How to Make the Most Out of Your Wedding Timeline
One of the most common things couples say after their wedding ends is “the day just flew by.” And while they had the time of their lives, they wish they could have had more time with all of their family and friends. A general wedding timeline lasts for five hours, and there’s a LOT to squeeze into that short amount of time. How do you save time, and make sure you don’t miss out on anything? Below are five ways to get the most out of your wedding day timeline.
- Take photos early: One of the easiest things you can do to save an hour in your timeline is what’s called a “first look.” If it doesn’t break tradition for you, a first look is when the bride and groom see each other before the ceremony, have a moment together, and the photographer captures this moment. By arranging this time to see one another rather than the traditional first look while walking down the aisle, you can take a majority of your photos together before the ceremony, instead of squeezing them all into cocktail hour. You can then spend the cocktail hour visiting with your guests.
- Avoid grand entrances with bridal party: As fun as it is to have your bridal party announced individually, it can eat up a lot of time before dinner. Especially if you have a large bridal party, lining everyone up, having the DJ review pronunciations of names, having bridesmaids and groomsmen practice their “signature moves,” and the actual announcement of everyone into dinner can eat up an average of 20 minutes. If you instead announce the bride and groom into dinner and allow the couple to acknowledge the bridal party during their thank you speech, you can save this time for more dancing later on.
- Plate salads early: Another trick to speeding up your dinner timeline is to ask catering to have the plated salads at each place setting before guests enter the dining space. Rather than waiting for guests to find their seat, be served wine, announce the bride and groom, and have a welcome speech all before salads, if the salads are set down as guests are navigating their way to their seats, you avoid the lag between the welcome toast and the salads going out, totaling in 10-15 minutes. This is a subtle change that’ll help to gain some time later on.
- Shorten toasts: One thing that can always derail a wedding timeline is the length of toasts. Even with guidance to keep the length of the speeches short, you can’t always predict how long someone will talk. While at times it’s unavoidable, there are a few things you can do to try to prevent toasts from going on too long. If you warn your toasters before the wedding what the ideal length is, I.e., 2-5 minutes max, this will help them as they prepare and practice their speech to know how long it should be. Another helpful way to avoid a long period of time for toasts is to shorten the list of those allowed to do them. Having three or fewer toasts allows you to allot 15 minutes at most to toasts, and more time for dancing, cake cutting, and special moments later into the night.
- Skip the Formalities: While everyone has a different opinion, if you can live without some of the more traditional, and in some cases outdated wedding formalities, you’ll save the time it takes to gather everyone’s attention for these moments. Some of these formalities include a bouquet toss, garter toss, cake cutting, the shoe game, and the anniversary dance. While you don’t have to cut ALL of these, they take up time, and if one or more of these isn’t that important to you and your fiancé, it might be worth taking it out of your timeline.
About the author: Milestone Events Group is Northern California’s most experienced Wine Country Wedding Experts & largest event management company providing site selection services to multiple locations throughout Sonoma County. Over the past six years, Milestone has helped hundreds of couples simplify the venue selection process by providing clarity, predictability, and ultimately confidence for clients who work with them to evaluate wineries, ranches, and other locations for their private events.
After the venue selection process is complete, Milestone is also available to help produce events in a stress-reduced and highly professional manner. www.MilestoneEventsGroup.com