Brides, if there is one piece of advice I can give you it is be nice to your vendors! These people work HARD for you! I don’t think many brides realize just how hard, so I’m introducing a new summer series: A (Wedding) Day in the Life of. Over the next few months, I’ll be featuring guest posts from some of the best vendors in the city. They’ve agreed to chronicle what their lives look like on an real wedding day. In most cases, their work begins well before the actual day of the wedding. And it doesn’t stop when the last song ends either. There is so much in between and after! Whether it’s a photographer or a makeup artist, a florist or a DJ, each and every vendor works their tail off to make sure YOUR wedding is the one of your dreams. Hopefully this series will give you a glimpse into all of the hard work they put in and, most importantly, a new appreciation for these wonderful people. In other words, this series will be your semi-regular reminder to say thank you and give them a huge high five!
Shayne of Soiree by Souleret is kicking off this series, letting you see what the life of a wedding planner looks like. I’ve led that life; I know it’s not easy! You wear a million hats, you need to stay two steps ahead of everyone else, and you’re the first one to arrive at a wedding and the last one to leave. Here is how Shayne’s day unfolded for a recent wedding at the Children’s Museum…
250 hours of planning comes down to this – the wedding day! Sometimes I feel just as excited as my brides when I see it all come together. This wedding marked my first of the season, so I was even more excited for this one. So what goes into planning the perfect day? You may find it hard to believe but even before the final vendors are booked, logistical plans for the wedding day begin almost seven months out with the creation of an event guide. The guide includes vendor contact information, bridal party contact information, payment deadlines, day-of schedules, a packing list and set up notes. This document is updated as we continue to plan their dream wedding day, and finalized 1 – 2 weeks out and sent to vendors. Without sharing this 10 page document, here is a glimpse into the final planning hours, including a call with the couple on Wednesday and packing the car on Thursday.
What do I pack?
- An “emergency kit” filled with safety pins, medicine, sewing kits, stain remover, baby wipes, and so much more
- Binder with the schedule, floor plan, and event contracts
- A steamer
- 5 black golf umbrellas
- Gold table numbers
- A gold bird cage card box
- Reserved seating signs
- Bar menus
- Dr. Scholl inserts for my shoes! 🙂
- A special gift box for my bride
On Friday, I decide to sleep in! I won’t be able to on Saturday. The rest of Friday looks like this…
4:06 p.m. – Send the photographer, florist, and hair and makeup team the bride’s hotel room number now that it’s been assigned.
4:15 p.m. – Meet my florist friend at the Omni to drop off vases from a past event. Schmooze the Omni valet staff while I am there to save a big space for the bus tomorrow. Off to the Children’s Museum.
4:30 p.m. – Meet the groom at the Children’s Museum while he drops off beer and the couple’s personal items. Give umbrellas to the groomsmen.
5 p.m. – Finally meet the parents of the bride in person. Gather final payments and tips from them. Pass out mini sewing kits to the moms.
5:30 p.m. – Run the rehearsal! Go through it twice.
6:30 p.m. – Rehearsal ends. Depart to meet a friend’s new baby!
3 a.m. – Receive an email from the mother of the bride saying that they forgot to write table numbers on the back of the escort cards.
7:45 a.m. – Wake up. Let dogs out. See email and respond.
9:05 a.m. – Depart.
9:15 a.m. (during my hour drive into the city) – Text the bride, groom, two maids and two men to say good morning and let them know I’m there if they need anything.
10:05 a.m. – Find a parking spot. Stop by the Omni’s Royal Suite where the bride and her maids are being pampered. Finally meet Jae Lee Paredes (the makeup artist) in person. Pick up photos from the rehearsal dinner to display at the wedding. Drop off an extra Save the Date I had on hand to be photographed.
10:30 a.m. – Head to Crazy Mocha in the North Side for breakfast. Catch up with my May 15th bride while I’m there. Review the guide one last time. Eat lunch. Get hugged by a homeless man for being nice. 🙂
1 p.m. – Drive to the Children’s Museum. Go through seating guide and write table numbers on the back of RSVP cards.
2 p.m. – Greet my team. Hold an orientation to review schedule, assign duties, and walk the space.
