Crafting Your Day-Of Timeline Part Three of Three

Happy Wednesday, lovebirds!

As promised, we are back with the third installment of our series on creating your wedding day-of timeline! With the details gathered and the “I Do’s” completed, we’re ready to dive right in to the reception! This is one of the most fun and individual pieces of your wedding day. It’s a time to play up any traditions you wish to incorporate, as well as let loose and enjoy time with your friends, family, and, most importantly, your new spouse!

Wedding Day Timeline | Marisa Nicole Events

Photo Credit: Next Exit Photography

7. Cocktail hour

Cocktail hour is a fun time for guests to mingle. However, do not leave them hanging too long! It is called “cocktail hour” for a reason, keep it to one hour! Guests will get restless if you exceed this amount of time.

Wedding Day Timeline | Marisa Nicole Events

Photo Credit: Andrew Abajian

8. Reception

There are four main things to note about the timing of your reception: food, toasts, first dance, and table visits.

First, food! Space out the timing of your food service. Cut your cake thirty minutes to an hour after dinner ends to give people some serious dancing time to digest. If you are having late night snacks, serve them one hour before the end of the night.

Wedding Day Timeline | Marisa Nicole Events

Photo Credit: Birds of a Feather

Second, toasts! Funny memories and sweet stories are a special part of every reception. Should you choose to include formal toasts, we suggest limiting this segment to 2-3 people, 2-3 minutes each. If they go over a little, that will be okay, but if they go beyond 5 minutes, it will feel like the toasts are never-ending for your guests.

Wedding Day Timeline | Marisa Nicole Events

Photo Credit: Iris and Light

Third, first dance! Unless the dance is choreographed, we suggest fading out the song at a natural breaking point after about 90 seconds. Swaying back and forth in front of all of your friends and family for the entire length of a song may begin to feel like an eternity.

Wedding Day Timeline | Marisa Nicole Events

Photo Credit: Kim Fox Photography

Finally, table visits! If you decide to do table visits with your new Mr. or Mrs., keep them snappy. We suggest spending no more than five minutes at each table. If it is important to get photos with your guests, we HIGHLY suggest doing these candid, rather than formal shots of each table. Trust us, you will never use them and it will waste valuable dancing time during your party that you will never be able to get back.

Wedding Day Timeline | Marisa Nicole Events

Photo Credit: Birds of a Feather

9. Wrapping up the evening

The couple typically does a traditional exit or an “Irish farewell,” departing without fanfare. Whichever you prefer, decide it in advance. Because you want to be able to enjoy time alone you with your new spouse, make sure all loose ends are tied in advance. For example, determine and prepare tips in advance for vendors. Additionally, make sure, if you want your deposit back, you leave enough time for your vendors to tear down. Be sure to ask each vendor how much time they will need, schedule them this time, and communicate it to them. Refer back to the time you need to be off the property and plan accordingly. In other words, do not leave any business matters for you and your new spouse to deal with at the end of the night.

Wedding Day Timeline | Marisa Nicole Events

Photo Credit: Salt and Sky Studios

Your wedding is one of the most exciting days — and parties—of your life! We hope these guidelines will aid you in prepping and writing your day-of timeline. This document will help your day run smoothly, as well as ease the stress you may be feeling. With every detail accounted for, the possibility of something not going as planned is minimal.

Crafting Your Day-Of Timeline: Part Two of Three

Hello again, lovebirds!

Today, we are back with the second part of our day-of timeline blog series. In Part One, we discussed a list of things you must consider before starting your day-of timeline. Part Two is all about organizing those details and putting pen to paper to create an efficient, smooth timeline! It is important to remember that many details are highly individual. Timing, vendors, and other details are not universal, so your timeline will be specific to your wedding and who you have hired – no two timelines are the same! Therefore, the steps we suggest are useful guidelines, rather than a complete magic formula. Let’s get started!

Wedding Day Timeline | Marisa Nicole Events

Photo Credit: Andrew Abajian Creative

1. Start with the data

At the top of your day-of timeline, write down all the facts you know about your wedding. This should include your getting ready location, the number of attendees, the number of children attending, a bridal party headcount, and vendor details. Include all the numbers! Remember, this is a document anyone should be able to pick up and run the show, but make sure you designate a coordinator to keep the production flowing smoothly!

Wedding Day Timeline | Marisa Nicole Events

Photo Credit: Jillian Rose Photography

2. The FOUR major times

There are four specific times that will serve as marking points throughout your unique timeline. These are key times, therefore you must reference back to them when planning out the specifics of your day.

  • Time you are allowed on the property.
  • Start time listed on invitations.
  • Time the music has to be completely off.
  • Time you have to be completely cleaned up and off the property.

