When it comes to wedding planning, there is always a sense of relief once the event is over. The ceremony is done, the reception has wound down, and freedom is on the horizon. However, your job as a wedding planner isn’t done just yet. You’ll want to make sure you’ve got everything marked on your post-wedding checklist, from an after-the-wedding review to donating unneeded items.
It can seem like an endless list of things to do, but it’s all about being organized and making sure you wrap everything up nicely. So once the wedding is over, what do you do? We’ve got your post-wedding checklist below.
1. Send Thank You Notes
Naturally, you’ll want to send a thank you note to the happy couple, congratulating them on their marriage. But after that, make sure you’re sending thanks to all your vendors and contacts.
Showing appreciation for everyone involved is not only a courteous thing to do, but people will remember it.
Afterall, first impressions are important, but so are final ones. If your final impression is great, then chances are it may not actually be the last.
2. Follow Up With Vendors
On a similar note, make sure you follow up with vendors. Think of this as an after-the-wedding review for both of you.
Make sure you thank them for working with you, but also bring to light any issues that were encountered. This is also a great time to mention you’ve got other weddings coming up and want to work with them again.
A thank you and a new booking? That’s how it’s done.
3. Request an After the Wedding Review
Whether it was a traditional wedding, a pop-up, or a three-day-long affair, you always want to know what you did right in your planning and what didn’t go so well. After all, how can you improve if you don’t know what to improve upon?
There are a few ways you can go about requesting a review. You can do so privately via email. It can even be attached to your thank you follow-up email. At the end, just ask that they share feedback with you about their experience. You can leave it open-ended or provide a link to a secure survey. This way the results stay with you and only you.
Another option is to link clients to your Google review page, Facebook page reviews, or other platform. This will be public, and everyone can see it, but if you’re confident in your business and their experience, then there’s nothing to worry about.
Reviews help enormously. Having word of mouth be your marketing strategy isn’t a bad strategy, and definitely one you should be including in your business plan. People are more likely to trust their friends’ recommendations than endless reviews online. If a couple had a wonderful testimonial, ask to share it on your site and social media.
3. Talk About What Went Wrong
There needs to be a normalization of mistakes being made and things going wrong in the wedding planning industry. Think of it as less of a failure and more of a learning experience. Something will always go amiss; it’s inevitable. However, you can take those moments and turn them into being proactive for next time.
Review what happened on the wedding day itself as well as any issues you encountered along the journey. Each wedding is a chance for you to learn not only about yourself and your own skills, but about the industry as a whole.
If there were issues with vendors, talk about them, especially if you have any interest in working with them again. Open communication is key to good business and good relationships with those you do business with. They can be difficult conversations, but you will be a stronger and smarter wedding planner for having them.
4. Adjust Procedures If Necessary
One of the greatest skills a wedding planner has is the ability to improvise and adapt. It is much better to be flexible in your work than stringent. It’ll not only save you a lot of stress, but make changing up how you do things much easier.
If after the wedding review, you determine something isn’t working, change it. That’s it. It’s simple. Also, if you had to use your emergency kit on the big day, make note of what you had to use and why. This way, not only will you be able to easily restock it, but you can be made aware of how often certain emergencies happen and why. If there is a common recurrence, maybe you need to adjust how you do and organize some things to avoid the situation in the future.
5. Put Things Back Where They Came From
This is a pretty boring part, but one that is very necessary. Chances are, during the wedding planning process, you rented or coordinated the borrowing of various items. These can be everything from tents to chairs to candlesticks and photo booths.
Regardless of what it is, after the wedding is over, the process of putting everything back where it belongs begins. It’s an arduous process, but this is something you definitely need to mark on your post-wedding checklist.
Double and triple check your invoices and inventory to make sure everything is going back to where it came from. Follow up with suppliers and vendors to make sure everything is accounted for down to the last napkin holder.
4. Lost and Found: Tracking Down Guests’ Items
It isn’t uncommon for bridal and groom parties to have left items in their suites while getting ready. Guests, too, often leave items behind. At the end of the reception, make sure to collect items into a lost and found box or container of some kind.
Once the venue has been swept and given a good old idiot check, make a list of the items and take photos of them. You can send the list and evidence to the clients the next day, letting them know what items you have and the best way to get them to their respective owners.
5. Donate Excess Items
Weddings tend to be parties of excess in one way or another. If there are leftover items, knowing the best way to dispose of them is key. Sometimes it’s not even disposing of them, it’s donating them.
There are numerous charities that accept leftover wedding items and overstock items to help those less fortunate have the wedding of their dreams. Start a relationship with the likes of Wish Upon a Wedding and other nonprofits that turn your extras into someone else’s dreams.
Guests can also be another avenue to donate items. Some clients may be more open to donation than others, so make sure you’ve had a frank conversation with them about what to do with anything left over.
Couples will never be able to keep all the flowers they have for their wedding. It’s just not possible. A lot of weddings have guests take extra florals home. They can be keepsakes or, really, just making use of some pretty blooms.
Other options include organizing to have them dried or pressed for the couple. Many florists will also have charities and such they work with, so check to see if there is an existing method of donation already in place.
With the amount of hungry people in the world, organizing leftover food to go to those in need is a wonderful way to give back and clean up. Local food banks are a great way to start. Each will have its own rules and regulations based on where they’re located, but having a relationship with them from the get go will streamline the process.
Second Harvest is a nonprofit in Ontario that distributes leftover food from businesses to those who need it most and is just one example of the many opportunities that are out there.
6. Help With the Honeymoon
Some couples aren’t done with you once the wedding is over. If they want your planning prowess involved in the honeymoon, you’ve still got a job to do. While most of this would have been planned by now, it’ll still be your job to make sure their honeymoon goes smoothly.
This means checking in with the hotel that everything is okay, making sure any excursions or reservations you made are still alright, and that they are having a wonderful time overall.
Don’t bother them on their honeymoon, but checking in at the beginning and end is a great idea just to wrap things up. Otherwise, if they need anything they will get in touch with you, so leave them to themselves.
7. Close Up the Client Files
If you set up the wedding website, registries, and other media, it’s time to shut it all down. Definitely give clients a grace period of at least 30 days before things are totally wiped. This way, any late gift givers can still access the registry, and if the couple wants to preserve anything from the website, they have a chance to do so.
If you’re tech savvy enough, you can export their site for a keepsake. If not, many hosts’ services have tech support that can do this for you. You can also print websites as a PDF and offer that as a memento. It may seem small, but it can mean a lot. After all, it was part of their big day.
Wrapping up the Event: A Post-Wedding Checklist
What you have to do after a wedding will, of course, depend on the wedding itself. However, the basic after the wedding review tasks have been outlined above. Each of the six jobs is great place to start building your own personalized post-wedding checklist.
Just remember, once one wedding is over, it’s time to start the next!