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Part two of a seven part series of the ins and outs of planning and executing a decor heavy DIY wedding

Preparing for Heather & David’s DIY wedding at Performance Works was the most time I ever spent preparing for a wedding aside from my own. Their wedding was truly a production and it made so much sense that this amazing event was held in a performance space. 

Many thanks to Capture Your Now for this photo

About three weeks before our details meeting (which usually happens at 6 weeks before the wedding, but we did it closer to 8 weeks because of the amount of logistics involved) we met at Performance Works to go over the floor plan and decor plan so we could see it clearly in the space. Before this, I hadn’t been in the space and while I can usually work in new spaces without seeing them first, that wasn’t going to fly as easily in this blank slate. As I mentioned in the last installment (released on March 12!), Performance Works has rigging all the way around it for hanging things from the ceiling and that was a major part of this couple’s decor plan. And getting into the space was going to help me to better plan for this phenomenal event. 

After our site meeting, I sat down with the floor plan and worked out how I was going to work out my contractors. I had to come up with a plan that kept us all working at full capacity and with every movement planned out. Which is when I came up with our team and zone solution, which I will get to in part 5 of this series (which will be released on May 7th). This was going to have to be a beautifully executed dance. 

Documented wonderfully by Capture Your Now

To prepare for our details meeting I ask for a wealth of information from the couple and usually a lot of it I don’t actually need to do my job, but if I didn’t ask for it, I wouldn’t be doing my job because the couple needs it to ensure everything on their end is taken care of so that their wedding is a breeze for them. Anyway, like every other couple, I asked for all this information from Heather, our bride, and Maria, her mother. And boy, did they deliver the information! I got a folder complete with documents, photos of the decor, floor plans, and a majority of the things I had requested.

But whoa, did we dive deep into their details meeting! What is usually a 75-105 minute meeting ended up being I believe nearly 3 hours. I remember arriving during the daylight in July (so like 6pm) and it was dark when I drove home. But it was completely necessary. We got to know each intimate detail of the wedding and sketched out a basic starting point for our timeline.

Documented perfectly by Amy Teixeira Photography

And this timeline!! It was a thing of beauty! Every. Single. Timing. Detail. Carefully slotted into it. Ah, timelines like this bring me such satisfaction. When we finished our details meeting I went home and this is what I started to do. 

If you haven’t had the chance to work with ThistleBEA, we work with a timeline software that makes my job so much easier. Because it’s a cloud software I make up the entire timeline on it and my clients and vendors can all join in and make comments and ask about things right on the timeline. AND it takes the master timeline I create and generates different timelines for each vendor as they’re tagged in the items. I really took advantage of this feature for this one. 

Documented wonderfully by Capture Your Now

On top of the timelines, each team had a list of each item they needed to take care of and in which order!

For my team, as I mentioned, I separated them into smaller teams. We had three teams of two, with a lead and an assistant for each team. To start planning out how their day was going to look I assigned each team a general location. The Ladder Team, Scissor Team, and Floor Team. And I started off with an excel sheet to visually plan out the progression of the day Once I got that bad boy flowing exactly the way I needed, every single move we were going to make was imputed into my master timeline and tagged with the appropriate team name. So, aside from the master timeline, my team had 3 different timelines that they were working off of. And once the set-up was over, the other two team leads became my assistants for the day then leads again at the end of the night when the chunk of my team returned to clean up. 

We also had a wedding party timeline which included all the getting ready info and schedule for the day pre wedding. And then Maria also wanted a timeline so that she was sure she was running on time through the day before she and the rest of the family arrived for the wedding. Usually we do not do separate timelines for the parents, but Maria was doing a lot more than getting ready before the wedding and we needed to keep her on time. On top of timelines for all our vendors (as per usual; however for this wedding there were 12, yes TWELVE vendors other than myself and the venue. Usually a wedding will have 4-7 vendors) I brought in a photographer to document us setting up because this truly was a beautiful dance and what better way to show off our talents (please note, I did this with the blessing of the couple’s photographer, Amy Teixeira!) so I had a timeline for her complete with shot lists and  we also ensured that our MCs (the bride’s brothers) had a timeline of their own.

While on the subject of personal timelines for people like the wedding party and the MCs: generally on the wedding day, these are not needed. They’re like a study guide. Read up before the wedding, get your ducks in order, then our team delicately leads you through the day and if we’ve done our jobs right and you have the right vendors on your team, you will hit every milestone for your wedding day. 

At the end, my master timeline was 12 pages long, our team’s timelines were each at least 7 pages long, and vendors like the photographer had 6 pages of timeline. I like to use these timelines for examples for when I am meeting with new clients to show them just how valuable this software can be for complex weddings, but then I also show them one of my more simple weddings and demonstrate how equally valuable it can be. 

This is page two of the master timeline. Notice it only covers 8:35-10:35 am?

I believe that without this timeline, the extensive details meeting, and our site visit, this wedding would not have been executed as beautifully as it was. And trust me, this wedding was a thing of beauty. Next week I’ll dive into the couple’s ceremony, the ceremony decor, and execution from my point of view. 

Our other awesome vendors included:
Florals: Our Little Flower Company
Big Chandelier rental: Art of the Party
Lounge area rental: Cahoots Creative
Chair Rentals: A & B Partytime Rental

Check out the other posts in this series!

Part 1
Part 3
Part 4
Part 5
Part 6
Part 7

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