It might be because I am a little over-caffeinated this morning (note to self: two cups of coffee before 8:00am is always too much!), but I had the song “Sunrise, Sunset” from Fiddler on the Roof running through my head this morning. (You won’t believe how random my mental playlist can be…I always wake up with the strangest songs stuck in my head. I chalk it up to exciting dreams ) If you’ve seen Fiddler on the Roof, you might remember the beautiful scene with the marriage procession, and the dramatic song that accompanies it:
So let’s talk about planning an outdoor wedding around the timing of sunset. Mr. Wallaby and I love to dance, and we have both always envisioned having a night wedding—so we wanted our outdoor reception to begin as the sun was going down. It takes some careful planning, though, to coordinate the wedding-day festivities with the sun’s schedule.
In other words, the timeline. This thing was both my savior and the bane of my existence.
Initially, I was super excited to write out a timeline for the big day. Heck, we were six months out and I was running around telling Foxy that we needed to get. it. done. now. How could we wait? The wedding was only six months away! I need to know what I’m doing! Everyone else needs to know what they’re doing! How could this possibly wait?!
Well…it did wait. And the week before the wedding, I realized I still didn’t have a timeline. I mean, I had an order for the girls to get their hair done in the morning, but that was about it. At that point, I just stopped caring. Wouldn’t the magical wedding gods just do their thing and everyone would just know where to go and where to be?
Um…no. Trust me, it doesn’t work that way. Even with a timeline. Thankfully, I had officiant Em to kick me in the butt and get me moving on this—AKA, she took her old wedding day timeline and substituted in all my information. Huzzah!
Which is how we went from a vague idea of the hair schedule, to this:
For my sanity on our wedding day, I decided to do a detailed wedding day timeline I could send to all the people involved in the planning, hopefully curbing some issues that might have come up that day. Unfortunately, since it seems morning receptions are a bit uncommon, the Internet wasn’t much help. So,this is what I came up with on my own:
6:00am Wake Up—2 hours for DIY Hair and Makeup
8:00am Photographers arrive and take pictures of bride around the house
8:45am Off to Church
9:00am Ceremony Starts
9:30am Ceremony Ends
9:50am Guests arrive at Reception Venue and are seated
10:10am The Boa’s Entrance—“Marry You”
First Dance—“You Belong to Me”
Welcome—Mr. & Mrs. Boa (MRS!!!!)
10:20am Buffet is opened, led by The Boas
11:00am Speeches (when everyone is seated)
11:15am Father Daughter Dance—“y como es el”
11:20am Let’s get (hopefully) this party started
During the next 70 minutes the DJ will slip these events into song set:
Besides “How did he do it?” I think the title reflects the question brides hear the second most during their engagement.
Every couple has their own timeline…or goes off online planning resources (from theknot.com or brides.com, for example). However, I always like to hear from real brides when they booked/scheduled everything, so I thought I’d share my timeline with you all!
Before I jump into it, want to mention that all these comments/thoughts are my own and based on my experiences as well as those of friends who were/are to be married in the Philadelphia area. It’s also worth noting that things may be different for those not booking in a major city or during a peak month.
WARNING: this post is heavy on info…if you just want a quick look at timelines, skip to the bottom!
Engagement: February 18, 2011
Booked: 14 months before the wedding (original); booked under seven months before the wedding (current)
Tasting: Under one month from the wedding
This timeline is a little tricky since our first-choice venue cancelled on us. We were VERY lucky to get our current venue seven months ahead of time, as they are normally booked over a year in advance (thank you to the person/people who canceled the original hold). This may not be common in other places, but in Philadelphia, many venues are unavailable at peak times of year unless you book 12–14 months in advance (based on our experience and that of other couples we know).
Having a self-uniting ceremony means that we have a completely blank slate as far as what we want to include in the ceremony. The only legal requirements for it is that we say the words “I take you as my husband” and “I take you as my wife” to each other in front of two witnesses—our ceremony could literally be those two lines, nothing else, and we’d be married. However, we want something a little more, um, interesting than that.
When starting to shape our ceremony, there was one big glaring problem: self-uniting meant that we didn’t have an officiant. But without an officiant, it would just be me and Mr. Wizard, standing up there all awkward, with readers filtering in and out, also being all awkward. We were afraid that the ceremony would lose its thread and fall apart because there was no one overarching person to pull it all together and keep it moving. I discussed this problem one night with Wizard Aunt, and being the awesome aunt that she is, she said that she’d love to be our master of ceremonies—act as an officiant would, but not actually have any legal part in marrying us. I checked with Mr. Wiz, he agreed, and that was that. Not only is she a good speaker (she does readings at her church all the time and she speaks very clearly and comfortably), but it’s another great way to personalize the ceremony and include our families in the day. Wizard Aunt is my mom’s sister and the closest thing I have to my mom, and she and Mr. Wiz really get along, so having her emcee is perfect.
Logistics are not my thing. I can dream away, creating the perfect wedding day in my head, but when it comes down to putting those dream plans in motion, I usually fail. Something that has been giving me tons of grief is actually quite simple—trying to sort out our wedding-day timeline.
See, we want to do our photos after the wedding, so we need good light. The whole shebang is outdoors, too, and we don’t want to get married in the dark. But we don’t want to have the wedding ceremony too early, because that means dinner will be at a weird time, and everything will end early, too.
From what I can gather, based on sunrise/sunset calendars and a bit of guesstimating, sunset should occur sometime around 7 PM on the day of our wedding. From there, we’ll have about half an hour of civil twilight, that blue, glow-y, fading-light kind of sky. Ideally, we’re going to want to have everything done waaay before then.
