is the actual time you wish your ceremony to begin. On average, we see guests starting to arrive approximately 30 minutes prior to the scheduled start time. It is essential that your vendors know the anticipated guest arrival time when you speak with them about load in and set up as well as the actual ceremony start time on your invitations. This way they know what to anticipate and are prepared.

4. Sunset and Golden Hour

Golden Hour is that magical time of day approximately 45-60 minutes prior to the sun dipping behind the horizon. Trust us, the lighting is incredible! You will want photos during this time!! Be sure to look up the time of sunset on your wedding day so that you can get some gorgeous portraits as husband and wife. This is crucial information to share with your photography team especially if your ceremony and/or reception are being held outdoors.

5. Breakdown and Clean Up

No one enjoys having to clean up after a party, but it is a necessary evil. Typically most weddings can be broken down and packed away in about an hour, however, this is entirely dependent on how elaborate your design and set up is. Some venues have very specific breakdown/end times. We recommend checking your contract with regards to this as they may have scheduled a cleaning crew to come in afterwards. Always discuss the venue’s timing expectations with your venue manager to be sure everything is entirely clear. Communicate these terms and time constraints with your vendor team, include the “must be out” time on your day-of timeline as an important reminder of when they should return to the venue at the end of the event.

Just remember, the day-of timeline is a guideline, not a hard and fast rule book. If you feel the need to slightly extend your cocktail hour because you need a little more time for photos it is perfectly ok. Just be 100% sure that your catering team is well aware of this as well as the new anticipated start times so they can make further adjustments. If you opt to cut your cake earlier because elderly guests are beginning to leave, its ok!! Your guests will be happy to get dessert early. The most important thing to remember is to begin and end on time. Everything in between is flexible. That said, if you don't want to have to worry about all this, hire a professional planner. It's what we excel at. We would love to help you say YES to less stress on such an important day!!

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