6 Wedding Scheduling Mistakes (And How to Avoid Them)

A bride and groom at their wedding walking in the snow in front of an historic building.

Planning your wedding can be a complicated experience, but having a great timeline can be one of the most useful, important things for your day. Giving yourself enough—but not too much—time for everything you need can feel like a monumental task, especially if you’ve never planned a wedding or a big event before. Here are a few common mistakes couples make and some solutions to keep in mind as you begin to schedule your wedding day timeline.

1. Not Including Travel in Your Timeline

As you’re beginning to put together your day-of timeline, it’s important to include travel time into the mix, particularly if you’re traveling from a “getting ready location” to the ceremony, or from the ceremony location to a reception spot. Not only do you need to remember to factor in the travel time, but also add a bit of additional time for potential traffic, too. And look at the local website for your ceremony and reception locations to confirm if there are any events in the area that might add even more time to your travel on that day! It sounds like a minor thing, but overlooking travel time can make a big dent in your timeline, and really throw your schedule off for the rest of the day.

2. Not Scheduling Enough Time to Get Yourself Ready

A bride getting her makeup done on her wedding day.

This is a major one, and it’s one that can really severely affect the rest of your day, so it’s very important to keep in mind. Many couples only think about how much time it regularly takes them to get ready, not considering the amount of people in their bridal party, the number of professional hair and makeup artists that will be available to work on each person, or even simply the fact that wedding hair and makeup will likely take much longer than the day-to-day or even more formal looks. Not scheduling enough time to get ready could even mean that some people in your party may have to do things themselves on the fly, and it could cause a lot of unnecessary stress and overwhelm on what should be a fun, exciting morning! To combat this problem, be sure to have your bridal party meet extra early and begin getting ready together. Make a morning out of it with breakfast foods or snacks, mimosas, coffee, and some upbeat, fun music. Even if your party does end up being ready earlier than planned, it will still be a fun time together and no one will be rushing to finish their makeup 20 minutes before walking down the aisle!

3. Not Padding Your Timeline

If your timeline is scheduled down to the minute with no room for adjusting and adapting, you are going to regret it. Though you certainly shouldn’t add so much padding time that you and your guests spend the day waiting around for the next thing to come, it’s definitely important to add a little extra time to each major section of the wedding timeline. This will not only give you room to breathe if things are on schedule, but will also stop you from panicking if things run a little off course. Your formal family photos going 15 minutes over is a lot less stressful when you know you left a little wiggle room for this exact purpose.

4. Not Scheduling Enough Time for Photos

A photographer taking photos of a bride against a wall with decorative trim.

Photos, particularly group family and bridal party shots, can take much longer than you might initially assume. Remember, this involves corralling all of your relatives and their respective partners and children, posing sets of them together, and keeping the ones who aren’t in that specific photo present and quiet during that time! Add on the potential for disagreeable kids, in-laws who won’t smile, and that one sibling who tends to wander off, and you might be surprised just how long these photos can take. And if you’d like to take individual photos with each member of your bridal party as well as posed group shots and then, of course, formal couples photos—well, that all adds up! Not only should you be sure to include lots of time for these photography sessions as you create your timeline, but it’s essential to share your plan with your photographer and ask for their input. They should be able to give you an idea of what is a reasonable expectation of time for each set of photos you’re hoping for.

5. Not Keeping Yourself on Schedule

Although of course it’s important to have some flexibility on the big day, it can be a huge mistake to not keep an eye on your wedding day timeline. If you don’t have a wedding planner or day-of coordinator, then share the planned schedule with your best man, maid of honor, or another member of your bridal party and ask them to keep you aware of the time. You don’t want to be looking at your watch every 10 minutes by any means, but it’s a good idea to have someone in the group who will help keep everyone aware of the plan and move things along if needed.

6. Not Including Your Vendors

Ultimately, scheduling your wedding can feel like a complicated process, but it’s important to remember that you have so many resources around to help you—specifically, your vendors! Share your plans with them, get their input, and adjust accordingly while avoiding the other above mistakes, and you’ll be well on your way to an awesomely efficient wedding day timeline.

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