A Day in the Life of a Wedding Planner

Tips + Tricks

We’re smack-dab in the middle of one of our busiest wedding seasons yet, which means most weekends we are working. While no wedding/event weekend looks the exact same, there are some similarities, and I thought it’d be fun to let you in on a little behind-the-scenes action of what a typical event day looks like for us at Bespoken:

6:00 am – It really depends on the event, but most event days, I am up early. I usually start with a cup of coffee and some morning quiet time to get my head and heart in the right place before embarking on the day. (If you missed the post on my morning routine and need/want some inspiration…click here)

7:00 am – If I have the time, I try to get in a morning workout – usually some type of cardio or yoga.

8:00 am – After a workout, I will shower and get ready for the day.

9:00 am – At this point, I grab another cup of coffee and a good breakfast. I usually will not eat again until much, much later in the day, so I try to fuel up. I also use this time to once again review my timelines, double-check my set up & breakdown list, give another glance at the floor plans, and then make any phone calls or send texts (I LOVE sending Wedding Morning texts to my brides!).

10:00 am – 3:00 pm – This chunk of time really depends on when the venue will allow me to enter and begin setup. Every timeline for every event depends on this tiny but mighty bit of info. Regardless of when I have access to the venue, I start greeting and checking-in vendors as they arrive, making myself available for any questions they may have, and directing them to the proper location for each individual setup. This is also the time where I’m arranging the seating chart and escort cards, folding napkins and tucking in menus, carefully placing each sign, steaming out any wrinkles or creases in linens, and meticulously straightening and lining up chairs and place settings.

3:00 pm – 4:00 pm – I leave my Assistant at the Reception venue to continue finalizing setup and vendor check-ins while I go check-in on the wedding party and assist with First Look and Pre-Ceremony photos. I remind all of the bridesmaids how to hold their bouquets (at your belly button!), pin the boutonnieres on the guys, and make sure everyone is relaxed and feeling good.

4:00 pm – 5:00 pm – I get the wedding party tucked away, and say hello to the pastor/officiant and any special family members or other VIPs. I cue the musicians to begin playing prelude music about 30 minutes prior to the ceremony start time, and keep checking in on the wedding party. I cue each wedding party member when they are to go down the aisle, remind them to smile as they walk, and just before the bride walks down the aisle, I’m there to encourage her, remind her of how beautiful she is, straighten her veil and train, and probably have a few tears in my eyes as I whisper, “Go right ahead” as she takes her first step down the aisle.

5:00 pm – During the Ceremony, I’m in the back of the church, chapel, field, etc. to make everything is going smoothly. I quietly text my Assistant to make sure everything is ready to go at the Reception venue.

5:30 pm – I greet the Newlyweds as they meet me at the end of the aisle, and I usually try to get them tucked away for a few brief moments of privacy while I get the rest of the guests out and on their way to cocktail hour. Depending on what needs to happen at the Ceremony site will depend on how long I stick around, but usually I just connect the Newlyweds and Wedding Party with the photographer, get guests out of the way, and then make my way to Cocktail Hour/Reception.

 Photographer:  Carrie Elizabeth

Photographer: Carrie Elizabeth

6:00 pm – Once I arrive at Cocktail Hour and the Reception venue, I check that candles are lit, waters have been poured, and sound check has been completed. I check in with the venue coordinator and DJ/Band. I make sure the caterers are ready to greet the Newlyweds with their drink of choice when they arrive, and typically wait until their arrival while my Assistant manages Cocktail Hour by welcoming guests, taking gifts to place in the correct spot, and answering any questions any guests may have.

6:15 pm – If the timeline allows for it, I love being able to show the Newlyweds the final reception setup before guests enter. This was one of my absolute favorite moments of my own wedding day, and one that I try my best to make happen for each of my clients. Once they have seen it all, I send them back with the photographer for any other photos while my Assistant and I have to somehow manage to ask usually 100+ people to move into the reception space and find their seats. It usually takes multiple attempts to convince guests that it is indeed time to be seated for dinner. I also grab the wedding party and Newlyweds, get them lined up for their Grand Entrance, and cue the DJ/Band for the announcements.

