Small Things About Weddings You Don’t Think About
Are you planning your wedding? Congratulations! Planning a wedding is so much fun— but also, if we’re being real, it can be a little stressful. There are a million details you need to consider when planning your wedding. You have to make tons of decisions and coordinate a thousand different things when planning your day. And, sometimes, some of the smaller details tend to fall through the cracks, which can be very stressful if you find you missed something as you get closer to your wedding day.
To help you avoid the stress of forgetting the small details, I’ve written this post full of all the small things about weddings you don’t think about. In this post, I’ll cover commonly overlooked details like getting things to your venue, making sure you have good lighting, considering guest transportation, and much more. Read on to see my full list of small things about weddings you don’t think about!
How is Everything Getting There?
Most people plan their wedding decor, floral arrangements, and table settings down to the littlest detail. But one thing many people don’t think of is how all their wedding stuff is actually getting to their venue.
There are many things that need to get to your venue, including all your decor, which your vendors won’t be transporting for you. Do you know when you can bring these things to your venue? And do you want to bring them yourself or have someone else do it?
It’s important to make a plan for getting your items to your venue well in advance so you don’t end up scrambling and stressing about figuring this out in the days leading up to your wedding.
Who is Cleaning Up? How are You Getting Your Stuff Back?
Things need to get to your venue and things also need to leave your venue. So, have you made a plan for cleaning up and collecting all your wedding decor items?
Here are some things you’ll probably need to collect at the end of your big day:
Personal Items (Toasting Flutes, Cake Knife and Server, Guest Book, Decor, Etc.)
Floral Decor and Centerpieces
Linens and Other Rentals
For some of these things (like rentals), your vendors may be the ones clearing them out. But not always! Be sure to check with your vendors to see what they’ll be taking away after the big day and how you might need to prepare items before pick up. Also, cleaning may be included with your venue or catering packages but, again, that’s not always the case. So be sure to check to see whether or not you’ll need to hire extra help for cleaning or packing up vendor items.
For personal items that you own, consider designating someone to collect these after your wedding. Make a list of everything they’ll need to collect and be sure to pick a responsible friend or family member for this job (and maybe pick someone who you know won’t be hitting the open bar too hard).
Planning for the Possibility of Bad Weather
No one wants to have inclement weather on their wedding day. But, unfortunately, Mother Nature can be unpredictable and bad weather can happen even when it seems like it shouldn’t.
To protect yourself from the possibility of bad weather, make a plan B. For example, if you’re having all or part your wedding outside, see if there’s any kind of optional covering you can have on hand if it happens to rain. Or, if it’s possible that weather could be unexpectedly chilly, consider having most or all of your wedding indoors and then have heaters and blankets for any outdoor areas.
Also, remember to think about heat in addition to things like rain and snow. If it’s unexpectedly hot, that can be just as uncomfortable for your guests as cold or wet weather. So if you’re having your wedding during a warmer season, consider having shady spaces or water misters available to cool off your guests.
Is it Easy to Get Access to?
One thing many people forget to plan for is how everyone is getting their venue and reception. This includes planning for how your guests will get there, how your wedding party will get there, and how you’ll get there. Consider these questions:
Will guests be driving to your venue? Or would they need a shuttle from a hotel or a nearby parking lot? How are you getting the venue? Will your bridal party need transportation at a different time than you or other guests? Do you need to provide transportation from your ceremony venue to a separate reception venue?
Think about your venue(s), where all your guests are coming from, and the schedule for your wedding day and decide whether or not you need to provide your guests with transportation.
Accommodation for Guests
If you’re having guests travel from out of town or are having a destination wedding, be sure to think of guest accommodations. Consider guest accommodations early so you have the opportunity to set up a room block at a hotel, which will give them guaranteed availability and a better deal on their rooms.
Also, for weddings where you may have guests of varying incomes, it’s good etiquette to make sure you have a more affordable hotel option if your main hotel is very expensive. While some guests may be able to afford staying at a nice resort, it may be a financial strain for others so it’s polite to provide a more reasonably priced hotel option as well.
Tip: You can reserve hotel blocks at multiple hotels!
Is There a Fridge?
The question of whether or not you have a fridge may seem strange if you’ve never been married before, but having a fridge is a huge help on your wedding day.
One reason having a fridge available to you is great (whether it’s in your getting-ready room or nearby) is that it gives you access to cold water. Many brides don’t drink enough water on their big day! And if you’re having a spring or summer wedding, having cold water at the ready can be a day-saver.
Another reason having fridge access is great is that you’ll need to save your flowers from wilting before your ceremony and may want to save them after your wedding to take home. I’d say that having a fridge for water in or near your getting-ready room is optional, but having fridge access for your flowers is crucial. You don’t want your flowers to look sad and lifeless during your ceremony, so make sure your venue has a fridge available for you on your wedding day.
