Most venues you have an entry time of about 11am or so which means you can have your ceremony basically whenever you want. However, with our venue (Landmark Center) it's open to the public, even on a Saturday. With that being said, we have an entry of 11am like everyone else, but it's open to the public until 5pm. When we were searching for venues we were thinking that we would get married in the afternoon, maybe like 3pm? So obviously if we wanted this space that just wasn't going to happen. The venue associate did mention that we could have our wedding at 4:30pm at the earliest, but of course there COULD BE people walking around. Once we decided that Landmark was the venue for us, it crossed my mind for a split second. The fiance wasn't very happy about that though. He didn't want the public to be walking around; it was our moment and our moment only. After I thought about not only people walking around, but them leaving and the door closing = noise during our ceremony. So that was that convo; we were going to have our ceremony at 5pm. It actually made things easier believe it or not.
Once we looked at the production schedule, it was so easy as I was used to making timed production schedules for fashion shows, music productions, screenings, etc. - I think that's my favorite part of event/wedding planning ;) So since we had a set ceremony time which was getting close to dinner time, we knew that we wouldn't have much time between the "I do's" and dinner. We're Lutheran so our ceremony was going to be maybe 5-10 minutes, but when making a production schedule you should always add a few minutes just in case. It's better to be ahead of schedule than a tad behind. So ceremony: 5pm - 5:15pm.
Next up is the cocktail hour. People are going to the second floor while they flip the main floor from the ceremony to the reception. Always ask the venue how long it takes THEM to flip the room. Landmark told us about 45 minutes. That's tables, chairs, linens, etc. But of course you have to take in mind the centerpieces; how "extravagant" are they? If there's a lot of detail in them, then that's going to take more time. You also have to think about if you're having the ceremony and reception in the same place, but there is nowhere for the guests to really go while they changeover, that definitely cuts into your flip time.
Hint: most venues do venue related operations the day of. So do not think that they are going to do your centerpieces for you, setup your décor items, teardown, etc. Sometimes they don't even play your ceremony music.
I worked at 2 venues in Stillwater as I mentioned in which sometimes, no matter how many times I told my brides, "Make sure that the guests go downstairs or out in Stillwater to explore while we flip the room." If that's just NOT an option, "A few people can stay up here, but we will be roping off the space. However, we can't guarantee that it won't affect our flip time." Here's what can happen: People get in the way, people start having conversations in huge groups which makes it harder to ask them to move if need be. They try to help, but then there are too many cooks in the kitchen. I could sit here and write a blog about all of that, but I think y'all get the point ;) So anyways I knew that my centerpieces weren't going to be over-the-top so the flip shouldn't take more than an hour at most.
Because people were going to be on the second floor, we need to allow time for them to get back downstairs, find their name, and get to their table. All while taking in mind they're going to be running into people on their way which then results in delaying them from finding their name and what table they're at. So I added in the production schedule that people should be at their seats at 6:30pm. The Grand March + our welcome speech + what's going to happen throughout the night, will be shortly after that: 6:30pm - 6:45pm. Dinner at 6:45pm. Again, we will most likely start earlier than that, but it's better to be "ahead of schedule" than behind.
Dinner normally takes about an hour or so. So dinner: 6:45pm - 8pm. Dessert to follow. I have the first dance no later than 8:15pm so people can settle their stomachs from the food and dessert while they watch us (<---this sounds creepy doesn't it? Does anyone else have an issue with people watching them? I do! I'm more of a behind-the-scenes kind of gal, hence the industry I'm in. Ha!) We have two bands, the fiance's dad who has his own band and then two DJ's who play house music. Obviously we have to have his dad play our first dance and then with house DJ's their normal set times are typically no longer than an hour and a half. Worked out perfectly: Band 8:15ish - 10:30pm, DJ's 10:30pm - midnight.
Hint: Make sure you know what time last call is, what time music has to end, and what time you have to be out of the venue. This will also help when planning your production schedule. You'll get this information when you first book the venue so jot these times down in your production schedule as soon as you can, because you WILL forget what time everything has to be wrapped up.
So that was the end of making the production schedule for the actual event...for now - you may want to add in a bouquet toss, garter toss etc. if you decide to do those types of "activities."
So next thing was figuring out the production schedule before the ceremony. We knew that we would have to do photos before the ceremony since we only had about an hour between our "I Do's" and reception time - we'll do "after" photos in front of the venue in Rice Park before we head over to St. Paul Hotel for drinks with the bridal party <--another part of the production schedule.
Having a styling business in addition to this business, I am very familiar with photo shoots since I've been doing it for over 10 years. So I figured the wedding photos would take about 3 hours since again, we had to get them all done beforehand. It's always good to confirm with the vendor no matter how much you know though. We had a call with our photographer and sure enough he said 3 hours. After discussing with the fiance, we decided that since St. Paul is so pretty with landscape, architecture, parks, etc. we wanted to take photos throughout the city. That meant that we had to look into a shuttle. So we did.
