This week we’re talking about some of the small details - and no, I’m not talking about the beautiful wedding details that get photographed, like the paper goods or boutonnieres. I’m talking about the small stuff that sometimes make a HUGE difference - and that couples often forget about, or don’t even know!
Load-in and Load-out
There’s no reason anyone who hasn’t planned an event before should know how long it takes to load-in and load-out multiple vendors - the catering, tables, music, floral details and anything else you may be having at your wedding. So I’m here to set it straight. Traditionally, we need at least two hours. Why is this important? Because as much as I love venues, they often don’t break it down and make it clear to couples that this load-in/out time is sometimes included in their reservation. In other words, you think you have 8 hours at a venue? Well once you subtract the load-in and load-out hours, you only have 5.
Invite time vs. Doors opening time!
Similarly, couples often forget that guests don’t just magically arrive right when the wedding begins. You need to build in a 30 minute buffer for guests to arrive, drop off coats/gifts, maybe even grab a drink or program, and find their seats. The invite time on your invitation is the time the ceremony STARTS. Therefore, you need to assume guests will start arriving 30 minutes prior to that invite time. 5:30pm ceremony? You need to have everything ready and set for guests by 5:00pm. Again, a little window of time you may not have accounted for, but that is really necessary in the planning process.
You’ve got to feed your vendors, please! It’s important that you not only request vendor meals (and don’t forget to check their contracts to see if it has to be a hot meal, or if a sandwich/packed lunch meal will do), but to consider when all the vendors will actually be eating and add it to your timeline. This not only notifies your vendors that you’ve thought of them (which is always nice for us to see), but it also helps inform the caterer so they know when to have those meals ready. Vendors often eat at different times (and some have specific requests, so always check with them first) - but in general, the photographer and DJ eat during dinner, once the guests have been served. There aren’t any huge moments the photographer will be missing (and pics of people eating are never very attractive), and the DJ is usually just playing a playlist they’ve put together for dinner - it’s not as interactive a portion of the evening (like post-dinner dancing). You want your vendors to have energy to do their job well. Most of your vendors are working very long hours on the day-of. So feed them, please.
Escort cards are, again, something anyone who has never organized or planned a wedding before may event know exists. But it’s an easy, organized way for guests to know where they are seated. But it’s only easy and organized if you alphabetize your escort cards, please! I’ve had couples give me escort cards organized by table number. I’ve had couples give me escort cards in which they forgot to note the table numbers! So double check those cards, and think about how the GUESTS will be looking for them - by their name. Alphabetized, please :)
Finally, when I say the small stuff, I do mean the STUFF. Couples often forget about how the little things that will be coming in, and usually, going out at the end of the night. Is the florist returning to pick up the centerpieces? If not, what’s happening to them? Who is taking the leftover alcohol at the end of the night? Who is taking gifts and cards? What about the leftover programs, or your guest book? Obviously, if you have a coordinator (yo, hire us!), they will help you organize and think ahead about all of these details. But either way, don’t forget the small stuff!