Image: Capitol Romance Wedding Planner by Maggie Gaudean
Let me start off by saying that this might be a pretty unpopular post – in that a lot of bloggers, websites, and even my readers may not agree with me here. But after having worked/attended over 50 weddings in the past 5 years, I can’t help but share something I feel needs to be said. I think it’s critical for those of you planning a wedding to hear, and I think it’s the #1 most useful piece of advice for engaged couples to use for their wedding planning journey.
Logistics are more important than decorations.
There, I said it. I already feel better. Don’t you? The issue with attending weddings as a guest these days is that it’s almost impossible to completely remove my coordinator hat. I find myself thinking (ok, let’s be honest, mostly whispering to my husband), “if they had only moved this … if they had only accounted for that … if they had just put a little more time in for X …. this wedding would be SO much better”. Just like Hillary sweats the details of policy, I sweat the details of logistics on a wedding day, because to me, a well planned/coordinated day, that takes travel times, guest flow, and maximizing dance time, into consideration, always results in a fantastic wedding, with extremely happy guests, families & couples.
Blogs tend to focus only on details: look at how cool this chalkboard menu is, look at the intricacies of this hanging altar backdrop, check out the tri-color foliage of this bouquet … and while yes, details like this are gorgeous, they are not critical to the overall enjoyment of your guests. Think about the last wedding you went too – what do you remember? The centerpieces or how long it took to get your food? The color of the bridesmaids dresses or that there was no time left to dance?
Now before you get too mad at me – you’re looking at someone that POURED over the details of our wedding. I made my mom painstakingly hand-make each of our tulle & christmas ornament bouquets, and I fretted over each shade of pink we used and I counted out each number of pieces of the centerpieces. The details were important to me (and yes, they can be important to you too) but what I don’t want you to do is to focus entirely on the details and forget about the logistics & timing of the day.
When my team and I meet with our clients to build out the custom day-of timeline for their day, our #1 concern is ensuring that there is a flow to the day, room for some lateness, and most importantly, maximizing the time for guests to enjoy the reception. I can think of nothing worse than wasted time on a wedding day – because I know how much that wasted time costs (to the couple and/or their family). I’ve attended a wedding that looked straight out of Martha Stewart Weddings magazine, but dinner was an hour late, and the 12 piece band literally watched us eat dinner (instead of playing) because things were so delayed. By the time we got to dancing – we only got to groove for 45 minutes. I attended another wedding where the toasts were given before any food was served. We all waited (not so patiently … hungry guests are not happy guests) for what seemed like forever, for the toasts to end … only to have to wait AGAIN for the salads to show up.
Consider pre-plated salads (woo hoo instant food when guests sit down and one less thing for servers to have to serve/cutting into your reception time) and doing your toasts while people are finishing up dinner – just a few simple ideas we propose to our clients when building the day of timeline. (If you’d like more consider hiring us to ensure your wedding day runs super smooth & effectively or buying our planning binder to help you manage it yourself!).
Regardless of the planning option you pursue, I urge all of you to take a step back from the seemingly stressful decisions of picking between ivory and champagne, or deciding on the perfect shade of blue, and remember not to let the logistics & timing of your day slip. Build a timeline or plan for your wedding day that considers your guests expectations, builds in buffers for travel or tardiness, takes the flow of your evening into consider, and maximizes your time having fun with the people you paid A LOT of money to celebrate with! Put your logistics over your decorations and I guarantee you and your guests will have the most satisfying and smooth wedding day possible!