15 Things You May Forget When Planning A Wedding
Those last couple of weeks before the wedding can really feel like crunch time, and I regularly hear from clients, “what am I missing?”. Most of the time all the big items have been checked, but I know they are really referring to the littler details that sometimes get missed. Everyone tends to focus on things like the photographer, the florist, the dress, the seating chart, etc. To help I have put together a list of 15 thing you may forget when planning a wedding…
1. Lighting: This is something to think about if you have an outdoor wedding whether it is at a venue or at a residence. Many venues are already set up with lighting, but others aren’t, and it is your responsibility to think about timeline and if you will need to ensure that your guests can see as they navigate around the tables and dance floor. This is especially important if you are hosting your wedding at a private residence because you are essentially starting from scratch and it is likely that if you do not take lighting into consideration, once that sun fully goes down it is going to be dark, dark, dark and the party is over.
2. Bathrooms: Again, something big to think about if you are considering an outdoor wedding. Is the venue already set up with outdoor portable bathrooms or if they have indoor bathrooms are they equipped to handle your guest count? If you are at a private residence, do you really want all your guests going inside the home to use the restroom?
3. Parking/Parking Attendant: Does your venue have ample parking to accommodate your guest count? And is it very clear where the guests should park once they arrive? If you are hosting your wedding at a private residence, have you considered where you would like everyone to park? If your venue does not provide a parking attendant and is asking that your guests park in a big open field (or something similar), it is always a good idea to assign someone to parking attendant duty. This ensures everyone is parking where they are supposed to, not blocking in other guests, and making sure there will not be any cars parked where photos will be taken. No one wants a bright red van in the background of their ceremony photos.
4. Vendor Tips: These small business owners are doing what they love, so if you love the outcome it is always appreciated to tip your vendors. Make sure you budget this in, so you are not caught off guard or surprised right at the finish line. All vendors do not EXPECT to be tipped and there are some situations where it is not appropriate to tip. For example, caterers. In this case, you should check your contract. If you see that gratuity is already included in your contact (typically 18-20% if it is) then it is unnecessary to tip on top of that amount. Click on this link for further assistance on this topic from "Here Comes the Guide".
5. Comfy Shoes (or no shoes): You have been breaking in those gorgeous heels and you cannot wait to walk down the aisle in them, but are those really the shoes you want to be wearing when you dance the night away? Chances are, probably not. So be prepared with some comfy alternatives that you can change into or even be ready to go barefoot if your venue’s terrain makes sense for that.
6. Vendor Meals & Factoring Yourselves Into The Count: You are asking your vendors to sometimes spend 10-12 hours with you the day of your wedding and they are working very hard to either set up/take down or capture all those precious moments. It is a nice gesture to be prepared to include those vendors in your guest count to ensure the caterers have enough food for them. If you are serving a buffet, it is likely that the caterers will have extra food, but that is not a guarantee, so please do not assume anything! Also, do not forget to include you and your future spouse in the guest count. Sometimes that gets overlooked because you are not sending yourself an invitation to your own wedding.
7. Cake Cutters: Sometimes there are special cake cutters that you want to memorialize, sometimes you just get something off Amazon because this is not a priority to you. But no matter what, just make sure you have cake cutters because no one wants to go hands first into the cake and a simple butter knife does not do the job justice.
8. Signage: Do you guests know where to park? Do your guests know where your ceremony is taking place at your venue? Do your guest know where they are sitting at the reception? Some of the answers to these questions may be obvious, but sometimes they are not, so think about if you were a guest at your own wedding and where you would need a little extra direction. We have a lot of amazing calligraphers in the area if you are looking at including something special and handmade or Etsy is another great place to go for wedding signage.
9. Time for Alterations (and making sure someone knows how to bustle the dress): Most brides have already heard how long it takes to order a dress, but do not forget to factor in time for alterations. Whether you are using the bridal shop’s alteration team or finding another independent seamstress, everyone is busy, and it takes time to alter wedding dresses – especially if your dress needs a lot of work to make it fit you perfectly. This is also the time when you will be asked about adding a bustle. There are many different kinds of bustles I could probably do a whole blog post explaining each, but instead I will recommend you ask your seamstress to explain them all. Whichever you decide, make sure you have someone else with you when the bustling process is explained. You will not be able to do this on your own the day of your wedding, so ask a parent, bridesmaid or other family member to be there at the final fitting and also get schooled on how the bustle works.
10. Marriage License: Don’t get so caught up in all of the beautiful wedding details that you forget about the document that will make it so you and your partner are legally married. This process does not take much time and, depending on where you are getting married, doesn’t need to be done more than a day or week before your wedding day – just don’t forget! If you would like to know more about the process to get your license in Washington State or Idaho visit my blog post HERE.
11. Bridal/Groom Accessories: Have you thought about your something old, something borrowed and something blue? Your bridal accessories are a great and easy way to incorporate this into your wedding day look. Is there a special necklace that has been passed down from generation to generation? Or are there some special cuff links for your future spouse that you had engraved? All these things are something to think about when you envision what you want to look like (and want your partner to look like) on your wedding day. Another tidbit that I received from a cousin before my own wedding day… pick out a special perfume (or cologne) and do not wear it until the wedding day. Then every time you wear it after that magical day, the smell will bring you back to all the wonderful memories you made.
12. Do not play list for DJ: This was a big one for my own wedding day. There were certain songs that I knew I absolutely did not want to hear played at my reception… The Chicken Dance, YMCA, and Party in the USA just to name a few. Now, maybe this does not matter to you so you can skip this one, but if you are thinking “oh I never thought of that and there are definitely some songs I do not want played” then get to writing so your DJ knows!
13. Nice hanger for your gown(s): This is something that every photographer will thank you for and gawk over. It doesn’t have to be anything that is engraved, or wood burned, or personalized at all, even just a nice wooden hanger that you got from Walmart will look nicer in pictures that the white plastic one that inevitably will come with your dress.
14. Emergency Day Kit: I always, always, always have an emergency day kit with me because things happen, and that is okay as long as you are prepared for anything! But if you do not have a trusty coordinator by your side here a link to a post that I did all about what to include in that emergency day kit HERE. You can thank me later!
15. Point of Contact Day Of: Clearly, I am bias, but I will always 110% advocate for hiring a day of coordinator. However, if that is not in the cards for you it is still extremely important to designate ONE point of contact person the day of your wedding (this is still something you should have even if you DO have a coordinator, so they have someone to turn to as well). This person is there to answer all the questions you should not be asked, make sure your vendors are where they need to be and when, and to make sure that at the end of the night all the décor & cards/gifts are where they need to be (or with who they need to be) and that clean up is done properly. No one wants to get an extra bill after the wedding is over because something was not done properly as listed in the contract.
I am sure I could come up with more things if you asked me to, but these are the some of the items I get asked about often. I hope you found this helpful, and this list was able to ease some of your stress that you are thinking about all the things you need to think about. If you want to chat further, head on over to the services page for my packages and pricing information. If you have any questions, feel free to contact me or leave a comment below!
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