Wedmin – What you need to know!
How the summer season is flying by! For the Matthew Oliver team it has been a literal case of ‘here, there, everywhere!’ …and we have loved every minute of it! As always if you want to catch up on what we’ve been up to, take a look at my or the Matthew Oliver Weddings Instagram. Ooh we love a good Insta story!
Now today I wanted to write a ‘little’ post about wedding documentation/admin (or ‘Wedmin’ if you will), it’s a huge part of wedding planning and whether you are planning your own wedding or getting a wedding planner on board, you will have some involvement in wedding documentation. So it’s good to know what’s what and when it’s needed! So here goes…
Why have wedding documentation?
First off ‘why?’, when it comes to planning weddings, the why is where you should start. Asking your partner or yourself; why do I need this/why am I doing this? If it’s not what you want or not going to benefit you or your wedding, then don’t do it. In this instance it is going to benefit you and you are going to need it! Wedding admin will see you through the entire planning process, it keeps you sane and allows you and your partner to share the work, rather than just having it all across emails or (even worse) your head! You always need to have somewhere to reference, to keep you on track and stop your wedding spiralling out of control. Reason enough I think!
Types of Wedmin?
I think it’s fairly clear that different people work in different ways, and if you’re planning your own wedding, you need to find the way that works for you when it comes to documentation. If you are looking for a wedding planner, a great place to start is before you even speak to one;
Wedding Vision – Sit down with your partner and list all the things that you can’t see your wedding without. Write a list of the people you want there to get an idea of numbers. Where must it be in the world? Do you have specific colours that always crop up in your vision? Must it be outside? Put together this list of all that you’ve both envisioned, without thinking of the logistics. Once you have your list, edit if you must, but this list is the start. Use it as your initial rough wish list to work from and send it over to planners with your enquiries, it points them in the right direction and is great for starting the discussion on how the planner can potentially help you.
Tip! – As an extra to this, put together a Pinterest board or ‘vision board’ with images of what you both want the style of your wedding to reflect. If planning your own wedding, use it as the initial and ongoing inspiration. If looking at planners, I suggest keeping this to yourself for now and wait for the proposal to come through from the wedding planner you are interested in. See if their vision for your wedding meets or exceeds your own, it’s a great indicator of whether you are all on the same page!
Planning doc – This will become the place where all the magic happens, we use GoogleDocs for the flexibility of it, multiple people being able to access, view and make amends at the same time, without the need for the dreaded duplicates(!) and the ‘what version are you looking at..?!?’. Multiple tabs allow you to easily separate various sections of planning and have a clear overview over everything! Possibilities of the types of tabs you might add in include:
> Budget Plan – Start off with a rough costs, dividing your budget out across all the elements of your wedding appropriately. To get an idea on how much you should be or want to be spending in specific areas. This should be flexible, when you start to find/book suppliers this is likely to change up or down. But keep it up to date as you go and you will know exactly where you are with the budget and whether you can splash out in some areas or pull back in others.
> Timeline – Put together a rough timeline on when you should/want to start looking into the various parts of your wedding. You can plan a wedding in 2 weeks if you want, but if you’re wedding isn’t for another 18 months, why go through the stress of rushing, and possibly making the wrong decisions. Set yourself a schedule of when you want to start on the next manageable chunk of your wedding, take the time to make the right decisions for you and your partner, before moving onto the next item when your schedule dictates.
> Payment Schedule – There’s no getting around it, weddings have a lot of moving parts. Those moving parts are usually managed by different people and those different people will have their own payment terms. Keep track of who you are paying, how much and when by noting down the payment schedule of each supplier in one place, reference it routinely.
Tip! – Set up calendar alerts with each supplier entry. So you will be notified when you need to pay a specific supplier.
> Guest list – Populate your guest list within this tab. From who you want to invite, to who you actually invite. The stationer will need it for knowing who to send the invites to, you will need it for putting together the seating plan. If accommodation is involved it is good to know who is staying where, do they need to get the transport if any is provided. And lastly the caterers need to know who is eating what and if they have any allergies. More and more information should be added in here as the planning progresses, to ensure that each of your guests are well accounted for.
> Current Actions – A great option if more than one of you are planning the wedding. List the current actions needed and who is doing them. Put in updates/notes and mark them when they are completed. Great as a reference to see who is doing what at what time.
Now this is not an exhaustive list, there are many different tabs you can populate in here. Other great options could include a Supplier tab, compare potential suppliers or venues for the pros and cons, before choosing to move ahead with one. Add in a tab with a rough schedule on the main timings of the wedding event. Include all information that you may need to reference quickly and see in the context of all your other planning information.
Deck –Throughout the creative process you will start to settle on some of the design based items. Start adding images of these creative items into a single design board as you decide on them. Seeing them together will confirm whether they work together, representing the style you want for your wedding. This deck can then be handed to suppliers such as the florist, to confirm with them the look you are going for and they can ensure what they bring on the day matches not only what you have previously discussed, but the overall design of your wedding.
Schedule – Last but certainly not least comes the schedule, the go to document for all key suppliers of your wedding event(s). A detailed break down of every stage of your wedding, what is happening, when and who by. This should be handed out to all main suppliers on the day, so they know what they need to do when and generally what is going happening on the day, allowing them to be flexible if needs be. The schedule will keep the day on track and if written properly, ensure a smooth flow to the day. Now someone must be in charge of ensuring the schedule is followed and kept on track, THIS CAN’T BE YOU BRIDES OR GROOMS! If you have a planner, this will most certainly be their job (as the creators of the schedule). If you have opted not to have a planner, see if you can get your venue coordinator to do it or if you have a particularly organised/strict friend or family member, maybe consider asking them, but remember this is likely to taint their experience of your wedding. Just something to bear in mind (grr!).
Planning a wedding isn’t easy and if you aren’t prepared/organised it will likely not be very fun either! Which isn’t the stressful prelude you want to one of the best days of your life! However if you are determined to do it yourself then give yourself the best organisation foundations possible, to make it a great experience. That begins with all of the above, the documentation, stay on top of it and share the ‘actions to complete’ where possible and it will be less stressful and more fun …I should know, it’s my job!
Quite a lengthy one I know! But jam packed with useful information and giving you a small insight into one of the key parts of how we plan our wonderful couples weddings. If you fancy having a nose at some of these, take a look at our instagram or portfolio for some of our favourites.
Have a great weekend and speak soon!
Love Bertie x
All images are from weddings created by Matthew Oliver Weddings