Photo by: Tiffany Heidenthal Photgraphy
So you're getting married and you quickly realize that a lot goes into planning a wedding. There are so many things to keep track of and sometimes you feel like you just want to run away to the justice of the peace and do this thang already. Sound familiar? Breathe. You're not alone. I have learned along the way that it's typically the small details that couples forget to plan for; but it's often those small details that can have the biggest impact on the day running smoothly. I have interviewed a couple of stellar wedding professionals and today I want to share our knowledge with you. Read below to discover 4 things that couples often forget during wedding planning and tips to prepare for and nail those things in advance. You've got this!
The Party's Over
The issue: It's the end of the night and the wedding is over. You and your boo have left the venue and are now driving off to the hotel in wedded bliss. Guess what? There's still a lot to be done. The venue still has to be cleaned and all of the stuff that was brought in has to go back out. Typically your wedding coordinator and catering staff are in charge of breakdown and cleanup. Most catering companies help with table breakdown (with the help of your coordinator), trash removal, sweeping and mopping, and boxing up leftover food, alcohol, and cake (this is why it's important to hire a reputable catering company). It is then your coordinator's responsibility to make sure that all that leftover goodness along with your belongings, decorations, flowers, clothes, and anything else brought into the venue gets safely into a car and removed from the property. More often than not, this is quite a bit of stuff.
How to plan accordingly: Make sure you designate someone to be in charge of taking home all of the leftovers. This will often require more than one car (people sometimes don't think to plan for more than one vehicle because they don't take into account all the extra stuff, like food, that will be going back out). Also, make sure that whoever is taking home the leftovers is willing to stay past the time guests have left (sometimes this can be approaching midnight depending on how late the wedding runs).
The issue: Even if you are having a non-traditional wedding ceremony, it is still good to think through guest seating ahead of time. More and more couples are going away from a "bride's side" and a "groom's side". However, some of your older guests may be a bit more traditional or remember going to weddings where they did things a different way. Also, in all of the hustle and bustle couples sometimes forget to leave reserved seating for their elderly grandparents or to provide ushers to help elderly guests to their seats.
How to plan accordingly: If you are doing open seating during a ceremony, it helps to make a sign (like the one below - found on Mod Wedding) that your guests can plainly see when they arrive at the ceremony. In addition, make sure to designate at least one person (usually a male) ahead of time that can help seat elderly guests. Even if you aren't doing a traditional ceremony, providing an usher is still a thoughtful courtesy for elderly guests that may have trouble walking. If you are having your grandparents seated as part of the ceremony, make sure to leave a seat for them on the first row that is easy to get to. Don't forget to bring tulle, ribbon, or a sign to reserve at least one (if not two) rows of seating for family. The same rings true for the reception. If you are not having a seating chart, be sure to let guests know! You can either do this ahead of time on your wedding website or by making a cute sign to display. You can also have the DJ or band make an announcement during cocktail hour.
This sign is placed right next to the programs so guests can easily see it before taking their seats. Photo by: Hampton Morrow Photography
The issue: I had the pleasure of interviewing Tiffany Heidenthal of Tiffany Heidenthal Photography about common things couples forget to plan for in terms of their wedding photos. She said that the most common issue is that couples don't allow enough time for photos to be taken. She said this is especially true for photos taken before the ceremony. For examply if the bride and bridesmaids are not having their hair and makeup done professionally then this process typically takes longer then they allot time for and therefore photos have to be cut short. Another problem Tiffany says she runs in to is having to round up family members after the ceremony for the formal family photos. The more time spent hunting down folks is less time that can be spent on getting those amazing family shots. Finally, one of the first things photographers shoot when they arrive at the venue are detail shots. Often times, couples forget to bring all the things they want photographed (rings, invitations, garters, shoes, dresses, ties, cufflinks, etc) or to have them waiting in the changing room when the photographer arrives.
How to plan accordingly: One of the best ways to ensure that the days runs as smooth as possible is to hire professionals. If you have your hair and make up done professionally by someone like Lou Stevens Glam Squad, then they can ensure not only that you look amazing but that you stay on schedule as well. Britny Bassett, of Lou Stevens would like to remind brides and bridesmaids to remember to bring their veils or hair pieces! If you are having a friend or family member do hair and makeup, make sure to allow extra time for touch ups and a buffer in case it takes longer than you anticipated. Also, make sure and tell your family members prior to the wedding that they will need to stay behind during cocktail hour and take formal family photos (like the one shown below). It is helpful if you send a reminder email a few days beforehand and if you also announce this again at the rehearsal. Finally, I always ask that the bride give me (the coordinator) all the detail items she wants photographed on Friday at the rehearsal so I can give them to the photographer when they arrive first thing. If not, I advise to at least have them waiting in the bridal changing room when the photographer arrives so they won't have to hunt them down. Having those items waiting to go will allow more time for photos which can ensure more quality shots. Remember, photography is a big investment and you want to do it right!
Photo by: Tiffany Heidenthal Photography
The issue: Don't forget about the food prior to the wedding. Make sure that you have something to eat in the changing rooms while you are getting ready (or at least have a substantial brunch or lunch). You want to make sure that you have enough fuel to get through the busy day (especially if you are not eating dinner until late in the evening). Second, I have found that most couples either forget or are unaware that they should provide vendor meals. Most vendors will be working anywhere from 8-12 hours that day without much of an opportunity to eat.
How to plan accordingly: Plan to bring some bottled water and light snacks (trays are great!) to leave in the changing rooms. Snack on these while you are getting ready and make sure you aren't forgetting to drink plenty of water! Especially if you are drinking alcohol. Finally, ensure that you have provided meals for your photographer, DJ (or band), coordinator, videographer(s), any other vendor that will be at the venue throughout the night (typically the caterers provide their own food). The catering company often has boxed meal options for vendors that will be cheaper than what you are providing guests. Finally, don't forget to ask guests and vendors about food allergies!
So there you have it! Hopefully these 4 tips will help your day run smoother and will help remove some of the stress off of your plate. Just remember, you are marrying your best friend and in the end, that's the most important thing. Marriage is the goal, we are just here to help you get there!
For more information on Tiffany Heidenthal Photography or Lou Stevens Glam Squad, visit their websites. In need of a Wedding Day BFF (TM)? Click here to learn more:
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