Sure, you’ve read every book and scoured every blog, but there are a few details of wedding planning that are easy to forget. Well, here are the questions that someone needs to be asking you, to ensure that the puzzle pieces called “details” and “logistics” match up and everything flows smoothly. Don’t worry, Sarah Kouliavtsev, marketing director at Hotel Fredonia and Convention Center, has the answer to all of them!
- How many cakes are you having? General expected size of the base tier?
- You should ask your venue the size and style of the table, if they are supplying it. An “8-top round” (60″ round table) will look very large for a bridal cake feeding 100 guests, despite the cutting utensils, cake plates, etc being on there. Consider whether you will put all of the cakes on the same table, or if you will decorate the table to fill the remainder space. Rose petals can go a long way. Framed photos do, too.
- What will you be displaying on your Welcome Table?
- What will you have for guests to sign? Will you have your send-off items (bubbles, sparklers, biodegradable birdseed) in a cute basket on there? What about photos from your engagement session and/or bridals? Think about the space that all of this will need, and request a table size accordingly. Bridal portrait generally goes near the Welcome Table on an easel (who will supply the easel?).
Do you want a Sweetheart or Head table?
- I feel the need to share the disadvantage of each, so that you can make an informed decision for yourself. As bride and groom, you will only be sitting at your table long enough to eat (if your Emcee manages the flow of your guests correctly).
-A Sweetheart table is a small table for just the bride and groom. It is supposed to be centrally located so that the bride and groom can be seen by all – which means that if your guest list is too close to the capacity of your venue, is it is usually in the way for most of the reception.
-A Head table is for the bride and groom, and for the wedding party. This means: If your best friend is in the wedding party, but her husband is not, you are forcing them to sit apart.
-Sometimes, due to the capacity of the reception venue, neither of these are a realistic option — if this is the case, do not fear. Decide if it is important to sit with your immediate families or if you want to be with your Maid of Honor and Best Man, etc. Consider the photos!
- Reserved seating?
- No matter what, it is IMPERATIVE that you have reserved signs for immediate family, grandparents, the wedding party, bride and groom — anyone who will be arriving at the reception after post-ceremony photos. If you do not, your guests will awkwardly stand around, afraid to sit, because they won’t know where the above mentioned people will be sitting. It helps give them direction and allows them to feel comfortable to grab a seat and enjoy their salad or drink.
Will you be doing the traditional First Dance, Father/Daughter, Mother/Son?
- Your caterer and your DJ need to know this — it helps them with their own timelines to ensure the flow of guests and the freshness of your food! Speaking of, if you do buffet, make sure bride and groom go through the buffet line first – this will allow you to eat while the guests are going through the line, and then when you are finished, you can get up and “work the room”, thanking each table for sharing the day with you.
- Who will be your Emcee?
- DJ. Always the DJ. They have the mic, they have control of the music. They will announce you as Mr. and Mrs., give direction for the food, announce bouquet toss, garter toss, cake cutting, send off, etc.
What time is your ceremony?
- With the exception of Catholic ceremonies, most ceremonies last about 30 minutes. This tells the venue, caterer, DJ, etc an approximate time on when to expect your guests and sets the general timeline for the remainder of the evening.
I hope that this helps in your planning – if you are a more laid back bride, you can wait until the final month to sort out these details — but be kind to your vendors and give them an update two weeks prior to your wedding.
Sarah Kouliavtsev is the marketing director at the landmark Hotel Fredonia and Convention Center, located in Nacogdoches – the first town in Texas. Sarah has experience planning wedding receptions for as many as 500 guests. She is a newlywed, proud Texan, bulldog lover, and a softy for tradition and the yesteryears. For more, visit, Sarah’s website and follow her on Twitter.
All Photo Credit: Samantha G Miller Photography