Couples hire wedding planners for lots of reasons. In addition to your design skills, vendor network, and your ability to get that drunk uncle to just sit back down already, let’s not forget the fact that you are a logistical master! And, as much as we live and die by our checklists, the wedding timeline comes in at a close second.
The wedding timeline is kind of where all of the magic happens. It’s where you map out the events for the celebration; including where and when certain people need to be in certain places and doing certain things. And, just like the rest of the wedding planning process, building out a successful timeline is a collaborative process. Today then, we wanted to share a few thoughts and ideas about including input from your vendors when planning out your timeline.
Your Vendors Are Experts Too
Just like your couples hire you for your expertise, you hire vendors because of theirs. And, when you are building out a wedding timeline, you can set the team up for success by incorporating their knowledge.
For example, if you are building a timeline for a wedding where certain design elements from the ceremony are getting moved and reused in the reception space, consider speaking to the venue about how long it takes to walk from point A to point B; especially if you haven’t worked there before.
And, aside from the logistics of navigating around a venue, consult with your vendors about the constraints of working within the timeline because, sometimes how much time you have and how much time they need are different. If vendors need to bring a team of people, be sure to include their input in the timeline planning process so that they can be sure to schedule the appropriate number of staff for the amount of time they have to accomplish a certain task.
The moral of the story is, you can make educated guesses and approximations to the best of your ability but, consulting with your team of experts before you finalize anything in the timeline is never a bad idea.
“It’s incredibly important to loop in ALL of the event partners before finalizing the timeline for a number of reasons. I’d say the most important is to create a cohesive team feel to the wedding. Event vendors are people, they are professionals, and no one enjoys receiving a list of tasks and to-dos with their name on it that they didn’t have a say in putting together. They are the true experts in their field, which is a great benefit to the planner who is putting together the timeline. A photographer can see from a mile away that the timing allowed for family photos isn’t going to be long enough before the sunsets, the catering team will know how long it’s going to take to get 130 guests through their one-sided buffet, and the venue team will know what to expect when flipping a space. It certainly takes the guess work out of it!”
– Katherine, Aisle Planner Director of PR and Owner of Lucky & in Love
Send A Draft For Review
Nobody likes surprises (especially a few days before the wedding) and an easy way to avoid them is by sending out a draft of the timeline for the vendor team to review. A month out from the event, get in touch with all of your vendors to ask them for their time estimates/requirements so that you can include them in a preliminary production timeline. Then, create that preliminary timeline to include all vendor arrivals, departures, and logistics and (unless your event partners have provided you with a specific time requirements in advance) leave the times as “TBD.” Highlight those TBD items in red so that at a glance, both you and the vendor know what items still need to be finalized.
Pro-tip: Ask your vendors for notes about anything that might involve or effect other vendors. Include those in the notes under the appropriate Timeline item so that everyone is well informed.
Send an updated draft to your vendor team 2-3 weeks out from the event and a final timeline a week and a half out.
“From the number of bridesmaids and groomsmen, the distance between the loading dock and event location, the complexity of the design to the logistics of the set up, each event is so unique that you just can’t accurately “guess” at how much time your event partners will need to get things done. Ultimately, they are the only ones who can properly estimate how much time they’ll need to do their best job possible as they take into consideration all of the variables that will affect their ability to shine.”
–Tina, Founder and President of Aisle Planner
Providing your event partners the opportunity to have a look at the timeline well in advance and provide their feedback is the best thing you can do for the entire team and the best move towards creating a seamless experience for the wedding day.
Have tips about building out a wedding timeline and including input from your vendors? We’d love to hear it in the comments below!