According to a U.S. News article, many engaged couples are unaware of the finer points of office etiquette and the answers to questions like, “Do I have to invite my boss to my wedding?” Continue reading “Office Etiquette for Inviting Co-Workers to Your Wedding”
Craig and Lindsey Mahaffey are recognized as one of the most top wedding photographer teams in the Southeast, and have graced The Old Cigar Warehouse venue many, many times to capture timeless images of our couples. Their name, Sposa Bella, translates from Italian to mean “beautiful spouse.” Very fitting for this power couple!
During the planning stages, there are things you can plan for in order to minimize any worries you may have for the day-of your wedding. Where your worries may stack higher than you expected, this particular worry shouldn’t be one for long! Often times, creating a guest list can be one of the more difficult parts of planning your big celebration, but with these 7 tips, we hope we can help you plan accordingly for your wedding guests.
Tip One | Guests with small children.
We have all been to weddings where there are small children. Whether they are crying, throwing a fit or just want their mom or dad who are in the bridal party, little ones can certainly cause some extra planning and distraction. Embrace it! Most don’t know any better, but to help with some of those adorable loved ones, you can hire a babysitting service to help keep them busy during the ceremony and cocktail hour, or for the whole event. Not in your budget? Plan a kid’s table with fun, simple activities and snacks that will keep them busy and entertained during the reception.
Tip Two | Guests who don’t drink
Although we love an open bar with all of our friends and family, the reality is that not everybody drinks! Whether they choose not to or cannot for a variety of reasons, provide a fun option for those who will not be toasting with champagne or liquor. Soda service and offering a tea and lemonade station is a great way to have budget friendly options for nondrinkers and for all guests once the bar is closed. Looking for something with a little more spice? Offer a “mocktail” for anyone not drinking or not legally allowed too. Guests will be pleasantly surprised at this fun twist on reception drinks!
Tip Three | Guests who smoke.
When looking at your guest list, ask your self, “does he or she smoke?” If you can say yes for a majority of your guests or if you a providing cigars as wedding favors, be sure your venue has a smoking area. Create a cute sign to go with these beloved favors in order to cut down on guests smoking in places that the venue might not be too please with.
Tip Four | Guests who can’t help but help out.
We all know someone like this – someone who will undoubtedly offer to help you throughout the entire event. They certainly mean well, so why not assign them something important to the big day?! Plan ahead of time by designating these guests something to focus on like making sure the gift table is organized, the favors are laid out or that is pretty or that your toasting flutes get put away. This will make them feel like they are a part of your big day, and ensure that small details are taken care of the way you want them too.
Tip Five | Guests who are elderly or disabled.
Just because you have elderly or disabled guests, doesn’t mean they don’t want t be a part of the action! No, they may not be the first to start the Wobble or a Conga Line, but they do want to watch. Be sure to have enough seating for these guests somewhere near the dance floor where they can still observe all of the celebration. Side note! Always be sure your venue has proper handicap accessible parking spots and entrances. Worried about someone in particular? Go check it out yourself to ensure they will be comfortable and safe.
Tip Six | Guest control.
Your guests are important. They have traveled, spent money and have designated their time to be a part of one of the biggest days of your life. With that said, not everyone will be on their best behavior once the party gets going. Think about designating someone you trust as a primary contact for your venue incase a guest needs help or gets out of hand. This way, guests are sure to be taken care of and no one has to bother the bride and groom or their parents as they enjoy their special day!
Think you may have an extra-rowdy crowd? Ask if your venue provides security. If they don’t, look into a security company that specializes in crowd control or can help with parking and overall safety for your event. Bravo1 Protection, for example, ensures everyone remains safe at our venue!
Tip Seven | Guests who are too engaged…with technology
As we are certainly lucky to be living in such a technologically advanced time, cell phones have become both a blessing and a curse. Guests are often found trying to capture the perfect picture and get in the way of the photographers shot or even post pictures before the event is even completed. While selfies and photobombs are fun during the reception, those selfies during your ceremony may not be for you! Try joining the trend of “unplugged” wedding ceremonies. Suggesting no cell phones (queue the adorable chalkboard signs) at your ceremony can allow photographers to get your must-have photographs and of course, undivided attention on you and your fiancé!
Where do we start? That is a question many couples have asked themselves just after the celebration of the big proposal has settled down. Such an overwhelming thought, isn’t it? It doesn’t help that mere minutes after he asks and she says yes, all of your closest friends and family are asking “When? Where? Are we invited?!” Whew! Well before I give you some advice on where to begin, I should tell you a bit about me.
I have lived in Greenville for nearly four years while my fiancé, Bharat has lived here for almost twenty. We began our relationship here in Greenville but since August of 2013 we’ve been living a couple hours apart while Bharat pursues his MBA in Atlanta. Distance: Just what you need to make wedding planning a bit more complicated! Also, Bharat is Indian so naturally he wants to have a traditional Indian wedding. This means we are planning not one but TWO weddings. As soon as we knew we wanted to get married we knew it was going to be a lot of work!