3 p.m. – The Red Room closes to the public. It’s a waiting game until they clean it and add tables. I take this time to greet vendors whom I haven’t seen in months!
3:30 p.m. – Go time! Pop family photos into my frames. Unwrap personal items and lay them out in the cafe area for easy set up once the room is complete. Slowly roll out set up as each room is cleared and prepped for wedding.
4 p.m. – Text best man to find out the bridal party’s ETA.
4:30 p.m. – Greet bridal party outside. Hug my bride and groom. Admire her dress and the amazing bouquets. Get them inside into a party room for holding and have them pre-sign the marriage license. Put them into the hands of the photographer for photos on site until guests arrive.
5:45 p.m. – Call bus driver to see how many guests are on the second shuttle (only one). Ask groom if we want to wait for that person (yes). Ask parents if all of their important family members are in the room. Grab assistants to start moving girls through the upstairs hallway.
5:55 p.m. – Gather parents and party for pre-line up. Hand out tissues to bridal party.
6:08 p.m. – Bus rider arrives. Get him into a seat. Cue musicians. All walk (fix bride’s dress and hold veil before she heads down the aisle; whisper she is beautiful and heading to the man of her dreams before I left her go).
6:10 p.m. – Sneak out of room to check on set up elsewhere (all good). Run back to catch vows.
6:30 p.m. – Greet newlyweds at back of aisle. Pull them aside for private moment and guide bridal party to them. Line up everyone for receiving line. Head back to reception space.
7 p.m. – Grab drinks for the bride and groom. Help bride switch from stunning Valentinos to her Chucks. Escort them into cocktail hour.
7:45 p.m. – Grab the bride and groom for the big reveal of their reception space.
7:50 p.m. – Grab the mother of the bride and mother of the groom to see space before I let guests in. Ask band to make announcement to move guests into reception space.
8 p.m. – Help bustle the brides dress. Gather rest of the bridal party from the cocktail hour and line them up for entrances. Give last instructions.
8:15 p.m. – Watch first dance. Remind dad he is up for a welcome. Take a bite of salad.
8:30 p.m. – Make sure all vendors are ready for speeches. Walk room. Give maid of honor and best man heads up of speeches. Eat dinner (yum, butternut squash risotto from Big Burrito).
9 p.m. – Gather parents for dances and make sure photographer is in the room. Catch a glimpse of the father/daughter dance.
9:30 p.m. – The caterer brought us cake! I never pass that up!
10:45 p.m. – Time to pack it all up, starting with table numbers (one missing) and photos, until the party ends at 11:30 p.m.
11:30 p.m. – Give cards to bride and groom. Get them and remaining guests onto bus (bus is full so it’s coming back). Pack couple’s car with personal items and leftover beer. Gather up all leftover flowers and pack them into my car. Lock couple’s car.
12:41 a.m. – Depart for Omni to drop off keys. Greet bride and groom with their guests in the lobby. Say final goodbyes.
1:38 a.m. – Arrive home.
How I Unwind: My home is approximately an hour from the city, so a big part of winding down from each event is keeping myself awake on the car ride home. Confession… I jam out to the Pop2K station on the radio! This wedding had beautiful flowers, thanks to the creative genius of Mocha Rose. As a firm believer that no flower should go to waste, I grabbed as many leftovers as I could before they were discarded and brought them home with me. Before heading off to bed, and after greeting our pups, I arranged them into three beautiful arrangements for my home.
Favorite Moment of the Day: I am a hopeless romantic, so any chance to watch the couple’s personal vows is taken. The bride had dropped her handkerchief earlier in the ceremony and was handed a new one from the best man. During the groom’s emotional vows, as both were tearing up, he grabbed the one she had dropped and wiped his eyes. It ignited a laugh from the crowd and was one of the most real and heartfelt moments of the day.
Sunday means getting up early for church, heading to lunch, calling the bride and groom to check in, and hanging on the couch! Thank you notes can wait until Monday!
Whoa, I’m exhausted just reading this! Shayne, thanks so much for the behind-the-scenes view! Kudos to you and all of the other planners out there who work tirelessly to make sure each event goes off without a hitch!