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What You Can Learn From Wedding Work Experience

Since graduating in mid-2018 Ashlee Brookes has been making her mark on the Melbourne Wedding season, by contracting with a number of local Wedding Planners and Stylists.  I was able to give her one of her very first professional work ‘experiences’ though in September last year when she completed work experience with my business, the I Do Crew.  I am excited to share some of Ashlee’s work experience story with you today so you can gain an insight into the opportunities that can flow your way after doing a course with the Australian Academy of Wedding and Event Planning.
Ashlee you completed work experience for the I Do Crew alongside the very experienced Denise Fouracre (formerly of the Wedding Zone) last year after finishing your course.  Was this the first wedding that you have been part of as a ‘professional’?
Yes, I worked alongside Denise at a wedding in regional Victoria for the I Do Crew back in November.  This was my second wedding.  
Can you give us a brief outline of the work you were able to experience?
I attended the site meeting with Denise, the bride and many of the suppliers back in September.  It was my first venue inspection.  I learned so much from this visit.  I took so many notes! I Some of the key things I learned were measuring access points and ensuring equipment can fit through, making sure your instructions are the same as the Venue Coordinator’s instructions (because sometimes the bride will update one person and not the other), ensuring all suppliers know bump-in and bump-out times and that sometimes venues don’t allow bump-out on Sundays (which means you have to go back on Monday).
On the actual day I got to experience:

  • ceremony & reception set up 
  • suppler bump-in and set up
  • how the I Do Crew coordinate suppliers 
  • liaising with Venue Coordinator
  • Observe the Wedding Ceremony 

How did you feel about your work experience?  If this was your first professional wedding is it everything you hoped it would be?  More?  Less?
I really enjoyed gaining work experience at this wedding.  Denise had everything organised meticulously and it flowed relatively seamlessly on the day.  It was quite a small wedding with about 60 guests, so that made it a bit less frantic.  I enjoyed shadowing a professional Coordinator; learning how they work, how they deal with issues, how they relate and communicate with the couple.  I think most importantly Denise demonstrated how to know when to step in and when to step back.  Denise knew that this particular Venue Coordinator was really on top of the reception set-up so Denise confirmed all instructions with her at the start of the day and then stepped back and let her take control of that set-up.  It worked really well and Denise was able to oversee everything without getting in the way.  

What is one thing that you learned that you didn’t know before your work experience?
Make sure all your suppliers are told that they are not to contact the bride or groom on the day.  They are to contact you.  
I must admit I kind of just thought that this would be a given, considering the timeline and all contact details were sent out to everyone beforehand.  But during the morning Denise needed to contact one of the decor suppliers to chase up an item, and amongst the confusion, the supplier said: “I’ll just call the bride to check…”  And Denise very firmly said, “No, you are not to contact the bride, we need to work this out.”  Everyone must be communicated with beforehand that they are to go through you; that is your role as coordinator.  You make the call as to whether the bride or groom needs to be contacted.   
Do you have any tips for other students who are yet to gain some work experience?  For example, what to wear, how to prepare, what to expect?
Work experience is such a good opportunity to get out and about and work on some different weddings with different people. I have really enjoyed seeing how different people work.  I found working with the I Do Crew a great way to learn about on-the-day coordination and how that is quite different to a planning role.  
Also, it’s a really long day.  Wear comfortable shoes and something you can move in.

Do you have any other feedback to share?
The biggest tip I’ve learnt so far; remember that something will always go wrong – a wedding is a huge production after all. Hopefully, it’s only a minor hiccup, but if you go in with that attitude you are in a much better mindset and equipped to deal with any issues that occur and troubleshoot them effectively. This was a real game changer for me. 
Interview by Christine Ligthart
Christine Ligthart is a lead Tutor with the Academy and Founder of I Do Crew which specialises in offering On the Day Wedding Coordination. Christine is passionate about creative small business and helping others to achieve success. At home you will find Christine hanging out with her family, listening to old records and loving life on the farm.  www.idocrew.com.au
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