Since you were a child you dreamed of your Wedding Day. It will be special, magical. The sun will shine, music will play, people will laugh, dance sing.
There will be talk for years of how a good time was had by all. It can all happen, but it takes the planning of a Movie Producer, the discipline of general patton and the patience of a saint. And guess what? You can do it. And you can have FUN too.
All it takes is some planning and organization. I’m going to take it for granted that you have, at this point, done all the necessary ground work to make your Grand Production happen…the hall, the caterer, the church, the photographer, the music, the flowers, etc.
Now lets get down to the nitty gritty of the Schedule of the Day.
TRUTH #1…Time is your enemy
You have a lot to do in a short time during your wedding day. If you can develop a good schedule and stick to it you can accomplish a lot. Work backwards from the time you and your caterer have decided you should arrive at the reception.
This is a critical time point because all of the reception activities will follow this point. Remember your schedule at the reception is fairly fixed and will usually follow a tried and true script set out by the caterer. Keep in mind that if you have booked a five hour reception that begins at noon and is set to end at 5:00 PM, you can usually assume that at 5:00 the lights will come on and the caterer will begin to turn over the hall for the 6:30 reception coming in after you.
If you are a half hour late getting to the hall, either the dinner will begin to get cold, or other activities will be rushed. Not a good thing if you are trying to relax and enjoy yourself.
By the way, if the hall offers you a separate room for the Bridal Party to hide in during the cocktail hour, let your bridesmaids and ushers use it, but your time and interests are best served by mingling with the guests.
TRUTH #2…Travel eats up time
Many couples forget to include this into their estimates. You may spend as much as an hour or more in the limo during course of the day. And god help us all if one of the bridal cars gets lost.
It is often a good idea to hire a party bus to transport the critical attendees. Nobody gets lost and, unlike the traditional limo, you can all have fun together.
TRUTH #3…Good photography takes time
When you see disaster footage on the local news, victims are always shown looking for their most precious keepsakes…the family photographs. Not their vcr’s or hot tubs.
Those are the important memories you are looking to preserve. The FORMAL PORTRAITS (not a dirty word) are an important historical record and as such you should devote some time to creating them. You will appreciate them more as you pass them on to your children and grandchildren.
You should generally allow about a half hour for them and they are best done right after the ceremony. All the important players are there already, assembled and freshly attired.
The worst place to try to get these is at the reception where trying to get people off the dance floor does nothing but eat up time. Receptions are for informal and fun photos.
TRUTH #4…Receiving lines waste time
After all you will be seeing each of these guests at the hall anyway, right? Why throw away as much as 20 good minutes that you could spend at the cocktail hour.
TRUTH#5…Start your day early
It’s easier to spend a little time waiting for the show to start while lounging in the limo than it is to make up for lost time. This means you should plan to leave for your hair appointment early.
If you plan to meet your bridesmaids at your house beforehand and go together, give them an earlier time. Plan a little slack into the schedule early, you will appreciate it later.
TRUTH#6…Nutrition is power
Yeah, I know this sounds like your mom talking, but it is true. When you don’t eat you loose energy…and you can’t have any FUN if you’re tired and hungry.
Plan a good breakfast. Even if you think you can’t eat a thing, at least drink a diet shake. Have one of your bridesmaids compile a snack basket for everyone to pick at during the day. Soft pretzels work great…no mess and they soak up alcohol.
Give the basket to your limo driver to attend to. By the way, Alcohol early in the day is usually a BAD idea. Hangover at the reception…not FUN.
TRUTH#7…Your photographer is the cruise director
He will be with you from the beginning of your day until the cake is cut. If you work with him to realistically plan your schedule he will keep you on track and maximize your FUN.
Believe it or not this is in his best interest. When you are relaxed your photographs look best.