How To Stage Manage Your Own Wedding (In Six Largely Easy Steps)

Hello, My name is Cindy, and I’m a Phase Manager. I am hooked on paperwork, checklists, sharpies, and beginning time (which, I have discovered, is a near-impossible job), and I am here to explain to you how you can stage manage your wedding. If you are like me, you likely don’t have to read this particular post. But if you are currently keeping tabs on your guest list onto the back of a greeting card (I lately met with a customer to examine her coming wedding, and she whipped out this of her purse and began checking marks…), or you would be hard-pressed to discover your photographer’s telephone number if she does not appear on time, you might want my help.


This is the toughest and most crucial step.

You will need to prepare a platform for yourself to keep a tab on the large picture and all the small details. Get a huge binder and split it into tabs for every portion of your wedding. Here are a few you may want to get started with and what is very likely to go inside them. It is possible to take advantage of this binder out of the get-go and comprise inspirational images and thoughts also if you would like.

Relevant Information (for me, this is a few sheets in page protectors before the other segments; it is the stuff you will reference most frequently on/right before your wedding day)
Contact Sheet — Name, Mobile Phone Number, & Email Address of everybody having a part in your wedding (sellers, wedding favors, family members, officiant, anybody required for images)
Timeline — Comprehensive breakdown of exactly what happens, as it happens, where it occurs, and that wants to be there — to your whole day, such as getting prepared & getting home or to the hotel after the celebration is over
Checklist — of what must be brought to the reception or ceremony, and who’s accountable for it
Shot listing to the Photographer
Copy of the ceremony text
List of your processional/recessional purchase
Your marriage license prepared to be signed!
Anything else related to ceremony
Venue info, including floor/seating programs, and some other desired installment

Menu/Beverage List
Playlist for your DJ, with particular tunes (first dance, etc..) for more ideas check out Hitched.
List of who’s giving toasts & listing of people that you would like to thank!
Anything else associated with a reception

as well as the guest list, you may also keep track of presents received & thank you notes delivered within this part.
Some you may get this section discretionary. But if you’re coordinating suits or dresses for a huge wedding party or parents, who could go here.

Décor/ /Floral/Photo/Video/Entertainment
depending upon your organizational fashion, you could put at least one of these in a different section.

Vendor Contracts
All of These. You do have contracts, don’t you?
You likely noticed a whole lot of paperwork referenced in that listing (Contact Sheet, Guest List, Timeline, Checklists, Playlist, etc.). I advise that you use an internet document service (such as Google Docs) for all these things. That way you can get them quickly from almost everywhere once you consider something that has to be edited or added, and you and your spouse can collaborate readily.


Ok, now that you have got everything in 1 spot, there are likely some things that you ought to have backup plans. Examples are outside events, which ought to have an indoor place secured in the case of inclement weather; blossom girls/ring bearers who might be unexpectedly shy and reluctant to walk the aisle in front of all those individuals; your iPod playlist that ought to be copied onto somebody else’s iPod too!


Read APW’s wedding graduate posts, consult online checklists or buddies who have gotten married, request a planner–anything. There’s likely something that you forgot (booked signs to your family’s chairs? Somebody to press play on the iPod? Toasting glasses your grandma sent you a month ago?) , and if you have a little time now to look at your list twice, you are going to find it out until the big day arrives, and so avoid panic.


I believe (and Meg is fairly clear on from the publication) a marriage stage supervisor isn’t optional. Not because you will need someone to organize your wedding for you, since, of course, you already did this in a measure. However, because on your wedding day, you do not need to be setting up seats and centerpieces before you return to the hotel to get prepared, sporting an eye to keeping things on time, or speaking to the catering supervisor every twenty minutes about what food to bring out and which tables move where.

Have you got this covered? No, you don’t.
But understand that a professional has completed events and weddings ahead of yours and can help you with or perhaps do each of the steps above for you. If you go for a buddy, choose sensibly. This isn’t a task for your social butterfly who makes everybody feel welcome and stunning at the party just when she shows up late and with no potluck dish…again. This is a task for this buddy who sends out the invites with parking, driving, and public transit instructions from three different starting points and can typically be found apologizing for being ten minutes early having an additional bottle of wine in hand.


I understand everybody’s schedules are mad, and it is tough to have people in precisely the same region at just the same time, but even if it’s fifteen minutes the morning of their marriage, try to schedule at least a quick walk through of your ceremony. Practice walking slowly, if you don’t like to be like me and overcome your bride down the aisle.


Hand over your primer, your watch, along with your mobile phone to that individual you specified in Step 4 (preferably the day before the wedding) and simply be present. Soak up all of the minutes in the first day of the rest of your amazing married life.


Request your baker the way to cut that first piece of cake. They frequently put dowels and plates between and in layers so that it does not slide or fall more; it is far better to cut around people, yes?
Create a shot list for the photographer. Even when you are not doing proper, posed photographs, you are aware that there are people you would be unhappy about not getting a photo with.

Write it down and check it all off.
Decide what you are going to eat on your wedding day (before the reception). Place someone else (good job to your very best individual) in charge of making sure you eat. And select wholesome stuff that you know will not upset your tummy.

If you are having any welcome party or rehearsal dinner at your house, particularly if you reside in a condominium or apartment building, let your neighbors know beforehand or be ready for them to throw huge hissy fits around it. (I speak from personal experience.)

Write your thank you note once you get presents. I can’t stress this enough. (A buddy has a principle that she can’t use a gift or deposit a check before the note is composed — an outstanding rule.)

If you are getting married (or spending some time outdoors right before your wedding) and also you burn easily, for the love of all that’s holy, please wear sunscreen. Lest you’ve got an enormous red blotchy place in your chest that’s not in the form of your gown’s neckline. (Yep, that’s what happened to me)


Ultimately, some of my favorite phrases from a theater that may help you keep sanity or perspective:

The 6 Ps: Proper Planning Prevents Piss-Poor Productions. Or weddings within this circumstance.
There’s a really fine line between “The show must go on!” And “That is dumb, I am going home.” If something on your wedding seems like far more trouble than it is worth… it probably will be. Cut it without remorse, and proceed.
“It is only a show, it is only a show, it is only a series…” That is my mantra when folks are being pains in my bum or I have only awakened a cue, and I am beating myself up about it. It happens. Point being, it isn’t life or death (unless it’s if your point manager will be calling 911, administering first aid, and managing it) therefore let it proceed and refocus on what is ahead.

By Cindy with the help of Esme who owns Esme Robinson Photography