Learn expert tips and sur­pris­ing de­tails on what should be in­cluded.

Inside Weddings - - Inside Weddings - ILANA ROSENBERG OF ILANA ASH­LEY EVENTS

Get tips from a wed­ding plan­ner on how to best or­ga­nize your big day.

We’ve all been to a stun­ning wed­ding where the cer­e­mony starts an hour late, the toasts are in­ter­minable, and the maid of honor is run­ning around fraz­zled ask­ing if any­one’s seen the pho­tog­ra­pher. When planning your own spe­cial day, you can avoid wed­ding fails by creat­ing a de­tailed time­line. While the dé­cor el­e­ments are more vis­i­ble, hav­ing your big day progress smoothly will trans­form your cel­e­bra­tion from merely a beau­ti­ful event to a mag­i­cal one.

Creat­ing a Time­line: Who, How & Why

All of your ven­dors should know when you ex­pect them to ar­rive, when they should be done set­ting up, and what time they need to re­turn for clean up. Con­sider mak­ing a con­densed ver­sion for your wed­ding party and fam­ily to en­sure that they know where they need to be.

Block off your wed­ding day into 15-minute seg­ments that start from the time you wake up un­til you depart for your ho­tel suite. In­clude when all of your ven­dors should ar­rive, when tasks need to be com­pleted, and the progress from dif­fer­ent events dur­ing the re­cep­tion (i.e. doors open for your guests, din­ner service be­gins, etc.). The more de­tails and speci­ficity you in­clude, the bet­ter! Dis­cover some of the nec­es­sary com­po­nents you’ll need to in­clude by read­ing below.

Hair & Makeup

•Ask your stylist how long they need per per­son and work back­wards from the cer­e­mony time through your pho­tog­ra­phy sched­ule.

•Keep in mind if any­one in your wed­ding party needs time to breast­feed or has small chil­dren at home, might affect when they are able to ar­rive for their ap­point­ment.

•Add in time for eat­ing break­fast and lunch be­tween beauty ap­point­ments! This will help to avoid faint­ing brides­maids and drunk grooms­men.


•To en­sure you re­ceive beau­ti­ful de­tail shots of your wed­ding gown and ac­ces­sories, sched­ule your pho­tog­ra­pher to ar­rive to­ward the end of your makeup ap­point­ment.

•Will you be giv­ing gifts to your part­ner or brides­maids/ grooms­men? Fac­tor this into your pho­tog­ra­phy time­line. •Think about the pho­tos that you want most and cre­ate a shot list so your pho­tog­ra­pher knows who to in­clude in each im­age. Ask them how much time is needed for these im­por­tant por­traits.

•Con­sider des­ig­nat­ing a fam­ily mem­ber as your pho­tog­ra­pher’s go-to per­son when try­ing to wran­gle ev­ery­one to­gether.


•In­clude suf­fi­cient time for your wed­ding party to line up, as some­one al­ways needs to make a last-minute stop at the re­stroom or reap­ply their lip gloss.

•Com­mu­ni­cate with your officiant about the length of the ac­tual cer­e­mony. Based on the size of your bridal party, add ad­di­tional time for your pro­ces­sional and re­ces­sional. •In­clude the de­tailed or­der for the pro­ces­sional and re­ces­sional as well as the re­spec­tive songs to be played.

Cock­tail Hour

•We rec­om­mend in­clud­ing a pri­vate mo­ment with your new spouse after you re­cess down the aisle. It’s also an ideal time to have food and drinks; in­clude this note in your time­line so your cater­ing staff can prop­erly pre­pare. •If you plan to take fam­ily pho­tos after your cer­e­mony, com­mu­ni­cate with your caterer so that servers are present at the pho­tog­ra­phy lo­ca­tion of­fer­ing cock­tails and hors d’oeu­vres to your most im­por­tant guests.

•Al­most ev­ery wed­ding gown needs to be bus­tled. In­clude the names of your des­ig­nated helpers and add suf­fi­cient time within your sched­ule to com­plete this task.


•Com­mu­ni­cate to your DJ/band how you would like to be an­nounced for the first time and in­clude pho­netic spell­ing. •Note the songs for each spe­cialty dance and whether it will be played fully or par­tially. If it’s a por­tion of the song, mark the time that you would like the song to end. •In­clude the or­der of speeches and how to an­nounce each per­son. We rec­om­mend a lim­ited num­ber of toasts and com­mu­ni­cat­ing a time pref­er­ence to your speak­ers (i.e. two to three peo­ple at two to three min­utes per per­son). •No­tate the needed items for a seam­less cake-cutting cer­e­mony. In­clude this in your time­line to be com­pleted at least 15 min­utes be­fore the ac­tual cake cutting.

With a de­tailed time­line, your wed­ding will not only be beau­ti­ful but also flaw­lessly ex­e­cuted, allowing you and your guests to sim­ply en­joy ev­ery mo­ment of this spe­cial day.

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