Planning your wedding can be a daunting task. After all, you've never done it before. We highly recommend hiring a professional wedding planner. The cost of a professional can be offset by savings they help you find elsewhere. The bonus is you will be less stressed during your wedding day because they will be there to take care of any issues that arise.
If you can't afford to hire a professional planner, the following guidelines can help make sure you are on the right track in the two weeks leading up to your wedding day.
Guest List & Seating Chart
Now that you have received the majority of your RSVP cards from the guest list it's time to make the seating chart, right? Not necessarily. You don't have to make a seating chart for your guests, most are quite capable of finding people they want to sit with for the evening.
However, if you prefer to make a seating chart there are some helpful websites that make it easy. AllSeated.com
. are two free options we found.
At this final stage of your wedding planning you will need an accurate guest count to give the venues and caterers. We recommennd you contact each person who has not replied to get their RSVP.
Check In With Vendors
There are a lot of vendors that you will work with on for your wedding day. Communication is crucial to ensuring it all goes smoothly.
- All Vendors - Provide required addresses and times. Get a day-of contact from them and give them yours.
- Photographer - Send them a must-shoot list, timeline, name list for group photos.
- Officiant - Verify the chosen readings and who will be reading them at whicht part of the ceremony. Make them aware if there's something special you want them to say such as announcements at the end of the ceremony.
- Caterer - Confirm your final head count and menu selections.
- Florist - Check the number of each type of arrangement, bouquet, and boutonnieres.
- Entertainment - Review your music choices for cocktail hour, entrance, cake cutting, dinner, first dance, father/daughter dance, mother/son dance, bouquet and garter toss. You should also include a must-play list, play if possible list, and do not play list. Make sure they have a timeline of events and know of any special events and announcements to be made throughout the night.
- Baker - Double-check the size and design of the cake or dessert.
- Transportation - Make sure they have the correct times along with the number and types of vehicles.
- Hair, Makeup, Nails - Verify appointment times and who will they will be beautifying.
- Rehearsal-Dinner Host - Confirm reservation time and number of guests.
You will give your checkbook and credit cards a workout the two weeks before the wedding. Most vendors require they are paid in full before the big day. Make sure the person handling vendor tips has cash or checks ready to hand out. Speaking of tips, they are not required but are always appreciated.
Neither the bride or groom should be the point of contact on the day of wedding. They should be enjoying their day! To make that happen delegates need to be assigned in advance. These tasks are critical and are the biggest reason we recommend hiring professional(s) even if only manage important details on the day-of.
- Point Person - This person will be the main point of contact for anyone and anything. Make sure they are reliable and can deal well with stress and tight timelines.
- Photo Wrangler - Someone who is familiar with the family but not in the bridal party will be needed to get everyone together at the right times for group photos. Having this person will make that part of the photos go smoothly and quickly. The faster you can get the group photos done the more time you will have elsewhere with your photographer.
- Tip Distributor - As we discussed above, someone besides the bride and groom should distribute tips.
- Gift Caretaker - A non-drinking person should be responsible for the wedding gifts. Make sure they know where the gifts should be delivered after the reception.
Weddings are all about traditions. Even the reception will have some traditions. While some are fading out over time, some are still going strong. Here are some ideas for your reception.
Many couples choose to do a traditional slow song as their first dance at their wedding reception. Doing something unique will help entertain your guests and get them excited to start dancing.
Having a pre-rehearsed first dance is a great way to get the energy built-up early in the night. When your guests see you doing something other than a slow sway they get excited about joining in the fun. This will require an additional time commitment on behalf of you and your fiancé but it just might be worth it.
Another option is to choose an upbeat song that isn't something you would normally slow-dance to. This could be as easy as picking your favorite song to play as you and your spouse cut loose on the dance floor and let the celebration begin. As your friends and family watch your display of happiness they will be eager to join in!
Giving Flowers the Toss?
While still very common, the bouquet toss isn't as popular as it used to be. This is even more true for the garter toss which is seen even less.
If you are having a smaller wedding or want more dancing time you may consider not doing the tosses at all. Typically they only take up 10 minutes or so but that is still two or three songs that everyone could otherwise dance to.
Dance for Cash?
This is one tradition that has really been on the decline in the last few decades. In fact, we see it in less than a quarter of the receptions we DJ.
If the dollar dance is something you had you heart set on doing we suggest you keep it to just a few songs to entice people to get in line early. Don't forget to include the Groom! We have seen the him get more money than the Bride!
It is very important to ask your DJ or band how they work with other vendors at your reception. It is especially important for the DJ or band to work closely with the photographer and videographer. If not, you will likely have some important moments at your reception not captured on film. In this newsletter we are going to talk about how we work with other vendors at your wedding.
If you have hired a professional wedding planner they will most likely handle everything we are going to talk about below. We are always happy to work with any planner you have during the reception, however, If you don't have one, those duties typically fall to the DJ/MC. Make sure your DJ can handle those duties as it can make a big difference in capturing your enjoyment of the night.
For most couples, choosing the photographer was one of the most important decisions for your wedding. You probably picked them because you liked the work they showed you. It takes teamwork to make sure they can get all those great photographs. We make sure we keep the photographer in the loop so they know when important events such as the toasts, first dance, tosses, etc., are going to happen. That way they are prepared with their lights and cameras ready to capture those moments. We are also conscious of the impactt our dance floor lighting has on their photographs. During the formal dances we typically do not use much lighting. This prevents dots of colored light on the photograph subjects, like you and your spouse.
Everything we do with the photographer we do with the videographer, with one additional thing, and it's a BIG one. We allow the videographer to connect their audio recording devices to the DJ system. That means they will have crystal clear audio of the toasts, announcements, and music! This can make a huge difference in the quality of the final video. Feel free to have your videographer contact us before the big day so we can make sure all the technical details are handled.
It might sound odd that the DJ would need to work with the caterers, but it happens at almost every reception. We work with them to time the opening of the buffet or setting of salads. We have also been known to go table-to-table to release guests to the buffet. This prevents a rush on the buffet and ensures the wedding party and immediate family gets their food first.