Have you been puzzling over all sorts of wedding planning questions – at crazy times of the day and night? Questions that start out with; can I do this at my wedding or should I do this at my wedding? Sound familiar? Don’t worry, you are not alone but I do have some good news for you – you can do almost anything at all when it comes to your wedding – as long as it makes you happy and it’s legal.
Having said that however, there are definately some better ways of doing things, or even sensible ways of doing things; things that will just make the day run more smoothly for you and your guests. But knowing which is which and what is actually going to matter, can be tricky to navigate if you have never planned a wedding before. And that is where this post comes in. Here (in no particular order), we have assembled some of the common wedding planning questions we get asked by our On the Day Coordination couples. Let’s dive in!
In what order should my wedding party proceed down the aisle?
There are some variables which may influence the answer to this question, including; religious factors, the set up of your ceremony space and your personal preference. If you are unsure, seek some guidance from your Officiant, Wedding Coordinator and/or Venue Manager.
Here are some common combinations:
- Groomsmen enter ahead of the Bridal Party arriving, from the side or front and the Bridesmaids proceed down the aisle individually when the Ceremony commences. For a casual entry Groomsmen simply enter from where guests do.
- Groomsmen enter from the front/side and then meet the bridesmaids individually half way down the aisle and escort them to the Alter.
- Groomsmen & Bridesmaids walk down the Aisle together.
Should we have Ushers at our Ceremony
Ushers are a nice idea at most Ceremonies and especially if you have assigned seating for any of your guests (family and elderly guests for example). It is also nice to have Ushers handing out Orders of Service or Programs if you are having these. At the I Do Crew we will also perform this role for you if you need us to, but if you have teenage relatives or members of your family who would love a job – nominating them to be an Usher is a great way to include them.
When should we do family photos?
To answer this question you need to know who will be in those photos. If it is your extended family the best time to do them is usually immediately following the Ceremony, as this is the time that everyone is assured of being in the same place, at the same time.
We (and most of the photographers we work with) recommend that you have a pre-prepared shot list of who (names, not just titles like Grandma) needs to be photographed with whom and in what order. We will then help your photographer to assemble everyone and ensure that this part of your wedding day is fun but doesn’t take too long (there is a cocktail hour and a reception to get to!).
Should we provide our ‘day of vendors’ with meals?
It is fairly standard practice for you to provide your on the day vendors with meals, especially if they have been working with you throughout the day and during normal meal times. Your on the day vendors will include (but are not limited to), your Wedding Coordinator, DJ/Band, Photographer and Videographer. Depending on start and finish times it may also be appropriate to offer your bar and waitstaff meals (especially if they have been hired externally from your catering company).
A good Wedding Coordinator will help you to coordinate the provision of meals to your Vendors by asking them about dietary restrictions and also organising the best time for meal breaks for each Vendor.
Something that I have seen work very well is for the Caterer to prepare a special Vendor meal (usually Buffet style) and for Vendors to have an area away from guests to eat together (they enjoy catching up with one another). Of course, you can also invite your Vendors to sit with your guests if you prefer.
Do we have to have place-cards?
No you do not.
But we also don’t tend to recommend open seating (where guests choose a table and a seat), because it can lead to confusion amongst guests about where to sit. This approach can also eat up a lot of time at your Reception as guests try to coordinate their own table arrangements – gathering together family and friends and considering where you would want them to sit. This method generally own works if your wedding is very casual and either quite small, or very large.
If you want a little more structure, but still want to eliminate the need for place-cards, assigning a table is an excellent compromise. Here you have a seating chart and you assign your guests to a table, but they choose their own seat at that table. This approach tends to have everyone seated much more quickly than either place-cards or open seating does, and you still have some control over who is seated with whom. And the added bonus is that you save on the cost of the place-cards and needing to have someone set them out for you.
When should we send out our invitations?
The best time to send out your invitations is 8-12 weeks before the wedding date. This gives your guests a nice amount of notice and allows sufficient time for the RSVP to come back to you. If you have guests traveling from overseas or interstate for your wedding, I recommend sending out your invitations a little earlier to allow those guests to make travel plans.
Make your RSVP date 4 weeks prior to your wedding date, unless your Caterer, Venue or other Vendor has specified that they need final numbers prior to that time.
What do we do with our gifts and personal decor items at the end of the night?
One of our essential checklist items for our couples prior to the wedding day, is to make arrangements for their gifts and personal items to be packed up at the end of the night and either stored or transported.
Check with your venue about their policy around leaving items in storage overnight. If this is not an option, you will need to organise for a family member or friend to assist you in gathering these items.
At the I Do Crew some of our packages include packing up your gifts and personal décor items and either storing them at the venue for you to collect at a later date, or us delivering them back to you at an agreed time.
Do we have to serve drinks prior to our Ceremony?
No you do not.
It has become more common to have an open bar prior to Wedding Ceremonies, but that doesn’t mean it is required, or even always a good thing.
We recommend that you carefully consider the timings of your day and your budget, before opening the bar before your Ceremony and keeping it open throughout. If the bar is open, your guests will naturally go to it – even during your Ceremony. We have even seen guests ducking off for a top up whilst you sign the register.
There are variables that make a drinks station, or bar at your Ceremony a nice addition, but it is not a must have!
TIP: If your Ceremony is outside and the weather is warm, having cool water on hand is a really nice thing to do for your guests.
Do we have to have a Wedding Planner or Coordinator for our Wedding?
Unless your Wedding Venue has told you that it is a requirement (and there are some that do), the answer to this question is no. But there are some very good reasons why you might decide to have either a Coordinator or Wedding Planner.
On your Wedding Day, wedding planners and coordinators will coordinate the wedding day logistics and in some cases they will also be part of the team who are bringing your wedding day vision to life (styling). If you have started to plan your wedding day, you will already have a sense of just how many tasks this is likely to include. You can assign these to yourselves, family and friends, or you can have someone else take care of them for you, so you can focus on getting ready, getting married and celebrating.
If you do decide to have some help on the day, you get to decide how involved you want the Planner or Coordinator to be. Contact us to find out more about the on the day services we offer at the I Do Crew.