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Before I Do

Creating the Perfect Wedding Timeline with Sweet Magnolia Events

by Sally Merrill

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Photography:

A day we all dream about, from the gown and florals to the first dance and cake, would not all come together without first creating the perfect wedding timeline. It’s a detail that doesn’t come to mind first when dreaming up your big day. However, it is arguably one of the most critical pieces in ensuring that every detail comes together and your day goes off without a hitch. A wedding timeline starts far before the big day. It begins the moment the question is popped, the ring is on, and the date is set. If you’re feeling overwhelmed, don’t worry, Sweet Magnolia Events is here to break down the importance of the wedding timeline and the services she provides to help the big day run smoothly!

 

What wedding planning services do you offer?

“We have various premiere packages, including a customized client portal with helpful planning templates. Three of our most popular services are full-service, month-of, and event management.”

Full-Service Planning

“Full-service is designed so our clients can hand off the wedding to-do list and management of vendors so they can enjoy their engagement. They can be involved as much or as little as they would like in the planning process.”

Month Of Planning

“Month-of service allows our clients to handle the planning leading up to their wedding and then hand off all their vendor contracts so we can wrap up the wedding details.”

Event Management

“Event management is for weddings of less than one hundred guests. The couple will have done all the planning and securing of vendors, allowing us to step in and pull together all details, ensuring the wedding day runs smoothly. Weddings and events are their best when our clients have knowledge and guidance with planning, which is why our event coordinators collaborate with our clients on a regular basis with scheduled meetings and calls.”

 

Responsibilities as a Wedding Coordinator

What does a wedding coordinator do on the wedding day?

“Nobody wants chaos and confusion on their big day. A wedding coordinator allows the families and guests to relax and have fun by providing clarity and direction. Our full-service coordinators arrive at the same time as the couple, so they can give direction to guests and vendors and facilitate all questions so the couple and their attendees can be fully present and enjoy the special day.”

Who from your staff will be present on the wedding day?

“My clients have the option to secure me personally for their full-service planning. I attend the wedding with my two fantastically organized assistants, so my clients have the 3 of us on site. That being said, our event managers and month-of coordinators will attend the wedding with one assistant for a guest count of 100 or less. Should the guest count exceed 100, we add an additional assistant.”

 

Importance of a Wedding Timeline

What is your process for creating the wedding timeline?

“Timing is everything for a successful wedding, and I cannot reiterate the importance of wedding timeline logistics. As soon as our clients sign their contract, they receive a tentative timeline in their client portal. We send the tentative timeline to all vendors three weeks before the wedding day and ask for feedback and confirmation of arrival and departure times. Once confirmed, we send the final timeline to all vendors and venues one week before the wedding. This way, all changes are accounted for, and our couple can rest assured that they can quickly move through their big day.”

What is a traditional wedding timeline?

“There’s a reason it’s known as “the big day,” and the timeline starts long before the ceremony. A traditional timeline begins when the first vendor arrives on the property. Usually, this starts with the hair and makeup team getting ready for the couple and the wedding party to arrive. While the couple, wedding party and family are getting ready, the timeline navigates the day, providing vendor arrival times and setup details. Once the couple and wedding party are ready, we move on to the next piece: guests’ arrival.

“Music starts 30-45 minutes before the guests’ arrival time, and then we move into the ceremony timeline. After the ceremony, we plan for a hour-long cocktail interlude, so guests can mix and mingle as we move into everybody’s favorite, the reception. The reception officially kicks off with the announcement of the newlyweds and their wedding party. Then it’s off to the races!”

What is most typically included in a wedding ceremony timeline?

“Every wedding timeline is as unique as the couple. We start with a ceremony questionnaire to determine who will be in the processional and work collaboratively with our couple and the officiant to create their ceremony timeline. We follow our couple’s lead, as some prefer a small, intimate ceremony including only their parents and wedding party; whereas, others want to include extended family, old college buddies and sometimes even their fur babies. We ask if children will be included and what role they’ll play. Most important for the ceremony timeline is the couple’s music selection and how the wedding party enters and exits the ceremony procession.”

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