That timeline's got to be right in order to be effective
Wedding Planning Checklist and Laptop
Credit: Milkos / Getty Images

It takes time to create a wedding-day timeline but doing so is well worth the effort if you want to keep your special day focused and moving. It'll help vendors stay on track, prevent toast-givers from droning on and on, and help ensure the bridal party get to the right place at the right time. Here's what you need to know about how to finalize it and the right time to do it.

Talk it out.

In order to finalize the day-of timeline, you've got to first confer with your vendors and their requirements. Take the makeup artist, for example. Is she just taking care of you or is she also providing makeup for your bridesmaids? Ask her how long she estimates she'll need for each person. Then work backwards: If the photographer is arriving at 2 p.m. and the stylist needs 15 minutes for each of your three bridesmaids and 45 minutes for you, the first person needs to be in the makeup chair by 12:30 p.m. But do allot some extra time as a buffer.

Other vendors to check in with include the photographer (their arrival time as well as their shooting schedule), baker (drop-off time), caterer (cocktail hour and dinner start and end tines, toasting time, special dances schedule), the DJ (start and end of music, special dance times), and the officiant (start time).

Timing the timeline.

Rather than wait until the day before you're getting married, plan on finalizing the timeline with vendors about a month before, allowing 24 hours for them to return your calls. Call back if they don't call you in a day. Then send them a final schedule a week before.

Share your timeline with others.

Besides vendors, share the timeline for the day with your parents, your bridesmaids and groomsmen, the wedding planner or site coordinator, and anyone else involved on the wedding day at least a week before. Print a few copies to have on hand, too.


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