Tip: Don’t store fresh fruits and vegetables in the same fridge as your wedding flowers, as they release chemicals that can wilt your flowers.
While most couples plan their wedding decor well in advance, one part of decor often gets overlooked: signage. The type of signage you’ll need (a seating chart, an “open seating” sign, directions, a gift’s table sign, a welcome sign, etc.) will vary. But be sure to think about this when you’re planning so you don’t have to do a hasty DIY during your wedding week!
Accessibility and Disability Accommodations
Your wedding is about you but it’s also about your guests. You’ll want to take care of your guests at your wedding, which includes planning for something many people don’t think about: handicapped accessibility and disability accommodations.
If you have any guests who are handicapped or have disabilities, you should consider those when planning your wedding. Consider if you have guests in wheelchairs, on crutches, using walkers, who are blind, who are deaf or hard-of-hearing, or who may have any other physical limitation. The type of accommodations you may need to provide will depend on your guest’s unique situations.
People often assume that their venue will already have accommodations for those with physical limitations but this sometimes isn’t true (especially with older venues). Even if you think your venue is accessible, it’s always a good idea to check on this and see where you may need to fill in the gaps to make sure your guests can access and enjoy your wedding. Remember to think about access to the venue (does the venue have a wheelchair accessible ramp? does it have an elevator?), access in bathrooms, seating, and transportation access (for example, making sure a guest who uses a wheelchair can board your shuttle or that there’s designated handicapped parking spot for them if they are driving).
Thinking About Lighting: The Sun and Indoor Lighting
One thing many people don’t think about when planning a wedding is lighting. But lighting is incredibly important for how your wedding pictures turn out! There are two types of lighting you should think about when planning your wedding: natural lighting (including where the sun will be at any given point in the day) and artificial indoor lighting.
When I shoot weddings, I always make sure to discuss lighting with couples in great detail (and well in advance) to help plan how we’ll be shooting the day. Natural lighting changes throughout the day and sometimes optimal lighting isn’t happening when you plan to do certain important activities. When possible, it’s always good to plan to have important moments line up with great natural daylight. Also, you definitely don’t want to accidentally miss great natural daylight (like sunset’s golden hour) by not thinking about light when you plan your wedding day itinerary. It’s better to use times like golden hour to get amazing pictures, rather than traveling to another location during that time or shooting indoors.
Indoor lighting is also very important. Your venue will, of course, have some type of lighting— but does it have enough? And is that lighting flattering for you and your decor? If you or your photographer think the lighting at your venue isn’t the best, you may want to plan to bring more lighting for your ceremony and/or reception, which will make your wedding pictures look much better.
It can be hard to know when natural lighting is good or what kinds of indoor lighting would look the best. So if you don’t know much about lighting, be sure to ask your wedding photographer what they think about your lighting options, as they’ll be experienced with lighting and will know how to help you get the best lighting for your wedding.
Note: If you want some more detailed information on lighting for your wedding, I have a comprehensive post that can help you learn your options, plan your day, and avoid common mistakes. Check it out here!
Planning for Gratuities
Often, people forget about gratuities until they get very close to their wedding date. This sometimes means that couples end up going over their budget, as they didn’t leave room in it for gratuities. To avoid that, be sure to include gratuities in your budget as you book your vendors.
Also, in the week before your wedding, prepare for actually giving out gratuities by putting cash into marked envelopes. This will help you avoid having to spend valuable time heading to the bank or an ATM the day before your wedding (or the day of— I’ve seen it happen!).
To help ensure your guests are fed and happy at your wedding, it’s a good idea to allow your guests to notify you of dietary restrictions when they RSVP. While you don’t have to plan your whole wedding menu around guest dietary restrictions, it’s kind to consider having additional food for those with dietary restrictions. Caterers are used to managing things like allergies and dietary restrictions and, if you notify them early, they should be able to plan to provide certain guests different meals (or, if you’re doing things buffet style, you can have your caterers mark what’s vegetarian, vegan, gluten free, etc. on your buffet with small cards).
You can put “vegan” or “vegetarian” options to check on your rsvp card and you can also put an open field where guests can notify you of any unique dietary restrictions or food allergies.
If you do have guests with dietary restrictions, be sure to notify your caterers of where they’re sitting on your seating chart (they’ll be thankful!).
Cleaning Your Engagement Ring
By the time your wedding day rolls around, you’ve probably worn your engagement ring for many months. But, with time comes some grime. With regular everyday wear, engagement rings can start to look a little dull or dim, due to natural build up on the diamonds, gemstones, or metal. So, to make sure your engagement ring looks its best on your big day (and shines in pictures!), remember to schedule a professional engagement ring cleaning shortly before your big day.