Photo By Wing Ta of Canary Grey
I absolutely love our wedding venue. That being said, starting out with a blank canvas is a ton of work. Josh and I hired wedding planner Alyson Newquist of The Bash Collective to guide us through the complicated process. She has fabulous taste, cherishes the unusual (music to my ears!) and totally gets our aesthetic. She also thinks of the non-sexy stuff us engaged folks haven’t considered—who will move all the chairs from the ceremony to our dinner tables? How long should our ceremony be? Bistro lights are awesome, but how in the heck are we going to string them? After a few conversations with Alyson, it’s pretty clear she’s got tons of helpful advice.
Without further ado, the top five things she wishes couples would think about before their big day:
Photo by Jonny Edwin
1. Don't Fluff the Ceremony
Content is what connects you to each other and your loved ones to you. Reading vows you wrote is more personal than doing something because you think the ceremony needs to be longer. You don't need to get heavy, just get real. A 10-minute ceremony that reflects who you are has the impact of a 30-minute ceremony loaded with things you just heard about online. Why not have your guests introduce themselves to the closest person next to them during the ceremony? It will take the pressure off you for a minute and you'll really get to be the observer of your ceremony instead of the observed.
2. Ushers are the Best Thing to Happen to Weddings (Even Better than Mason Jars)
A vendor saying something simple and expected like, "we are asking folks to sit now so the couple can do their first dance," can rub guests the wrong way. Ushers are the best way to get directions across. Think of them as your wedding ambassadors.
3. Minimizing the Flip = Maximizing the Day
Blank canvas venues (like Molly’s wedding at Uppercut) require creative thinking to ensure a ceremony, cocktail hour and reception can occur without a crazy amount of staff and cost to make "the flip" happen. With a guest count pushing the max, you really need to consider this. A lot of stuff can go wrong—What if the weather doesn't hold for that outdoor cocktail hour?—and nothing a bigger buzzkill than a rental company bringing in a ton of tables and chairs into a space full of guests. At Molly’s wedding, we’re renting benches instead of chairs (moving 80 benches is much easier than 300 chairs!) and pre-setting tables that will be moved into the space post-ceremony. It’ll cut down significantly on labor costs.
4. Think About People's Baggage
People bring a ridiculous amount of stuff to weddings. Give them a place to put it. Have a coatrack, hire a coat check professional (or teenage cousin. You could even put out a tip jar.), or just put a table out for folks to put their stuff on at their own risk. You can make it funny with a sign that says, "Got baggage? Think of this table as this evening's therapy."
5. The Most Popular Month to Get Married isn't Always the Best
People in Minnesota LOVE the idea of a September wedding. As wedding planners, it's our busiest month. Sure, you might get the beautiful fall colors, but the leaves change colors for three reasons: The days are short, cold and dry. You know that post-wedding bonfire you’ve been dreaming about? You can forget about it due to fire restrictions. We’ve had clients with amazing weather in late September (and the photos ARE gorgeous before the leaves fall). And an autumn wedding can be cozy. My thoughts on September are less about discouraging it, but more about encouraging a July or August date. I will likely book our venue, Juliane James Place, fully for September 2015 before the 2014 season even kicks off. Considering a different month equals a lot more options for every vendor you’d like to book.
And think about this: Your guests are fresh in the early summer. Fall means the start of school and sports. We know your wedding is more fun than a soccer game, but if you’re a family’s 4th wedding of the season, soccer sounds like a pretty good reason to skip. In mid-July, your guests might just want to leave their kids (who have been home every day for a month at that point) and have a night out dancing their faces off. Also, while vendors will always bring it for their clients, you can think of us like leaves. We will still be pretty and present in fall, but you might like us better supple and in bloom.