BRIDES

Perfect Wedding Day Planning

How long for photos? When to cut the cake? Take your cue from this bride's nicely timed Napa, California, wedding and your day will run like a dream.

Rachel Finkelstein, 26, spent a year creating her wedding to Gary Levin, 28. With the help of planner Brittani Waldman, the bride put together a wedding-day timeline to keep everything—and everyone—on track. "I knew the day would go fast, and I wanted to enjoy every minute," says Rachel. "A schedule made it less stressful." Here's the play-by-play:


11:30 AM: Getting Ready

The hair-and-makeup team arrived early enough to beautify all the ladies—including Rachel's mom, six bridesmaids, and two flower girls—without rushing.


3:45 PM: Posing for Pics

Family and bridal-party photos were scheduled to take one hour on the lawn at the Charles Krug winery, where the ceremony would take place.


4:45 PM: Ketubah Signing

Minutes before the vows, the couple stepped inside to sign the ketubah (marriage contract), surrounded by close friends and family.


5:02 PM: Processional

Guests were asked to arrive at the winery by 5:00; two minutes later, the flower girls started walking down the aisle.


5:10 PM: Bride's Entrance

With the bridal party in place, Rachel's parents, Susan and Daniel, escorted her toward the altar as "What a Wonderful World" played.


5:50 PM: The Kiss!

After the 40-minute Jewish ceremony, during which Rachel and Gary exchanged their grandparent's rings, the couple shared their first marriage smooch.


6:00 PM: Cocktail Hour

A quick bus ride took guests to the reception at the Culinary Institute of America at Greystone for 90 minutes of nibbles and drinks.


7:30 PM: Dinner

Guests headed into the main room, and dinner was served; next up was a welcome toast from the bride's mom and dad.


8:45 PM: First Dances

Several courses and toasts later, Gary and his mom, Faye, and Rachel and her dad kicked off the dancing.


9:00 PM: Boogie Time

Everyone hit the floor for the hora, a traditional Jewish wedding dance. Then the nine-piece band segued into a Motown-heavy playlist.


10:15 PM: Cake Cutting

Guests took time out to watch the newlyweds cut the cake and enjoy petits fours and milk shots. Then it was back to the dance floor.


10:30 PM: Bouquet Toss

As the evening began to wind down, Rachel gathered the single women for the bouquet toss. (She threw a 'maid's flowers so that she could keep her own.)


12:00 AM: Departure

After six hours of celebrating, the bride and groom jumped into an antique Packard as guests waved sparklers. Let the honeymoon begin!

 
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