Figuring about half an hour for our ceremony, an hour for cocktails/us doing photographs, and an hour and a half or so for dinner (there’s not that many of us) and dancing thereafter, I’m imagining it like so:
My family is not know for their punctuality. Some have taken to scheduling a get-together for 30 minutes after the time they tell my family it begins. We are notoriously late.
It’s not intentional—I think every member of my family really does try to adhere to a schedule. And their running-late habits generally don’t bother me much. But on our wedding day? The story may be a little bit different.
From the beginning of this whole planning process, I was determined to make our wedding reflect the unique personalities of Mr. Husky and me. We decided on a DEY (do everything yourself) budget and set out to craft a wonderful day. Hours were spent making buttons to be attached to linen flower petals that were glued to burlap napkin rings. Many evenings were spent at the kitchen table, carefully gluing delicate lace paper to the invitations. Soil was turned, and flower seedlings were nurtured in our garden.
And then it dawned on me: I haven’t done any of the big things! Like rent tables and chairs. Or find a bartender. You know, those things that we actually need for the wedding. After a minor panic attack, Mr. Husky updated my checklist into a weighted priority list. We copied all of the items from my checklist and assigned both a deadline and a priority of 1-5. Items assigned a priority one are non-negotiable requirements for the wedding—such as the marriage license and invitations. Priority fives are items that aren’t really all that important and can fall off the list if we run out of time. The weighted priority list that Mr. Husky created contains a column that multiplies the difference between the current date and the due date (number of months) by the priority level. If the due date has passed, the number will appear negative and red. Approaching deadlines are in yellow:
Oh, hello there, hive! Long time, no see!
We did this cah-razy thing and went on vacation. Some people might consider it “a weekend” but I say if you leave early Friday and don’t come back ’til mid-day Monday, you leave the computer at home and sleep a lot, it probably counts as vacation. Plus I want to pretend I’m all luxurious and can do things like take vacation. So we went up to my family’s cabin, spent some time with neighbors, spent some time with my mom and brother, slept, and read books. And napped. Did I mention we slept? I was apparently suffering greatly from being awake for too long, but don’t worry! Problem solved!
taking care of my serious lack of sleep problem
I woke up this morning, and was leisurely going through my morning routine. Check Weddingbee… check my email… read some blogs… hmm, I wonder how many days left until the wedding… check our countdown on the Knot… oh look! Less than 200 days. Cool.
WAIT, WHAT?! Less than 200 days?! How did that happen? When Mr. C and I first got engaged, we had over 500 days until the wedding, and now we’re in the 100s?!
As I’m waiting to start my recaps, I just wanted to share a few things…
Chances are at some point you will create a day-of timeline for the wedding, which may expand into a larger timeline for the overall weekend, and include important information like important cellphone numbers that will be distributed to key people.
But I’m talking about something more hardcore than the above, with minute timing and tons of details, like that of Mrs. Daffodil.
I have a little confession: every time I see a post on the boards about wedding to-do lists or countdowns, I feel physically ill. My heart starts racing, I feel woozy and light-headed, and I look for a happier, less stressful post. I am in denial about our wedding date, people.
I have to-do lists scattered throughout my email inbox. Do I look at them anymore? No. I can’t handle the reality of this impending date, where so many different variables have to come together—very expensive variables, I might add.
I’m not in freak-out territory yet.
We hit the 5 month countdown last week and it prompted me to get my butt in gear. So far my planning has mostly been inspiration boards, venue-ing, and more inspiration boards, but this week I’ve been a veggie with a mission (like a secular version of one of those Veggie-Tales characters).
Actually, in all honesty, it wasn’t the 5 month mark that prompted me into action, it was my first visit to an anonymous wedding site that offers a “wedding checklist”. After 8 months of wedding planning I had heard much about this site, but never logged on.
We’re getting down to crunch time! The marriage license application has been sent, the final payment has been made, the home party invites have been mailed, and now we wait. In 3 weeks, we’ll be in paradise!
Last week, I received an email from the hotel’s wedding department with our wedding day itinerary. Being left in the dark about the big day until now hasn’t really bothered me except for when people asked me how the planning is going. Uh, we’re done. We have been for a while. We’ve left most of the actual planning in the hands of the hotel… just the way we wanted it.
So when I read the wedding day plan…
… I thought it was perfectly simple and sweet. Normally, a reception immediately following the ceremony is expected but we didn’t want to do the expected, we wanted to do things our way and the island way—laid back and low stress. I’m starting to think we’re already on ‘island time’! We don’t have anything planned after the ceremony and the home party has taken on a life of it’s own. We both agree, that is our ’something after the wedding’, it’s just going to happen a month later.
Someone actually said to me, “Isn’t that going to be kind of anti-climactic for you? ‘I do’, then you’re done?”
Since I’m pretty Type A, I love to be prepared for everything, with a timeline and all the details mapped out. I can’t help it – I just really hate to be unprepared.
And, with bridal parties, most of your bridesmaids will care about the details as much as you, so they appreciate your schedule and timeline. Your groomsmen, however, will not. You’ll hand them a lovely little schedule of the activities and where they need to be and when, and they think, ‘Great.’ And, the second you turn around, in the trash goes that lovely little schedule you worked so diligently on.
Heartbreaking right? Well, I found this great idea: a pocket schedule. You can give it to the guys to keep in their pockets. Heck, you can even give it to your bridesmaids and close family members who need to know what is going on during your wedding day. The guys can put them in their pants pockets or suit coats, and the ladies can drop them in their clutches.