Whether it’s your first wedding or your hundredth party, event planning is stressful. So

stressful, in fact, that event coordinator was named the fifth most stressful job in 2017 by

Forbes. Why is it so stressful? First of all, there are lots of moving parts. People, places,

activities and more people. And don’t forget time. Yes, there are twenty-four hours in each

day and seven days in each week, but time flies by whether we are attending to tasks or not.

So although we cannot stop time, we can work with it to make our events successful.

Whether we’re event or wedding planning, a timeline is our best friend.

At first glance, many people are overwhelmed at the idea of developing a timeline. In the long

run, however, a wedding planning timeline can save your sanity by:

  • keeping you and others on track;
  • helping you stay on budget;
  • giving you a clear picture of your event right from the beginning; and
  • making the day-to-day tasks easier.

Take a deep breath and jump in!


  1. Determine the biggest ‘non-negotiable’ of your event. Is there a speaker you really, really

want who is only available on a certain date? Does the bridal couple absolutely have to have

their reception at a specific venue? Is your event going to happen in coordination with

another already-established event? The answers to those questions will determine the

foundation of your timeline.


  1. If you don’t know where to start, get a bunch of sticky notes and start writing down every

task you can think of that needs to be completed in order for your event to go off without a



  1. Draw a timeline of a big piece of paper and begin placing your sticky notes along your

ideal timeline – highlighting the non-negotiables. These first steps will be the most difficult.

But it gets easier!


  1. Keeping your theme in mind, determine your budget and eliminate any tasks or activities

that cannot be accommodated.


  1. Build in overlap time for a speaker who goes on too long, weather or other circumstances

that could potentially interfere. What if your speaker is late arriving?


  1. Confirm your event date and venue.


  1. Send out ‘save the date’ announcements.


  1. Send a preliminary events schedule to ALL your vendors or participants and have them



  1. Build your website.


  1. Send out invitations and promote your event.


  1. Develop seating arrangements, signage and hand-outs.


  1. Keep all your vendors informed.


AND don’t forget..  Have a Plan B in your back pocket.


If you don’t know where to start, there are lots of templates available. Check out these free

ones: https://www.smartsheet.com/free-event-planning-templates

Interested in becoming a professional event designer? Check out the Institute of Wedding &

Event Design’s (IWED) website at https://iwedglobal.com/. America’s #1 wedding and event

design certification courses are available across the country, in-person and online.


What advice would you give someone planning an event timeline? Post a comment. We

would love to hear from you.

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