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How to Use Your Production Skills to Produce Your Own Wedding

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On April 15, 2018 the greatest weight was lifted off of my shoulders. No, not tax day… That was the day after my wedding and everything had gone smoothly like a well-oiled machine. But honestly, I don’t know why I’m surprised.  As a producer I’ve thrown huge events, I’ve scraped together all my resources for no budget productions before and felt a similar sigh of relief as the render finished and was exported out. So, why was a wedding such a different feeling?

I was intent to make everything perfect, a dream come true… it’s the one day when you are supposed to get everything you want and have been dreaming of your whole life. But to start I didn’t have a budget that included getting a planner, and I didn’t have the time to DIY everything, so what to do?

I started by sitting down with my fiancé and figuring out what was most important to each of us. I wanted an entertaining ceremony that had traditional elements but was unique and felt like us and wanted it to feel intimate. Decor and wardrobe were the next big items that were important to me. To my fiancé his top priorities included everyone having fun so: the bar, the reception entertainment, and he wanted healthy delicious food.

We delegated the tasks of everything and each were responsible for a significant amount of logistics.

So… just as I would for any production I pooled my resources – went with vendors I adore and have worked with before – whether it’s an onset photographer, a caterer, lighting or more. I was astonished to find lots of friends or colleagues offered their services for free or next to nothing as a wedding gift. Honestly, friendors (friend vendors) worked perfectly for us we loved that everyone involved were people we knew and would have invited to our wedding if they weren’t working it. We tried to tip everyone out a significant amount especially if they were donating their time.

I’ve heard from industry friends that they got sponsors for their weddings like you would on a production but in this instance I didn’t go that route because while I was piecing everything together I didn’t want to take any chances.

For our ceremony we included friends to do a ring warming ceremony, a memorial to those we wish were present but no longer are, readings and their own translation of some of the religious texts – we included little subtle details in the music, the wine, and even my dress that spoke to our love of our fandoms including  Harry Potter, Game of Thrones, and The Muppets and had a friend’s band perform the music for the ceremony and cocktail hour. It was perfect.

Our location was also an important factor we got married at a movie studio in their courtyard it was more reasonably priced than lots of venues, had lots of charm and history, they were open to the use of any vendors, have security 24 hours, allowed us to visit to plan or rehearse any time and were amazingly accommodating.

I had a friend who was our “day of coordinator”- she has worked as a “day of coordinator” before but mostly works as a florist and though we didn’t want many flowers was able to make a small amount of flowers go a really long way. She helped us along the way find a good rentals company and great caterers and eased my mind many nights even when I didn’t feel like a wreck. Truthfully a coordinator is your first and second AD they are your stage manager and they are responsible for really running the show and seeing your vision to fruition- they don’t need experience as a DOC but they need to be really good at what they do and stick to your schedule like clockwork.

You don’t have to buy everything – feel free to rent stuff so you don’t have to schlep everything to your venue have it delivered – if you wanna DIY something chose something special like for me we rented all our tables and chairs but I reupholstered and custom painted the sweet heart chairs for my fiancé and myself and made the chair signs too. If I didn’t get that project finished I could always rent those too.

Since, I didn’t want many flowers I found containers and cookie jars for centerpieces and filled them with potted plants from OSH that way they last longer than cut flowers but also have a lifetime exchange policy (at any point your plant starts to die you can return it for a new one).

My maid of honor is a designer and helped design and fabricated my dress and all the bridesmaids’ dresses. But don’t be afraid to call in favors from wardrobe department friends. Rentals are a great way to go. We rented the men’s suits (and my fiancé bought his own dream suit).

I think some skills that served me best were my ability to put together a call sheet and thoroughly scheduled the day and gave that to the vendors and the wedding party before the day including all load in times and where people would be at all times.

I also put together a tip sheet like I do for red carpet events with photos of all key vendors and wedding party members and a list of important phone numbers. That way people knew who to look for ahead of time.

I used my graphics skills to create all my own signs and used my trusty staples store to print them out and frame most of them while others I got printed as yard signs with stakes or had grommets attached to zip tie to shrubs and tree branches.

Overall, I feel everything came together extremely well and hit all of the right notes we wanted it to.

 

Our vendor list:

  • Location: Jim Henson Studios
  • Caterer: Stonefire Grill
  • Desserts: The Kneady Bakery
  • Cake: Sweet Lady Jane
  • DJ: No1Betta Entertainment
  • Rentals: AV Party Rentals
  • Band: Blackhaven
  • Dresses: Frakkin Frocks
  • Men’s Rentals: Black Tux
  • Day of Coordinator: GingerSnap Florals / Melanie Wahla Ruth
  • Vintage Lounge Area: Thrifted Sister Events
  • Alcohol: BevMo (they deliver and chill)
  • Photo booth: Photo Baker
  • Take home wine glasses: discountmugs.com
  • Sparklers & Confetti Canons: Superior Celebrations
  • Candles: Quick Candles
  • Bartender: Sue Gisser
  • Photography: Sleepy Fox
  • Childcare: Sarah J Eagen
  • Flowers: Gingersnap Florals
  • Plants: Orchard Supply Hardware (OSH)

All photos supplied are taken by friends and family as we haven’t gotten our professional photos back by the time of this article

Stephanie Pressman

About Stephanie Pressman

Stephanie Pressman is an actor, producer, host, model and comedian from Atlanta, GA. Born into a family of performers she started acting and modeling professionally as an infant. She has worn many hats (figuratively and literally too) some of her favorite productions include co-founder and editor of Fashionably Nerdy, creator and moderator of the SPARK Your Creativity (female creators) Convention Panel, Co-Executive Producer of Stalking LeVar, founding member of The Show That Shall Not Be Named (Harry Potter Themed Improv Comedy), and most dear to her heart being a mother. You can find Stephanie on social media @StephPressman