22 things we learnt from 22 weddings last month!

And how they can help YOU while planning your wedding!

In case you haven't heard, 2022 is the year of the wedding! With so many weddings being postponed from the past two years, it's LOVELY to see lovers celebrating again (and properly!).


We have had the pleasure of being part of 47 weddings already this year, with 22 of those falling in March 2022.


Yes, you read that correctly. We were part of twenty-two weddings in March. How did we do it, you ask?

Magic!

Annnnd an incredible team who weren't afraid to put in the hard yards for our clients #yourprofessionalbestie


We ourselves experienced MANY learnings in that time, most of which will help us manage a large amount of admin that's required for that number of events in future. But there were also a ton of learning moments for our clients and couples that without us on their team, might have been the make or break of their wedding day...


Here are 22 things we learned over 22 weddings in March:


1. A goal without a plan is just a wish....

This is a terribly preachy place to start, but it's the most important piece of advice we wedding planners can give to you. Have a plan for your day and try to cover EVERYTHING. What time are you getting up? What are you eating for breakfast? Who is carrying your handbag/spare shoes? How will you check out of the hotel and check into the new one? Who is packing everything up at the end of the night? Cover as much as possible before the day, so you don't have a gazillion things to worry about on the day.

2. Whether the weather...

We don't call it a "wet weather plan", we call it a "weather plan" because there are so many other elements to factor into your day, besides rain. For example, a lot of rain. Like flooding. As we've seen across eastern Australia these past few months, flooding has ruined many plans (and lives). You might be able to pop a clear 'brolly up for a light shower, but if your venue or location is somewhere that could flood, what then?

What about if the temperatures reach above 40 degrees? Is there adequate shade? Access to drinking water?

And what about wind?! Ask any wedding supplier and they'll tell you that we all despise strong winds, almost more than rain. Flowers and furniture blow away, hair and veils get tossed about, microphones don't work and it's harder to hear. We recommend a backup plan for any unwanted or less-than-ideal weather situations.

3. Timing...

Allow buffer time throughout your day. What do we mean by that? Well, it might take you 10 minutes to get dressed on a normal day but with the excitement, extra layers, zips and a camera around, we can almost guarantee it's going to take at least 20 minutes! Adding in that extra time, will allow your day to fall off track and then come right back on time later in the day.

Expert note: it takes a realllllly long time to move large numbers of people. Moving guests between locations or seating 100 guests will always take at least 15 minutes.

4. DIY decor and other elements...

Surprise - you can't be the one to set these up on the day! And even if you do have the time, do you really want to? If so, please skip ahead. Some venues will allow you access the day before to set up, if this is the case, do everything you possibly can on that day. Tables, chairs, styling, guest book, wishing well etc. If tables need to be moved outside the next day, set the table ready to go for it to be moved as a whole. This will save SO much time on the day itself. Also, who will be doing these tasks for you? It's good to give them a heads up and ask if they can help out. For example, your florist may have only allowed enough time to put flowers on the tables. If they then have to move tables or light candles or set place cards, they're going to need more time. We recommend asking before assuming.

5. Self-Catered Grazing Tables...

OMG yum! Our mouths just water thinking about a delicious grazing table!

As you probably know, there are companies whose sole job is to supply and set up grazing tables. This is because it is time-consuming, messy and time-sensitive work. Time-sensitive because you can't put cheese out at midday in February and expect it to still be fresh an hour later.

If you are planning on doing your own grazing table or going to ask someone to set it up for you, it is imperative you prepare as much as possible for them before the day. Unwrap the cheeses and place them into Tupperware containers, individually roll the sliced deli meats, take the cardboard packaging off the biscuits and crackers, and cut up the carrots/celery/cucumber. Make it as simple as possible for the person to take each element from its home and place it on the table. Failure to do this will mean that the table might not be ready when your guests arrive or worse, your helper might miss out on the party while they set it up.

Expert tip: don't forget the greens! Colour is what makes a grazing table look so enticing- meat is red, crackers and cheese are beige, tomatoes are red; throw in some green grapes, celery, and guacamole for colour.

6. Stationery...

This might sound obvious, but if you've arranged for stationery to be professionally printed, please open the packaging and check you've received the right signs with the correct names. Count the place cards and then arrange them in their seating order (as opposed to alphabetically).

7. Wear in your shoes (or at least try them on!)...

Need we say more?

8. Celebrating Celebrants...

And Ministers, Pastors and other officiants. We cannot say this enough, celebrants are not all equal and if you've gone to the effort of interviewing and choosing one that you love, please discuss how much time they'll be standing in between you throughout the ceremony.

Don't get me wrong, they're important magical wonderful marriage-makers, but even the symbolism of them standing in the middle the whole time gives us the 'ick. Ideally, they will stand to the side at some points so you get lovely photos together, and then especially move out of the way when it's time for your first kiss. Please and thank you.

9. The Dress...

You love your dress, we love your dress, and everyone else loves your dress. You look amazing, you feel amazing and then your dress touches the ground. It gets a little dirty. During cocktail hour, Uncle Tony accidentally spills some red wine on it.

