Wednesday, 20 June 2012

Wedding Planner Secrets: the Production Schedule

Just you try and part me from  my iPhone... (with production schedule fully loaded, naturally)
Now, I realise calling something to do with weddings by such bureaucratic, calculating terminology might seem callous. But even the perfectionists among us will probably admit to ditching the spreadsheets in favour of the erstwhile prettier aspects of planning. It's the wedmin equivalent of those school years when you'd be asked to write a story then illustrate it; how many of us always did the drawing/scribbling, colouring, imaginative and occasionally glitter-sprinkling bit first, I wonder?

Which is how suddenly I have three months to go, and a mother on the wedmin warpath. She has clued into the need for some sort of list and action plan,  and apparently lay awake from 3am yesterday morning worrying about the itinerary for the week prior to the wedding - we have a real blank canvas, barren wedding venue on our hands, you see. Cue battle planning and hunting for all those little confirmation slips, emails, addresses, receipts and  other vital ephemera which I had luckily kept stashed together in a box. The fact that this box had slept happily undisturbed in the corner for quite a few weeks and thus had a nice coating of dust says it all. Two intense hours later, and one seamless way forward plotted out.This, my lovelies, is what we wedding planners like to call The Production Schedule. Sometimes referred to as a running order or Master-time-sheet which makes it sound a little like something you'd do to take over the world, but is just a super sized Excel spreadsheet, really.

To put it simply, a Production Schedule is a series of lists filtered by the ideal time for all the parts and suppliers for your wedding arriving and being installed in your wedding build. We always include a little contingency, and are fans of colour coding by venue location and responsibility until it looks a little like a rainbow stick of rock. The trick is to be realistic: write that scary long list of everything you need to achieve with the aid of your willing helpers, and work from the big day back with either an image or a sketch of what you want the finished article to look like. You'll need to think about everything from putting the Jo Malone soap into the bathrooms for a touch of luxury to rigging the marquee, arranging of flowers for maximum bloom and minimum droop and all those teeny tiny things you think will be done in seconds but  take FOREVER in reality. You can't tell I'm remotely grumpy about spending 3 hours tying 5 strands of lavender to 350 seed packets using twine, can you? Much more fiddly than it sounds, but worth it for the oh so pretty effect.

Break each day into chunks of either two hours or morning and afternoon tasks if you want to keep it looser, delegating jobs and marking these out clearly in colour coded highlights (those stripes I was talking about). We all know that some of it's going to go out of the window, that's part of the fun. And my ultimate tip? Keep everyone in cold beer at the end of the day with perhaps a spot of cake for service with a smile.

Do you have any super wedmin tips, or are you too battling your inner 'I've got plenty of time' delusions?...

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