Author Topic: Just did my first wedding...  (Read 6609 times)

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megf

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Just did my first wedding...
« on: Mar 19, 2007, 06:34 pm »
...and the caterer was TWO HOURS late!

Outside of that, it was a lovely event - happy people all around.

And, fortunately or not, this is the kind of event that I really *don't* want a part-two invitation for!

Have other SMs here done wedding? Any good wedding stories? Any pointers?

Meg

BeckyGG

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Re: Just did my first wedding...
« Reply #1 on: Mar 19, 2007, 06:52 pm »
In December I stage managed one of my best friends' wedding....she had done mine a couple years ago.  Luckily she had hired good people for the wedding and no one was late.  I actually had a really good time.  I've been a bridesmaid many times, and I felt much more useful and more involved as the stage manager.  Everyone seemed pleased with how things went, which was smoothly.  The only thing that didn't go quite as planned was the photographs.  There just wasn't enough time in the schedule to get the full list that the bride wanted done, but she was fine with that.

My friend who got married is a production manager and we've discussed going into business together as wedding planners if we decide to leave theater.  That being said, unless I'm paid a tidy sum or doing it for someone I love, I'm not sure I would be interested.
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birdie4113

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Re: Just did my first wedding...
« Reply #2 on: Mar 19, 2007, 08:27 pm »
I have never really thought of using a stage manager for weddings, but now that I think of it it seems like a really good idea.  I mean no one is more organized than a stage manager, and if you want to make sure that your wedding does not have any problems, you hire a stage manager.  That's a great idea.  I just thought I would share what I was thinking.
Bridget

zayit shachor

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Re: Just did my first wedding...
« Reply #3 on: Mar 20, 2007, 03:11 am »
How does one get hired for a wedding?

Mac Calder

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Re: Just did my first wedding...
« Reply #4 on: Mar 20, 2007, 04:27 am »
I just LX'oped my first wedding... god I wish we had a stage manager.

The ceremony was not too bad - the room we used was already full of pretty architectural lighting, so it was a set it and leave it.

The reception however was another thing all together.

There was a 'set designer' - who gave one lighting idea, which did not work (movers on the pinspot gobo aimed at the centre piece, to give an inner glow. Only worked when the table was centered under the movers, and the movers were static in the ceiling.... it didn't work at all), the 'coordinator' had no real input, and kept refering to documents I never got, and basically, I made some looks and fudged it from there. It did not help that I could not see the bridal table (and lecturn) because they had a band on the stage, and as such, decided they wanted rostra at the other end of the banquet hall, coincidently under the bio box... That meant I had to lean out of the bio to see if someone was at the lecturn, of if they were getting up to dance, or whatever

And the "2k fresnel washes on the (client supplied) backdrop" were not for the stage, as had been implied but rather for a frilly white back cloth behind the bridal table. We did not find out until about an hour before 'opening' so we had to navigate the scissor lift between preset tables... not fun.

Catering always tend to run late (this from the AV op... why they needed an AV op, I will never know, there was one cue during the entire 8 hour reception... It was a Kosher event... and the Jew's sure know how to party). The exception is usually inhouse caterers, who often run early because they want to get the party out of the hall ASAP so that they can clean up.

So any wedding companies that read this... Stage manager = essential.
trike the floor and leave.

« Last Edit: Mar 20, 2007, 04:29 am by Mac Calder »

centaura

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Re: Just did my first wedding...
« Reply #5 on: Mar 20, 2007, 12:58 pm »
I ended up stage managing a wedding unofficially - and by accident.  I was attending a friend's wedding as a last-minute guest (I was originally not going to be able to attend, but then a week of tour got canceled).  So, I was not an official member of the bridal party, but ended up being in the right place at the right time to deal with all the things that folks had forgotten to plan for.  Like how to get a mother to the reception, and who was going to gather personal items out of the dressing rooms, etc.

Is not something that I'd like to get into more - too many 'bridezilla' stories out there for me to want to try it.

-Centaura

Andi

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Re: Just did my first wedding...
« Reply #6 on: Mar 20, 2007, 02:21 pm »
I am going to have to SM my sisters wedding here in a week.  She lives in Germany and I am in the States, needless to say there have been insanely long phone conversations already! Can anyone give some pointers? Any tips on simple things that I am most likely to forget?

I would appreciate any input!

megf

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Re: Just did my first wedding...
« Reply #7 on: Mar 20, 2007, 04:23 pm »
Mac, I feel your pain. The DJ/sound designer had a snit when I let him know that the groom expected me to "call" the wedding march. Yes, this sounds odd - but in this case (a lavish Persian-Jewish wedding!) the march music was 12 different cuts, stored in separate tracks on the CD. And the DJ's area was inside the banquet hall - out of view of the seating area and the Rabbi. We worked out a hand-waving, finger-pointing system at the last minute when his cell phone caused a feedback problem - quite exciting. Fortunately, the LX designer/rigger is a friend, and we had no difficulty on that front.

Zayit - the groom's brother (who happens to be the LX guy!) works at a theater I've done 10 shows at - and he contacted my former PSM to ask about my availability. It hadn't occurred to me to seek out wedding-ish events until he called, but after Saturday's festivities, I feel good about adding that to my list of can-do areas.