Do you:

a) Run to the bathroom and spend 20 minutes trying to clean it off? OR

b) Decide you'll deal with it later so you can spend that 20 minutes mingling, dancing and having a great time?

10. Choose your songs early...

We're amazed at how many couples leave their song choices to the week of their wedding and then stress out about it. It's okay if music isn't a top priority, no judgement at all! We recommend that each time you hear a song you like and if you really can't decide, pass that decision onto the band/DJ/musician by simply writing "musician's choice", they'll love you for it.

11. Bump in access...

Your suppliers (namely floral and styling, band, photo booth, catering and beverage teams) will have many many heavy things they need to carry in to and out of your venue/s. It's important to know about the ease of access for them so they can allow enough time to set up. If the access is tricky, it's okay, they will work it out! They just need time to prepare to do so. PS. Your venue may say "they can have access via the loading dock" but this often means that they are given 15 minutes to unload and then must move their vehicle. Again, it's not a problem if they know about it ahead of time.

12. Catering numbers and under catering...

Guys... we love saving money too. But catering is not the category on which to scrimp! Under-catering is a recipe for disaster (pun intended). We don't know about you, but we are not pleasant to be around when we're hungry. Let's not get into the science of it, but energy and mood levels decrease when we're hungry and if there's only alcohol to fall back on, intoxication levels will increase. It's messy and not fun for anyone (especially the group of guests who are furthest from the kitchen!).

13. Invitation Information...

Be as location-specific as possible (ie. Gibson Park, access via Smith Street gate) and tell them the ceremony starts 15 minutes earlier than it does. People will still be late if they're going to be late, but at least you tried!

14. Power supply...

Now, we're not licensed electricians but power points can only take so much. Same with a generator. Consider how much power is needed for each element to run all day and night, and discuss adding further power options to your venue or marquee.

15. Choose your MC wisely...

Being the Master of Ceremonies at a wedding is such an honour, and we'd hope that whomever you ask sees it this way too! However, they might also see it as an "easy job". Usually, the MC is the one who leads the charge with reception timing and keeps things moving forward. If they become intoxicated early or worse, go missing when they're supposed to be on the mic, it can send your whole timeline off-kilter. It's worth having a discussion about their role and responsibilities beforehand, and if they don't feel up to it, you can always hire a pro #subtlehint

16. Guest transport...

Is your venue in a remote location? You can bet your bottom dollar that Uber and taxis are few and far between (or non-existent!). We recommend hiring a bus or two to ensure your guests all arrive on time and then get home safely at the end of the night. It's a small price to pay to ensure no one's tempted to drive after a few drinks.

17. Guest needs...

Consider the demographic of your guests. Are there any with babies and children? Are there many older guests who require accessible access? Think about locations and access to the following to increase your guests' comfort and enjoyment of your day: feeding and changing babies, access to drinking water, a place to put their rubbish, adequate seating, shade and shelter, ramps and flat pathways for wheelchairs etc.

18. Lighting...

Be it adequate and be it mesmerising! Lighting can make or break an event. Everything from the ambient glow of simple table candles to fairy lights, and flooding lighting in car parks.

19. Entertainment...

We don't have enough space on the internet to have the Band vs DJ discussion! We think you know what will work best for your wedding. But here are some considerations around your music/entertainment choices: do you have music to cover each part of your event? Sound show flow seamlessly and we try to avoid large times without music. Nothing worse than dead silence! Has your band played together before? If not, there might be large gaps between each song which is a dance floor killer! What kind of DJ are you hiring? Some will plug in their laptop and that's it, others will play vinyls and boogie with you all night. What looks and feels best for you when you think about it? Don't be afraid to ask questions and tell potential suppliers what you're looking for upfront.

20. Cake...

Are you serving it all? Keeping the top tier? Saving some of each flavour for yourselves? Make sure the catering team know your wishes or you might never see that delicious creation again! While we're on it, who is taking it home and in what container?

21. Have your cake and eat it too...

Eat something! Anything! We all get nervous and feel like we're unable to eat, but you absolutely must have something substantial to eat o your wedding day. Whether it be a hearty breakfast or an easy-nibbly lunch, please eat. The party cannot go on without you, so look after yourself. And while we're at it, hydrate like nobody's business.

22. Your go-to person on the day...

It's impossible for you to be in two places at once and we can 100% guarantee that you do not want to be the one running around and completing tasks on your wedding day. We'll even take a stab to say that your family and friends don't want to either.

Now, we don't want to burst your bubble, but things do go wrong at weddings, even with the sturdiest of plans in place. We know we're biased, but having an experienced coordinator there on the day really does make everything run smoothly and will ensure you don't have to think about a thing. They come with a wealth of wedding knowledge and experience that they can put to use in case of emergency and they'll be invaluable in the lead up to your day, too.

Whether it's us or someone else, future you will thank you for hiring a great coordinator to manage your wedding day.


Thanks for reading and we hope to see you at a wedding soon!


The Hire a Bridesmaid Team

xx

Wedding Planning | Wedding Planner | Hire a Bridesmaid | Wedding Day Coordinator | Wedding MC | Wedding Marriage Celebrant | Master of Ceremonies

www.hireabridesmaid.com.au






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