6 Common Wedding Timeline Mistakes (+ free timeline download!)
Putting together a wedding day timeline can be a massive task, and a good timeline will be lengthy and include ALL wedding day details and times. Here are the most common timeline mistakes I’ve seen over the years, and how you can avoid them! Also, at the end of the post you’ll be able to sign up for my newsletter and receive my wedding day timeline template right to your email!
1. Not adding enough “buffer” time – especially for hair/makeup and photos
The areas that you are most likely to run behind on on your wedding day are during getting ready (especially if you have a large bridal party or are doing fancy up-dos), and during wedding party/family/bride and groom photos. The best way to avoid having your whole wedding running late is by padding the timeline with extra time, so if things run over — no problem! And if it stays on schedule, then you just have a little time to chill.
For example, if your hair stylist says to schedule 45 minutes per hair per person, and you have 4 bridesmaids – go ahead and tack on an additional half hour just in case. Things can also get behind during portraits, so be sure to account for extra time especially if you have a large bridal party or a large family. Make sure to give your photographer a complete list of everyone you want to have photos with — this will keep things running much smoother!
Also, since you’ll probably be getting ready all morning/afternoon, don’t forget to schedule in time for a quick lunch!!
2. Not considering the flow of the evening
When you think about your wedding day, you need to think about what will “flow” the best from event to event. This can be best explained with an example:
Let’s say you want to start off the reception with your first dance, followed by dinner, and then cake cutting. But, the dance floor is not in the same area as the reception tables, so guests would have to gather around, then head to their table for dinner, then get up again for cake, and then back to their seats for toasts. Depending on the venue this could work, but for a smoother flow it’s helpful to allow people to stay seated for toasts, then get up for cake and then right into dancing. Of course each wedding is different and certain things work for some and not others, but in general, you’ll want to consider how to make the smoothest flow of events throughout the evening, with the least amount of confusion and back and forth.
3. Not scheduling a few minutes of alone time with your sweetheart
Once the ceremony’s over, typically you head right into photos – and then the reception, where you will be constantly bombarded (in the best way) by family and friends. I always suggest to factor in a quick minute after the ceremony to soak up the fact that you just got married (!!!), usually before/after the marriage license signing. Another option is to sneak off later in the evening for golden hour photos (also HIGHLY recommended regardless), and enjoy some alone time!
4. Leaving all of your photos for after the ceremony
I know I can’t convince everyone to do a first look, but if you opt not to see each other until the ceremony, at least get as many photos done beforehand as possible. This include’s bride and bridesmaid photos, groom/groomsmen photos, any special photos of the bride and /or groom and parents, siblings, etc. Otherwise, you will keep your guests waiting for an hour to an hour and a half doing all of your wedding party, family, and newlywed photos during the cocktail hour.
If you are open to doing a first look, I HIGHLY recommend it. It is such a sweet moment between just the two of you, and it will help the rest of your evening go much smoother and not keep your guests waiting and waiting.
5. Expecting things to run perfectly on schedule
There is a very good chance things may fall a bit behind on your wedding day — and that’s okay! It’s very common for weddings to run 15-30 minutes behind (or longer), so don’t fret if this happens on your big day. As professionals, your coordinator, DJ, and other vendors will work together to get you caught back up and on schedule. Try not to stress too much about it, and just enjoy your day. <3
6. Forgetting to fill people in on your wedding day timeline
One of the best ways to help stay on schedule for your big day and to set yourself up for success is to make sure everyone’s on the same page to begin with. Be sure to send your finalized timeline to all of your wedding day vendors, and bring copies to your ceremony rehearsal for your wedding party.
So, there you have it! 6 wedding timeline mistakes, and how to avoid them. Don’t forget to sign up for my newsletter to get a sample of my timeline right to your inbox!! This timeline is based on a 5:00 pm ceremony, and includes the basic line items included in each of my timelines, but does not include all of the details and specifics that I would incorporate into an actual wedding day timeline.