Performing The Timeline Meeting

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So you've scheduled the timeline meeting with your client and they've filled out the questionnaire. So now it's time to actually perform that meeting with your client. You are going to want to print out the questionnaire for the meeting and you want to browse through it ahead of time and know any questions you might have for your client. And then you also want to print out that vendor section as well. So this is a timeline questionnaire that I created I made the other planners use something similar I have no idea this is something I created after years of kind of just like showing up to these timeline meetings blind being like Okay, so what are all the pieces of the wedding and just talking and talking and talking and trying to figure out and then like I said, this meeting ended up being you know, two hours long, which now, I can get it to an hour tops, okay, but we got a really fast moving pride.

Sometimes it only takes like 30 To 35 minutes, Max. So another thing that is great about this timeline questionnaire is it's made it easier for me to scale my business. So when I have other leads going out to perform their weddings, I now have them schedule and perform their own timeline meetings. And they can bring this questionnaire and I know they're going to get all the details that they need, and they won't forget anything. So let's walk through this questionnaire and go through it. So first up, bride groom, or you know, bride and groom groom.

Essentially client names, then I will list the wedding date and locations. So, as I perform this timeline meeting, they The first thing that I tell them is hey there so you know, I just a few questions for you. You know, no big deal if you know the answer is great. If you don't, no worries either we have plenty of time, I just want to get our first draft of the timeline going. No pressure at all. So they oftentimes come into this meeting like very tense and stressful.

They feel like oh, it's the timeline. This is so big. But once I tell them like, hey, like no sweat, I can visibly usually see like, their shoulders relaxed. So you want them to feel cool as a cucumber during this. So I just kind of walk through these questions. So rehearsal, do they have a rehearsal date yet?

Time wears? Where is their dinner location? What time is that? Then I'll ask what is the bride's location the night before the wedding and the groom's location the night before the wedding? I just want to know where they're staying. in case somebody asked so you never know when you're going to need that information.

So then, now we're on to the wedding day, getting ready. Is the bride getting ready? How many people are getting hair and makeup done? Who will make sure the girls have food? So this is a big one. I, they have never decided anything like this at the time this time.

I mean, this is me just now making them think about this and make a decision. So I let them know the girls are going to show up, they're gonna eat breakfast, probably and then come and then they're not gonna you're there do hair and makeup, photos ceremony and they likely won't have access to food until cocktail hour. That's a long time for them to go without eating. So I tell them that they need to assign someone whether it's like their mom or a maid of honor or someone to make sure that there is food in the room while they're getting ready. Whether that's room service or corner bakery or delivery or someone's picking it up like they probably haven't thought about this and now I'm making them think about that. And then as for hair and makeup, I like to know how many people are getting Hair makeup done.

So I can make a rough estimate on what time I think hair makeup will be starting. Then we move into where's the groom getting ready? Who will make sure the guys have food? The same thing as about the girls? And then are the bride and groom seeing each other before yes or no. So this knows whether or not you're doing a first look.

So you can schedule that accordingly. So all these questions that you're asking are really just providing you a roadmap that we will take to sit down and actually write a timeline minute to minute. And then what is the invitation start time? What time do you actually want to start? I want to know if there's a difference because if our invitation says five, and we're not starting till 530, well, we need to know that 530 is our start time. But we also need to know that their invitation says five, so we might be seeing guests as early as 4:30pm and that space needs to be set accordingly.

And then would you like groomsmen to greet and seek gas or have us do it. This helps me know if they want the groomsmen to be ushering or if they just want my assistance to have everyone gets seated when it's time. Then are you doing a traditional bride and groom side for ceremony seating? This question seems obscure, but a lot of times, our random person will say, Oh, I'm with the brides like, what side should I be sitting on? And then we can let them know. Oh, you know what?

They're doing mixed seating doesn't matter. Traditionally, the bride will be on the left though. And then sometimes they do have an opinion. It's usually at a church wedding where I see them have more of an opinion, but it's good information to know just in case. And then now we're getting into the processional. So any grandparents walking down the aisle, I would usually I would always start with groom's side grandparents first then Brightside grandparents, and you want to make sure that if it's you know, just to Grandma, bye herself that somebody escorting her, a few someone knee is in a wheelchair note that any, you know, small nuances definitely note those and then parents if they're walking down the aisle, which they usually do, and then you want to start with groom's parents first, then bride's parents second and parents are divorced, I would start with groom's dad and maybe a new wife or whoever, so groom's dad grew his mom then you know, bright eyed after that.

