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a venue specific step-by-step guide

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We cannot stress this enough - your timeline is critical! Start your ceremony too early, guests will leave early. Start your ceremony too late, you'll run out of time. If the events of the day aren't given the right amount of time, they won't flow appropriately & everybody gets frustrated. 

So... how do you alleviate all that?


Step #1: Develop the perfect timeline. Step #2: Make sure your day of coordinator is assertive & has a watch with timers set!

Ok, now that we have that out of the way - onto the timeline! You may have done some research on wedding timelines (that's great!) just keep in mind, the best timelines are very venue specific. What works for a couple in Florida (for example) is probably not going to work for couples here. 

Before you get started, let's go over some things to consider & pro tips for the most important parts of the day.

01 Decor Set Up & Clean Up

For stress free decor, let the landscape do most of the work for you.

Things to Consider: 

  • Save decoration for the day of, not at rehearsal. Wildlife are very curious creatures & we'd hate for your hard work to be ruined!

  • A team of 5-10 people can typically get the set up done in 1-3 hours depending on how elaborate your theme is.

  • A team of 5-10 people can typically have the clean up done in 30 minutes - 1 hour. 

    • We like to say 'keep it simple' because you are surrounded by beautiful scenery so there's really not a lot you need to do.​

  • On average, about half of our Brides decide to get ready on site. The other half opt to get ready at the resort, hotel or cabin that they're staying at and save 'putting on the dress' for the Bridal Retreat.

    • Clean up typically starts between 9:00-9:15pm to give everybody time to say goodbyes and clean up by venue close at 10:00pm.​

  • For the Micro Experience, it's best to arrive ready to go.

Pro Tips: 

  • Pre-assemble decor, place a finished picture or what you'd like it to look like & label boxes accordingly (ie: centerpiece, arbor, isle, welcome table etc). This way anybody can grab a box & and knows exactly where to put it & what to do. 

  • To avoid additional fees, plan your send off no later than 1 hour prior to venue close. This gives enough time for the grand exit, guests to say goodbyes, vendor teams to pack up & clean up to be completed by the cut off time.

02 Vendors

All the wedding day pieces coming together!

Things to Consider: 

  • We'll be in touch with your vendor contacts the week of your wedding to make sure their questions are answered. 

    • Please make sure vendor point of contacts are listed in Weven.​

  • Make sure to bring ice for your bar tender/ drink needs.

  • ​DJ's do SO much more than just play music!​

  • A professional day of coordinator is worth every penny!

    • This is a HUGE job that is easily underestimated.​

Pro Tips: 

  • To avoid additional fees, make sure your vendors know your start time & departure time. 

    • Photographers/videographers sometimes like to come early if they haven't been with us before. This needs to be scheduled at an Open House Event, not prior to your contracted day of start time.​

03 Weather & Seasons

Be prepared for anything.

Things to Consider: 

  • Make sure to check the sunset time for your big day & plan to sneak away then for golden hour photos on the private shoreline!

  • If your ceremony is in the Woodlands, most of your guests will have shade as an added comfort. ​
  • If you follow our guidelines, typically by mid reception the venue grounds will be completely shaded.
  • We can fit up to 120 people under cover. If your guest count is more than that, we always encourage you to have a tent on standby. ​​

    • Tent size must be pre-approved & are typically set up the day before your wedding - this is the only vendor permitted to arrive early.​

Pro Tips: 

  • If rain is forecasted, don't panic!

    • 99% of the time you can time your ceremony when there is a break in the rain. Even if there isn't a break, we provide enough clear umbrellas for you & your guests to use.

    • We only permit a ceremony move to the barn in case of severe or dangerous weather.

  • Guests appreciate added seasonal comforts:

    • Bottled water easily accessible - always, but especially in summer. ​

    • Spring/Summer: Insect repellent. 

    • Hot Weather: Personal fans / misters. 

    • Cold Weather: Propane heaters / blankets / hand warmers.

04 List of Events

Plan a little extra time for each event & be flexible.

Things to Consider: 

  • The transition time between events is typically longer the larger the guest count. 

  • Lawn games are a fantastic way to keep guests entertained & having fun!

  • Brainstorm a list of events & place a time limit on each - then categorize them into MUSTS & WANTS. You'll be able to add them into your timeline accordingly.​​

Pro Tips: 

  • If you don't like being the center of attention, ask your DJ to shorten the featured dance songs accordingly.

  • There are so many different fun things you can do to celebrate this amazing day - just remember your day of coordinator will be the one making sure it all happens!

05 Adventure Sessions

For the love of epic wedding experiences!

Things to Consider: 

  • Make sure to chat with us first! We're here to help but if we don't know you're planning an Adventure Session, it's hard for us to serve you best.

  • To ensure safety, the Private Shoreline, Boardwalk & Dock are ONLY available to the couple & their photography team. 

  • Seaplane Adventures book out quickly! If this is something your heart is set on, don't wait to secure your date with Sandpoint Seaplane Services.

  • Guided Hiking Adventure Sessions require a liability release.

  • For Boat Sessions:

    • There are two spots to put in at along the river. One is not as accessible as the other during hot months. 

    • Boats cannot be stored overnight. 

    • A liability release is required to be completed prior to arrival by the boat owner.

    • During low water levels, some boats may not be able to get to the dock.

Pro Tips: 

  • If you'd like the Seaplane but don't want to miss golden hour on the water, consider a grand entry or even a cocktail hour session.

  • If you have an idea of what backdrop you're looking for, just let us know. We're happy to show you some locations that might be exactly what you've dreamed of and more.

  • Plan extra time for this type of experience so you can capture as many photos as possible.


Hopefully that helped set the stage! The examples below are what we've seen work best over the last 10+ years of hosting but remember, it's your day. We're here to help every step of the way & want only the most incredible experience for you!

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