Developing your wedding day programme? Here are 10 tips you should read to help you create a programme or itinerary that will make your wedding day coordination smoother!
1. Buffer sufficient time for hair and makeup
Set aside 2 to 3 hours for a fresh hair and makeup session for the Bride, 1 to 1.5 hours for a hair and makeup session for other ladies, and 30 to 40 minutes for a touch-up session. Please consult the relevant hair and makeup artists to ensure the durations are sufficient.
2. Decide whether you would like preparation shots
The photographer usually arrives at Bride’s location 1 hour into her first hair and makeup session. Do take note of this when planning vendors' schedule. If the Groom is at another location, a second photographer may be engaged to capture shots there. Otherwise, the photographer can capture the Groom’s preparation shots at a later time at the venue.
3. Allow time for the same day edit video
If you have a same day edit video, you have to check that your programme allows sufficient time for the editing process. Buffer enough time for the video to be generated and tested out on the playing device at the AV station, prior to the screening time.
4. Be conscious of how much time is required for your set-up
Set-up are of varying scales but on average, set aside 3 hours for it. Make sure those involved in the set-up know where to set-up, what time they can start and what time to complete set-up by, especially if it’s shorter than 3 hours due to the venue handover time, so that certain adjustments may be made for a faster set-up. It is important to be aware of any set-up that requires power supply so that the right arrangements may be made.
5. Include your emcee in the coordination meeting
Include a 30-min coordination meeting in your programme which the emcee should attend along with the Groom, banquet manager and wedding planner (or wedding coordinator). It is important to have a prompter for the emcee to synchronise the emcee lines with the food service and other activities.
6. Make your live music count
Usually any live music at a venue should come with its sound system and this requires about 2 hours from loading in of equipment to tuning and sound checks. You may request for a raised platform for the musicians if the venue has one.
7. Pace the food service
On average, it takes about 20 mins between the serving of one course to the serving of the next course. This includes the time needed to clear the previous course and time for consumption. Some courses and food service may require more time. For instance, western cuisine and plated service. When including activities in the programme while food is in service, try to avoid disrupting the food service pace so guests are kept satisfied. Nevertheless, one stoppage (about 30 mins) is acceptable.
8. Schedule a Wedding Ceremony rehearsal
A Solemnisation Ceremony typically takes about 30 mins. However, for Religious Wedding Ceremonies, more time is usually required (e.g. 1 hour) and the sequence is more complex. It is important to estimate the amount of time required and to have a good understanding about the ceremony sequence or order. You may schedule a rehearsal ideally 1 to 2 weeks before the wedding day.
9. Refine your Cocktail Reception duration depending on predicted guest attendance
A Cocktail Reception is sometimes termed as a "Cocktail Hour". It is advisable to set aside 1 full hour for your Cocktail Reception to allow guests time to park their vehicles, arrive at the welcome area, register and enjoy some beverages before the Wedding Celebration. Guests should be allowed to enter the dining area about 20 mins before the start of the celebration to find their seats and settle down. If it is expected that a minimum of 60% of the guests would be at the venue before the start of the Cocktail Reception, you may set aside just 30 mins for it instead of 1 hour.
10. Don't feel obliged to conform, feel free to sequence your wedding activities differently
Although in Singapore, there is a popular sequence of activities at a Wedding Celebration or Wedding Banquet, it is not mandatory to follow it. The activities can be sequenced in other ways and other entertainment segments may be added to it. Simply keep in mind that food service should still be paced well.
This list is definitely not exhaustive. Any seasoned planner knows there are many more things to consider while developing a good programme that can determine how smooth the entire event may be. Some things may not have even crossed your mind because it takes experience and having dealt with many contingencies to know. As if that’s not enough, you need at least one trained eye on the wedding day itself to oversee, because after many months of preparation, on the big day, you only got one shot at making it perfect. Lucky for you, there are professionals.