What should be included in a wedding itinerary?
The wedding day is undoubtedly one of the most significant days in one’s life. It’s a magical day filled with joy, love, and beautiful moments. However, planning for such a big day can be overwhelming. One of the key elements of ensuring a smooth wedding day is preparing a detailed itinerary. In this article, we delve into the question of what should be included in a wedding day itinerary.
Starting with the Basics: What is a Wedding Itinerary?
A wedding itinerary, also known as a wedding day timeline, is a detailed plan that outlines the flow of events on your wedding day. It schedules when and where each activity will occur, from the moment you start getting ready to the grand exit at the end of the reception.
Crafting a wedding day itinerary ensures that nothing falls through the cracks, and every detail is taken care of. It also helps you manage your time effectively and ensure that everyone involved, including vendors, bridal party members, and guests, know exactly what is happening and when.
Key Elements of a Wedding Day Itinerary
Crafting a wedding day itinerary involves considering several elements. Let’s look at what should be included in a wedding day itinerary.
1. Pre-wedding Events
Your wedding itinerary should start from the very first event, which is often the wedding rehearsal. However, for some couples, this may include pre-events that are part of a larger multi-day wedding celebration.
Begin your timeline with the rehearsal, detailing when and where it will be held. Also, include the time and location of your rehearsal dinner or welcome party.
If you have any pre-wedding get-togethers planned, such as a bridesmaids’ brunch or a groomsmen’s golf outing, these should be included in your itinerary.
2. Getting Ready
This is where the wedding day officially starts. Detail when and where you, your partner, and your wedding party will start getting ready.
Hair and Makeup Appointments
Note down the time when your hair and makeup artists will arrive and who they will work on first. Also, specify any instructions your stylists have provided, such as whether the bridesmaids should arrive with clean, dry hair.
Specify what time everyone needs to start getting dressed. It might be before you put your gown on so they can help you get ready.
3. Vendor Arrivals and Set-up
This section should include the arrival times for all your vendors and when they will start setting up.
Vendor Load-in Times
Include the time when each vendor is expected to arrive for setup. Be sure to include what they are setting up and key contacts.
Photography and Videography
Specify when your photographers and videographers will arrive and start taking shots. Also, note the times for different photo sessions, such as the bridal party photos, couple’s portraits, and family photos.
4. Wedding Ceremony
This is the main event. Outline when it will start, how long it will last, and any specific traditions or customs you will incorporate.
Include what time your guests should start arriving for the ceremony.
Ceremony Start and End Times
Clearly state when your ceremony will start and end.
Specify any post-ceremony activities, such as a confetti toss, signing the marriage license, or a group photo.
5. Cocktail Hour and Reception
This part of the itinerary includes everything from the start of the cocktail hour to the end of the reception.
Indicate when and where the cocktail hour will start and end.
Note when guests will be seated for dinner and when dinner will be served.
Speeches and Toasts
Outline when speeches and toasts will take place and who will be giving them.
Include when the first dance will occur, the parent dances, and when the dance floor will be open for all guests.
6. Evening Activities
This section should cover all the activities that will take place during the evening, such as the cake cutting, bouquet toss, and any other special dances or games.
7. Wrap-up Activities
Detail when the last song will be played, when guests should depart, and when the wedding couple will make their grand exit.
Tips for Crafting a Wedding Day Itinerary
Here are some tips to help you craft your wedding day itinerary:
Start from Scratch: Every wedding is unique, so you’ll need to create a timeline that suits your day. Use templates as a guide but adjust them to fit your needs.
Add Buffer Time: Unforeseen delays can happen, so add extra time to your schedule to accommodate them.
Distribute Your Itinerary: Share your itinerary with your vendors, wedding party, and family members to ensure everyone is on the same page.
Consider the Weather and Lighting: If you’re having an outdoor ceremony or planning for sunset photos, consider the weather and lighting when scheduling these events.
Work with a Planner: If possible, work with a wedding planner or month-of coordinator to help you create a detailed and effective itinerary.
Creating a wedding day itinerary is an essential part of planning your big day. It ensures that everything runs smoothly, and all your guests have a great time. Take the time to think through each part of your day and create a timeline that suits your needs. And remember, while sticking to the schedule is important, don’t let it stop you from enjoying one of the most memorable days of your life!
Are you looking for help building out a wedding itinerary? Reach out to our team of Toronto wedding planners to help pull your final details together!
Have you ever wondered how wedding planners charge?
This is one of the most common questions that I get asked by clients and vendors alike. Every wedding planner does it differently, but there are some commonalities. Most wedding planners charge either by flat rate or by percentage. Flat rate is more common in Canada, but around the world many planners opt to use the percentage method.
Wedding Planners Who Charge Percentage Rates:
In this model, your wedding planner will charge a percentage of your overall wedding budget. This means that if your wedding planner charges 10% of your wedding budget, and your budget is $100,000, they will charge $10,000 for full service planning. The reasoning behind the percentage method is that typically the larger the budget of the wedding, the more intricate the requirements, and typically there are more vendors to manage. This also makes allowances if the scope of the work for the wedding project grows beyond the initial requirements when wedding planning began.
Wedding Planners Who Charge Flat Rates:
Most wedding planners charge a flat rate for service, whether it is for full wedding planning, partial wedding planning or month of management. This can be helpful for clients because the fees are outlined in the contract and do not rise above the contracted amount, regardless of the final budget. That being said, a flat rate cost for a planner may be out of scope for smaller, more intimate celebrations unless the planner also offers a percentage-based fee.
There isn’t really a good or bad method – it really comes down to the requirements of each event. The best tip I can offer to prospective clients is to ask about each package and for customization of you require it. Our team personally uses a flat rate approach, but each package is tailored to the needs of the wedding.