Wedding Timeline Mistakes and How to Avoid Them
— By Lorna Urwin
31 May 2017
A wedding day is a complex affair. Making sure it all goes smoothly can depend on a lot of different factors and individuals, but one of the most important is a well-organised timeline. While the right approach will differ from wedding to wedding, there are some key mistakes that should be universally avoided! Learn from the common mistakes listed below.
1/ Leaving transitions unplanned
Image by Cambria Grace Photography
Sometimes it’s the ‘in between’ moments that can slip up even the most carefully constructed timeline. How will guests know when to move from cocktail hour on the terrace to dinner in the hall? Will someone announce it? Will there be timings listed in the programme? Will there be directions or signage? Make sure you have the answers to these questions beforehand to avoid guest confusion!
2/ Setting timings you won’t stick to
Image by Patina Photography
Be realistic rather than optimistic about the amount of time you’ll want to spend on certain parts of the day or, at the very least, make sure that you put systems in place to help stick to the timings you’ve set! For instance, if you’re notoriously slow at getting ready, either allot an over-generous amount of time for getting ready or make sure that you plan to have your hair and makeup done first so that you won’t hold everything else up!
3/ Not having someone to watch the clock
Image by Stacey Hedman
A schedule is no good if you lose track of time. Consider keeping a watch on hand or delegate someone to keep an eye on the time on your behalf. (Alternatively, your time checker might set up alarms for themselves to keep them actively aware of time passing, just as long as they won’t interrupt any important parts of the day!) Make sure your designated assistant keeps you updated so you can pick up the pace or adjust plans as necessary.
4/ Not sharing your wedding schedule
Image by Maria Lamb Photography
If you’ve devised a wedding schedule, make sure the final version gets to every person who will benefit from it. Usually, this includes the bridal party and vendors, but people like toast makers may also benefit from seeing how they fit into the wider schedule and precisely how much time they have for their toast.
5/ Not building in contingency time
Things often take longer than you think, whether it’s getting from A to B, a photo shoot or mingling with guests. To account for this, add a little bit of extra time (only 5 or 10 minutes) into your transitions so that if things overrun a little you’ll still be on track.
6/ Forgetting to prepare or plan things in advance
Image by Tamara Gruner Photography
A sure-fire way to save time on your wedding day is to do as much advanced organisation as you can. Take your photographer’s detail shots: if you prepare a list of everything you’d like them to shoot ahead of time (shoes, rings, your invitation suite) and then neatly gather those things into one bag or location the night before, you’ll save precious time scrambling around the room come the morning itself. You can apply similar organisation to forewarn people about group portraits (the time and location), scope out photo locations you’d like or gather a list of backup contacts in case a vendor falls through.
7/ Not planning for overtime scenarios
Image by Elizabeth Nord Photography
Even if you’re not planning on running over, it pays to be fully prepared in case you find yourself heading past a time limit! Check the overtime policies and rates with any relevant vendors (entertainment, photographer, videographer, coordinator,) so that you can make a fully informed decision in the moment.