Andi - I'm sure you've already done this - but one of the most helpful things the groom did for me (because I came in on short notice) was create a list of who had worked with who in the past. This helped answer questions about responsibilities in load-in/out (who deals with collapsing chairs? who gets to take home the food?) and general problem solving (can we light candles in the building? who takes control in case of an emergency?).

ljh007

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Re: Just did my first wedding...
« Reply #8 on: Mar 20, 2007, 08:13 pm »
I had a SM friend "stage manage" my wedding because I knew that I would do it myself if someone I trusted did not. And you can't exactly lay cable in those froofy dresses.

It was a low tech and low production affair - no piles of white tulle and only 80 guests (which seemed huge to me!). A friend DJ'd from his laptop with speakers on sticks. Another friend catered. That was pretty much it. I basically needed someone to check set up and strike, and I really wanted to do it myself but knew that I had to give up that control on my wedding day. It turns out the caterer was a mess, and my SM girlfriend had to dig into the food prep because nothing was ready to serve! Besides that amazing above-and-beyond duty, she mostly made sure everything looked pretty and ran well on the day of the event - almost like a wedding planner. I kept telling my mom that I would be happy to break down tables after our reception, and honestly I would have been. But I really knew that it was out of the question, so I got my wonderful friend to handle this for me and never had to worry for a second.

dwj0772

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Re: Just did my first wedding...
« Reply #9 on: Mar 21, 2007, 09:07 am »
I'm getting married in 10 days, and all of a sudden, can't get the wedding coordinator to call me or my fiance' back.  Not sure what's going on, but I'm prepared if it comes down to the wire to SM my own wedding.  It's will be a low-tech affair anyway, but I had gotten myself used to the idea that I wasn't going to be in charge (I know - can you imagine an SM not in charge?!), and now it looks like I may have to be after all.

Andi

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Re: Just did my first wedding...
« Reply #10 on: Mar 21, 2007, 11:26 am »
THANKS!
I will keep brainstorming on questions to ask, it's great finding people to talk to about this, I thought I was going to have to do this all alone!

nmno

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Re: Just did my first wedding...
« Reply #11 on: Mar 21, 2007, 02:17 pm »
I was a bridesmaid in my best friends wedding (I didn't have to do too much SMing because, well, love her, but she wanted to do it all herself, which meant mostly doing running around to do errands etc to pick up what fell through, and to come up with tasks that would get Future MIL away from the bride.)

I did get a weird look when I brought my SM kit into the hotel room where we were getting ready.  But they were happy that I had safety pins to attach a girls dress to her bra, a lint brush for dog hair, AA batteries for a camera, Qtips for make-up application, scissors to take care of a copy stray threads, a screwdriver to fix grandma's glasses...  and of course kleenex.  (I'm sure they used other stuff, I just can't remember)

centaura

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Re: Just did my first wedding...
« Reply #12 on: Mar 21, 2007, 05:29 pm »
That's okay, I had to iron the bride's dress for three hours because it had gotten wrinkled in transit to the town the wedding was happening in, and there wasn't enough time to get it to a drycleaners for prep.  That was one thick satin skirt!  Full!  Thankfully I'm a low-maintenance type of gal, so I was able to get ready in mere minutes (try doing that in a room full of frantically primping women - was nearly killed on the spot).

Other than dress patrol, I ended up coordinating the transportation to the reception from the chapel, which no one had thought about, I ended up driving one of the bridal party's car with the bride's mother in it, because no one had thought of how either that car or the mother was getting to the reception.  So that is a question for you - who's driving who, where and when?

And is there anyone in town who can prep a bridal dress in case of an emergency?

-Centaura

djemily

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Re: Just did my first wedding...
« Reply #13 on: Mar 22, 2007, 01:49 am »
It's really funny that this came up. A friend of mine is a director and she's convinced that she can't work without me. Well, tonight when we were talking about her forgetting things because she doesn't have a SM for her current show, she said "I think I even need a stage manager for my wedding! I can't live without you!"

I think I may have a new job coming up :)

ljh007

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Re: Just did my first wedding...
« Reply #14 on: Mar 22, 2007, 09:32 am »
I distributed "run sheets" to the wedding party, who knew me well enough to indulge me. It included all deliveries, arrivals, phone numbers, and logistics (cars and parking). It was probably a little much, but useful nonetheless.

I was also able to sneak a little Bride's SM kit under my table at the reception. It included mints, safety pins, makeup, tape, a mini lint roller, a tide-to-go stick, bobby pins, super glue (you never know), a hankie, pens and a mini notebook, and other girlie things like blotting paper. I don't think I ever even used it. Just knowing this was tucked under my feet made me feel like I was ready for anything. 

I would definitely recommend to all you bride-to-be SMs out there that you let go of as much control as possible on the big day. Ask other people to take care of it, and then trust them. Remind yourself not to worry. When you feel your eyes scanning the A/V setup during the speeches, STOP. This is an important day, and you deserve to enjoy each moment. I know you'd enjoy it by coordinating the bar setup and cueing speeches, but you have more important things to do. Like walk around in a cloud of bridal bliss with your new husband. So please, call in one of your SM friends to handle your day. You need to relax and be the Bride ('cause you can't call in an understudy today).

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