So where did we start? Priorities. Because I’ve worked in the wedding industry since I’ve known Bharat, discussing the things we’d want at our own wedding tended to come up naturally in conversation. Seeing weddings nearly every week has helped me to see what I would and would not want. I’ve also roped Bharat into working with our companies so he too has gotten to see his fill of weddings. In these initial conversations we realized quickly that we had very different priorities. I wanted to keep things as simple as possible. Bharat, on the other hand, took awhile to warm up to that concept.
Once we came to an agreement to have our wedding ceremonies and receptions on two separate days for the sake of everyone involved, we could begin to figure out the next move. Some people have their hearts set on a venue while others have their heart set on a date. For us, it was a combination of both. Believe it or not, the Old Cigar Warehouse was not a given for us. Bharat was very concerned that I would work on our wedding day if we chose the venue where I work. After I convinced him that having Jennifer (our amazing day-of coordinator) there would keep me from working, we decided to move forward with looking at dates. We secured a date at the Old Cigar Warehouse and quickly began looking for another venue large enough to host the Indian ceremony and luncheon.
With that in place we discussed our top priorities. They varied a bit but luckily for us, they still aligned well. We did what I tell all of our brides to do. Think of the vendors who can only accommodate one wedding in a day. Those are the services to secure first. For example, many catering and cake companies can accommodate six weddings in one day whereas other vendors like a photographer or musician can only be in one place at a time. Photography is important to us and because we wanted to use the same photographer for both days we knew this would be the first vendor we’d need to secure.
From there, if things don’t fall into place naturally, remember to go back to your top priorities. These are the areas in which you’ll be less likely to want to compromise therefore they should also be the areas in which you’ll need to be prepared to focus your budget. If you’re having trouble pinpointing what your top priorities are, ask yourself this: “In 20 years, what aspect of our wedding will we remember most?” Having a realistic budget in place is extremely important and not something you should be afraid to talk about. You want to know from the beginning that your budget is in line with BOTH of your priorities. That is a whole other blog post on its own though.
Talking about and learning what is most important to your fiancé is incredibly helpful to the planning process. Don’t be alarmed if their priorities differ from yours. That is very common among the couples I’ve worked with as well as with Bharat and I. Planning a wedding is excellent practice for married life because it will consist of a lot of compromise, stress, budgeting and fun! The day (or days) itself will go by in the blink of an eye so try not to spend too much stressing over the little details and remember to enjoy the process.
Can you guess who your best friend on your wedding will be? Not exactly your fiance. Nope, not your BFF from college who is already your maid of honor…this blog is all about the wedding coordinator! Most people tend to shy away from wedding planning and/or coordination because of the price tag, but it’s important to think about who you want to have handle those last minute details and decisions that are bound to come up when you don’t expect it. If you don’t hire one, you might have to find a willing guest to step up to the plate of lending a helping hand, like someone in your family (Poor Mom!)
Here are just a few examples of what a day-of coordinator or planner can help out with on your wedding day:
Laid back bride or not, you will be on some sort of schedule on the day of your wedding. It’s the nature of throwing a big party and it ensures that everything you planned for gets done the right way. The day-of coordinator can help keep you, your guests, and your vendors stay on this schedule all while allowing you to focus on being the bride rather than stressing about what’s next on your checklist. Can you imagine herding cattle in a big beautiful dress? That’s what you’ll feel like without a coordinator!
The absolute last thing you want to do is worry about the random little things that come up on the day of your wedding. At the same time, you certainly don’t want to load those tasks on your parents or siblings, because its a big day for them too! Queue the coordinator…your new best friend can certainly help take care of those last-minute details on your big day so you don’t have too. There are far too many to list but trust us when we say that you don’t want to find them out the hard way.
In most cases, coordinators will assist in running the rehearsal the day before or the morning of (based on your schedule and preference of course). They know weddings in and out, and have seen many variations. Thus, depending on your wants and needs, they will know exactly how to have your ceremony play out. You, your bridal party, and family members should feel confident in where to go, what to do, how to look, etc. It will make the real thing easy breezy!
Probably the most important thing for you to do on your wedding day is to remain stress free. The big day is not one you want to let go by too fast, but rather one that you want to remember having a great time celebrating. With a coordinator (aka Best Friend) by your side you can already guarantee that you will not have as much to stress about. But remember, picking a coordinator should be a process you take seriously. Don’t just look for the experience or cost; be sure that you have a connection with your coordinator to ensure a smooth and fun planning process!
Our contracted in-house day-of coordinator, Jennifer, has done numerous weddings at our venue in addition to weddings she has coordinated through her own business, Love This Little City. If Jennifer is unavailable for your date, don’t forget to check out our vendor page! It provides a number of recommended day-of coordination services from various companies in the Upstate.
For more on working with a day-of coordinator, check out Jennifer’s super helpful blog post!
If you’re on the fence about hiring a coordinator, think about what you are most worried about when it comes to getting married. Don’t you want a professional to ease your mind? Your decision to hire someone to help out may be just the ticket to a happier wedding day. On that note…happy planning!