We’ve all been to that wedding.
You’re sitting outside in the hot sun, sweating, thirsty, looking for an hors d’oeuvre but the ceremony hasn’t started yet. It was supposed to start an hour ago. But the bride isn’t ready, the priest is running late, the florist is still putting together the final touches. Now you’re hangry, and the cute guy two rows up is no longer maintaining eye contact because he’s sweating up a storm. Forty five minutes later, things are underway but you look around, and everyone is on their phone or standing under a tree to catch some shade. You start to wonder if you can sneak back to your room to take a shower and a nap. But hold that thought because the father of the groom has passed out from sitting in the sun. So maybe this particular scenario is a little too specific, but you know the feeling.
The crux of any good event is the flow. And the flow is determined by people running on time. When there are delays, guests tend to become hungry, tired or irritated. By the time the reception arrives, people are calling it a night immediately after dinner and the party is dead on arrival.
When planning a wedding, there is so much emphasis on choosing the perfect décor, picking the perfect menu, and creating that dance-able playlist. However, often times, timing of the day is left to the last minute or not paid attention to at all, leaving chaos on the wedding day. Here are some tips to keep your event on time:
Hire a planner. Of course we would suggest this. But trust us! A planner will sit with you at least a month in advance and construct a detailed timeline; one that is likely to be revised repeatedly until just a few days before the wedding. The planner distributes the timeline and coordinates with other vendors, family members and the bridal party to make sure everyone knows where to be and when to be there. A good planner will also be the one to tell you whether your idea of the evening makes practical sense. For instance, any planner will tell you that leaving 15 minutes for family portraits in between the ceremony and reception is not going to work. It may take 15 minutes to find that uncle who is already making a beeline for the bar! Even if you don’t hire a full planner, a month-of or day-of coordinator can handle the timeline and enforce those timings on the big day.
Build in buffer time. If you have family members that you know are likely to be late, you know your bridesmaids take forever to get ready, or a vendor will be caught in rush hour traffic, build in some extra time for things to go wrong. While it will be everyone’s best intention to follow the timeline, things are bound to go off the rails when there are so many people involved. Building in some extra time keeps you relaxed even if there are delays. Pro tip: don’t share that you’ve built in delays!
Think of your loved ones. Often times, couples will create detailed timelines that are very centric, to well, themselves. We get it, this is your day, but if you’re not getting married at city hall, then thinking of your guests is important (more on this later). Creating awkward gaps in the day, asking your bridal party to be up at 3am for hair and makeup, or asking your guests to drive all over the state in a short period of time does not make sense. If you want your guests to enjoy the day and remember it as a great party, make a timeline that makes sense for everyone. Talk with your planner about how you can maneuver the schedule so that you aren’t sacrificing things that are important to you, while making sure your guests aren’t stuck standing outside the venue for an hour without a refreshment or a chair anywhere in sight.
You can’t account for every single scenario on your wedding day. And things are bound to get off track. But being prepared with a timeline, anticipating others’ needs, and being realistic about how long things will take will go a long way. When everyone has their energy, the party is sure to last well into the night, leaving your guests with the feeling that your wedding was a great day.