This month we would like to shine a spotlight on the stress-reducing benefits of not working at your own wedding. There are tons of logistics involved on wedding days, from coordinating incoming vendors and guests, to decorating both reception and ceremony areas, to creating and following a timeline and getting people to stick to it. There are also a lot of little emergencies that pop up throughout the day, like your Aunt getting lost on the way to the venue, or the best man’s jacket ripping, or someone misplacing all the ice for the reception. The possibilities are endless! And you, my dear, do not need to take care of all of that.
Through personal experience and by witnessing more than 100 weddings at the farm, we have seen the importance of delegating someone else to manage your event when it comes to stress reduction and overall happiness with your wedding experience. If you are a highly organized and cool under pressure kind of person who knows how to delegate like a boss, you may be able to pull it off and still have an amazing time. If, however, you are like the rest of us you may want to seriously consider assigning a trusted person or people to have your back.
This person can be a hired professional (i.e. wedding coordinator, planner, manager, etc.) or a highly organized and trusted friend/extended family member who 1) manages people, tasks and time constraints like a pro, and 2) NOT in your wedding party or your immediate family. Your family and wedding party need almost as much time as you do to get ready on your wedding day for photos and to be emotionally available for you as you prepare to devote yourself to the love of your life.
It is not unusual for a lot of wedding prep to fall through the cracks when the wedding party or immediate family is in charge of getting everything ready. It is wisest to leave the work to someone who is able to be fully dedicated to the task.
Now, sit back and relax as we share a self-deprecating tale about the importance of having focused help on your big day.
Once Upon A Time…..
Brittany, our Venue Director, hosted her wedding here at Storybrook Farm in October of 2013. She was stunning. The event was absolutely beautiful. And, years later, people are still reminiscing about it being one of their favorite weddings ever attended. However, the event did not go without a few avoidable hiccups along the way.
After picking up from the previous weekend wedding John, Diane, and Brittany (the owners of Storybrook Farm) were quickly reminded it was their turn to host a wedding on the farm. Running a wedding venue takes a lot of time and work, especially if you also call it home. There are many rooms to be cleaned, tables to be washed, lights to be checked and gardens to manage. Having prepared their venue for the big day, Diane and John thought they were finally ready for their daughter to walk down the aisle, only to learn some valuable lessons along the way!
1.Decorating–make a plan and then have someone else do it!
Brittany had wanted to do the decorating because she loved the creativity involved. But, on the morning of her wedding she realized that was not feasible to do on her own, especially since the hair and make-up artists were waiting for her. She quickly made a sample tablescape and tasked her aunt and cousins to finish the rest. Luckily for her they had a hidden talent for event design and managing people and did a beautiful job pulling it all together!
Sometimes, especially when the wedding party is in charge of decorating, things get left out or end up only half-finished. Inevitably your wedding party and family have to leave the event preparations to get themselves ready. Mistakes can also happen when a clear decorating plan is not in place.
One of the most fun parts of a wedding is the chance to be creative in making your design plans! To help accomplish this, 1) share your wedding decor ideas on something easily viewed, like a Pinterest Board, 2) make a sample tablescape well before your event and take a photo to share with your designated decorating crew, 3) write your plans down in an easy to follow way, 4) then step back and entrust your vision to someone worthy to implement it! Be sure to make some time early during your wedding day to check in with your decorators and provide constructive feedback on their progress. Remember, if you have the right people in place then you shouldn’t have to sweat it (literally), but giving positive guidance is sometimes necessary.
Side story: During a previous wedding, Diane and John found the groom trying to string lights in the woods an hour before he was supposed to meet his bride at the alter. They sent him off to go get ready and stepped in to finish hanging the lights. Things like this happen a lot when people directly involved in the wedding try to take on decorating all by themselves. If executed well it often turns out beautifully, but at the cost of a higher stress level event. If not executed well it can mean the difference between a beautiful event and one with half-finished ceremony arches, barren reception tables, and high stress levels.
2. Set Appropriate Task Masters
Brittany’s mom, Diane, completely missed Brittany and Eric’s cake cutting because she decided to tidy up the bathroom (normally a venue staff-related chore) at that exact time. There were two major problems with this scenario. First, Diane took on a task that she shouldn’t have been doing as the mother of the bride. Second, no one was there to remind her what the next activity was and when it took place. She missed out on Brittany getting cake in her nose!