Now we have bridal party, are they coming in together in pairs or will they be coming in separate? How will the groom and officiant enter will they be coming down the aisle entering from the side? Will the groom be walking in with his parents and you know, there's so many options these days and there's really, honestly at this point in 2019, there's no right or wrong way. And then flower girl and ring bear. I want their name and their age because a two year old flower girl is most certainly different than a six year old flower girl. So I really want to know what I'm dealing with.

And then are the flower girl coming in together or separate? If they're coming in together great. If they're coming in separate, the ring bear would go first and then the flower girl laughs the flower girls always the last person down the aisle before the bride. And then Traditionally, the flower girl and ring bear would stand up during the ceremony, but many times they're too young and that's too long for them to stand. So ask do you want them to stand up during the ceremony or sit down with their parents? Then we have presentation to the bride who is escorting you.

And you want to know who is escorting them and their relation because you cannot just assume that it's her dad maybe you know it's her uncle or it's her stepdad or it's like a cousin or somebody or maybe it's her mom like somebody else. So never just make that assumption. And then lastly, if Do you want the flower girl and bring bear to be a part of the recessional if they're sitting down, so the recessional is the exit. So, traditionally, if they were standing up the entire time, it would be the bride and groom out first, followed by the flower grown ring bearer, followed by the bridal party. So sometimes they say, Oh, yeah, they're going to sit down, but we do want them to be a part of the exit. Most often, they are not part of the recession at all.

Now moving into the reception, would you like a sneak peek into the ballroom? Most people say yes, and we definitely I always like to encourage that if they are unsure just because it's really cool for them to see this space. All beautiful and perfect. He spent all this time picking out all of these different like linens and flowers and, you know, China, that it's nice for them to see before everyone kind of you know, comes in and messes it up. So, that's just my opinion. And then Next up, we have Have grand entrance?

Is it the entire bridal party or just the bride and groom? circle? Which one? And then do you want to include your parents in the grand entrance or have them introduced from their seats? I would say the most popular is having them introduced from their seats. So the deejay would say, Hey, welcome, before we bring in the bridal party, we want to introduce parents with the groom parents of the bride, especially the both of the parents are still married that's so special these days.

So I really encourage people to do the introduction, at least from their seats. And then how would you like to be announced? Is it you know, Mr. And Mrs. Joe Smith, Mr. Mrs. Joe and Sally Smith, Joe and Sally Smith. How would they like to be announced? I would say the most popular would be that Mr. And Mrs. Joe and Sally Smith, and then first dance right now or after dinner. And I kind of people ask, Well, what do you think and I it's really About, I want to say about 6040 right now and then 60% right now 40% After dinner, and I really just tell them, there's no right or wrong, it's if you kind of want to just do it and get it over with, I just tell them you coming right in from the grand entrance right into the middle of the dance floor, a lot of people like to just, you know, do it and be done with it.

But sometimes, depending on the layout of the venue and the logistics of their event, it might make more sense to do it after dinner. So that's amazing. Just play by ear. And then it first dances Now, a few upbeat songs after, so sometimes they'll do the first dance and then they'll invite everybody onto the dance floor for about 10 or 15 minutes and it's really just to kind of get everyone moving and just to really set the tone like this is going to be a really fun party. So I don't I wouldn't say it's that common. It really just depends on the bride and the groom in their crowd and you know, they know their guests.

Better than anybody. So then moving along we have who is making the welcome toast Do you want chance but she had pain for now or what the maid of honor investment toes usually people want it poured now let's get it down so dinner and toast. So is there a prayer before dinner? Yes or no? If yes then who was making the prayer? Is your dinner plated or buffet you could circle and then if plated how many courses is it you know salad entree wedding cake or salad Intermezzo entree?

Is there a plated dessert you want to know how many courses there are so you know how much time to allot for each spot during dinner. And then if it's plated, are there separate meal choices? How will you be identifying them on your place cards. So if they're offering you know, chicken, beef, fish, vegetarian, whatever. They have to identify these on the place cards and it needs to be on the front of the card and it needs to be visible and very easy for a banquet server to decipher in the dim lighting of a wedding. A lot of people will do like, you know, a little fish is the fish, a little cow is the beef, but just remind them that it needs to be on the front of the place card like not on the back or underneath, because banquet servers need to be able to easily identify it.

