July 3, 2009

A Day In The Life of a Wedding Planner

I am contacted on almost a daily basis by people interested in becoming weddings planners and curious about what a day in the life of a Wedding Planner really looks like. Of course there is much time spent in front of the computer, working away on endless details and communicating with vendors to ensure everyone is on the same page, but let's face it, that's not very glamorous. In fact, as much as I love my job, it's not really glamourous at all. The reality is it takes incredible organization, determination, passion and energy to pull off a successful event from start to finish. In addition to this you MUST have an exceptional team of support staff because the reality is you can't be in all places at the same time. In order to quench people's curiosity and give you all a peek into my world, I thought I would post some pictures and timeline from a recent wedding I orchestrated for 550 guests.

7am - My alarm is going off. It's Saturday morning and it's time to get up and get ready for one busy day. (If you love sleeping in on the weekends, the job of a wedding planner is probably not for you)! I'm still energized from the rehearsal the night before. My couple has great energy and I can't wait to see them at the church later today!

9:20am - Time to leave the house and meet up with my assistants at the Reception Venue.

9:45am - The doors to the Reception Venue are locked despite having confirmed our arrival time earlier in the week. Hmmm...good thing we are here early. I locate some wonderful security staff who help us track down a staff member to let us into the building. We begin the process of unloading the very full truck. We need to move fast as the sun is heating up quickly and we have 550 favour boxes full of chocolates as well as 400 candles and numerous other items that need to be moved into the venue and set up before heading to the church to decorate. Once inside we begin the task of placing 550 favour boxes and close to 400 candles on the guest tables.
This is me. It's a little after 10am. We are moving at record speed!
My assistant Evelyn is also helping with placing favour boxes.
My assistant Sharon straightening a bow on one of the favour boxes after she and Terence (not pictured) finish placing all of the candles onto the 70 guest tables.

Once all of the favour boxes and candles were placed, we fanned the room to check and make sure that all of the linens, cutlery and glassware were clean and that all the bows were tied in the same direction on the favour boxes.
We finished ahead of schedule but were very thirsty after working such a huge room. Here the 3 of us are (again, my 4th assistant Terence is behind the lens) enjoying a cold bottle of water before heading off to the church. These are the personalized water bottle labels that I create uniquely for each wedding couple I work with to be handed out during their photo shoot. I decided to make a few extra for myself and my assistants to enjoy during the course of the day.

11:15am - We are finished ahead of schedule at the Reception Venue. We are short about 2 dozen candles for the votive holders so we will stop and pick some up on the way to the church. We also have enough time to stop for a quick bite of lunch since we don't have to be at the church until 12:30pm. What a luxury!

12:30pm - Arrive at the church to receive all of the flowers and begin the process of transforming the space with decor.
Sharon places the linen on the guest table in the front lobby of the church, followed by the guest book and pens, while Terence positions the 2 massive framed engagement photos of the happy couple on their stands flanking either side of the table. (The mats will be signed with well wishes from guests later at the reception). They both then head into the ceremony area where Terence gets to work on hanging the reserved signs of the first 2 rows and assists Evelyn with filling the massive vases with water for the focal point arrangements. Meanwhile, I've placed the unity candle and signing pen at their appropriate places and Sharon and I begin the process of swaging of the organza fabric down the aisle.
Sharon and I, now joined by Evelyn, work on swaging the organza down each side of the aisle. This is a bit of a finicky process but in the end it looks great.
The 3 of us then get to work affixing the beautiful hydrangea pomanders along the aisle.

Terence and I then went to work laying down the rose petals.

Finally we tie everything off with a blue ribbon. I just love this extra little touch. It reminds me of receiving an extra special present! This ribbon was untied just before the processional began.
1:30pm - The church lobby is filling up quickly. The space looked rather large until it was packed with over 500 guests.
Evelyn and I pin on boutonnieres and corsages while Sharon brushes the groom and groomsmen with a lint brush.
2:00pm - The groom's uncle begins the tradition of placing flower garlands around the necks of members from both the bride's and groom's families. I am busy running around making sure everything is in order but I hear lots of laughter and it seems like everyone is really enjoying this process.

2:15pm - The ushers are busy handing out programs and seating guests.

2:20pm - I run out to greet the bride and bridal party. A wardrobe malfunction is quickly resolved and the bridal party heads inside while I wait with the bride who is looking absolutely stunning!

2:25pm - My assistants have everyone in the wedding party lined up in their proper order. The bride and I head inside to meet up with her parents at the bottom of the stairs. I then cue them when it is time to take their places and I fluff the brides train just as she is about to walk down the aisle. Once she is at the front of the church, standing next to her handsome groom, my assistants and I close the doors.

2:30pm - The ceremony begins on schedule and is beautiful.

3:15pm - The ceremony concludes and the wedding party and immediate family head off for the photo shoot. (There will be a cupcake receiving line at the reception). Evelyn heads off on the photo shoot armed with her emergency kit and a bag full of icy cold customized bottles of water.

3:30pm - Terence, Sharon and I get to work packing up all of the items that were brought to the church, placing all of the floral arrangements in their boxes for the transport company to pick up and picking up every single last rose petal that lined the aisle. We make every effort to leave the church in the same condition it was in when we arrived earlier today.

4:15pm - The 3 of us head back down to the reception venue to make sure that everything is running smoothly and is on schedule. We begin placing the over 500 mini cupcakes on their stands, with the assistance of the lovely venue coordinator. It's a sticky job...but somebody's got to do it!
Here are the cupcakes once we were done placing them all.
Sharon and I then moved the wedding cake onto the table between the two cupcake stands. I placed the cake knife and server on the table and we were ready to move onto the head table which was now decorated with linens.

Terence and Sharon placed the 2 large focal point arrangements from the church flanking either end of the head table while I was out in cocktail area placing the pomanders from the ceremony on the cocktail tables for some decor.
We then placed the toasting glasses on the head table along with favour boxes.
Sharon placed the candles we picked up earlier into the empty votive holders and then we gave the room a thorough once over to make sure everything was perfect before heading out to the lobby where Terence was setting up the massive framed pictures of the bride and groom and decorating the guest table.

6:00pm - Sharon and I went out to the lobby to man the guest table while we waited for the family members assigned to the task to arrive. We greeted guests and let them know where they would be sitting for evening.

7:30pm - I greet the bride and groom and ensure they are pumped about the party they are about to enter. They had changed out of their Western wedding outfits into the most jaw dropping gorgeous attire I have ever seen. They are ready to go so the music is cued and they make their high energy Grand Entrance and everyone is ecstatic! They flow right into their first dance followed by their cake cutting so that they will be able to begin their cupcake receiving line as soon as they are finished dinner.

The evening's events flow smoothly, thanks to lots of hard work on the part of myself and my team and some truly exceptional vendors. This was an incredibly beautiful and extremely fun and entertaining wedding! There was the most entertaining slideshow I have ever seen put together by the clearly talented, all be it cheeky, cousin of the groom and a top notch traditional dance performance that dazzled every guest present. Many of the guests were dressed in the most beautiful saris I have every seen...the colours and jewels were beyond amazing.

11pm - My team and I have finished our responsibilities and pack up our after a very long but incredibly successful day. We say goodbye to the newly married couple and wish them a fantastic night and a lifetime of happiness together then head home for some much deserved rest.


Laura Hit said...

Loved this post! Great photos and I loved all the detail shots. What a great team you have. Congrats on ANOTHER beautiful wedding Inspired Occasions. Can't wait to see you again soon.

Mishka said...

I love the centerpieces and really dig the reserved signs :). Great job! - m