On that special day your wedding will start with music, continue with music and will end with music. Hello, my name is Eric Zimmermann. I am a DJ and Master of Ceremonies, Pianist and Band Leader. Though I am not a wedding coordinator very much of my presentation depends on good planning, coordination and timing. Though each wedding is unique there are basics essential to its success.
Essential: Your Wedding Location
A beautiful wedding location is easy to find in Southern California. But in planning your wedding, what are your needs? Will out of town guests need a place to stay? Can the facility accommodate an “outdoor” and “indoor” function? What about parking? Hours of operation (how late can the party go?) Menu options. An experienced wedding coordinator familiar with many locations can suggest locations based on your needs and wants.
With any location there are the times the event will start and end, what goes on between will give you your time line.
Having your location one can sketch the itinerary for your wedding. This is general, like a bird’s eye view. This should be done at the beginning of the planning process because it helps to align all other vendors and activities. When working with a couple I do this as a beginning step to illustrate where music and announcing might be needed. Sure, it may change as your view of your wedding gets more clear but an itinerary sketch to refer to when you need it is an important planning tool. It is like a framework that you can hang your ideas on.
Essential: Scripted Announcements
Eventually scripted announcements will be included in the itinerary. Scripted announcements (that you approve of ahead of time) delivered by your Master of Ceremonies are essential to a successful presentation. Remember, on the day of your wedding your Master of Ceremonies will be representing you. It is best to script what he says. Please see: Scripted Announcements for Your Master of Ceremonies
For most couples planning a wedding is a new experience. It is a learning experience. Determining your budget is a necessary first step; however as you determine what you like and what is important to you you will find it necessary to amend your budget. You will have the option of reallocating money in your budget as you go. It may be difficult starting out if you are not accustom to “entertaining” (throwing parties). People who throw parties for 50 to 100 guests that include: Catering, Parking and Entertainment already have some idea what to expect to pay for a wedding.
Communication is the Key
Costs can vary widely depending on the level of service you are accustom to. Make it your policy to talk to a lot of wedding vendors and locations and learn about the services you think you may need. Most wedding professionals are artists and nice people and will readily talk about their services and offer advice. Talk to your wedding coordinator. After several interviews an experienced wedding coordinator can help you set price ranges for the services you will be hiring. See: Planning a Wedding Budget – Where to Start – This article is a short talk with veteran wedding designer Tobey Dodge about budget.
For those who insist on doing it themselves, I suggest that before you start planning your wedding that you throw a “practice party” for 25 guests. Take notes and measure your success. You might get the idea that you indeed can plan your own wedding or if hiring a professional is a better idea. See: Should I get A Wedding Coordinator?
Just so you know, a wedding ceremony takes about 1 hour and a cocktail hour takes 1 hour. A standard wedding reception is 4 hours. Total time of the actual event can be from 6 to 7 hours depending on your location. Your location will have policy and guidelines on the additional time allowed for vendor setup and breakdown. Amenities, policies and prices between locations vary widely. Experienced wedding designers and coordinators can guide you to locations that fit your needs. An experienced wedding coordinator (after thorough interview and getting to know you) can also indicate price ranges for necessary vendors to be hired.
Again, having a wedding date and wedding location you can now plug in your 6 to 7 hour time line and start planning your colors, flowers, food, photographer, transportation, lodging and much more.
See: DJ/Master of Ceremonies and Live Music for a Wedding. This page has several additional links that include:
- Wedding Time Line and Planning Templates (PDF)
- Suggested Wedding Packages
I guess it is safe to assume that most couples planning their wedding haven’t been married before. Where to start? Please also see: Good Questions to Ask. It is like a “frequently asked questions” page that guides you through the Elegant Music website. Ultimately it is best to talk with lots of wedding professionals. The object is to find professionals you like and put together a good team. Most wedding professionals are artists and often are eager to tell you about their service and offer wedding planning tips. You will learn a lot and when educated in what it takes to produce a wedding you will be more comfortable with your choices.
Note: People are people and not all wedding professionals are created equal. See: Choosing A Wedding Professional.
Your Stage of Wedding Planning.
It may be that you are just starting out… or don’t know where to start. It may be you have already gotten a lot of information and are deep it. Good! It’s always time to talk about your wedding. See: Why Talk About Your Wedding?
In addition to all that you do in your professional life if you have the time to plan your wedding it can be a lot of fun!
I look forward to hearing your ideas.
Sincerely, Eric Zimmermann DJ/Master of Ceremonies, Pianist and Band Leader – Elegant Music 626-797-1795
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