Wedding planning can be a hectic adventure from the moment that ring gets slipped onto a finger. From picking the date, to selecting the venue and all of your vendors, it is a roller coaster ride that needs serious management. This is why you hire a planner, but you already knew I was going to say that.
The timing of the actual wedding day may not seem important to you until you get within 6-8 weeks away AKA "Month of Coordination" area, but in reality, you should consider the timing from day 1. As a planner (and a micromanaging one at that) I create timelines that span anywhere from 3-7 pages long. This all depends on the details, but I can assure you that I think of everything and that I account for where I might need extra time. Frequently heard at the weddings I plan? The following (and typically from jaded non-believers): Wow, I can't believe how on time everything is.
Of course it is. I planned it that way. It's all in the timing.
Yes, I just said the title of this blog post.
How your day ebbs and flows begins at the minute you start your planning. Let's face it, many couples already know what they want including colors, theme, vibe, guest count and more. Half of the brides that come to see me have Pinterest pages that I guarantee were started before the engagement. So yes, you know what you want. How do you actually get it? What are you going to do?...Besides hire a planner because, you know... um, hello.
That ceiling installation you saw online, that first dance on a cloud you've heard about, and anything else you can possibly imagine, all needs the correct timing. I'm talking "when is the salad plated-how many toasts-is there enough time before entree for a dance set" timing.
When I create a timeline, I talk to all of the vendors and the venue. Planners get a bad rep because some of them just dictate timelines and tell vendors and the venue when things are going to happen. It doesn't work like that and I'm not about to tell the photographer how long he has to take detail shots. He tells me that. As a planner, I'm going to pull all of that together for you so that you, your fiance, and of course the peanut gallery (read: wedding party, parents and some guests) don't have to think about anything on the wedding day. I do the thinking for you. Have a glass of champagne, you're covered.
Here's the issue though... if you've been following me here and on social media, you will know that I prefer to handle full planning of weddings. I really like working with the vendors that I trust and ones that I know can deliver, as opposed to playing Russian Roulette with someone you found on a website that probably writes their own reviews, or a friend or family member that has offered to be a vendor. I see a wedding as a team sport, and I like being the person that picks the people on the team.
The issue arises when you already have some team members picked out, and then you come to see me. You can bring in your design ideas and anything else you want, but if I see an issue with the timing, you can bet I will bring it up. So, if you want pipe and drape and really funky rentals, I will ask you how much time you have at the venue... and I will cross my fingers that you picked a venue that hosts one wedding a day.
As a planner and a designer, we are hired to sometimes just design the wedding. The client doesn't want us to plan a thing... just take their vision and make it happen. We're good at doing that, but to do a solid job, the proper timing is needed. As a planner, I know it's important to communicate to my vendors just how much time they have to set up. As a designer, I need to know the same information. I will tell you this: if you book a venue before booking a planner or anyone that needs to be in that space, make sure you find out what your timing looks like. How long will you have for set up? What is the minimum amount of time? What number do you need to write on a check to extend that minimum/guarantee the space? Odds are it's mentioned during your first appointment and it could even be in your contract. That said, so many people aren't paying attention to that because they don't realize how it will affect them come wedding day.
For instance, when I consult with a venue and am told that tables and linens go down at 10am, for a vendor load in at 12:00 p.m., and then I give that information to my florists, it's going to get ugly when they are told they cannot get into the room until 4:00 p.m. You know what happens then? The florist says they have to leave everything there because they have another job unless the client (that's you) wants to cover their expenses. That fancy set up you paid for might not even happen if the timing that was promised simply goes away. The more complicated the set up, the worse this situation becomes.
If you book with a venue and then meet with a florist, rental company, planner, or designer, make sure you know how much time they will have. You could have an amazing vision in your head and the florist is set to bring it to life... but if they find out the week of your wedding that they only have an hour to make it happen, things could get messy.
The timing is important and couples don't know to ask about it. It's a question that almost never comes up, and it wouldn't because the couple is most likely not in the wedding industry. The bummer is that it's one of the most important things to know from day 1. The crazier the set up, the more time will be needed to complete it. So, if you have a crazy set up in mind (be honest with yourself... you know if it's crazy), then it's a good idea to only visit venues where you're the only party that day, or where you will be able to write a check to make that happen. If you've already booked a venue, and are stuck with that 1 hour to 2 hour window for set up, just have that information handy when consulting the rest of the team for wedding day.