Creating my wedding timetable was quite easy as Sikh weddings tend to follow roughly the same timings to allow the Anand Karaj to be finished by 12pm. To create my timetable, I just copied a Sikh wedding invitation I found online for the main events and then worked around those. The reception timetable was also simple as the caterers recommended what they thought would work best and we went with that. If you are unsure of anything when it comes to timings, your photographer is a great person to ask as they are wedding experts. You should try and get your wedding timetable agreed as early as possible so that your suppliers are aware of what timings they are working to. Below are the timetables I used when planning as references, for the parts that don’t have timings I added them afterwards as that is the order they happened on the day but I can’t remember what time they happened.
|12pm||Final Wedding prep checks|
|03:00||Jaz Wake up|
|3:30am||Makeup artist arrives|
|5:00am||Everyone else wakes up|
|7:30am||Everyone Leaves for the Gurudwara|
|17:00||Chill (Jaz Side)|
|18:00||Clean up (Jaz Side)|
|18:30||Paani Varna (Grooms side)|
|19 :30||Travel to hotel rooms and drop alcohol to venue on the way (Jaz Side)|
|21:00||Jaz and Gurpz check in|
|10am||Jaz make up|
|1pm||Close family needs to be at hall|
|2pm||People should be turning up by them|
|2:30pm||People enter hall|
|Bride and Groom Enterance/Cake Cutting|
|Dancing – Dessert served at some point|
|7pm||Kick people out slowly|
To ensure you can stick to your timetable it is helpful to consider the below points:
- Venue Journey Times
There will be a lot of travel on the day and it is important to factor that in and consider what traffic is generally like at the times you will be travelling. I would also recommend doing a travel practise run. A couple of weeks before the wedding try doing the journey as per the times on your time table. This will give an idea of what to expect on the day. If you cant practise all the routes, at least ensure the groom has had a practise run to the venue at the time they will leave on the wedding day. It’s also a good idea to check if there are any road works or local public events happening on your wedding day. My wedding day was the same day as the London Pride event which meant that lots of roads were closed in central. This led to lots of guests getting delayed going from the Gurudwara to my house for the doli.
- Can you trust your guests to be on time?
You cannot control other people’s timings, but you can plan how to handle their lateness. If you know most of your guests will be late consider telling them earlier times or give yourself a realistic time buffer. I have also seen some invitations that emphasise timings will be strictly adhered to. Though guest lateness is prevalent, hosts are getting stricter and not waiting for them anymore which I think is great. Tell guests beforehand that you will not wait for them and keep repeating it, so they know you are not joking. I do think that slowly it is working. For my wedding all the main people stayed at the house and we had coaches to transport them. This way we knew exactly where they were and could keep them to timings.
- What are your critical events and which events can you cut/move?
Unfortunately, no matter how much planning and preparation you do sometimes things will go wrong or get delayed and you may have to make some snap decisions on the day. When creating your timetables, it can be useful to have an idea of which events are critical and must start on time, and which events you have more flexibility with or can be skipped all together. That way if on the day you are running behind you know what you can move around to get yourself back on track. For example, the Anand Karaj is a critical event that must be started on time, whilst the Milni is flexible and if you are running late can be reduced to claw back some time.
- Are there any other events happening at your venue?
Check with your venues what else they will be doing on the day and ask them how they think it is likely to impact your event. You may not be able to make any changes to the other event but at least you will be aware of any potential issues. For example, I got married at Gravesend Gurudwara which has 2 wedding halls. So, there was another wedding happening at the same time as ours. Their Milni went on for quite a while and we couldn’t do ours until theirs had finished, which ended up delaying things for us. Whilst I don’t know what we could have done to mitigate that, it may be good to know in advance.
- Are you providing transportation?
If you must travel quite far for the wedding it may be worth providing coaches to and from the venues for your guests. Although its an extra cost it does ensure you have everyone together and can control when and where they go. My Dad says that the bus ride from the Gurudwara was the best part of the wedding for him, which is annoying for me as I was stuck in the wedding car!
- Who will ensure the timetable is followed?
You will be too busy getting married to enforce your timetable. You will most likely not even know what time it is most of the day as you will have no phone or watch. So, you will need to appoint people to keep an eye on timings and make sure guests are where they need to be. All of your close family will also be busy and may not be best for the job. If you have any trusted friends or cousins, ask them to keep an eye on the timings for you and try and get people to the right place on time. I say more than one person as that way you are covered, and they can support each other. You also need someone assertive that will not take no for an answer (in a nice way)!
- Venue timings
Check with the venues before hand what times you have access to them and what time you need to be cleared out by. As you need to factor in set up and tidy up times which may or may not be included in your hire times. This information is key for your suppliers. Also, if your reception is in a hotel you may also get a room, so don’t forget to check the check in/ check out times.
- Venue storage
For the reception especially there may be things you need to keep at the venue such as alcohol or decorations. Check with the venue beforehand if you can drop them off prior to your events and if so where they will be kept. If they are kept in a store room, check who has access so that you don’t end up locked out on the day. If there is no storage it may be worth booking a room to keep things in. This is important to know as you may have to factor drop offs into your wedding timetable.
- Grooms side events
Our wedding took place over 2 days, with the Anand Karaj on the Saturday and the Reception on the Sunday. I was so focused on planning the two actual events I didn’t consider what would happen in between. I had planned up to the doli on the Saturday and knew that at some point on the Saturday night we would need to leave to check into our hotel room. I had no idea what we would be doing after the doli and because there was no plan, we ended up leaving for our hotel room at 1am as we had to look after guests. It is worth asking the grooms side what will happen after the doli and if they have any functions or rasams planned for after the wedding that you will need to prepare for.
I hope this helps, let me know what else you would like me to blog about?