Whether you’re a stickler for schedules or a laid back babe, your wedding day itinerary (or lack thereof) can be the difference between calm and chaos. Though your wedding could still be months away, it’s important to consider how you want that day to flow. When creating a schedule for your big day, here’s a few things to consider:
The Butterfly Effect
If you’re not familiar with the butterfly effect, it is the result of one small change and how it can greatly affect the overall outcome. This is very true with wedding days; if one thing is taking too long it means every other thing in the day is going to be affected. This usually means you will have to sacrifice on either time or the expected result, such as the number of photographs or time to visit with your guests. To be safe, allow for extra time in the parts of your day that mean the most to you.
Hair & makeup, if not scheduled properly will screw up your wedding day schedule right from the start. Plan for an extra 15 minutes per person having their hair styled. Speeches notoriously go longer than the Bride & Groom expect. Over the years I have talked to so many couples that say “Max 5 min! My parents and friends will not talk longer than 5 minutes, I promise!” And then Dad gets up for his big moment on his daughters wedding day, gets in front of that magical microphone and speaks for 25 minutes! That is no problem at all, if we have planned for it. But if not, that sets cake cutting back, which sets the start of the First Dance back, which sets the Photographer & Videographer’s end times back and now you are into significant additional fees to keep them on for extra time. To avoid this add an extra 20 minutes for speeches from your parents.
Your vendors (hair and make-up stylist, florist, photographer, DJ, caterer, etc.) are there to help make your day the best it can be, but before the day arrives, you need to set them up for success. Space out the arrival of your vendors, or the times in which you touch base with them. Make sure this timeline fits the flow of the day. For example, a 10am arrival of a DJ doesn’t make much sense if he’s not needed until 4pm. Or having your florist deliver the flowers in the morning, but you don’t have access to the venue until 2pm.
In a perfect world, all of your guests will be on time. In the real world, people will inevitably show up late. Make room for this in your schedule. If your invitation says the ceremony starts at 4pm, be ready for that, but also be prepared to wait for 10-15 minutes, depending on the crowd. The last thing you want is someone joining the bridal processional just to sneak into their seat.
This is going to be especially important for 2017 weddings in the Canadian Rocky Mountains. 2017 marks the 150th anniversary of Canadian Confederation and to celebrate there is free admission to national parks for the entire year. Banff and Lake Louise are going to be packed with tourists. Any of your guests travelling from Calgary to the mountains for your wedding will need to plan extra travel time and extra time to find parking. You might be very wise to send your invitations for a ceremony start time of 4:00pm with the understanding with all of your vendors that the ceremony will actually start at 4:30, thus giving your guests a little extra time if they get caught in traffic.
Ask for Help
If the idea of making sure everything happens on schedule is freaking you out, know that you do not have to do this alone. Mountain Bride has individual consultations such as our Itinerary Consultation or better yet hire Mountain Bride for your Wedding Coordination. Mountain Bride has 11 years of experience in making wedding days run smoothly and giving brides the peace of mind you deserve.
In any case, consider your options before the big day so you’re not left problem-solving when you should be enjoying yourself.