Thursday, July 21, 2011

Timing is Everything

As a wedding planner, I always put a lot of time and effort into the scheduling for a wedding day. Sometimes more then I would like :) but it’s a very important aspect for the success of the day. A wedding is like a production – and like any production – it has to have the right mix of excitement, emotion, visual impact, and above all, good scheduling! Timing is everything, and without good timing, all the other stuff can’t happen.

You will never host a bigger party then your wedding, so take the time to do it right.
Where do you start? Like all productions, it has a beginning, a middle, and an end. Begin with the middle – that’s usually the most important stuff, like the ceremony and reception. Then build off from there. Timing of the ceremony, cocktails and dinner are a good starting point.

Then move onto the beginning of the day. Talk to the hairstylists and make-up artists you've hired. How long will it take them to do everyone’s hair and make-up? It’s very important to make a schedule for that – so that everyone knows what time they will be getting made up, otherwise no one knows when or where they are supposed to be. That’s why weddings start late – because the morning activities were not scheduled properly. Mark down everyone’s name and appointment time, and make sure they all know where they have to be. Do you have a bridesmaid that is notoriously late? Tell her to show up fifteen minutes earlier to make sure she is on time.

Photo by David Everett Photography
Make sure to leave enough time after you are made up to get into your wedding attire. This is usually an important time with your mother, sister, or bridesmaids. You want to really enjoy this time and soak it all in. You don’t want to rush through this, especially because this will be right before you walk down the aisle – you want to feel calm and not rushed.

Photo by David Everett Photography
Photos – you should leave 3 hours for your photo session. That does not include driving time between photo sites. Choose only 2 or 3 sites to ensure you get quality time at each site. Talk to your photographer and get their input on your schedule as well. They are the pros, so they will know exactly how much time they will need to capture your images. Again, schedule this time - how long it will take to travel between sites, etc. Mapquest.com is a great tool for helping with this. Leaving a five minute buffer in between the times you leave and arrive will also ensure you aren’t rushing from point A to point B, and gives you a bit of slack in case someone is late, or something unexpected happens.
Vendors – talk to your vendors and ask them what time you can expect them to arrive. The DJ or band needs to arrive prior to the event to set-up equipment. The musicians for the ceremony will also need to arrive prior. Your bakery will need to know when to deliver the cake. When will your flowers be delivered? What time will the limousine pick everyone up? The venue will need to know what time you will be starting cocktails and dinner. Mark these times down on your schedule as well so that everyone is aware of where they need to be and at what time.

Photo by Moore Photography
Then move onto the happy ending – the reception. Consider the following and schedule them in order, and make sure your MC and DJ each get a copy:

- Your grand entrance
- Introductions
- Grace/Blessing
- Dinner start time
- Speeches and toasts
- First dance
- Cake cutting
- Garter and bouquet tosses
 
Once you’ve finalized your schedule, send a copy to all of the vendors involved in your day to make sure everyone is on the same page. Also give copies to everyone in your wedding party – this way they have no excuses for being late!


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