So then, if it's a buffet, how would you like to release tables? I tell them if they don't have a preference, then we'll start with, you know, parents and bridal party and then move from oldest to youngest in terms of guests. Next step, would you like us to help you visit your guests tables during dinner that's completely up to them if they want to visit tables, and I tell them that if they do we kind of stick with them and help them move along a little bit more efficiently. Then is your maid of honor making a toast? Beth man making a toast? Who will be toasting first.

Sometimes people have a preference. Sometimes they don't. And then I say is anyone else making a toast to the rehearsals a great time for additional people to make toast? So sometimes, you know three, okay, fine four. Oh, that is like the absolute max after that people. People don't have a long extension span these days.

I tell everyone if they have other people who are dying to make a toast that rehearsal is a great time for other bridesmaids and groomsmen and siblings to make toast. And then moving on to dances and other formalities. Are you doing a father daughter dance a mother son dance, are you cutting the cake saving the top layer? That's something that seems you know, so random about saving the top layer but I you know, had a bunch of weddings where they would say Oh, it is even the top layer before they would, the banquet staff would cut the cake and I'd have to like, go on to the bride and ask her like I don't I want to cover as many details before the wedding because I do not want to bother her for anything on the wedding day. I just want her to enjoy and immerse yourself fully in the experience.

So now I just say like, hey, do you wanna stay at the top layer? And sometimes they're like, No, I don't care. Just cut it. So that's that. And then I ask, do the bride and groom want to do it? Thank you.

Are you doing okay toss? Are you doing a garter toss? Are you doing money dance? That's like the honeymoon dance where they people line up and we'll give them money. I rarely have clients do that. But I will say I feel like as I've moved into more luxury weddings, it's the last I've seen that.

And then usually depends on the culture as well. And then we have is there a slideshow? if so how long is it and who will be providing a V equipment, projector screen and laptop. This is so important. There's I've had weddings or a wedding where they were doing a slideshow and then I didn't know like, oh, who's providing the projector and on the wedding day like we were, I was able to, you know, piecemeal it together and have everything we needed and everyone knew which piece they were supposed to provide. However, I didn't know and I kind of felt a little flustered and unprepared.

So now, if I ever do those, them now I always I need to know who's providing each piece. Because I want to be able to have that information ready for any questions on the wedding day no matter what. And the slide shows what used to be a lot more popular and years back, I rarely see them these days. That's my puppy Jane. She has a lot to say about that. And then, lastly, is there anything else that needs to be scheduled during the reception?

What time is the reception end and then all get them personal items go to where, like where do all the gifts go in the cards and you're taking extra costume glasses. And then miscellaneous questions, if I don't already have the contracts, this is a day of client that I don't have their contracts yet. I'll say how many hours we have our photographer and videographer that helps me know, to write the timeline to make sure I include you know, condense everything that needs to be photographed within that certain window. And then I'll ask Are your centerpieces rentals are purchased? That's so I can know if they're coming back. Or if people have guests can take these home?

I mean, I need to know that. And then is there a brunch the next morning? What time And where will you be hosting valet for your vendors? That's something I'm really just opening the door to basically tell them that they need to host valet for the vendors. They might say, Oh, I don't know, should we but I mean, you really need to encourage them to host valet for the vendor. Or you're going to like have vendor explosions of like anger and all that kind of thing.

So they don't have to host valet for their guests, but that you need to educate them on the fact that they need to provide a hosted parking for their vendors. And then lastly, I will remind them to read through their big event orders very carefully. Everything will be set up and prepare terms like menu diagram everything exactly according to these banquet orders. So I tell them to read very carefully for guest counts and you know, all that kind of stuff, because they're going to be the ones signing off on that. So that's pretty much the entire timeline questionnaire. It's pretty straightforward and simple.

It's just a bunch of questions. It's nothing too crazy and overwhelming. And like I said, this really just forms a roadmap. So we can sit down and write our timeline minute to minute, and have all the information that we need. So next section, we're actually going to be Diving into a mock questionnaire that I created, and you're going to see me put together a timeline from start to finish and how I set it up to my client and get a super cool you know, instructions on how to write a timeline. I'm super excited, so I can't wait to dive into that.

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