Capitol Advice: Why Planning a Wedding is Like Producing Theater – Part 1

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  • March 20, 2013

Today we are kicking off with a guest post from one of my FAVORITE area wedding vendors, The Plannery. I think I initially met Katie through Twitter (god, I love Twitter) and I’ve loved being able to get to know her more since then. I love the fact that she is from Brooklyn, and our vision on weddings, wedding planning, and the wedding industry, are pretty much carbon copies. I mean, her tagline is the coolest, “where ideas become events and shit gets done”. Yup – my thoughts exactly! And every blog post she writes, I feel myself shaking my head in absolute agreement. So when she asked me if she could write an advice piece about weddings and her background in theatre, I immediately said yes!

So this marks the first of a series of three guest posts that The Plannery wrote on weddings being like a stage production, and how her background in theater made her the wedding planner she is today!

Why Planning a Wedding is Like Producing Theatre – Part 1

by The Plannery

I came to event planning through theatrical production. I produced several musicals and plays on my own, and also assisted a Broadway producer for 4 years. After planning my own wedding I realized that producing a show and producing an event required very similar skills – so I’m here to give you some theatre tips to help you tackle wedding planning.

One caveat: In general I do not believe a wedding is a show. That frame of mind often creates some looney behavior which I try not to support. The bride and groom are not the “stars,” and razzle/dazzle and illusions aren’t necessary (in fact, some down-to-earth genuine feelings are really what matter, no?).

The first step is to know your project. When producing a show, you read the script cover to cover and completely immerse yourself in the work. For a wedding, you need to delve into the nitty gritty with your loved one to decide what you want it to be and who you are at your core. Is it a big-budget musical (aka a 250-person wedding in a lavish venue) or a one-man show (an intimate gathering of your 40 closest friends and family at your home)? Both – and everything in between – are amazing and will win the Tony Award of weddings if they’re the right fit for you. Yes, you probably could try and produce 42nd Street as a low-budget, 4-person play in a black box theatre, but that wouldn’t do the work justice (and it would make the tap-dancer in me cry. Just saying). Know who you are and what you want out of your wedding so you can honor and celebrate your relationship in the most fitting manner.

wedding advice planning like theatre

Click inside for the rest of Part 1!

From there, you create a budget. You can’t produce a show until you know what the project is (see above), how much money you have to work with, and who your investors are. The budget for a musical is significantly more than for a one-man play. Take a good, honest look at your project and create a budget based on what you want to produce and how much money you have at your disposal. When building a budget for a show you look at the necessities as well as the priorities for the show and alter the funds allocated to those categories accordingly. Some plays require an amazing set but basic costumes. Others call for a huge crew but very few actors. Know that not budging on your guest list is the most important to you? Then a venue to fit all those people is the priority and you may just do a dessert reception. Know that you have to have it catered by your favorite, but pricey, restaurant? Then you may decide to have a more intimate reception with family-only. This budget is your guide throughout the rest of the process.

Once your project is clear and your budget is created, we move on to the creative team (or in the wedding world – vendors). As a producer, my number one rule that guaranteed me a successful production was hiring an amazing creative team of a director, designers, crew members, and actors. You must hire people who not only create high quality work, but are people you trust and are easy to work with. They are your team that will help give your vision life – if you have a great team, the end result will also be great. When picking your team, trust your gut. I once interviewed directors for a production I was putting together. The very first one I interviewed blew me away, but since he was the first person I spoke to, I doubted he could actually be the one for my project. After all 15 were interviewed I realized he was the right one, hired him, and we ended up creating a very successful production (the NY Times came out to a tiny theatre in Brooklyn – holla! Oh, and I met my husband) and collaborated on many more in the future.

Take Me Out by Jen Maufrais Kellyharrypotterweddingshoot_AGP-114-682x1024

[2nd image via Abby Grace Photography]

Check back next Wednesday for Part 2!

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