Wedding Day Timelines Matter
Whether you’ve planned one wedding or a hundred, you surely know how important it is to create detailed timelines for your events. Weddings are complex – they have a lot of moving pieces and a whole host of different players involved. With a thorough wedding day timeline, you and your vendors have a shared game plan, so you can work together in harmony to pull off a beautiful event. On the other hand, if you don’t have a thorough timeline, you run the risk of delays, miscommunications, and unanticipated issues happening on the wedding day.
So wedding day timelines are vitally important – we all know that. But they’re also a lot of work if you’re doing them the right way. I’ve interviewed hundreds of experienced wedding planners in the United States and abroad and spent years studying the timeline creation process. My research shows that the average wedding planner is spending 10 to 15 hours, all in, creating each one of her timelines. Successful planners will often tell me, “Eddie, my timelines are so detailed that if I get hit by a bus, my weddings will still run smoothly.”
What about you? How many hours do you spend on average creating your wedding day timelines? A lot goes into it. You have to prepare the initial draft, have calls and trade emails with clients and vendors, then incorporate their feedback and make revisions. When you consider the full scope of work they involve, timelines can be tedious and sometimes, downright painful. If you’re like most planners I know, creating timelines is not your favorite part of the job.
With all this in mind, we should consider two important questions… First, why do you have to spend so much time and energy creating timelines? And second, is it possible to create A+ wedding day timelines in a fraction of the time and to actually enjoy the process? Read on dear timeline creator, for interesting answers await you below…
Three Traditional Wedding Day Timeline Approaches
The truth is, there are many factors that make creating wedding day timelines such a time-intensive endeavor. But the fundamental reason is that every wedding is unique. No two events are the same, and that means taking a one-size-fits-all approach to timeline creation is nearly impossible. With each wedding, there are a number of different factors that shape the core structure and flow of your timeline. These factors include things like ceremony time, religious tradition, how long the photographer is booked, whether there’s a first look, and on and on.
Naturally, wedding planners have developed strategies and workflows to cut through the complexity of timeline creation. In doing my research, I discovered that there are three traditional approaches to creating a wedding day timeline. The first is what I call the “Blank Slate Approach.” As the name suggests, this is when you start each wedding day timeline with a blank document. The benefit of this approach is that by starting a timeline from scratch, you can totally accommodate the uniqueness of a wedding. But the downside of this approach – and the reason why it’s seldom-used – is that it’s inefficient to recreate every bit of a timeline for every wedding.
The second traditional approach to timeline creation is what I call the “Timeline Reuse Approach.” If you use this approach, then you’ll start a new timeline by using an old one as a template. For example, you might try to find an old timeline that has the same ceremony time, religious tradition, or venue as your new event. The Timeline Reuse Approach is fairly common, and it has some benefits. You can save time if you’re able to match enough factors between your old timeline and the upcoming wedding. But the problem is, no two weddings are identical, so it’s impossible to find an old timeline that perfectly matches your new event. What’s more, you run the risk of forgetting to swap out names or other important information in your old timeline. “Oops Ms. Client, sorry, uncle Bob was actually in the timeline for this other wedding that I did.”
The third (and most common) approach to creating wedding day timelines is what I call the “Generic Template Approach.” If you use this approach, then you have a general template for starting your timelines. The advantage of having a template is that you don’t have to start from scratch and reinvent the wheel for each wedding. However, the downside is that a generic template, by definition, is not going to be customized for any of your actual events. This means you have to spend hours making tedious, line-by-line edits to customize your generic template for each wedding you plan.
So, all of the traditional approaches to creating timelines have some pros and some serious cons. This realization led me to ask the simple, but powerful question: Is there a way to do it better? Can we keep the pros of the traditional timeline creation approaches while eliminating their cons?
Introducing Timeline Taxonomy
As it turns out, the answer is, “Yes, there is definitely a better way to create wedding day timelines!” You can have all the benefits of the traditional workflows without the drawbacks if you modify (or I should say, supercharge) the Generic Template Approach. The way you can do it is through a strategy I call “Timeline Taxonomy.” This means creating a strategic set of wedding day timeline templates that are customized for your business. It means starting each of your timelines with a better, more relevant template, so you can avoid hours of unnecessary editing. Sound interesting? Let me explain how it works…
The first step in the Timeline Taxonomy process is to figure out which timeline templates you need for your business. I’ve found that the core structure and flow of wedding day timelines is actually driven by a set of “driver variables.” And there are typically three driver variables that you need to consider when mapping out your templates: 1) ceremony time (evening or afternoon), 2) whether or not there is a first look, and 3) whether or not the ceremony and reception venues are the same. On the basis of these three factors, you can come up with a template scheme that covers the eight scenarios shown below.
Of course, you may need to make adjustments or add more templates to your Timeline Taxonomy repertoire based on the types of events you do. For example, do you plan a significant number of Jewish weddings, or maybe South Asian weddings? If so, just treat religious tradition as a driver variable, and determine which additional templates you need.
Finally, after you’ve determined which timeline templates you need, you go ahead and create them. Admittedly, this requires an upfront investment of time. But once you have all your templates ready and organized, they’re going to save you time and pay dividends for the lifetime of your business.
Wedding Day Timeline Creation with Timeline Genius
While Timeline Taxonomy is a powerful system for saving time on your timelines, it does require a significant amount of upfront work on your part. And if you’re like most planners, you probably already feel overwhelmed with work you need to do. Fortunately, there’s another, far easier path to timeline nirvana: using Timeline Genius!
Timeline Genius is a web-based software that gives you all the power of Timeline Taxonomy, without you having to do any of the work! How is this possible? Well, I spent years doing research and development – working with a group of exceptional wedding planners and programmers – to build a tool that creates amazing wedding day timelines for you! Timeline Genius lets you enter the key details for a wedding as inputs (ceremony time, religious tradition, reception flow, etc.). And then, it automatically creates a timeline for you that takes those inputs into account. The result is that you get a customized timeline for your wedding in seconds, rather than having to toil for hours.
Sound amazing? Sound too good to be true? Just check out the video below to see Timeline Genius in action!
And after you watch the video, you’ll probably want to jump right in and try Timeline Genius for yourself: [Click Here to Start Your Free Trial of Timeline Genius]
Our Vision for the Future
When it comes to the future, we at Timeline Genius have a bold vision. We see a world where you’ll be able to create your wedding day timelines, start to finish, in 15 minutes instead of 15 hours. How? The short answer is, “artificial intelligence.” The longer answer is that we are constantly adding more inputs to our already sophisticated algorithm (our “Genius Feature”). This means you’re able to enter more details about each wedding upfront and have all those details automatically built into your timeline. By continually improving our Genius Feature and asking you all the right questions upfront, we’ll move toward giving you an almost perfectly tailored timeline with the click of a button. That means less editing, less time, and more customization, so each timeline is as unique as the weddings you plan. Now that’s Genius.