Wedding woe: timetable issues

Today's wedding woe is - once again - something I am completely dealing with myself at the moment so I have a couple of tips and tricks.

Mel writes:

Help! We are on the countdown to our wedding (2 1/2 months left) and are at the point where we need to start giving all our suppliers and what not timetables for the day so that everything is where it's supposed to be when it's supposed to be, but although I have been to a lot of weddings recently I have apparently not paid much attention to how long everything takes, and I cannot find anything useful on the web.

I'm very conscious of the fine balance between having enough time to do everything (especially photos, I do not want to rush those) and not making the guests hang around for too long.

Is anyone able to help with how long things should take or good sources of information on this?

Thanks heaps 



I'm up to this stage in the wedding planning too - literally sitting down and trying to work out how the day is going to pan out, orchestrating the various characters around like some ridiculous stage show, all while trying to predict timings of things I have no comprehension of.

Not knowing where to start, I went straight to who I almost always go to - those who have been there before.

Though totally different days and concepts, seeing my latest married friend's Virgo-esque lists became a good starting point for how a day could run (if you wanted it to).

Also, being the MC at this wedding also allowed me to work out how long things do take (hint: speeches ALWAYS go longer than expected).

Second, I think this is also the perfect spot to lean back on your vendors. They're the professionals, they've been there before, and often they have really handy tools like spreadsheets that allow you to plug in the info and then your day's plans are spat out into a handy wee plan.

Our videographer has shared a Google Doc with me which he will also share with our photographer and it includes a timeline of when things are happening which I can fill in, and also space to write little notes about special photos we want taken, or little side things that might be happening. It also has spaces to write contact details for important people on the day like the celebrant, best man and MC.

Your vendors - everyone from makeup artists to caterers, celebrants to photographers - need times to work from but are also the best knowledge source of how long it takes them to do their thing.

There's no point in you slotting in a hairdresser for an hour when in reality their job may take them twice as long to complete.

In terms of the "hanging around too long" while you're off having photos, the best thing is to ensure your guests are entertained. There are SO many ways to do this. Photobooths (which can act as a guest book for you also), giant games (think Jenga or Twister on the lawn), live music, food and drink, special entertainment (no clowns though. OK, I suppose if you really want clowns you can do that... but...) or some little mini-event (like a treasure hunt).

This is where a good MC makes their worth known. Guests should be relaxed, but not constantly door-watching for your return. A good MC will tell your loved ones exactly what the go is - e.g. "Jack and Jill have gone for around an hour, so sit back and enjoy the entertainment/food/festivities and we'll let you know when they return."

Most guests know the go though. You have the ceremony (always quicker than you expect, many times) and then you have photos (almost always go longer), then speeches (longer again), dinner (longer) which can mean any night-time entertainment such as a band can often get pushed back (but you have to pay them for the whole time!). It's something to be conscious of, but I think you'll find the day flows pretty well and it'll be over before you know it.

How did you arrange your 'day plan' for your wedding? Any tips on the run-time of the day?

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