Published May 2, 2010

The final challenge in having your wedding is… having your wedding. You’ve got guests, a venue, and you’re spending your money where it counts, but will the day go off right? It will if you follow the lesson I got from my wife, DJ L’il Bit, and plan the day of the wedding and the day before out in excruciating detail. If you’re in the entertainment industry, you know the trick: you need to make a call sheet for your wedding.

What’s a call sheet? It’s a very detailed, hour-by-hour list of who does what when. That sounds simple, and the good thing is that this call sheet is a pretty simple tool; it’s only the level of detail you expect that is complicated. Your call sheet should include what every key wedding guest is doing — the bridal party, of course, but also the DJ, emcee, the parents of the future spouses, caterer etc. Make sure you’ve taken care of things like:

  • Flowers
  • Food, especially the food you’ll eat before the ceremony starts (you need to have food, otherwise you’ll get drunk and pass out and miss the whole shebang)
  • Transportation and how people get places
  • The order in which people walk down the aisle
  • When the booze starts flowing

Go moment-by-moment in writing this call sheet. Mine started on Monday — the wedding was Saturday! — had eight tasks on Wednesday, four on Thursday, and 42 for the day of, all arranged hour-by-hour (even more precisely for the day of). You’ll have enough to worry about as you get down to the wire, don’t make yourself worry about where you’re getting lunch or what time you’re going to the barber for the shave… figure it out ahead of time.

And, of course, putting this all together means that you have to have talked to the key vendors and gotten onto the same page with them. Writing the call list forces you to do that, which can be an easy thing to forget. While the vendors may or may not want a call list — our DJs liked ours — the wedding party and parents should all get a copy. That way, nobody will call and ask you questions the day of the wedding. Because it’s all about making it all come off perfect, and you will not be a useful part of that on your big day; you’ll be worried and anxious and thrilled and ecstatic. Enjoy that feeling, not keeping the event running.