Timing is everything when it comes to a wedding and having a timeline is crucial, but it must be done right to be effective. Eddie Babbage and his Timeline Genuis method can help master the wedding timeline.

Babbage, a Duke University graduate with a degree from Harvard Law School and a decade of experience as a tech entrepreneur, was looking to revolutionize the way planners created timelines. He was genuinely interested in understanding what challenges wedding planners had when it came to creating timelines and the complexities, especially with destination weddings. This led to the creation Timeline Genuis, a software program that will save time, keep you organized and help manage every detail of the wedding timeline. The software also allows to create timelines for specific vendors and for a wedding party.

Where to Start

The first step is to enter and create profiles in Timeline Genius for all the vendors the wedding planner or couple plans to use. The timeline will need to be shared with all parties involved. For example, a photographer will need to know if the couple is doing a first look, where it is taking place, what family photos are wanted and who must be in them. The florist will need to know what time they can arrive to set-up for each event, when they can get into the hotel to breakdown, and what parameters they are working with. The catering team will need to know the flow of the reception so that they can let the kitchen know to have the food ready. The DJ or band will also need to know when to announce big moments such as the first dance and cake cutting. The bridal party will need to know where and what time hair and make-up is taking place, where and what time photos are and so on.

When to Start

Start creating the timeline four to six months prior to the wedding. At this stage, all vendors should be booked, all events should be identified, and the menu finalized. Stay flexible as there will be smaller details that won’t get finalized until a couple of weeks out, such as a final seating chart.

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Start the day early and buffer in extra time. Identify any opportunities to start setting up the day or night before. This will help when something goes awry and having that buffer will help. It is recommended to tell the bridal party to be somewhere 15 minutes earlier than when they need to be there. Getting large groups together for photos, for example, can take a little extra time. Do not do this with the wedding guests. For some reason, wedding guests tend to show up notoriously early.

Maximize your timeline with a “first look”. Photos are such an important element to any wedding day. First-look photos, which are photos taken of the couple as they see each other for the first time prior to the ceremony, are special and intimate, and have become increasingly popular over the years. Having a first-look session is also a way to maximize the timeline and give the couple more time to “breathe” between the ceremony and the reception and be able to enjoy the festivities with their guests.

Take care of the vendors. Give vendors as much detailed information ahead of time to enable them to easily do their job once they arrive onsite. Make sure they know where to unload, who their contact person at the venue is, how long they will have to set up, have floorplans ahead of time, etc. The wedding day is a long day for the couple, but it is a much longer day for the vendors and anyone on the planning side. One of the elements your timeline should include are vendor meals. Send vendors meal selections ahead of time and make sure the hotel has them and knows what time the vendor meals should be served.

Be flexible. There will always be some type of curveball that will throw things off. This is why the buffer is important, but just as important is remembering that there will be some ebb and flow. As always throughout the planning process, remember to keep things in perspective, breathe and try to find the humor in things.

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