Throughout my experience planning and assisting some amazing weddings for clients, I’ve realized that there are common topics when it comes to elements the couple misses when planning their wedding.
I’m going to break them down in this article for you and give you advice on each to help you as you plan one of the biggest days in your life. These tips will apply to any wedding size. Whether you're hosting a 25 person wedding or a 300 person wedding.
#1: Clothes Hanger for the Gown
Detail shots may not always be on the couples’ mind going into their big day, but they certainly are for the photographers and videographers. Make sure you bring a “pretty” clothes hanger to showcase your beautiful gown. You’ll appreciate this little detail when you get your photos and video back.
#2: Cake Cutting Set
Since day one of planning your wedding, you knew exactly how you wanted your wedding cake to look. The little details, the flavor, the colors, everything. But how are you going to cut it? Whether you provide a custom set or you have the baker or a rental company provide a set, simply make sure you have a set!
#3: Set Aside An Additional Invitation Suite
Similar to the wedding gown, you’re going to want the photographer and/or videographer to capture your invitations too! Sometimes the photographers and videographers will supply a list of these items you want to bring day-of but they don’t always. So be sure to set aside (1) full invitation suite when you send out your invitations and start collecting pretty little details that you want to include with the detail shots. This can be things like:
Ribbon to match your wedding color palette
Little trinkets that have meaning to you both
#4: Designate a “Photo-Wrangler”
As simple as this one is, it’s also very important. If you aren’t hiring a planner or day-of coordinator, make sure you designate a family member or friend to gather people for photos. Typically, the photographer is stuck doing this and if they don’t have an assistant day-of, it takes FOREVER to gather family and friends, especially if photos are taking place during a cocktail hour because people want their food and drinks.
When designating a “photo-wrangler”, be sure you supply them with a full list of First and Last names of people that you want in all professional photos at your wedding. With this list, they will go around and gather guests for you so that you don’t have to because more often than not, the photographer has no idea who these people are so it’ll take 10x longer for them to gather people than it will for a family member or friend who most likely knows everyone you want in photos.
#5: Teach Someone to Bustle The Wedding Gown
Simple yet very important too. If you didn’t have someone go to your final dress fitting with you, be sure you designate and teach someone how to bustle your gown. I know you love the look of your full gown and the train trailing behind you, BUT it will be a hassle when trying to dance and walking around chatting with guests.
You don’t want to trip and you certainly don’t want guests stepping on your gown while boogying down on the dance floor and next thing you know, you’re on the floor. SO, be sure you designate AND teach someone how to bustle your gown and set a designated time in the evening for this person to bustle your gown. You’ll thank me later.
#1: Getaway Vehicle
This one is often overlooked. Whether you book a private vehicle for you and your spouse after the wedding or you have your own vehicle staged in the parking lot for you, have a plan! The last thing you want, is to be stuck after your wedding trying to figure out how you’re going to get back to the hotel.
#2: Budget For Extra Costs
This is a big one and one that I know many aren’t going to like much, but it’s simply the truth. I have yet to meet one couple that went into their wedding day spending as much as they expected or less. Because let’s be honest, you always spend more! It’s just how it goes.
So, whatever you’re budgeting for, increase that by 10% - 15% and set it aside. There will always be additional costs that arise and you don’t want to have to scramble last minute trying to figure out how you’re going to pay for things. This will also cover any “overtime fees” from vendors should you extend your reception time.
#3: Vendor Tips
Which leads me to vendor tips. During my last full planning meeting with couples, I always bring up the topic of “vendor tips” because most couples don’t even realize they should tip. It’s never that they don’t want to, it’s simply that they overlook this gratuity.
I’ll keep it really simple for you. Similar to going to a restaurant and tipping your server or bartender, you’ll want to tip your vendors. If they are providing any type of service, it’s custom they be tipped. Now it’s not necessary. Just like it’s never necessary you tip your server/bartender at a restaurant. But it is proper event etiquette and your vendors will certainly appreciate it.
You don’t have to follow the standard 20% rule that you would at a restaurant. The amount you provide per vendor is totally up you. If you remember one thing, remember this:
If they are providing any type of service, it’s custom and proper event etiquette to tip.
#4: Designate Someone to Pass Out Gifts + Tips
If you are not hiring a planner, designate someone to pass out any gifts and/or vendor tips. Most couples put all of these together and then simply forget to pass them out day-of their wedding with good reason. They have so much going on, so many people to talk to, places to be, etc. They simply forget and then end up trying to figure out how they’re going to mail cash to all of these vendors or gifts they forgot to give people.
As planners, we take care of these things for you. But if you don’t have a planner, be sure to designate someone you know and trust. They can also be in charge of gathering all gifts and letters at the end of the night because those are often overlooked by the couple too and you don’t want those lying around.
#5: Include Vendor Meals and Don’t Forget You – the Wedding Couple!
Vendor meals are often overlooked when providing meal counts to the catering company. If you have vendors working your wedding day, they are going to need a meal and water. In fact, most vendors have this written in their contract, so be sure you read through your contracts as well.
If you are hosting a plated dinner, be sure to reach out to each vendor working the wedding day and ask them what their meal preference is as well as any allergy or dietary restrictions so that you can provide this number to your catering company. Some catering companies provide vendor meals at a discounted rate so don’t hesitate to ask the catering company this question either.
And be sure to designate a table and private space for your couples to take breaks and eat their meal.
Most importantly, don't forget to include yourselves in the meal count!
There are SO many other details I’d love to share with you about wedding planning but there is simply no room in a blog article.
With these tips, you’ll be well on your way to planning this special day with ease.