What to do when your wedding day timeline is thrown off

Last week I shared a post about the things that I make sure to include in your wedding day schedule.  Giving each of these items a little buffer of extra time really allows your day to run smoothly.  But sometimes, regardless of how you schedule your wedding day, your timeline can still be thrown off.  So here are some things to consider and some tips to plan on if your timeline is thrown off.

Having your timeline off by a couple minutes here and there is not a big deal.  In fact I normally don't start the processional and the seating of the parents for the ceremony until about 1-2 minutes after the scheduled time.  Why? Just in case anyone is running late (and someone is ALWAYS running late). I don't want my bride to be walking down the aisle at 4:00 and then have guests walk in at 4:03 and interrupt the ceremony.  Of my 15 weddings in 2017, I didn't have one ceremony that a guest wasn't late.  I usually send the bride down the aisle about 5 minutes after the scheduled start time.  

Pick a Point Person:
If you're starting to run 10 minutes or more late, make a plan.  If you have a planner or coordinator, talk to them before your wedding and make sure they have a good contact of someone you trust to make decisions. This can be a parent, a bridal party member, or the bride and groom.  Just make sure that they have their phone on them at all times.  I always ask what you want to do if you're running late-I try to pre plan as much as possible.  

Decide what you want to do if you go overtime:
Make sure you have your any hard timeline items scheduled and in bold on your timeline.  Do you only have your ceremony venue until 6:00? Make sure you have plenty of time to get all your guests out of there and your vendors have time to clean up.  If you photographer is only there until 8:00, make sure you have first dances, cake cutting, and any special moments scheduled at least a half an hour before that time.  Remember that if your schedule is off and you go over your time with any of your vendors, you will be charged extra.  Decide if you want to pay for the additional time or if you want have the vendor leave as scheduled, even though they may miss something important.  Also, make sure to check with your vendors to make sure they are available to stay later than their scheduled end time in case something does get thrown off.  

Decide what's most important to you:
Sometimes, if you don't have a first look and are trying to do all your pictures during cocktail hour, photos can run late.  What's most important? Are you most concerned about getting your pictures in or are you most concerned about your guests getting impatient? Make a backup plan. 
Can you begin to serve dinner to your guests while you're finishing pictures? Or, can you head into the reception and then finish pictures during dinner or dancing? 

When is your food the best? 
Most of the time your caterers are great and can tweek the time the food is being served by 10 minutes to an hour!  But, find out from your caterer what time you need to make the decisions and how much wiggle room they actually have.  The last thing you want is to have your caterer running on schedule, plating up the meals, and then find out that you're running 40 minutes behind.  You don't want your food to be cold when it's served to guests.  A buffet allows for more wiggle room for timing since it's kept hot the entire time.  

You never want to be in the situation where the timeline is off by more than a few minutes.  But, the more you plan ahead, the less stressful your wedding day is going to be. If you need a wedding planner or coordinator in Omaha, Lincoln, or the surrounding areas of Nebraska or Iowa, let me know!  I'd love to help!

XO Lindsay