Defining Your Scope of Work

Scope of Work for Wedding Pros

Earlier on one of my webinars, I referred to the “Scope of Work” document that I used in my Wedding Planning + Design business. As promised, today I’m going to talk a little about what it is, why it’s important, and how you can use it in your wedding business.

Simplified, a Scope of Work document is a document that you provide to your client that specifies what services you will provide (deliverables), what when they will occur (milestones), and when the project/service will be complete (end date). It’s a critical document for several reasons. First and foremost, it clearly outlines for both you and your client the actual work that you are being paid to do, and when said work will take place. Today we’re going to focus on those two factors.
You may be thinking, but Mary, my services are clearly outlined in my website/package/brochure! Why do I need to go through them again?

It’s true, your client is probably aware of what your services are. They’ve seen a very general description on your website, and you’ve probably provided them with additional detail during the consultation or other meetings with them. However, the Scope of Work document is different. For me, this doc was always an opportunity for me to be really, really specific with what my services actually include. This helps me to manage my client’s expectations about what is/isn’t included and heads off any potential disagreements, dissatisfaction, or confusion.

Here’s the difference:

On my website, if I was offering Wedding Month Management, I probably said something like this:

If you’re keen to take on the planning of your wedding and are an organizational goddess, WMM services are perfect for you. You’ve done all of the hard work leading up to your big day – now we’re here to make sure that all of your carefully planned details go off without a hitch.

Pretty general. Now, once they contact me, I would send them my services package, which included more detail:

– Email and phone support prior to your wedding day (please see our office hours for more information)
– Access to your exclusive virtual workroom where you can store your contracts, inspiration images, send messages, track your to-do’s, and keep track of your appointments and meetings
– Your personalized Planning Book to complete and provide to your Coordinator
– Vendor confirmation
– Personalized wedding day production schedule & timeline
– Three 45-60 minute pre-wedding meetings with your Coordinator
– Rehearsal coordination (maximum 2 hours) (Coordinator & Assistant)
– Ceremony Coordination (maximum 1.5 hours) (Coordinator & Assistant)
– Cocktail & Reception Coordination (maximum 8 hours) (Coordinator & Assistant)
– Set-up & Tear-down Coordination (Coordinator & Assistant)

You can see, it’s a little more specific. I would probably add a little descriptive paragraph as well, outlining how the client can rest easy knowing that she/he has someone to look after the details of their wedding. But you get the point.

In a Scope of Work document, I get really detailed.

Unlimited email and phone support: Ongoing
– Emails will be responded to within 3 business days
– Phone calls will be accepted during regular office hours

Virtual Workroom: Within one week of signing the contract
– Includes login information and a brief guide on how to use your workroom with one week of signing the contract
– Messages posted on the virtual workroom will be responded to within 3 business days
– Meetings with your Coordinator will be entered into the Calendar for you

Vendor Confirmation: 2-4 weeks prior to the wedding
– Initial email introducing the Coordinator to the Vendor
– Email confirming arrival time, set-up time, onsite requirements, additional questions
– Email providing vendor with production schedule/ceremony schedule/reception timeline
– Follow-up email post-wedding to tie up any details

Production Schedule & Timeline: 2-4 weeks prior to the wedding
– Development of comprehensive production schedule (distributed to Vendors, partners, suppliers)
– Development of Wedding Day timeline (distributed to Bridal Party, Family, Bride & Groom)
– Development of Ceremony timeline (distributed to musicians, officiant, internal staff, etc)
– Development of Cocktail/Reception timeline (distributed to venue, banquet captain, MC, musicians, speeches, internal staff)

Pre-Wedding Meetings: 1-8 weeks prior to the wedding
– Preliminary planning meeting approximately 8 weeks prior to the wedding day (30 mins)
– Review Planning Book expectations
– Compose preliminary wedding day timeline
– Begin compiling vendor contracts (deadline to upload to virtual workroom is 4 weeks prior to your wedding)
– Review meeting approximately 4-6 weeks prior to the wedding day (60 mins)
– Go through Planning Book to-date
– Review wedding day timeline
– Discuss any pressing issues, concerns
– Discuss day-of expectations and responsibilities
– Logistics meeting approximately 1 week prior to the wedding day (60-90 mins)
– Review & hand over of Planning Book
– Receive any items that need to be set-up onsite*
* Items we will set-up onsite include place-cards, menus, table #’s, signs/additional stationery, guest book, gift/card box, wedding favors. Please note that we do offer additional décor set-up as an a la carte service.
– Run through wedding day timeline; provide copies for wedding party/family

Rehearsal Coordination: 1-3 days prior to the wedding
– Arrival 30 minutes prior to rehearsal is scheduled to begin
– Introductions to family, friends, wedding party, VIPs
– If officiant is present, assist with the coordination of the rehearsal
– If officiant is not present, run the rehearsal

Ceremony Coordination: Wedding Day
– Assist with corsages, boutonnières, etc
– Assist the ushers as needed
– Ensure musicians are in place and music is cued
– Coordinate all entrances (VIP’s, Mom’s, Wedding Party, Groom, Bride)
– Cue officiant and musicians as needed
– *Bridal kit is available pre & post ceremony
– Usher last minute/late guests to seats
– Attend to any guest issues/questions/concerns
– Coordinate post-ceremony photos/liaise with photographer

and so on.

Things to consider when you create your Scope of Work document:
– Don’t be afraid of stating the obvious. What’s obvious to you may not be obvious to your client
– You can include things that are NOT included, especially if it’s something that you are typically asked to do or have been previously expected to do. DO offer an alternative (referral to someone else, or offer it as an a la carte service with an extra fee)
– The more detail you provide, the less chance there is for misunderstandings
– Have your clients initial or sign off on this document
– Be prepared to follow through. Your clients know what to expect. If you aren’t going to complete a task for some reason, ensure you communicate this to your client.
– Create a Scope of Work template for each of your services; you can customize and tweak them for each individual client if needed.
– You can provide this document as an appendix in their contract, or present it as a separate document; either way, it is critical to have them sign off on it. This will mitigate any misunderstandings that may arise.
– If misunderstandings DO arise, be sure to clarify/revise the point of contention in your template so that it is even more clear for future clients.

I get it – this may feel like an overwhelming task.  So to help get you started, I’ve created this FREE DOWNLOAD that will help you dig into what you need to include in your Scope of Work documents.  This will help get you on the right track for sure!

For those of you who already incorporate a Scope of Work document in your wedding business, have you found that it helps with managing your clients’ expectations? Why or why not? I’d love to hear your feedback!

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