Back in high school I had the opportunity to intern with some local event planners and get a behind-the-scenes look at some amazing, large-scale events. I also spent a lot of time reading back issues of Special Events magazine and reading books on running your own catering business, and one of the best pieces of advice I read, one that I’ve used with every party I’ve every hosted or helped with, is to do a mental walk-through of the event from the perspective of the guest to make sure you don’t forget anything.
Depending on how much help you have planning your wedding, you may not need to do such a thorough session yourself, but it never hurts to figure out what questions to ask.
Since a Day-Of Coordinator came with our venue rental, I don’t have to worry about where the garbage cans will be/where discarded plates will go, but I still do this sort of run-through so I can better communicate to her what I see for our day. Since the DoC is there to fulfill our wishes, and knowing we have a few different ideas of how we’d like things to go, it’s up to us to know what we want.
As far as the timeline goes (aka the first hurdle to jump), we worked backwards from “the main event” aka the ceremony at 11:45am to figure out the earlier events. To give the guests time to arrive and us some time to mingle, we decided to start “cocktail” hour 10:30am and start herding guests to the opposite side of the fountain for the ceremony and then process in a somewhat orderly fashion to the reception venue just to the right.
Or, for the more visually minded among us:
On our last visit there I was happy to see that yes, really, the “front” of the circular drive is deeper than the “back” and that the right offshoot opens up to the driveway which will help channel our guests one way rather than encourage then to wander higglety pigglety hither and yon.
This also tells us that with cocktail hour starting at 10:30, the photographer doesn’t have to arrive until 9:30 or 9:45, which means we Road Trips can actually sleep in til 7 or so before I have to stumble off to the showers to start getting pretty. (Mr. Road Trip, like most grooms, is much more low-maintenance. If it takes him more than 30 minutes to get ready I’ll be shocked!) We’ll technically have our photographer 8 hours, so if we wanted to traipse around for more photographs after the reception we still have that option (though I suspect we’ll be on emotional overload by the time our guests start to leave and want nothing more than some peace and quiet).
Since we’re providing the music ourselves, this also tells us how long our playlists for each portion of the wedding need to be, which our DoC will be pressing play and pause on (one less thing to assign a friend to be in charge of).
And with that done, now it was time to start drilling-down into the details of each part of the day.