The 7 Documents You Need to Create for a Smooth Wedding Day
Updated: Aug 11
You know you want a smooth wedding day, right? The one that all your fave IG wedding pros & wedding blogs tell you about... where you're sipping mimosas or your fave IPA with your best pals by your side having a total wedchilla experience.
As a professional Wedding Planner, let me tell you the 7 documents I think you need to create to actually achieve this experience.
Open your notes app & let's get into it.
1. The Timeline - I don't think you can even say the words "wedding day" without someone in your general vicinity talking about the wedding day timeline. It's absolutely the most crucial doc for you to create, plotting out everything from the time you expect your wedding party to arrive to start getting ready (and where) to when the liquor is supposed to be delivered & when your first dance is going to happen (before dinner?? after??). It should include addresses, song choices, names as appropriate (speeches, introductions) and include a TON of buffer (especially in the morning).
2. Family Photo List - I think family photos are the bane of every photo & video pro's existence & seriously irritates all newlyweds. If not done right, family photos take wayyy too long & leaves everyone feeling drained and frustrated. Enter in the Family Photo List. This list should be by name instead of relation (for example, Leslie Knope, Ben Wyatt, Ron Swanson instead of "Mom's family") & should be put in order in a way that adds & subtracts people in an efficient way. (Another example, start with all of your mom's siblings and their kids, then take the kids out and just her siblings & their spouses and then remove your mom's siblings & just take photos with your mom & dad, then add in your dad's siblings & their kids and so on and so forth). We require each of our clients to make this list and then we copy it into the timeline under the "family photos" portion of the day so we can call out each person who should be in the next photo & who's on deck. It makes this process so much faster!!
3. Inventory List - There was a wedding we did last year that the caterer and I had a miscommunication. It happens. I thought they had the chargers and they thought I did and when guests came in there were no chargers at the place setting that our couple wanted and paid for. Ouch. (This photo still makes me sick to my stomach.) Anyway, what we learned from that wedding is that we need to require each of our couples to create an inventory list of every item that is being used in the wedding & who it is being delivered to (and for extra points - when). We use this list as a double check system for set up & as a checklist for tear down to make sure all of our clients' personal items get returned to them.
4. List of Responsibilities - If you do not do this, things will get missed. You can do this a few ways (ours is actually adding it to the timeline), but either way you need some sort of list of who is responsible for what. Who is delivering alcohol to the venue? Who is delivering programs, the unity candle & the welcome sign to the church? Who is picking up breakfast in the morning? Who is bringing the wedding dress to the hotel? & probably most importantly WHO HAS THE FRIGGIN RINGS!! Bonus tip on how to make sure that nothing gets overseen (courtesy of one of our Planner friends Your Day by MK) is to visualize your entire day. How you'll get everywhere that you're going. What you'll need when you get there. How those items will get there, etc.
5. Contact List - The last thing that you want if God forbid you realize during cocktail hour that your photo booth hasn't arrived (true story from this past Saturday btw) is to be pulling out your phone and searching your inbox for a contact. Create a contact list & give it to a few trusted people so that if someone needs to be called, you're not the one looking for numbers & calling.
6. Floor Plan - This is something that your caterer and/or venue will most likely help you with creating, but make sure that everything that takes up physical space is accounted for. General rule of thumb, if it's not on the floor plan, it's not going to be set up.
7. A Seating Chart, Sorted Alphabetically - It happens every wedding. Someone can't find their place card or left it in the bathroom or thinks the card was printed wrong. Give a few people the responsibility of standing near the place card table/seating chart and near the center of the room to assist people who can't find their home. If there's meal selections for your wedding, these should be on here too.
So there you have it! These are the 7 documents that I think you need to create in order to have a smooth wedding day. & our team walks the walk. We have each of these documents on our clipboards on wedding day for every couple.