Ideally, close family of the couple and wedding party members should not be in charge of any major, tedious or time consuming tasks on the wedding day. Those people should be concentrating on getting themselves and the couple ready and enjoying their time with one another. The less the family and wedding party is working the better. Having someone else in charge of time and task management is really important.
Sometimes things have to get done. If you plan ahead of time you can make sure the appropriate people do them with the greatest chance of success. Choose your helpers based on their strengths. If someone is not necessarily organized, don’t put them in charge of directing tasks. If someone has a flair for flowers, have them decorate the arch or put together the table bouquets. You get the idea.
3. Advice On Floral Arrangements
On her wedding day Brittany thought it would be a great idea for her and her bridesmaids to do their own bouquets and the men’s boutonnieres. If they had started working on them the day before that may have been the case. But as it turned out, Brittany was trying to do too much herself, like decorating, getting hair and make up done, directing vendors, etc. Therefore, she ended up struggling to throw her bouquet together a mere hour before the ceremony started. She wasn’t even in her dress yet!
If you want to do your own live flower arrangements it can be a lot of fun, but don’t do them on your wedding day. Keep in mind that there is often a lot going on the day before, too, like rehearsal and rehearsal dinner, meeting and greeting incoming guests, manicures, etc. A lower stress strategy for floral work is to hire a professional, have a talented relative/friend make them, or do them yourself a day or two before and store them in a cool and dark location with plenty of water.
4. Delegate Family Management Duties
Diane and John were trying to do so much as both venue hosts and parents of the bride that they didn’t get dressed until about 20 minutes before the ceremony started. They rushed upstairs to get dressed, coming downstairs 10 minutes before the ceremony. To their astonishment they found Diane’s elderly and mobility-limited parents, Marguerite and Wes, still sitting in the living room! Grandma and Grandpa made it to their seats just in time, but things would have gone a lot better if that task had been delegated earlier to a relative or usher. This is one of those tiny yet important details that can make a huge difference for your timeline adherence and stress level.
5. Have a Photo Plan
After the ceremony, it was picture time. Because Brittany did not have a pre-determined photo plan, she suddenly found herself in charge of improvising the photos and wrangling everyone who was supposed to be in them. This is not something a bride needs to be worrying about right after her “I Do’s!” Because of this, Brittany does not have a single photo with all sets of her and Eric’s parents together.
We highly recommend discussing a plan of poses with your photographer well before the photos take place. It is also super helpful to have someone not in the pictures in charge of keeping all needed individuals in the general area until they are done. A coordinator, and a good photography plan, can help you smoothly manage the post ceremony group photo chaos.
6. Reception details and timing–there’s a lot going on!
After family and wedding party pictures concluded it was time to eat and get the party started! Brittany and Eric returned from their personal photos to find that guests had already finished eating. The couple barely got to eat before the socializing and congratulations began. They also missed seeing a few guests who had to leave early! Pre-ceremony and “first look” photos are becoming increasingly popular and can help couples avoid some of these issues.
If, however, you want your first sighting of each other to be at the alter then we recommend couples take a few things into consideration when planning a photo and reception timeline. It is often a wise idea for the couple to start the food line going, slip out for personal photos while everyone else eats, and then come back to the reception a little later for dancing, socializing, etc. A well fed couple is a more relaxed couple!
A dedicated manager can help make reception timing and mishaps flow smoothly–not just for making sure the couple eats but also for a myriad of other reception activities. If you don’t have the right people in charge of paying attention then many small details can go awry. Because Brittany and her parents were in charge of directing everything, during the reception some of the appetizers and vegetarian food options got completely forgotten. The dip went out, but the crackers were MIA. The groom’s cake completely fell apart, but luckily Brittany’s brother and sister-in-law expertly salvaged it. Other past events have had things like cake toppers, sparklers, and even the bride’s veil go missing! Appoint someone who can focus, knows where essential items are located, and then be able to produce them at the right time!
So, as you can see maybe a little extra wedding help from someone outside your wedding party and immediate family would be a good idea! This is why we now offer a Personal Wedding Assistant as part of our Fairytale package. This individual will manage decorating, directing vendors, and coordinating your ceremony and reception. No more forgotten appetizers, or stringing lights last minute!
We are not saying everything will go perfectly, but between the Storybrook Farm event team and your Personal Wedding Assistant we will help fix any hiccups along the way and make you feel like a pampered guest at your own event. If you are interested in meeting our team then we welcome you to set up an appointment for a venue tour!
Have a Fairytale kind of day!
***For more information about the packages click on Wedding Packages, and find individual options under the tab at the top of the page