I’m going to let you into a secret, having a clear schedule is the best way to make sure your event goes to plan. It seems obvious but making sure everyone knows where they’re meant to be and when is fundamental to the smooth running of your wedding or event. It surprises me how many people don’t think about making a schedule, and more importantly sharing it with all their suppliers to make everyone’s lives easier. So how do you make the ultimate schedule and ensure your celebration goes to plan?
1. Write down what you know.
As you start planning you’ll start to form an idea of when certain things will happen, for example when your guests will eat or drinks will be served, or if its a wedding when the ceremony will be. Whenever you decide something like this immediately put it into your schedule, that way the day will start to take shape and you’ll prevent yourself double booking anything!
2. Fill in the gaps as you go
Gradually your plans will develop and the finer details will become clearer. It’s essential that as this happens you add as much information as possible to your schedule. By doing this throughout your planning it will highlight any gaps and save you having to remember everything when you need your schedule later.
3. Be prepared for things to change
It’s all well and good having a plan but sometimes things change that are out of your control. Let’s say you’d planned for the bar to arrive and set up by 12pm and start serving at 1pm, however they now can’t get there until 1pm. What do you do? You go back to your schedule and accommodate the change - in this case you might start the event later or have canapes and a glass of fizz or juice ready for the guests and the bar can set up and start serving later. There are always ways to rearrange things, and there are lots of reasons why you should be prepared to. I’d be amazed if the schedule for your celebration is perfect in the first draft; it usually takes a few attempts to get it spot on!
4. Add as much detail as possible
It’s easy to forget the details of things, particularly when you’ve got the headlines already in your schedule. Arrival times, food, drinks, and entertainment tend to be where people focus and it’s often straightforward to work out when these things are due to start. Fewer people remember about adding timings for setting up, clearing things away, sound checks for musicians and any breaks in between things. It's also important to add details about access, for example when are suppliers able to get into the venue, is there space for loading/unloading, do they need to report to anyone on arrival, who will be their contact on the day? Also, if you’re having a multi-day celebration or are setting up the day before you’ll need to include the timings for these in your schedule.
5. Include timings for all suppliers
People often assume that certain suppliers know what they’re doing, perhaps because they’ve worked with you or a particular venue before, or because they seem really organised. Never make this assumption, it leaves you open to miscommunication and chaos. All suppliers that are attending your wedding or event, even if that’s just to drop off and pick up items, must be included. This is not just for them, but also for other suppliers to know who they may have to work around - the florist for example may need to work alongside a stylist and as such the timings for both should be included in your schedule. Don’t forget to include those all important collection or clean up timings if applicable.
6. Have a list of contact details
As well as the timings, your schedule should also contain a full list of everyone’s contact details. This should be for all your suppliers, not just those attending the wedding or event. Why is this so important? Let’s say you’re picking up your cake the day before. You drive slowly and carefully yet on arrival at the venue the cake has been crushed on one side. Disaster! The best thing to do in that moment is grab your schedule, call the baker and find out what you can do to save it. Having those all important supplier details to hand means that when things go wrong you know exactly who to call without having to root around for their details.
Alongside your supplier contacts you should also include the contact details for key guests. Ideally you’ll have a contact on the day who can help with any supplier or guest queries, like an on the day coordinator, but it is often useful to have the details of any guests with essential duties readily available should there be any last minute questions or hiccups. Ideally you’ll want to add the contact numbers for people who’ll be able to help with timings and urgent situations.
7. Share your masterpiece
You’ve created the ultimate schedule; full timings including setting up the day before and clearing up the following morning, all supplier contact details and the names and phone numbers of the key people. This schedule contains everything you need to know about the smooth running of your wedding/celebration day. It’s useless if nobody else has access to it! Once you’re happy with it, share it with pride! Shout about it from the rooftops and let everyone know what is happening. Send it to all suppliers that will be attending for any part of your celebration, and ideally send it to a couple of guests too so you’re not the only one who knows what is happening!
Following these steps you’ll have the perfect schedule to manage any party, wedding or event you can think of! As a planner/coordinator I help wedding and party clients like you to create a schedule with all the information I’ve listed in this blog. I also help to share it with suppliers, answer any questions from suppliers and guests, and be there for set up, during the day to make sure everything runs to plan, and for the clean up at the end too. This is included as standard if I’m planning your wedding or party, or if you’d prefer to plan it yourself you can have me leap in at the last moment to take the pressure off, leaving you to relax and enjoy!
How much do you know about On the Day Support? If you’d like to know more check out my vlog where I talk about “What is on the day support and why might you need it”. (This is covered with weddings in mind but is equally applicable to any celebration)!
Need some help planning? Looking for some additional support? Toastworthy Events offers a range of planning services from full wedding planning to on the day support, hen/stag parties, honeymoons and more. For further information and to book a free consultation please visit https://toastworthyevents.co.uk/ or contact us at email@example.com