I’ve been working in be wedding industry for several years now and over time, working on so many weddings, I’ve come to learn a few tips and tricks along with general realisations.
Although my job is technically 9am until 2pm, I often find myself thinking about work when I’m at home. When I left my full time wedding coordinator job in May 2015, it was even worse. I would remember the names of the couples getting married each Friday/Saturday that summer. When you work closely with a couple for their big day, it can be hard to switch off when you finish work.
No two weddings are the same
Having worked at a wedding venue, where couples most often opted for one of our wedding packages, inevitably the weddings follow a pattern. However, each couple managed to make their wedding individual with added touches, and the personalities of them and their guests on the day. It was truly interesting to see.
Always hire somebody to fit chair covers
So many couples opt to buy their own chair covers on eBay for cheap with the intention of setting them up themselves, or expecting the venue to do it for them. Most venues will not do this. Chair covers take a lot of time to fit, and to tie sashes on etc is also time consuming (believe me, I’ve done it!). As most venues also won’t be able to guarantee you can access the room the night before, do you really want to have to be at the venue on the morning of your wedding putting covers on chairs? It’s so much simpler in the long run to hire somebody to provide the chair covers. Maybe it’ll cost a little extra but it’s worth it.
DIY can end up more expensive
Some brides truly want to do things themselves, and if that’s the case then great. But if you’re DIY-ing just to cut costs then it might be worth hiring the professionals. A lot of DIY wedding projects may seem simple and cheaper but actually end up costing the same, if not more than hiring a company to do it for you. Especially if you go to the effort and buy the materials only to then hate the end product and then spend money replacing it anyway
Cake is often wasted (so are favours)
As a wedding coordinator I have seen so much cake leftover at the end of weddings. Most brides will come and collect it the next day, but there’s only so much cake you can eat yourselves after the big day, and if you plan on going on honeymoon, the cake may be inedible by the time you get back to it. Go for dummy tiers and save yourself the money! Favours are another often wasted extra at weddings. Clearing a wedding you find so many leftovers. For my wedding next year I’ve bought charity pin favours. That way, even if they aren’t wanted by guests, I’ve not wasted my money as the proceeds have gone to charity.
Timings often run late
This is frustrating from a venue’s point of view but can be unavoidable. Photos tend to take up the most time and often couples haven’t factored in enough time for all the shots they want. I always advise at least an hour for a drinks reception, longer if you plan on going elsewhere for shots (e.g. the beach). I’ve lost count of the times I’ve had to try and locate the bride and groom when the wedding breakfast was ready to be served because they’d gone off for a drive with their photographer. A venue won’t mind serving food later if they are aware in advance. Once food is cooked though, it is difficult to keep it edible due to delays on the day. Always factor in more time than you think you’ll need. Other things that can affect timings are length of speeches, traffic delays when the ceremony and reception venues are different, and choice menus where guests have forgotten what they ordered
Make sure you get some natural wedding shots
Many couples have a long list of posed shots they want on their day. This is fine, but sometimes the candid shots are the best. Those photos that aren’t posed and truly show the emotion of you and your guests on the day. Make sure you let your photographer have the freedom and time to take some of these photos. You will regret it if you don’t
A receiving line IS worth it
A lot of couples question what one is when I meet with them, and to be fair, I don’t think I really knew before I started working in the industry. However now I do know, I would always recommend a receiving line. Especially if you have a lot of guests coming. In case you don’t know, a receiving line is where you greet your guests, usually on their way into the wedding breakfast. It can be made up of just you as a couple or you can be joined by your bridal party and/or your parents. It gives you a chance to make sure you say hello to every guest, which may sound silly, but on the day, it goes by so quickly that you sometimes will end up not speaking to all your guests. This way you make sure you’ve at least said hello to everyone, and they’ve been able to congratulate you personally too. It doesn’t have to take long, usually the venue will factor in 10-15 minutes depending on guest numbers
Always check VAT is included in quotes
This is really important for life in general as well as weddings (as I’ve found out now we are getting our roof fixed). Most venues and suppliers will include the VAT in their quotes, but some don’t. And it can have a huge impact on your budget if you don’t double check before accepting a price. If VAT isn’t included, add it on simply by multiplying the price by 1.2 (little trick I’ve picked up along the way).
Don’t sweat the small stuff
It’s difficult when planning a wedding as its so easy to get swept up in everything but try not to stress over everything. The most important thing is that you’re marrying the one you love. In years to come you won’t remember the other bits. By all means, make it special, but don’t end up fighting over wedding plans. Make the marriage as important to you as the wedding day itself
Get everything in writing!
It’s great to speak on the phone or to meet in person with suppliers and your venue but always follow every phone conversation up with an email to confirm and clarify. Ask to get things that are offered to you in writing so you have it to look back on and refer to. Wedding coordinators come and go, especially if you’ve booked your wedding years in advance. I always make sure I write down everything I’ve agreed with clients so that if I were to leave, my replacement would know exactly what has been confirmed. This covers the venue/supplier just as much as it covers you. Don’t be afraid to ask for a contract to be altered if you think something has been left off. Venue contracts won’t always have every detail included, but it should cover the basics. A function sheet, issued nearer the time will the provide much more in depth information. For peace of mind, always ask for details to be emailed over