Wedding Lessons Learned // Part 1 // DC Wedding Planner

As the wedding season finally winds down, I thought it’d be fun to put together a lessons learned post so that you all can learn from my experience and I can take a trip down memory lane. I learned a lot this year - each wedding or event had it’s own particular little lesson. Some were big, some were small, but I think all of these are worth sharing. So here is Part One of my two-part series - these lessons mainly focus on DIY weddings:

Lesson #1: When doing an outdoor wedding, don’t forget about the wind.

Most event planners and coordinators know this already. And I thought I did, too. But one of my outdoor weddings this year was a great lesson in being sure to apply your knowledge thoroughly. I forgot to remind my client of the wind and therefore as I was setting up on a particularly windy day, I found myself with 12 toppled over DIY floral arrangements, as well as blowing placemats. Applying this lesson more broadly - when making decisions on decor or other wedding details, try and take a step back and think about the environment these details will be in. It might save you or your coordinator some grief later on.

Lesson #2: Don’t forget the stairs

Ah DIYers. I truly do love you. But don’t forget about the stairs. Due to several miscommunications beyond my control, at one wedding I found myself (along with several very loyal friends and family members) lugging 28 tables and 150 chairs up two flights of stairs. If you know you’re going to be doing a DIY wedding, consider your venue, consider the day-of, consider your family and friends, and consider how set-up and break down is actually going to work. Where is everything in relation to everything else? Where is the kitchen or catering area in relation to reception area? Where are the chairs stored in relation to where they need to be used? Where is the power source in relation to what needs to be plugged in? You get the idea.

Lesson #3: The garbage

This is a funny one but one that lots of DIYers don’t consider cause we’re not pinning dumpsters on Pinterest when dreaming about our wedding day. When doing a real, down and dirty DIY wedding in which you’re using an untraditional reception venue or self catering, don’t forget about the garbage. In a “traditional” wedding the caterer takes care of the garbage - often actually taking it with them and disposing of it at their own site (some venues don’t allow the use of their dumpsters). I did an unconventional, self-catered wedding this year and the venue did not make it clear that they wouldn’t accept the garbage. So on the day of I, along with the other hired servers (bless them), took the garbage home in our cars. It wasn’t a big deal - but also something most people would try and avoid if possible. So always ask about who is providing the garbage cans, where garbage goes post-event, and know who is handling it.

Lesson #4: Don’t overdo it

I get the DIY crafty bug. I really do. But make sure that you always take a step back and consider whether you’re actually going to use all of the elements you’re creating. If it’s physically possible to use that many votives, or ribbon wands, or napkins. I’ve had multiple instances this year in which the DIYers went overboard. And while it certainly doesn’t ruin anyone’s day or cause any issues, I couldn’t help but mourn the loss of all that TIME they could have spent in other ways. So please be practical in your DIY projects. If you had made 100 instead of 1,000 paper cranes maybe the planning process would have been more fun for you. Or maybe you just could have had more date nights, which are way more fun.

Stay tuned for Part 2 next week! More tips coming your way...