Maybe you're just starting to plan your wedding, or maybe you're just one month away. You follow the Pinterest monthly wedding planning checklist, or your "The Knot" calendar. You're organized, Type A, and you've thought of every little detail. Well, you think, at least.
Here's the problem with those checklists... they cover the big stuff, the typical planning stuff, the before the wedding stuff. Brides tend to think about and plan for every detail leading up to the wedding, but they don't think about what happens afterwards. This can cause confusion among your vendors, and worse, if you don't have a coordinator that knows these forgotten details, your vendors will interrupt you during your reception!!
These are the tough, nitty gritty details. The questions we ask our brides that result in, "Hmm, I didn't even think of that." So here we go, our top 5 things that every bride forgets...cue the confused and blank stares!
1. Where Do The Centerpieces Go After The Reception?
This is the number one thing brides always forget. Most of the time, the vases you use for your centerpieces are rentals from the florist. The flowers are yours to keep and send home with guests, but the vases need to be returned. If they aren't, you could end up being charged - and if they are left behind at the venue, the venue could charge you too. The florist drops off the flowers and leaves, so, what do you do?
To start, you need to bring up the issue with your florist - ask, what happens to the centerpiece vases after the reception? Sometimes they are willing to come pick the vases up the day after your event (if the venue is ok with this), or they offer to come back at the end of the night to pick them up. Your florist may also require you (or someone you designate) to take the vases home and then schedule a time to drop them off.
So if you can't keep the vases, what happens to the flowers?? Here's what we recommend. Ask your florist if they can provide you with plastic, disposable vases to transfer the flowers into. These usually just cost $2 each - super cheap. Your coordinator can transfer the flowers into the plastic vases 30 min before the end of the reception so guests can take them home, and then collect the rental vases for safe keeping :)
2. What Happens to Your Decor?
This goes along with the same thought process of the vases. You have your guestbook, Mr. & Mrs. chair signs, candles, lanterns, easels, bar menus, table numbers - even the top tier of your wedding cake!... the list goes on and on. This stuff can't be left at the venue - so where does it go at the end of the night? Your planner or coordinator will be responsible for packing all of these things up, but you'll need to have someone designated to take all of your packed up decor home. And most importantly, that person needs to know that they have that responsibility before they run away to the after party :) We always ask our brides to designate a family member or someone in their bridal party to be responsible for this and then we make sure to meet that person at the rehearsal to let them know they will be getting decor at the end of the night.
3. The Bridal Suite Stuff...
Your bridesmaids have had 1 too many signature drinks and guests are lining up for your grand exit when suddenly it hits you that literally ALL of your stuff (and all of your bridesmaids' stuff) is in a huge mess up in the bridal suite and you have no clue who's packing it up and taking it home. Oh yes, this happens all the time. Before the ceremony, you were drinking mimosas, rushing to get ready, get your dress on, and take portraits! The bridal suite is left a mess and nothing is packed up to go home. If your reception is at a hotel where you are staying the night, this may not be a big problem, but if you're not staying at the venue after the reception and you're going to be on a plane to the honeymoon first thing the next day - this is a huge problem!!!
Before wedding day, designate a bridesmaid who is going to be responsible for packing things up and keeping things organized. Really, each person should be responsible for their own things and this issue isn't too hard as long as your make sure you build some extra time into your timeline to make sure these things get to where they are supposed to be. It's not hard - it's just something no one ever thinks about until the last second when they are leaving the reception and wonder... oh wait where's my purse.
4. Where Do Cards and Gifts Go?
You have a cute card box set up on your cards and gifts table, but did you think about where it's going after the reception? In the same way you have someone designated to take home decor, you should also have someone responsible for taking the cards and gifts to a safe place. However, these should be collected earlier in the night. Everyone has placed their card or gift within the first hour of the reception - you don't want cards with tons of money sitting around a big crowd of drunk people. Make sure you have a family member collect these and lock them in their car or hotel room earlier on :)
5. How Are You Delivering Final Payments?
Some vendors write in their contracts that final payments are due on the actual day of the wedding. This is a pain because thinking about payments while you're getting ready on wedding day is the last thing you want to think about. We highly recommend that you ask all your vendors if you can make your final payments prior to the wedding day. This way, you don't have to worry about it at all the day of! However, if this isn't possible or you'd rather wait until wedding day, make sure you have your final payments organized. Put them in individual envelopes with the vendor name on the outside so nothing gets confused. If you have a coordinator, they can take these envelopes and distribute them to your vendors. Also, if you are tipping your vendors, this is a great way to organize that as well.
Whew! Are you overwhelmed?? These are the types of things that will make you so glad you hired a planner or coordinator. They can ask you the tough questions like these because they know what often gets forgotten, and they can take care of a lot of these issues for you as long as you chat about these things ahead of time. No bride wants to think about the END of the reception - we never want wedding day to be over!! But thinking about these details and laying out a plan for them ahead of time will allow you to enjoy your reception without any confusion going on :)