Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Master Wedding Timeline

I was cruising Twitter (you can follow me at SCEvents) earlier and someone had tweeted...twittered...well whatever it is, posted a link to a great article about having a Master Timeline and I loved it! So here it is in all of its glory! Happy Reading!

Master Your Day with a Master Timeline
Wednesday, August 26, 2009 at 5:25PM
I was laughing until tears rolled down my face when I read this story written by Jesi Haack of Jesi Haack Weddings. The best part?!? All of it is TRUE! As a wedding coordinator in Seattle, I know the importance of the Master Timeline and also how important it is for a strong and organized individual to run it ... someone who is NOT in your family and NOT a friend ... read the story below and enjoy Jesi's comic, yet totally true take on the Master Timeline :)

Ok, picture this: You are in a Vera Wang, feather covered, diamond white gown. Your hair is cascading down your back in beachy waves. You just lost 10 pounds in 3 weeks. Your engagement ring is sparkling clean. Your dad is in a suit. Your brother actually trimmed his beard. And ALL of the people you care about are sitting in white chivari chairs awaiting your arrival down the aisle. But, wait. You are still standing there. The DJ doesn't seem to know what to do. The wrong song is playing. No one knows what is supposed to happen next. If ONLY there was a Master Timeline in play!!!

I'm serious. It is THAT important. I know this because this story is my story (except for the Vera Wang...and the white chivari chairs... if only I could do all over again!). I had no one running the show. So I was left standing behind a bush, FREAKING out because I couldn't give my DJ instructions. The solution? A GOOD wedding planner.

What is the "Master Timeline" you ask? It is a detailed list of EVERYTHING that is going on during your wedding day. It begins with the wake up time for the bridal party and ends with the pick up time of all of the rentals. For my clients, I break it down into three timelines: wedding morning, ceremony, and reception.

The "wedding morning" timeline is jam packed full of detailed information tailored for the bridal party and family. With all of the out of town guests, confused bridesmaids, and just plain clueless groomsmen, this list helps to ensure all members of your entourage will have the necessary information telling them where they need to be and what time they are expected to arrive. If this portion of the timeline is forgotten, you will undoubtedly have more than one member of your closest friends having a beer at the pub while everyone is waiting at the altar for pictures!

Who is escorting Grandma Delores down the aisle? What song do the bridesmaids enter to? When does the Mother of the Groom enter down the aisle? These are all questions that can be magically answered in the "ceremony" timeline. I know, genius, right? This portion of the timeline details the order of the precessional, the specific music that each event occurs to, and the order of the events for the ceremony. You might be temped to think that the Officiant will take care of this portion of the day, but how will he/she take care of things while standing at the front of the venue? This part of the timeline is created with the collaboration of the Officiant. Teamwork, GO!

Where do you go after departing down the aisle? Why are you getting mobbed by your uncle Leon? Why are the guests wandering by the dessert table? Yes, the "reception" timeline takes care of all of these shenanigans! This is when the timeline really gets kicked into high gear. Details like: When do the caterers pass the appetizers? When do the bartenders uncork the champagne? What song should the DJ play for the Grand Entrance? Where does the bridal party (and in what order) line up for the Grand Entrance? I know, I know, you didn't think about that part. It's ok. That's why you already hired a wedding planner. Ok, where were we? Oh, yes. What do we do after the grand entrance? Dance? Toast? Eat? When do the caterers serve the food? Is it even ready? When do we throw the bouquet? How will we know? Are the toasts now? But the serving staff hasn't poured the champagne! What? What about the father/daughter dance? Don't worry, it will all take care of itself. NO IT WON'T! It must be on the Master Timeline!!

Ok, now that you are panicked, freaked out, and pretty much ready to give up, RELAX. Here is where your wedding planner comes in. Even if you have a timeline with all of these items included, who will execute them all? Who will ensure that all of the vendors will know what to do and when to do it? What if someone forgets to do what they are supposed to do? Who will ensure that things are adapted in order to accommodate the change? Yup, you guessed it, your wedding planner. Included in the Master Timeline are many details that I haven't mentioned (mostly because you will get bored) but also because we can't give away ALL of our secrets, can we? We will also include vendor arrivals and phone numbers. What time do the linens arrive? When does Uncle Joe show up with the homemade fudge? Does the florist know what time to be set up by? Yes, it will work like clockwork because your wedding planner has pre-planned it ALL. Your planner has forwarded a copy of the Master Timeline to all of the vendors weeks in advance so that they know what time to show up, set up, which song to play, what time to serve appetizers, when to pour champagne and so on and so forth.

Now, Aunt Judy might say, "Honey, I can do all of this. Let's just write it all down and it will be fine!". Aunt Judy, no offense, but it will NOT be fine. The most important aspect of the Master Timeline is the person who controls the execution of it all. Your wedding planner. Why is it so important that he/she controls the Master Timeline? Because the wedding planner is the common denominator between all of the components of your wedding day. She will know if the photographer is running behind and can tell the caterer to hold off on the main course. She will know if Uncle Ron is giving an impromptu toast and that they need to pour the champagne early. When another vendor or guest tries to control the Master Timeline, chaos can and most likely will, ensue. For example: I was working a wedding with a DJ I had never worked with before. He was used to working events that did not have a planner, therefore he was accustomed to running the show. He was following my timeline to a tee. The only problem with that is, if we do not touch base before each event, then we are in danger of miscommunication. Classic example: this particular DJ saw on the timeline that the Grand Exit was scheduled for 9:45 pm. He announced the exit to the guests at 9:45 on the dot, without waiting for me to give him the go-ahead. What happened? All 200 guests lined up and started lighting their sparklers and the Bride and Groom had no choice but to run through the guest-made tunnel out to the parking lot where NO TRANSPORTATION awaited them! The car service was running 5 minutes late, and because the DJ jumped on it before I was ready, we had to hide the B & G behind a van! So it is CRITICALLY important to not only HAVE a Master Timeline in place, but to have your WEDDING PLANNER the only person in charge of executing it.

Yes, a wedding planner is an additional expense. But without this priceless expense, you are in danger of throwing all of the money you have spent on your wedding down the tube when everything you have spent so much time on falls apart! You need a glue gun to hold it all in place! Yes, wedding planners are like glue guns. We are hot, fast, and we hold it all together.