Weddings are usually highly coordinated activities involving several different vendors, friends, and family all working together to make the day a success. If one fails, the whole wedding is at risk. Because of this you want to find vendors with an excellent track record and make sure your friends and family have what they need to help you. Also, giving enough time to your vendors will also help avoid delays and handle any unexpected surprises. You can ask your vendor how much time they need, but usually by the time you have selected your vendor the schedule is already set. Below are some tips to help you plan for each vendor.

Makeup Artist – Plan for about an hour and a half for the application of the bride’s makeup. If your bride’s maids are getting makeup too find out if your artist will have a helper or how much longer they will need. Bride’s maids will need less time for makeup.

Hair Stylist – Again a Hair Stylist can take another hour and half. If you use the same person for both makeup and hair some time can be saved and you won’t have a situation where one professional will be waiting for the other one.

Dressing – It’s important to consider how long it will really take to get into that dress. Seldom is it as simple as putting it on and leaving. You will have your hair, nails, makeup done which will require extra care. There will also be about 20 people all running around getting things done or distracting your attention with last minute preparations.

Travel – If you are going to a hair salon or going to the makeup artist, don’t forget this little travel because it adds up. Also if you are going from the dressing location to the ceremony in a limo, allow extra time because it takes longer to get everyone in the limo and the trip is slower. Plus the photographer will want to take pictures of you and the bride’s maids with the limo, in the limo, etc. It may seem strange to plan for these little delays but in the end this is what ends up delaying the wedding the most.

Photographer – If you want the photographer at the dressing location, you usually only need them 15-30 minutes early. However also consider the time you are actually leaving the dressing location to get to the ceremony. You need to leave time for your photographer to be there a few minutes before the ceremony to do some setup. Your photographer is also going to shoot plenty of formals after the wedding. So plan to have something for your guests to do (cocktail hour) so the photographer can finish as quickly as possible. Normally the formals can take 30 minutes. However, if you have lots of required shots or a very large family plan for much longer. Don’t plan for the photographer to leave the reception early either. The time starts to slip and usually the last things at the reception are the cake and the bouquet toss. You don’t want to miss the pictures of these.

Videographer – Much of the same applies for video as it does with photography. The videographers usually film the occurrences of the day and don’t take your time for things like formals. You should decide if you need before ceremony video or not. In any case the ceremony and reception are key to film if you want a video.

DJ/Band – Make sure the DJ can get into the venue as early as they need to setup the equipment and test the sound. You don’t want to delay things because of a microphone problem. Depending on the amount of equipment you should ensure the DJ can start setting up an hour before the reception.

Ceremony Location – You want to make sure the location is accessible early enough for the room to be decorated. Also leave time for video/photographers, musicians, and official to prepare, though they should have enough time assuming they can setup while the decorators do.

Reception Location – Again, leave time for the decoration, video, photographer, and DJ. Also don’t forget about the cake decorator and caterers. After your ceremony and formal photographs, you will still need to give the photographers and videographers extra time to setup at the new location. Will you have a temporary bridal room at the reception location where you can wait until your party gets announced? If not, consider taking the scenic route or joining the cocktail hour.

Caterer – It can be much better to have the reception venue do the catering or use the caterer referred by the reception venue because they need to know the location very well and have a good working relationship with the reception staff. Also consider the amount of time it will take to get everyone served. This often goes beyond expectations pushing other activities later in the evening. Usually brides are concerned with the cost difference of buffet and plate service. Find out the estimated serving time of each of these for your number of guests and it can help make your decision easier. Food stations and family style can help speed things up while keeping costs lower than plate service.

No matter what you plan, everything can change. Keeping these things in mind while planning will help your wedding be a huge success.

John Biggs
http://www.biggstudios.com