One of the major things our wonderful caterer did with us is create a customized timeline for our rehearsal and wedding day. The catering company owner spent three hours with us outlining where the major players would be on the big day and the evening before, what time everything would go down, and what we should expect, when. It’s a work in progress, and there are still holes to be filled in (and minds to be changed). One big thing is we’re not sure where the rehearsal will actually be because if our venue has a wedding booked the night before ours, obviously that location is off limits. Later, we’ll have a similar appointment specifically to outline the ceremony, as we’ll have a separate rehearsal/ceremony coordinator from our catering manager.
I would ABSOLUTELY recommend doing a timeline as detailed as this. If you don’t have a wedding planner or caterer who takes you through this, consider plotting one out with a close friend who’s been married. They can ask you questions you never would have imagined should be answered, and give valuable input. For instance, I had always figured that if we did do programs, we’d have them waiting on each guest’s seat. And I never considered that with an outdoor wedding, they’d totally blow away. One point for the catering manager. Thank you, lady.
So here’s what our day-of timeline looks like so far:
9-1 PM: Mr. Ladyfingers and guys activities, TBD (they may do golf, hang out, or do whatever else the best man plans)
9-1 PM: Moi and bridesmaids have hair and makeup done in hotel suite (where I will stay the night before)
12-1 PM: I buy lunch in the hotel suite
12:30: Caterer arrives at venue with wedding items; DJ arrives to set up
1 PM: Flowers delivered; me and my bridal party depart hotel via car pool for Palma Sola, bringing dresses and accessories
1:30 PM: Cupcakes delivered; me and bridal party arrive on site and begin dressing in Bride’s Room
1:45 PM: My dad and his fiancee arrive on site; fiancee to get wristlet from florist and join me and bridal party in Bride’s Room; photographer arrives and begins taking pre-wedding shots in Bride’s Room; Mr. Ladyfingers, groomsmen and groom’s family arrive on site, all dressed; best man calls maid of honor to let her know they’re there; caterer checks guys’ pocket squares to make sure they’re all in right, hands out bouts
2-2:15 PM: Me and bridal party candid shots
2:15-2:30 PM: Mr. Ladyfingers and guys candid shots; best man and Mr. LF and FIL Ladyfingers wait in main room, groomsmen take spots on back lawn.
2:30 PM: Guests begin to arrive and self park under direction of site rep; catering wait staff greets guests in parking area and directs to back lawn; DJ begins playing prelude music; two groomsmen greet and seat guests, one groomsman takes gifts and cards to table set up on back deck.
3 PM: Processional, ceremony
3:30 PM: Recessional, AKA we’re totally effin’ married!!!
3:40-4:30 PM: Sir and Lady Ladyfingers, bridal party, guys, and family photos on property
3:30-4:30 PM: Cocktail hour for guests on back deck, with passed hors d’oeuvres and cocktails; guests begin signing guestbook set up on back deck; DJ music continues for cocktail hour
4:30PM: Family joins guests on back deck; catering manager opens doors to the main room: DJ invites guests to enter the room and see place card table for seating assignment; The Ladyfingers and party gather on front porch; DJ lines up the group for the intro into the room; headwaiter informs party of their seating arrangements.
4:45 PM: DJ intro’s wedding party; party sits at assigned tables; DJ intros us and we walk through the room to the deck; first dance on the deck; we are seated
5 PM: Wait staff serves salad
5:20-6 PM: Buffet for guests; headwaiter serves us at sweetheart table
5:45 PM: Best man, maid of honor, and my dad toast
6 PM: Party time! Dancing butts off.
6:30-6:50 PM: We slip away for sunset photos
7 PM: Me and dad dance; Mr. Ladyfingers and his mom dance; cake cutting and guests self-serve cupcakes; party time continues!
8:30PM: Garter, bouquet toss
8:45PM: Best man pulls Mr. Ladyfingers’ car around and loads personal items and catering honeymoon basket
8:55PM: Last dance
9PM: DJ invites guests to line up down front steps and to car; wait staff distributes bells; we exit while guests ring bells; we drive away; designated guest takes gifts and cards; guests leave, caterer packs up remaining items and cleans up.
Ta-da! So much stuff, and so many things that may change between now and then. Still, seeing it lined up like this is so very exciting, and makes us a lot more comfortable with the whole scheduling thing. It also brings up a lot of questions I still have that I want to make sure people know the answers to like, will the bridal party stand and wait for us to be announced and enter the reception room before being seated so we can all convene as a group? How will guests approach the buffet – en masse, or table by table? And where will all these tables go!?
Did your wedding day timeline draft excite you? Did it give you a clearer picture of the day, or freak you out? Did it raise questions you didn’t previously have, or make you think of things you hadn’t?