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It's crazy to say that your entire wedding planning journey, whether it be six months or fourteen, boils down to your wedding day timeline. For today's journal entry I'll be helping you lay out your wedding planning strategy by working our way backward; starting with your wedding day timeline. This is going to be part 1 of 3 journal entries so you don't get to overwhelmed with the actionable tips I list below.

Let's look at a general, typical, wedding day timeline. Please be warned this doesn't have all the bells and whistles in my 10-page timelines but it'll help you out tremendously with general planning.

So let get started. I typically break down the timeline into three sections: Prep, Ceremony, and Reception. As such this journal entry will be about the prep portion of your timeline.

Prep- The prep consists of the "getting ready" activities, pictures and team arrival times/setup.

Ceremony - The ceremony section usually outlines things like guest arrival times, décor details, and formal ceremony logistics.

Reception - Everything from the cocktail hour to dinner and the party time falls under this section. Once you've gotten to this point, everything is a breeze and moves pretty seamlessly with the help of your event manager, MC and catering captain.

So let's look at this timeline.

Under the prep section, you'll find delivery notes about the bridal party and groomsmen refreshments or light breakfast that you ordered, getting ready addresses and a list of service needs from your hair and makeup artist. From a planners perspective, you'll want to have a conversation with your girls to figure out who is an early riser. Assigning the notorious "late" girl to go first won't yield favorable results. Then you'll want to chat with your photo and video to make sure they aren't getting there too early but early enough to capture the getting ready shots. [pro tip: the getting ready pics are not real so you don't need them there when you are truly getting ready, those are staged so it saves you time] Make sure you consider the hours you've contracted your photo/video to make sure they stay into the evening and capture important activities. If you're on a time constraint, a good rule of thumb is to keep them there until about 30 mins into the dancing portion of the night assuming all formal activities have taken place. When you're putting together the prep section, you'll need to connect your hair/makeup artist with the photographer, videographer, floral designer (make sure you've ordered your bouquets for photos after the first look) and event manager. Your lead event manager will take care of all of this to make sure everything flows correctly.

Now we can roll into the First Look, portraits, wedding party formals and family photos. From there, be sure to schedule some r&r before the ceremony to make sure you have time to freshen up and take a moment of peace. You don’t want to rush from pictures to the aisle because you'll already be nervous before you walk down the aisle, this makes one less thing to have on your mind.

Lastly, you'll want to include your creative partner's arrival times here. Make sure you've documented when and where they will arrive. Make sure someone is there to receive them, direct them and confirm/sign off on your order to make sure you get a blue cake and not a navy blue or that you received four bottles of tequila not just 2 etc.

In summary, here are some questions you can answer to help you formalize the prep section of your timeline. Once you've answered these questions, get together with your event manager, photographer, videographer, florist and hair/makeup artist to finalize the plans that accommodate everyone's schedules.

  1. Where will he be getting?
  2. Where will she be getting ready?
  3. How many bridesmaids need beauty services? Don't forget mothers, grandparents and flower girls hair?
  4. What time is the first look? (only bride and groom need to be ready for this)
  5. What time do the bride and groom need to be completed to get to the first look on time?
  6. What time do the bridesmaids and groomsmen need to be completed? (they're typically needed 30 mins after the first look)
  7. What is the travel time between locations? (make sure the photo and video have those addresses and if there is a last minute change, be sure to text them immediately)
  8. Who or what will be transporting you from location to location?

Stay tuned as I'll be discussing the ceremony portion of your wedding day timeline in my next posy.Happy Planning!

p.s. if you have any questions regarding your timeline...pop a quick question in my inbox. plan@michelleisabel.com or click the chat box below, I'll be there waiting for you!

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