If you've ever dealt with the long and complicated process of planning a wedding, you know just how stressful it can be. There are so many choices to be made, so many deadlines to meet, and so many people whose feelings need to be considered - and that's just planning the rehearsal dinner!
But don't worry, soon enough it will be time for the big day, and you can sit back and enjoy yourself without worrying about a single thing.
Unfortunately, the planning doesn't end when the sun rises on your special day. After all, unless you are throwing your ceremony and reception in your own backyard, you have a limited amount of time to make use of your venue, and one misstep in your timeline can throw off your entire day.
However, creating a well thought-out timeline for your wedding day can help avert disaster, and keep you from having to stress over the ticking clock. Here are a handful of great tips from wedding planners, vendors, and brides who have been through the whole song and dance already on how to create a stress-free wedding timeline.
Remember the 30/5 rule
What is the 30/5 rule? Nashville-based wedding photographer Liz Courtney perfectly explains this unspoken rule and how it applies to weddings.
'It's the rule that accounts for things that typically take 5 minutes in real life that will take 30 minutes on a wedding day,' she writes in her blog. 'Whether it's getting into your dress, pinning on a boutonniere, or adding in extra toasts, little things that may not seem like a big deal can actually end up taking much more time than you'd ever expect. Thus the 30/5 rule!'
So maybe you only planned for a twenty minute break between your ceremony and reception. However, it took a full fifteen minutes for the tables and chairs to be arranged, and then someone couldn't find where they had put the flatware!
Planning for these little hiccups is the best way to make sure that being a little behind schedule doesn't suddenly turn into being a lot behind schedule.
Plan for the entire day
For a wedding guest, the wedding begins the moment they arrive, greet their friends and family, and take their seat. But for the men and women of the hour, the wedding starts much earlier - usually from the moment they open their eyes that morning.
There are many things that need to be done before the wedding, and planning for these is just as vital as planning for the ceremony, reception, or after-party.
For example, the bride needs to be dressed and ready roughly three hours ahead of the time listed on your wedding invitations. However, the photographer needs to arrive even earlier than that, so that they have time to take uninterrupted pictures of the beautiful venue, the rings, or even a getting-ready photo shoot for the happy couple.
These and many other details need to be considered well in advance of the wedding. Start your planning from the moment you finish your morning coffee, and you'll find yourself well-prepared for everything that comes next.
Keep your vendors needs in mind
Your wedding can't be complete without the hard work from your florist, your photographer, your stylist, your caterer... the list goes on and on! It sometimes feels like it takes a small army to pull off the perfect wedding. That's why it's extra important to keep all of your vendors in the loop when planning the timeline for your wedding.
Caterers and other food and beverage providers often need to begin their load-in three to five hours before the reception is to be served. This time can vary depending on what food is being served and how large of a crowd you are feeding.
Make sure that they have ample time and space to do their job. The same goes for any of your other vendors - the last thing that you want is for them to step on one another's toes. If there is only one loading and unloading area available, make sure that each of them have a designated time to use it.
If you are the bride, it can sometimes feel as though most of the burden of planning falls on your shoulders. But your bridesmaids aren't just there to look pretty - they are there to help you!
Assign each of them small, but important tasks, that you need them to take care of on the day of the wedding - whether that's unlocking the back door for the DJ, or rounding up all of your cousins for photos. This will save you the time and stress of having to run all over the venue after you've already done so much.
And, if you want them looking and feeling just as beautiful as you on your special day, there's no better place to turn than Bella Bridesmaids. No other online retailer has the variety of colors, styles, and sizes that Bella has - and did we mention they also do alterations? Check them out at BellaBridesmaids.com!
Take a deep breath in, and a deep breath out. Remember the 30/5 rule, plan well in advance, and don't forget to ask for help, and you should feel the stress of your wedding day lifted from your shoulders. With a little good fortune and a lot of preparation, your beautiful and elegant wedding will go off without a hitch.