Wedding Day Timeline | Marisa Nicole Events

Photo Credit: Chloe Moore Photography

3. At property-on time, vendors should be in full force

Everyone gets a “call time”, no matter what their role is. Whether it be vendors, the bridal party, or parents, there is a time and place they will need to be. First things first, receive any deliveries. If the wedding is built from scratch, rentals typically arrive first. If the venue has in-house amenities, like a hotel, regular vendors (caterer, florist, etc.) should come first. Ask each vendor how much time they will need to set up and assign their “call time” accordingly.

Wedding Day Timeline | Marisa Nicole Events

Photo Credit: Birds of a Feather

4. Organize getting yourself and others ready

Make a hair and makeup schedule for every person. As mentioned in Part One, leave nothing up to chance! Assign each member of your bridal party to a hair and makeup service and map out their schedule for getting ready. Even if they do not strictly stick to the timing, the accountability of having a time scheduled will help keep everyone on schedule.

Wedding Day Timeline | Marisa Nicole Events

Photo Credit: Nick Radford

5. Photo timing

Capturing the day for memories is very important! Allow enough time to get the shots you want. In Part One, we mentioned the categories of photos you may want, as well as the option for a First Look. These decisions will affect photo planning. Once everyone is dressed, photos should begin immediately. Do not be surprised if you are ready and taking photos while the ceremony appears to only be half set up. Trust your vendors to meet their schedule. Set up teams can accomplish more in a small amount of time than you might expect. Photos should wrap thirty minutes before the start time indicated on your invitation. At this time, the bride should be out of sight relaxing and there should be no activities planned once guests start arriving.

Wedding Day Timeline | Marisa Nicole Events

Photo Credit: Holding & Co.

6. Ceremony timing

It is unrealistic to expect your ceremony to start at the exact time indicated on your invitation. It is likely guests will be late in sitting down or you will be running a few minutes behind. To avoid the stress of running late, plan for it! Expect to begin 15 to 30 minutes after the announced start time.

Wedding Day Timeline | Marisa Nicole Events

Photo Credit: Salt and Sky Studios

That’s it for now, lovebirds! Join us next time where we will continue talking about timing and figuring out the flow of your reception.

Crafting Your Day-of Timeline: Part One of Three

Happy Wednesday, lovebirds!

Wedding season is finally here and, in a perfect world, every couple would have an amazing wedding planner in charge of putting together a solid, logistically sound day-of timeline. However, we get that this is not feasible for everyone. So, today, and in the coming weeks, we are going to talk you through how to create an efficient wedding day timeline for your celebration.

Day of Timeline Part 1 | Marisa Nicole Events

Photo Credit: Birds of a Feather

The most important thing to remember is that it is essential to formalize and write down every detail of what will happen on your wedding day. Do not leave anything up to chance! The who, what, when, and where of every action, whether it be a simple floral movement or a big delivery, must be accounted for. The first part of this three-part blog series is about gathering all the information. Once you and your fiancé have made all the necessary decisions, you’ll be ready to put pen to paper – which we will get to in Part Two and Three!

Day of Timeline Part 1 | Marisa Nicole Events

Photo Credit: Chloe Moore Photography

Questions to ask yourself about getting ready for your big day (remember, no detail is insignificant!)

  • Where do you want to get into your dress? This may seem like a quick, simple detail but it is an important decision that will affect other pieces of your day. If you are getting ready off-site and choose to get in your dress there, you will need to make appropriate transportation arrangements and consider how to keep your dress tidy in the car. If you are getting dressed at the venue, you will need to ensure you have the time and space secured. In either case, arrange to have your photographer present where you are getting ready.
  • Are you willing to do a First Look? Some couples prefer to wait to see each other until the bride walks down the aisle; however, this means all couples photography will have to be done after the ceremony during the first part of cocktail hour. If you are willing to do a First Look, however, you will be able to take photos before the ceremony begins and fully enjoy your guests for the entire cocktail hour! Either option works, but it is important to discuss what you and your fiancé prioritize.
  • Are you, your partner, or your bridal party changing clothes throughout the day? If so, take note of these costume changes and plan your timing accordingly.

Day of Timeline Part 1 | Marisa Nicole Events

Photo Credit: Holding & Co.

