When I am not involved in charity events and not planning weddings for couples, you can usually find me on the field playing ultimate. Yes, ultimate frisbee. Some might say it is the greatest sport ever invented by man.

I’ve been playing since 2007 and I love it! I play all year round in a league called Toronto Ultimate Club; outdoors most of the year but indoors in the winter.

People who aren’t familiar with the game may think it is for the dogs or not needing much skill, but to those who play, you will know that it is an intense sport! It requires the cutting and agility of football with the stamina and sprinting of soccer. It requires a fair amount of athleticism to be played well. To get an idea of the kind of intensity that can come out of ultimate, take a look at this highlight reel from 2011 or to view a full game, check out the men’s National finals with Vancouver vs Toronto.

I have realized over the years that there is a really delicate balance between being game-ready and feeling like utter garbage. Preparation plays such a major part in my game.

To give you an idea of what I mean:

    – Yesterday night at the game I felt like I was on drugs (what I think it would feel like, I wouldn’t know!) because I had a big latte before I played. My heart was beating out of my chest and my fingers were shaking. Now I know better – no caffeine before a game!
    – I also have a rule of thumb to not eat 3 hours before a game, or I feel like throwing up.
    – On days where I don’t get enough sleep, my legs feel like jelly.
    – When I went on vacation and didn’t play for a week, my lungs and legs took a while to adjust again. One week without playing made such a difference.
    – If I don’t allow enough warm up time, it will take me half the game to get warmed up.

Ok so maybe I am more sensitive than most, but I can still generalize and say it takes a lot of prep work to bring your “A” game, even before the game starts. The items listed above are all things in my control that directly effect how I perform on the field. For the sake of numbers, I would say that about 70% of my game is preparation (mental and physical) and the other 30% is actual in-game execution. If I have not done my part in getting enough sleep, not eating too much and warming up, chances are I won’t play my best. At about $11 a game in the indoor season, it really sucks to waste a night by feeling not up to par. In any sport really, it can be said that practice and preparation are important ingredients to a good performance.

Preparation is also key when it comes to your wedding day. To ensure a smooth day, there is a lot of homework to be done. It is a lot of money and energy spent on your wedding day for it to NOT go how you want it to go!

Being prepared on your wedding day can mean many things.
Here are some things that I would recommend close to the big day:

    1) Draft your wedding day rundown early (about a month in advance is good) and continue to fine tune it. Envision walking through your day and fill in the blanks of the small and big details. It is good to use Excel for this for easy edits.
    2) Communicate with all your vendors prior to creating the wedding schedule to know when things will be delivered, when vendors will arrive and letting them know of final details.
    3) Meet with your wedding coordinator prior to the wedding day to go through vendor details, expectations and the rundown of the day. This is especially important if the coordinator is only the “Day-Of” coordinator and hasn’t been involved in the planning process.
    4) Regularly communicate and remind your bridal party and helpers of their responsibilities, deadlines and final details for the day.
    5) Prepare all your final vendor payments and set reminders for yourself to pay them on time.
    6) Identify helpers from your family or friends who may be able to help with small but often overlooked tasks on the wedding day like being in charge of the money box or pinning flowers.
    7) Make sure you have all your important documents in one place, whether it is a binder, folder or excel file. Keep your contracts in one place and tag your wedding emails with a label. When you need to find something, you should be able to find it.

I cannot tell you how thankful I am as the wedding coordinator when a couple has over-prepared and have been thorough in their preparation. Managing the day becomes much easier when I am not picking up the slack from work not done in advance.

Every wedding will have its own intricacies, but one thing is certain with any wedding day – the more prepared you are, the smoother your day will be!

Rebecca Chan is a Toronto event designer and event planner. If you have a brand activation, media launch event, design project, trade show or a special event, connect with her today to see how we can collaborate on your next project.