Some of the most brilliant people– both real and fictional, have what my husband has named the ”crazy board.” You know, those boards that are usually in a shed with notes and photos and newspaper clippings and if you’re really crazy, various letters circled and lines made with yarn…
Anyways…The first step of my party planning process was to create a crazy board of my own. Mine consisted of a series of lists duct taped to my front door along with a calendar. (in our case the dollar store kitten calendar). First, I basically made a master list/timeline. This timeline served as a list of all of the smaller, more detailed lists I ”needed” to make. I know…I just…I know. But I really enjoyed doing this. That’s the scary part. My point here is that I hope my crazy board process is helpful to you in your party planning. I will type said list up for you below. It should serve almost as a guide for all of the topics I hope to discuss in more detail in future posts. So if you’re wondering, for example, what specific decorations I used, where I got my dress, invites and that sort of thing, I promise to talk about all of that.
Before I type up the list I want to make a note about the calendar: While a timeline/master list was a nice way to keep track of when general things needed to be done, the calendar was for specific appointments. For example: meeting with the DJ to discuss party philosophies, nose hair trimming appointment with self in bathroom mirror from 2pm to 2:07, etc. etc.
I’d like to give a shout out to pinterest, wedding magazines, and wedding blogs in general. I read a lot of other people’s timelines before coming up with my own.
ok one more important note: This list is specifically for non-traditional wedding receptions. I didn’t include the usual timelines for booking florists, dress shopping, caterers, photographers and the like because I didn’t use any of those services in a traditional manner. For example, by caterer I mean Qdoba (holla!) and by dress shopping I mean order something online and account for shipping time. You get the idea.
Now I present to you, the timeline:
16 months-12 months before Wedding Reception:
-Brainstorm/ get the ball rolling: This is a 3 day process involving wine, pinterest and awkward conversations about money.
-make a party binder
-pick a venue. Book it!
-make preliminary guest list so you have an idea of the number of guests
-make a ”wedding” website
-make save the date cards
8-10 months before
-make a detailed DAY OF THE RECEPTION plan
-make a chart/ blueprint of the reception venue/ where things will be such as the bar, the food, the dj, your secret stash of scotch, etc. Make sure to include lots of red circles around letters and strings and pictures of Jodie Foster…just kidding about that last part.
-finish compiling guest list and addresses
-register for gifts (woot! woot!) (put your registry info on the wedding website)
-send save the date cards
-make detailed decorations list and decorations shopping list
-shop for decorations!
5-7 months before
-hire a day of coordinator. Give them all the needed details and have a meeting if desired.
-arrange child care
-make or order invitations
-reserve a block of hotel rooms (put the info on your wedding website) (make sure you write the ”cancel by” date in your calendar)
-arrange transportation (put info on wedding website)
3 months before
-hire caterer. Make a menu plan, discuss payment details.
-Make linen arrangements
-write in detail your overall food plan and shopping list
-Make a list of craft and decor projects. Recruit help!
-craft! craft! and craft some more!
-Make a list of clothes and makeup needed. Buy it.
2 months before
-meet with DJ. Discuss music preferences and flow of the wedding/ announcements they’ll need to make.
-ask people to make speeches
1 month before
-check in with wedding coordinator
-check in with caterer
-check in with DJ
-check in with childcare
-make home brew/ order kegs
-buy wine or make it
-recruit set-up and take-down team
-make haircut appointment
-make makeup appointment
2 weeks before
-order flowers from grocery store
-check in with the other speech makers
-get sexy hair
-make wax and nail appointments
-double check final decorations list to make sure you have everything
-deal with any parking arrangements
-call guests who didn’t RSVP
-give caterer final headcount
-make a seating chart
1 week before
-confirm arrival times, any last details with: wedding coordinator, DJ, venue, childcare provider, caterer, linens, flowers
-shop for last minute food/ decor
-check in with set-up and take-down teams
-make packing list of things to bring to the venue
-start putting all the wedding stuff together in big plastic totes
-confirm hotel block
-get $ for vendors, put in envelopes
1 day before
-shop for perishable food
-check packing list. Make sure everything is ready to go
-give payment envelopes to a trusted friend or relative
day of (see DETAILED DAY OF list taped to your crazy board) :-)