Now that things are ramping back up with weddings, I have found myself needing to rework my day-to-day schedule to make sure everyone’s time gets accounted for, and all the attention is paid to everyone necessary. Is it a tall order? Perhaps. But wedding planners and event planners are known for this - we are known for needing to juggle the needs of 5, 10, sometimes even 30 people at a time, who all have priorities.
So what happens actually when you have a HUGELY busy schedule and also have a wedding coming up on the weekend where all eyes are on you (or rather, your bride) and everything just needs to be as close to perfect as possible?
Over the past decade or so, I have thankfully perfected a system that I have passed onto my team and assistants and who have still, to this day, utilized with few issues.
So two things are completely necessary if you are a wedding planner (or an entrepreneur in general) and you have a lot of people relying on you for a lot of things: An ironclad system on prioritizing your tasks, and the discipline to stick to whatever you say you are going to do at the time you said you were going to do it. Oh, and LOTS and lots of communication with the people around you. Brides, spouses/partners, children, and colleagues alike.
This doesn’t change when you are prepping for an upcoming wedding or planning one at that. It is the system I’ve used since 2008 and that I have refined over time.
ANYWAY - Here is a snapshot of my own day-to-day when I get ready for a big day!
Let me preface this by saying that in order to get to this point, many building blocks need to already be in place for the week of the wedding to be super smooth. Vendors have been communicated with. The timeline is finalized. Last-minute things are addressed. Contingency plans have been fleshed out.
And then comes the wedding week.
First things first, I need my last meeting with my clients before the chaos of the wedding week happens. Before the first out-of-town wedding guest touches down in Toronto. Before the nail and hair appointments. Before the last-minute running around to pick up stuff. I just need to run through things with them one more time in a calm, collected setting and prepare them for what is to come.
After that, I make tweaks to the final itinerary as necessary and then blast it to the vendors. This doesn’t happen before my last meeting with the clients. Why? Because miscommunications happen when there is a lot of back and forth. All the back and forth with vendors should have already happened before this final week. By this time, the final itinerary is basically just a formality.
Then, my team meeting. One touch-base with the assigned team members coming on the day. This also does not happen before the two previous items (meeting with the client and the vendor itinerary blast), because we as the wedding planning team are designed and prepared to fill in all the gaps. By leaving my staff meeting at the end, we can be fully prepared for picking up all the little pieces that get left behind.
The last major thing is attending the rehearsal to make sure that everything we discussed comes to fruition. This usually happens before or after our team meeting, and some tweaks are communicated with the team afterward. Also, a great time to meet the family and bridesmaids, and all the major players of the wedding day.
After that, it’s all gravy!
Stock the emergency kit.
Fill up the gas tank.
Make the snacks.
Block off time the day after to rest.
Get pet care for the animals as necessary.
Spend time with spouses/partners and let them know what’s going on.
Pick out the outfit (or wash/steam it if you need to)
Wear in the shoes - SUPER IMPORTANT if they are new!
Print the itineraries and floor plans.
REVIEW said itineraries and floor plans.
And then, COFFEE and GO TIME.
Breakfast probably on the go. And breakfast for the bridal party (previously communicated)
We start with a check-in with the bride.
And then check-in with the groom.
Check-in with the makeup and hair team.
Check-in with family members to ensure they’re on time.
Check-in with the assistant at the ceremony and/or reception to make sure that all set up is done.
Pack the bridal party into the set transportation and see them off to the ceremony - then follow them.
First, look? No problem. Let’s cue that.
Then during the first look/photos, final checks of the ceremony.
Guests start arriving! Cue the music.
15 minutes before the ceremony starts - bring the bridal party back and prep them - line them up, give them mints, stock them with tissue, fluff the dresses, touch up the makeup, and give them time to take a deep breath
The ceremony starts - woo!
The ceremony ends - CELEBRATE!
Photos begin - whip out the family group photo list and start announcing/moving things along. Final checks on reception and cocktails for set up completion.
Photos end - whisk the bride and groom away for some alone time or go right into cocktails.
Cocktails begin, everyone starts drinking - merriment!
15 minutes before cocktails end, open up the doors to reception and get everyone seated
Line up the bridal party for the grand entrance and prep them - same thing as ceremony!
Grand entrance - WOO HOO!
And then the reception…
Once it’s all over, we pack up, we take off, and we take long, hot showers, where we soak our feet or do some in-shower stretching/yoga (haha). And probably drink about 2L of water straight and eat some leftover fast food that was in the car.
If you are hiring a wedding team to help coordinate your day, know that they likely have a similar structure as the above to make sure that they are prepared. As in, it’s a lot of prep, it’s a lot of energy, and we do it all in honour of the day, to make sure nothing is left unaddressed.
But take it from me: It works. It’s worked for over a decade. And it still works now!
See you at the ceremony!