How strict are you about following the timeline? I know some planners who are so strict, it basically doesn't matter what is going on if the timeline says to do it, it is happening. I have found that taking a different approach works really well for the guests, vendors, and overall feeling of the event.
I do create a timeline for myself to know how long and in what order things should happen. I also have that timeline down to the minute. Then for the couple and some of the vendors I provide them with what I call the order of events with only the times that they need to know about.
So it may look something like this:
What I have found is I don't want many people to know when things should be happening because I like to work with the vendors, watch the guests, and have what looks like a go-with-the-flow timeline. What really is happening is if the photographer wants 10 more minutes, or the guests are board I can move something along, or if the caterer needs more time or can be flexible and move it up, I am not held to the timeline. I won't have someone approach me and say, hey, I thought we were supposed to cut the cake at 7:22. It's 7:45 what is going on.
They don't need to know that the dinner service is running late, but everyone is having a great time, or that their best friend who brought the cake forgot to bring something for it and I have staff trying to hunt down a cake knife.
It actually allows the guests and family to see that we have it on the timeline, it will happen, and I have the flexibility needed to allow everyone to do their job the best they can while the guests enjoy the evening.
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