Information to gather from your venue and vendors

  • What time are you allowed on the property and by what time will you be required to leave? Knowing the times you are working with will give you a specific information about when the day needs to start and when it must end. This will help in determining the “call time” for each vendor. It is very important to honor the agreed upon time you will be off the property. Not doing this may cost you a lot of money.
  • What time does your venue require sound to be turned off by? It might not be the most desirable task, but assigning someone to track this time and ensure it is met is very important. Delegating this will free you from worrying about the night wrapping up smoothly and on time.
  • What times do you have all your vendors contracted for? Take note of the amount of time you have agreed upon and the number of tasks you are expecting. For example, for hair and makeup: figure out how long you have each of your hairstylists and makeup artists for and how many looks you need completed. Time out each individual makeover in your schedule.
  • What type of dinner will you be doing? Establish how many courses you will include. Ask your caterer how long they will need to prepare, as well as realistically how long each course will take to serve, enjoy, and clear.
  • What types of photos are important to you? The main categories you need to be present for are getting ready, dress, bridal party, romantics, and family shots.

Day of Timeline Part 1 | Marisa Nicole Events

Photo Credit: Salt & Sky

Logistics to discuss about day-of transitions

  • What is the approximate length of your ceremony? Do not just guess, and make sure you leave room for error. It is better to have a little extra time than have to cut another area of your wedding short.
  • Do items need to be moved from the ceremony site to the reception? Make sure someone is in charge of this and knows exactly when and where to move these items.
  • Do you want to do a grand entrance into the reception? Some couples like to be introduced as the new Mr. and Mrs., while others prefer a quiet entrance. Decide, as a couple, what is best for you.
  • What traditions would you like to include? Often, wedding traditions are integrated as part of the reception. These may include a father-daughter dance, first dance, garter toss, toasts, bouquet toss, and cake cutting. Decide which you want to include, how much time to allot for each, and build them into your day-of schedule.

Day of Timeline Part 1 | Marisa Nicole Events

Photo Credit: Hom Photography

The information you gather from these decisions will guide you in creating your day-of timeline. In two weeks, we will be back and ready to get started with organizing! Happy planning!

Identifying and Working Through Your Wedding Values: Part 2

Hi Love Birds,

Photo Credit: Booth Photographics

Last week we went through the first five topics regarding wedding values to discuss with your partners, and this week we have five more! We are getting into the nitty-gritty of wedding planning and therefore, the nitty gritty of your values! Let’s begin with ceremonial aspects and then get more specific. Remember to categorize each topic by need, want, and “really-don’t-care” so that you and your partner can get a good idea of what is most important to you both.

Photo Credit: Iris and Light

Ceremony & Traditions

An important element to discuss is your actual ceremony… you know, the part of the wedding that makes you legally married. Are there religious or cultural traditions that you (or your families) want to include? Is it important who marries you (i.e. – a priest, rabbi, friend, etc.)? Another part of this is the traditions or moments that take place outside of the ceremony. For example, if you grew up Jewish, you may want to include the breaking of the glass into your ceremony or if you are Chinese, you may want to kick off the festivities with a tea ceremony. From jumping the broom to henna tattoos and from the father-of-the-bride speech to cutting the cake, there are a thousand little traditions that you will want to think through and decide what elements to include in your day.

Photo Credit: Anya Kernes Photography

Photography/Videography

This is a perfect time to decide on how you want to remember your day. You can hire a photographer, a videographer, or both! Talk through how important each of them is for you, and what kind of style of photography/videography you would like.

Photo Credit: Birds of a Feather

Food and Drinks

Although every wedding has food and beverages included, where it lands in terms of importance for each couple can vary greatly based on budget. This area is like a can of worms, so make sure to go through the following questions carefully. What kind of bar do you want to have, full or partial? Do you want a full sit-down plated dinner or a more cost-effective buffet? Is there a specific type of food you want to serve and are there any allergy accommodations you want to make sure you are sensitive to? This also includes dessert and cake! Discuss whether you want to have a cake and/or some other kind of dessert.

Photo Credit: Amanda McKinnon

Beauty & Attire

Start this conversation by discussing the dress code for your wedding. What you envision yourself and your partner wearing goes into this (for example, you can’t have a black tie wedding if the groom is wearing a suit). Think through what you want your crew to wear on the big day. We suggest our brides get their hair and makeup done professionally. However, it is up to you whether you cover this fully, partially or not at all for your gals.

Photo Credit: Birds of a Feather

Printed Items

At this point, you should discuss printed items and how important they are to you. Do you want elaborately decorate invitations and save the dates? Or sweet day-of programs? Also, do you and your partner want to create an interactive guest website for the event? There are plenty of options to choose from.

Photo Credit: Andrew Abajian

While this all may feel a bit overwhelming, it is so important to talk to your partner about all ten of these topics and decide what you both value the most. This is really the kick start to the rest of your decisions about budget and timing. With your values in hand, you can sketch out an initial estimated cost breakdown to help you keep your budget in check as you enter into any wedding related contracts. Remember that all of this work will be worth it when your special day arrives!