7 Common Wedding Timeline Mistakes to Avoid
By Lorna Urwin

30 April 2018

A wedding day is a complicated event to organise. Making sure everything goes smoothly depends largely on random factors and individuals.

However, one of the most important things for ensuring you have a smooth wedding day is a carefully thought-out timeline. While the right approach will differ from wedding to wedding, there are some key mistakes that should be universally avoided! Learn from the common mistakes listed below.

1/ Consider the Transition Periods

Image by Paperlily Photography

Sometimes it’s the ‘in between’ moments that can cause mayhem in even the most carefully constructed timeline. How will guests know when to move from cocktail hour on the terrace to dinner in the hall? Will it be announced? Will you list the times in a programme? Will there be directions or signage provided? Make sure you have the answers to these questions beforehand to avoid any confusion in your guests.


2/ Setting Times You won't Stick to

Image by Jeremy Wong

Be realistic about the amount of time you’ll want to spend on certain parts of the day or, at the very least, make sure that you put systems in place to help stick to the timings you’ve set! For instance, if you know deep down inside that you are slow at getting ready (even if you don't want to admit it), either allow an over-generous amount of time for getting ready or make sure that you plan to have your hair and makeup done first so that you won’t hold everything else up.


3/ Watch that Clock!

Image by Lara Hotz Photography

A schedule won't help you if you don't know what time it is. Keeping a watch on hand is an excellent idea, or delegate someone to keep an eye on the time for you. (Alternatively, your time checker can set alarms for themselves in order to keep them thinking about the amount of time passing. Make sure those alarms won’t interrupt any important parts of the day!) Ask your designated assistant to keep you updated so you can pick up the pace or adjust plans whenever necessary.


4/ Schedule Sharing

Image by Tom Pumford

If you’ve organised wedding schedule, make sure the final copy gets to every person who might benefit from it. This almost always includes the bridal party and vendors, but people like speech-makers may also benefit from seeing how they fit into the wider schedule and precisely how much time they have for their speech.


5/ Contingency Time

Image by Thoman Curryer

Things often take longer than you expect, whether it’s getting from A to B, a photo shoot, or mingling with guests. Add a little bit of extra time (5 or 10 minutes will suffice) into your transitions so that if things overrun, you will still be on track.


6/ Do it in Advance

Image by Sarah Carpenter

A fool-proof way to save time on your wedding day is to do as much advanced organisation as possible. Take your photographer’s detail shots: if you prepare a list of everything you’d like them to shoot ahead of time (shoes, rings, your invitation suite) and then neatly gather those things into one bag or location the night before, you’ll save precious time scrambling around the room come the morning itself. You can apply similar organisation to forewarn people about group portraits (the time and location).


7/ Overtime Scenarios

Image by  Sarah Carpenter

Even if you’re not planning on running over, it pays to be fully prepared in case you find yourself heading past a time limit! Check the overtime policies and rates with any relevant vendors (entertainment, photographer, videographer, coordinator,) so that you can make a fully informed decision in the moment.