Wedding organisation – another story of great planning and risk management

Our recent competition drew an excellent story of applying procurement disciplines to wedding planning (as per our own Sheena Moore’s example too). And it reminded me of another similar story I heard about 5 years ago.

A lady of very senior rank in the procurement and project management world, with proper qualifications and everything (!), told me of her big day, a few years back. Given some years of experience, she approached the event as a programme, which you PPM experts will know is basically a collection of inter-linked projects.

So she drew up a full programme plan, using Microsoft Project, I believe, with different workstreams, complete with deliverables, activities, resources and so on. That enabled her to analyse critical paths, for instance – jolly useful when you think about it. Which comes first, the venue booking or the catering?  She told a group of us this over quite a well refreshed dinner, and we thought it was both brilliant and hilarious. But the best bit was still to come. “I suppose you had a risk register”, I asked, jokingly.  

Yes, of course, was the answer. And not only that, but it worked. On the way to the church, in the bridal car, our heroine relaised that she had got part of her dress trapped in the car door. A small rip was the result – disaster for any bride wanting to look her best during the service*.

But, as she told us in the restaurant, “it was fine. I’d thought of that possibility, it was risk number 37 on the risk register”!

But what was the mitigating action for this risk, we wondered?

“I had a friend whose hobby was dressmaking in the car behind us, equipped with a full sewing kit. When we got to the church, it only took her a couple of minutes to sort out the problem. I was very slightly late – but we’d built in a little contingency to account for optimism bias, and nobody knew anything had happened”.

Ladies and gentlemen, there you have it. We could only raise our glasses in admiration to someone who lived and breathed good management practice. So remember, weddings don’t just require excellent procurement skills, think about your project and programme management disciplines too. And maybe get yourself onto a PRINCE 2 course before you pop (or answer) the question..!

* or indeed for any groom who had decided to wear a dress for the event (we are very non-discriminatory / sexist here).

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