We teamed up with our good friends, Hannah and Marie, with Queen City Planners to pull together a list of all the little things that brides and grooms don’t always think about but that help the day go so much smoother! We always do our best to help our couples navigate the wedding planning process, but these ladies are the pros. And if you still need a wedding planner (or maybe want one now after reading this list), hit them up!
The big wedding details are obvious, right? The venue, the dress, the catering, the cake…but how about those small details you just didn’t see coming? Or maybe you ARE considering these logistical details and are wondering what to do about them. As event planners, the following ten topics are just a sample of the questions we explore with our clients, leading up to their big day. We think you’d rather “worry” about these small tasks BEFORE the wedding day, after all. The following are but a few examples of why having professional planners can be so essential to any event; especially a wedding. Not only will planners assist you along the way, they’ll bring up details you may not have realized were so important to you. AND, they can offer creative options for every addressed detail.
The wedding rings: a tradition that can be traced back thousands of years (you can thank the Egyptians for this timeless custom). The placing of the rings symbolizes a couples endless love and commitment for one another. So, it’s important that these must-haves make their grand and important appearance at the altar. We advise the bride or groom to personally keep the rings until the last minute, if possible, and that the rings remain in a box or container.
Before the ceremony is to commence, plan ahead for someone you trust to take the rings to whomever you prearranged to present them during the ceremony. This may be the best man, person of honor, or officiant. And while a young ring bearer is both cute and, at times, entertaining, we rarely suggest he be in direct possession of your rings.
So you’re planning on having a card and gift table at your reception. Lovely idea! Now, how do those gifts get safely from your event location to your home? (You’ve left the reception with a grand exit; the last thing our couples want to do is return to pack and clean up their venue space). We advise delegating close family (such as parents or siblings) to collect these important items at the end of your event. It may be a good idea to provide a key to your home in advance so they have the option to take your gifts directly to your residence. We find that this small wedding detail is often overlooked. But at the end of your beautiful and -let’s be honest- exhausting wedding day, it’s understandable that gift logistics are not at the top of your priority list.
This is such a fun and intimate detail to plan! A majority of couples choose to write letters or send gifts for their fiance to open, just before walking down the aisle. It just comes down to how these gifts are exchanged without seeing each other for the day-of.
Our top three options include:
Delegating a member of your wedding party (bridesmaid or groomsman) to meet and exchange the gifts on the day-of. This can also make for a short and sweet photo op: “Exchanging of the Gifts.”
(And probably our favorite!) Swap your letters from around a corner, so you don’t see each other yet, but you get to hear your spouse read the words you’ve written or hear their reaction to the gift you’ve picked. Videographers can’t get enough of this sweet scene!
Write up a wedding party itinerary. Yep, you read that right. It doesn’t have to be grand or detailed, but you can create this yourself or have your hired planner create one. This just consists of a quick document with dates, times, addresses, and phone numbers. Then email it to the most important party members (aka groomsmen, bridesmaids, parents, grandparents). This should help decrease the number of texts or phone calls you get from the people who are most involved in the wedding weekend. Plus, they have no excuse to be late or MIA.
This job may seem obvious, but it’s good to consider you may need assistance with setup and/or cleanup. If your venue takes care of this, then there’s one less thing to worry about! But if not, just remember: your friends and family, alike, are just happy to be involved, so involve them. Ask for help! And for those who are willing to help, provide them with a checklist of jobs that need to be completed. This job can be delegated to numerous people, or even your wedding party. Tip: your wedding party is absolutely allowed to have a good time, but they’re also here to help YOU.
Be thinking of this ahead of time: who would you prefer to help you get into your gown? This is your long-awaited moment! And whomever you choose to help with this task will be overjoyed to be the first to see you aisle-ready. A popular option is to assign the mother (or mother-figure) of the bride. We have also seen grandmothers, sisters, maid/matron of honor, and more. This is a great opportunity to also assign this person to assist you throughout the day.
You may need help getting your shoes on before the ceremony or using the restroom throughout the reception. Maybe you’re only wearing a veil for the ceremony, so this person can help remove your veil and take it somewhere safe while you tend to your guests. You may be Ms (Mrs) Independent on any regular day, but trust us when we suggest that on your wedding day, you take all the assistance people are willing to give.
If you’ve hired a wedding planner or day-of coordinator, then this job should be covered. But if you’ve opted to go without, fear not! This job can definitely be delegated to any person of your choosing. We suggest someone you know well for their observant and punctual personality, because this person will be put in charge of keeping the day’s events in sync with your predetermined itinerary. This is especially important for your ceremony. Take some time out of your planning process to ensure the person you pick is comfortable with this job. Then, we advise going over the order and timing for the entrance and exit at the actual wedding ceremony. And don’t be afraid to ask your event musician(s)! We know plenty of DJs who are willing and experienced with keeping events organized and on track.
Will you be staying somewhere special on your wedding night? Will you be leaving directly for your honeymoon? Regardless of your getaway and destination, your luggage and belongings are top priority following your grand exit. It’s a great idea to plan this little logistical piece ahead of time. We suggest packing a “day-of” bag with only the things you will need throughout your wedding day. Then, pack an additional bag for your wedding night that can be stowed ahead of time in your predetermined getaway route. You can always ask a member of your wedding party to ensure the luggage makes it safely to the getaway route as soon as the getaway vehicle is available onsite. One less thing to worry about at the end of your special day!
We cannot stress this enough: talk transparently with your person (people) of honor. What are your expectations of this person? A person of honor (Maid/Matron/Best Man) is usually picked because of the special bond you have with them. We often find this person is more than willing to do whatever you need! This may include keeping track of your phone or purse, hiding tissues in their pockets, checking over your outfit before you walk down the aisle, holding your bouquet during the ceremony, or assisting with bustling your dress before the reception. Make your expectations clear and reasonable, and your event will go flawlessly with the right people at your side.
We have attended, planned, and been in enough weddings to recognize that no one is at their best when they’re hungry or dehydrated during a busy event. Delegate a person in your wedding party or close family to ensure everyone has consistent access to drinks (and no, we don’t mean of the alcoholic variety this time!). Consider having water and snacks available wherever the wedding party is getting ready. Some of our clients go as far as to have cheese-and-cracker and fruit trays catered to their suites. Others opt for a cooler with ice cold beverages at the ready. Whatever you choose to do, just remember to stay hydrated and you will have so much more fun!
Party of Two Photography
Charlotte, North Carolina