6:30 pm – The wedding party and Newlyweds are announced. The Newlyweds go straight into their First Dance, followed by the Father-Daughter Dance, Mother-Son Dance, and typically a Welcome and/or Blessing by a parent and/or the Officiant. I then quickly grab the Newlyweds and guide them to their seat, hoping to avoid any guests taking them away…which ultimately means they don’t get to eat this fabulous dinner they’ve paid for. Once I get the Newlyweds seated, I make sure I grab a refill on their drinks. Unless it’s a plated meal, we usually make the Bride & Groom their plates at the food stations/buffet so they don’t have to worry about going through the line. At that point, I make sure the caterer is serving food and also has food available for the photographers, videographers, DJs, band members, photo booth operators, and yes, our team.

 Photorapher:  Davey Morgan

Photorapher: Davey Morgan

7:00 pm – The vendors get a [quick] moment to eat. We’re usually tucked away in some back room. Sometimes we’re all so tired at this point that we’re pretty quiet. Other times, we’re catching up with each other. I tend to eat pretty quickly here so that I can go back to the main room to make sure I’m visible. But regardless – I’m pretty excited to eat at this point since it’s likely been 10-12 hours since I last ate.

7:15 pm – I’m back in the reception room, checking in again on the Newlyweds. I’m also monitoring the pacing of dinner and working very closely with the DJ/Band on the appropriate time to start the next timeline item… the cake cutting and toasts.

7:30 pm – I quietly let the toasters know to make sure they have a drink in their hand and listen carefully for the emcee to call them up for a toast. I also go make sure the Newlyweds each have a drink ready. I notify the Photographers and/or Videographers that cake cutting and toasts are about to happen.

7:45 pm – I lead the Newlyweds to the cake table and guide them through cutting their cake. Then I hand them their drinks while the toasters come up for their speeches.

 Even when I’m soaked from the rain, I am SO THRILLED for my clients.  Photographer:  Josh Jones

Even when I’m soaked from the rain, I am SO THRILLED for my clients. Photographer: Josh Jones

8:00 pm – The party begins and it’s open dance floor at this point. Sometimes I’m pinning in falling hair and sewing up straps that have popped off. Between me and my Assistant, once the party is underway, we are making sure the cake topper and champagne flutes are washed, wrapped back up, and placed back in their box. I make sure the caterer is cutting and serving the cake. I start packing up whatever personal items of the bride’s that I can without interrupting the party.

8:45 pm – I grab the bouquet for the bouquet toss (if they’re having one… but most of my brides are opting to forego this tradition).

9:00 pm – I check-in with the transportation companies. I make sure guest transportation is waiting and ready. I make sure the getaway car is either already in place or at least on its way.

9:30 pm – We finish packing up any personal items (i.e., guest book, gifts, leftover cake, veil, etc.). I check-in with the getaway car, place any to-go baskets in the car, and make sure the car is in the place the photographer wants them in.

9:45 pm – The last song plays. As soon as it’s over, I grab the bride and groom and place them in a hiding location while we once again try to get 100+ people outside (who have now been drinking for several hours). Once we get them outside, we try to get them in two lines….usually with sparklers in their hands.

9:55 pm – I go back to the bride and groom, give lots of sweaty hugs, and let them know any important info (i.e., “Your to-go basket is in the car. Your clutch is lying on the passenger seat, and your hotel key is in it.”). I also explain to them to walk slowly through the sparkler line, and we usually give one more sweaty hug.

10:00 pm – We light every single sparkler, and we send the Newlyweds off in style. At this point, the majority of the guests leave, we turn the lights all the way on, and each vendor starts breaking down his/her respective equipment. I will continue to breakdown and toss any leftover personal items that the bride & groom didn’t want to keep.

11:00 pm – With the vendors and venue broken down, I tell everyone a quick “Goodbye”, grab my tote and a water bottle, and make my way to my car…where I sit down, sigh, realize how badly my feet actually hurt, look at my watch to see how many steps I got in that day (my current record is just under 23K steps!) and start making my way home.

11:30 pm – I immediately hop in the shower.

11:45 pm – I go to bed.

THE FOLLOWING DAY: I take a 2-3 hour nap. And I typically don’t talk to anyone except for my husband until Monday.


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