Rockford Bride Blog

How to Avoid a Bad Wedding Event Timeline

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Have you ever attended an awesome wedding? One where it flowed well at all periods of the day into the evening? From the ceremony starting on time to it flowing right into the cocktail hour, dinner and dance either nearby or at a local venue? You know where all the vendors seemed to be on the same page as it seemed like they were moving as one team? The food was warm when it was served and the dance started at a reasonable time? You were not bored at any point and had a nice time.

In this entry we explore some tidbits into helping make your event go smoother. Things to think about that could help you create that event of your dreams. There are reasons why some events flow better than others. Here is a list of items to think about that could negatively affect you if you are not paying attention to some of the details with responses on how to enhance your event:

You are just plain running late. This could be caused from not allowing yourself enough sleep the night before or being nervous. To curtail this in your life try to make a list and be prepared. Let your friends and family know that you want to be on time for your wedding. They can encourage you along the way and hold you accountable to make sure you are on task.

Vendors are not all on the same page. Sometimes the timeline you give to one vendor is different than the timeline that you collaborate and create with the event venue. Sometimes the package that you purchase through your photographer takes you and your bridal party to multiple locations. In that process losing track of the time sometimes happens. Know that each vendor you hire is passionate about their services they provide to you. Ultimately though, it is your responsibility to navigate the timeline unless you direct a personal friend or professional to do it for you.

Unforeseen traffic and other events can impact a timeline. For example, roads being shut down for construction causing delays. Or special events that draw large groups of people to a location on the way or nearby to your church or reception site. To scoot around this potential pitfall it is suggested that you do research for what events are happening in the area during the same weekend of your wedding before you commit to any date. Weigh the pros and cons and, if you are able, make adjustments that will help you have a successful timeline go with that date.

The ceremony lasted longer than expected. This bullet point item kind of also applies to vendors being on the same page. It’s not common to ask your officiant or spiritual leader to keep their message to a minimum or a specified time, however, it might be in your best interest if you are worried about moving hundreds of people to a venue that’s located elsewhere.

Inadequate parking for both you and your guests. Maybe you’ve planned out a path that will avoid that sporting event nearby or yearly festival. However, don’t forget to think about adequate parking. Think about how far the parking is from the ceremony or reception site. Are there costs associated? If you have older adults and loved ones attending, it might be good to consider hiring professional parking attendants to avoid long walking distances for your guests. This is especially true if it is winter and those patrons could come into contact with icy roads or sidewalks.

Poor timeline planning for after the ceremony. The first question that many entertainment companies ask their clients at a planning meeting is the time the ceremony is scheduled to begin. Try to be considerate of your guests and do not allow too much time between the ceremony end time and the cocktail start time for the reception. Often times older guests go right from the ceremony site to the reception site regardless if your invitation says the cocktail hour starts at a certain time. It will provide for a much happier environment when your guests are fed at a reasonable time with warm food.

You are too busy to plan a wedding. There could be value for you to hire a wedding coordinator. Especially if you do not have the time to allocate to planning a wedding. There are two types of coordination services typically offered from a planner. Those include "day of planning", where you have a wedding planner professional’s services for the day of the event. Usually there is not a lot of pre-work services to help you along. The other type of planning services might be an all-inclusive service. This is where the event planner is helping you plan not only the general details for the event but also the more micro items. This could mean finding the vendors you interview, setting-up the meetings, coordinating everything from start to finish. This all-inclusive service usually costs much more than a day of coordinator.

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When it comes to timelines and contracts, many vendors do end up staying later than contracted. Most well-planned out events always run either 15 minutes ahead, 15 minutes behind or right on-time. If you end up falling outside of the three common scenarios, it is nice to take care of your vendors and acknowledge how the timeline came out after the event is over. If your vendor ended up staying 1 hour later than expected, review your contract with them for an overtime clause. Be the first to reach-out and acknowledge the agreement. This should eliminate any negative feelings and will provide a better buy-in for the work that that vendor will be doing for you later if they happen to be your videographer or photographer. Remember, this is a once in a lifetime opportunity where going the extra mile can ensure positive experiences, memories and feelings for everyone involved.

Below is a sample timeline you can start with for your event.

Ceremony
3:00 pm
Cocktail Hour
4:30 or 5:00 pm
Bride & Groom Arrive
5:30 pm
Introductions
5:45 pm
Cake Cutting
5:50 pm
Father’s Welcome Speeches
5:55 pm
Prayer
6:10 pm
Salads & Dinner Served
6:15 pm
Cake Served
7:15 to 7:30 pm
Dance
7:45 pm
Last Dance
11:45 pm
Reception Over
12:00 am

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