This week, we are giving our best tips for successful wedding day coordination. Wedding day coordination is often the first service offered by wedding planners when they are just starting out. It’s a great way to get to know vendors, learn how different venues work and get experience before offering full-service planning. Keep in mind that every planner has their own way of providing these services and different markets may work in a different way. We have another post on Planner’s Lounge that covers the types of services offered by wedding planners.
Before the wedding
- Meet with your clients before their final walk through to gather information and create their base timeline. It is helpful to review all their decor details, the number of guests, type of room layout and other details before meeting with everyone else at the walk through. Your ceremony timeline should include the arrival time of each vendor, order of the processional, music choices and any setup details you or your assistant will be doing. Your reception timeline should include setup details, vendor setup times, dinner details and timing of all events such as toasts, first dance and the end time. You will also want to create a list of all the vendors including their cell phone numbers in case you need them on the wedding day. The event diagram(s) for the ceremony and reception should include table names/numbers, number of seats at each table, number of ceremony chairs in first row, etc. You probably won’t have these numbers until the week before the wedding but don’t forget to ask your clients for them.
- Attend the final walk through with copies of your timelines printed for everyone at the meeting. The final walk-through takes place at the reception venue approximately one week to one month prior to the wedding day. It includes you, the venue coordinator, the bride and groom and the catering representative. If there is extensive set up for the wedding such as a tent or major decor, a rep from the rental/decor company may be present as well. If you are sending an assistant to set up the reception on the wedding day while you are going to the ceremony, your wedding day assistant should attend the final walk through with you. After you are done with this meeting, update the timelines and review them with your clients.
- Confirm details and send final timelines to all the vendors one to two weeks prior to the wedding day. The sooner they have the timeline, the easier they can plan for the wedding day. I like to ask photographers for their input before finalizing the timeline but not all planners do this.
- Be prepared and attend the ceremony rehearsal. This is usually the day prior to the wedding. Make sure you know how the bridal party will line up and walk down the aisle, who will escort the parents and when the music changes so that you can cue the musicians on the wedding day. I include all these details in my timeline (with first names of everyone involved) and also create a diagram so I can glance at the layout and easily direct the bridal party during the rehearsal.