Hint: highly recommend using the same photographer for your wedding as the one who did your engagement shoot. It really helps when it comes to them getting to know you and how to work with you as well as your comfort level in front of the camera. Most wedding photography packages include both, but just in case you come across it with someone.
Most transportation companies require a minimum of hours used, gratuity is sometimes included and sometimes not, sometimes there is a fee to bring booze on-board (which of course we were going to, nothing crazy though). We also wanted a bus that had a bench seating since we were going to be listening to music, drinking, and dancing. However, after looking further into it we ended up going with the cheapest option even though it wasn't bench seating. Reason being was because we were doing photos before the ceremony, not after so I mean...how crazy were we going to get with the booze and dancing? Not much. That's more so if we were doing photos AFTER we were hitched.
As you know, I like to be ahead of schedule so I wanted the bridal party and ourselves to be back at Landmark by 4pm at the latest as typically guests come as early as a half hour. before show-time. I didn't want them to see me before I walked down the aisle so shuttle booked for: 1pm - 4pm. No fee for booze, gratuity included, 3 hour minimum. Perfect!
Now it was onto the start time for the girls. I figured, again from my experience with fashion show productions and photo shoots, that bridesmaids hair and makeup would take about 45 minutes per service. Again, I confirmed with my makeup artist (who is also a bridesmaid) and she said the same thing. I know that the bride always takes longer, about 1 hour for both hair and makeup so that helped when it came to creating the start time in the production schedule.
To make sure that the bridal suite wasn't crowded with a bunch of girls in the morning and due to the fact that SOME girls were going to be staying at the hotel the night before, I know that I would have the girls that were staying at the hotel start first. That way the girls who were coming from home didn't have to wake up any earlier to pack and get on the road to head over to the hotel. One person would be in makeup, one person would be in hair starting out then they would switch. Then the next two would come and do the same thing. At 11am we would move over to Landmark and I would start to get ready. For photos and to make life easier, I wanted to get ready at the venue because it allowed more space for me to get into my dress as well as limiting people from seeing me walk across the street in my dress. The only problem I'm facing now is the mom's. Photos are at 1pm with the bridal party so the family/parents don't need to be there right at 1pm. However, our makeup artist is one of the bridesmaids sooo....???
Based on the production schedule, bridesmaids will be done at 11am which is when we'll transfer over to Landmark and I'll get ready. So with 6 bridesmaids, start time is 7am. That leaves the mom's not being ready before the makeup artist/my bridesmaid has to be there for photos. However, maybe they could sneak in somewhere and get their makeup done since they won't need much?!? I guess I'll have to chat with my bridesmaid. If we have to hire another makeup artist, we will just have to. At least we will be okay with the hair stylist as he will stay back and get them ready while we're out and about. I gave myself a deadline to figure out the final makeup/hair schedule with the photography/videography schedule(<----yup got a videographer - I have a short term memory so I wanted to remember the speeches, everyone's reactions, just the overall feel that you don't get from photos. We had decided that we would watch it every year on our anniversary. Nothing fancy though, we just wanted a URL. No need for a disc, etc. And of course I knew someone that could do it since she was invited to the wedding anyways). Nothing to stress over now, right? There's bigger things to figure out like my decor! Yup, still having problems with that :/
So now we had to figure out the hotel situation. It's tradition, obviously, to not spend the night with your future hubby the night before. However, we aren't that traditional. As you know, we got a block of rooms for our guests at St. Paul Hotel, but we hadn't decided on our bridal suite yet. There was a larger suite, but it was $389 a night!! Obviously we're spending 2 nights there so that quickly adds up. We did look on their website and it seemed like there was a smaller room that still had sections in it where we could keep hair and makeup somewhat separated as well as give them enough space. However, you should always get a visual with anything you do.
One night we went out to a closeout sale of a decor company I used to work with which was in St. Paul so we decided that afterwards we would stop by the hotel and check out the larger $389 suite and the smaller one which was about $100 cheaper. We are planning on going on our honeymoon right afterwards and staying in one of those over-water bungalows so we don't need anything fancy, just space. Have we made our decision? Nope! With the holidays, I just haven't thought about it. Ideally it would be smart to get 2 rooms so the fiance and I could sleep in and the girls could start getting ready at 7am in another room. But financially, do we want to do that? We'll make a decision over the holidays I suppose, well at least we should!!
So there we have it, our rough draft of our production schedule (which by the way, I sent to everyone because...well why not? If you have it done, why not just let everyone involved know so they can plan accordingly ahead of time?). And did you notice I underlined "rough draft"? You will probably redo your production schedule several times. Nothing drastic, but the nitty gritty things will pop up that should be added. Remember: the more detailed you are with the schedule the better. However, don't forget that something WILL go wrong, the schedule is just there to lower those risks ;)
Till next time!
Did you know that we offer consulting which can simply be making your production schedule or revising it? Reach us at MHeventproductions.com/contact