While most couples know that having a schedule for the wedding itself is a good idea, it is also not the worst idea to make some detailed schedule lists for the whole week. Everything in the lead up to the wedding will be done with a combination of excited emotions and many, many well-wishers so being able to refer to that schedule can be a real help to staying on track and not wasting time.
Here are some sections of a wedding week schedule that you might find useful as you plan for your own big day. Getting the planning out of the way can make it easier and better, which deepens the enjoyment for the happy couple themselves!
Before Out-of-Town Arrivals Get to the Wedding Site
If you want anything to be ready when people arrive at homes or hotels, schedule a time to get it into position early, whether that is a sturdy handrail for older family coming up steps or baskets of gifts you want delivered to hotel rooms. These kinds of ideas are fun when the wedding is months away, but they need a specific moment to get done. If possible, schedule a “girls night” with one or two nearby bridesmaids for a week before to make sure you aren’t saving craft projects, assembling gifts, or place cards to the very last minute.
While you may think you’ll spend every moment dreaming of your wedding, it’s good to figure out what you and your guests will do during in-between times: some weddings are in nature areas where hiking and canoeing are natural leisure activities, while others focus on giving their guests a list of museums and restaurants to try in an urban setting. Regardless, make a plan for the time between when everyone arrives and the first official wedding event, even if they choose to strike off on their own. Think about what you want to do as well: would a pedicure with your sister make you happiest? Do you need to plan time for a nice long run to calm your nerves? Make sure you schedule in self-care because other activities may crowd it out otherwise.
Preparation for the Rehearsal, and the Rehearsal itself
Rather than starting your schedule with the rehearsal itself, schedule all the things you’ll need to prepare for it: any contact with the venue or minister, information that needs to get to the bridal party, and physical items that need to be on hand for the rehearsal should already be accounted for by the time it starts. Make sure you also know what you want to rehearse, when you want the dinner to begin, and when you intend to slip out to make sure you get some shut-eye before the big day.
“Day Of” Schedule
For afternoon and evening weddings, the morning of a wedding can look very different: some people are busy decorating their venue while others can do that on a previous day, and many last-minute tasks may start to pile up. Having a good schedule will help you make sure that every item is assigned to a willing volunteer and gets checked off the list. Having a trusty friend or sibling hold on to the list while you are pulled in many directions is a great idea.
Wedding and Reception Schedule
Often this part of the schedule is handled by a wedding planner, but for your own sanity it might be nice to have a copy yourself, just in case. The biggest key in this schedule is for the people who are responsible for each transition, say, the bride walking down the aisle or the announcement that the cake is being cut, there is someone who knows to make sure it happens on time. If you don’t have a planner, just making sure everyone knows their personal cues to keep things moving at the pace you desire.
By making sure that your wedding week is scheduled, you are actually more free to enjoy your experiences with friends, family, and your partner, knowing that you aren’t forgetting anything and everything will happen in good time. It’s also a great way to make sure that you get a chance to thank everyone who helped you get to where you are, since time can often escape before we know it.