Podcast: Play in new window
Finalize the production-day schedule
This is the timeline that you, your wedding planning staff and wedding vendors refer to on the wedding day. It details–sometimes down to the minute–what is scheduled to happen when. For example:
2:10PM – Bridal party arrives at ceremony site
2:30 PM – Prelude begins
Because the production-day or wedding-day timeline is so detailed (at least mine are), it’s important to get started on creating this document sooner rather than later. Note the title says ‘Finalize the production day schedule’. Not ‘get started on the production-day schedule.’
Waiting two or three days before your client’s wedding to start working on it will cause unnecessary angst and all-nighters (ask me how I know this…). Instead, as contracts are finalized with each professional wedding vendor, take specific information from each contract and update the production-day schedule.
For example, if the transportation company’s agreement indicates that the town car will pick-up the parents of the groom at 1:45pm, simply add this to your timeline.
1:45PM – Town car arrives at Marriott to transport parents of the groom
Continue adding/inserting timed events in this manner as they are confirmed by your client’s wedding vendors.
A check of the local weather and traffic
Even though it’s likely that your client is keeping track of the weather for her wedding day, it’s important that you do, too. This is especially true for outdoor weddings (always have a contingency plan in place for rain).
And rain isn’t your only concern. Since most major roadwork happens during off-hours (i.e. evenings and weekends), you need to know of any road closures that could potentially throw off your very detailed wedding-day schedule. Check your local DOT (Dept. of Transportation) website or information hotline for the most up-to-date info.
Call and leave your recorded question or comment for playback during the live show! Call anytime: 202-681-2126
Review your community calendar
Just like roadwork, major community events (e.g. marathon, popular sporting events, street festivals) can impact the timing and access to your client’s wedding. Most local newspapers and media websites post this type of information right before the weekend. Make sure you’re on top things.
411 contact sheet
Get into the habit of listing the contact information of all the key players–bridal party, professional wedding vendors, venues–in one place. This way you don’t have waste time looking for individual pieces of paper and/or business cards when you need to reach someone.
Each time you work a wedding, it’s important that you know where the nearest emergency medical facility is located. Also, find out from your clients if they are aware of any wedding guests that have a chronic medial condition such as diabetes, epilepsy. If so, make a note of the guest(s) seat/table so that in the unlikely event there is a medical emergency, you and your staff can respond swiftly and appropriately.
A charged mobile telephone
We go everywhere with our cell phones, don’t we? (How, in the world, did we communicate before them??) So, make sure yours is good to go for your client’s wedding day. Whether that means purchasing an additional battery that you keep fully-charged and ready to swap out with your fully-drained one, or walking with several plug-in chargers (much less efficient).
There really is no excuse for having your cell phone die on you.
Meet with your wedding-day staff
It’s very important that everyone on your internal wedding planning team is on the same page. Schedule a meeting a day or two before the wedding, perhaps, immediately following the wedding rehearsal. Gather everyone together and go over:
- the production-day schedule
- who is responsible for overseeing which areas
- the dress code for the wedding day (this should not be the first time that you share this info)
- how you want issues/problems dealt with
- your preferred method of communicating on the wedding day (telephone, text messaging, walkie-talkies, etc.)
- any potential red flags (e.g. bride’s divorced parents can’t bear to see each other)
Remember your wedding -day staff is a reflection of you and your wedding planning company. Don’t include or hire someone you have doubts about.
A well-stocked emergency kit
If you’re a professional wedding planner, then you gotta have an emergency kit for your client’s wedding day!
The idea is that you’re prepared to step-in and save the day with your stash of safety pins, needle & thread, cotton buds, duct tape, shoe polish, hammer…whatever might be needed to stitch, stick, clean, polish or repair on the big day.
It’s important that your emergency kit is:
- well-stocked – keep a master inventory list of all the items that should be in your kit and replenish immediately following each client wedding
- organized – so that you can quickly locate the specific item that your’e looking for…when you need it
- accessible – there’s no point in having a well-stocked kit if the person that needs what you’ve got is at the ceremony site and you’re at the banquet hall