This weekend my mother and I did a "site survey" for my wedding.
We staked out a wedding taking place at the church where I'm getting married in less than three weeks to see how everything unfolded. Parked strategically across the street from the church, we were able to observe what time the bridal party arrived, where guests were parking, and what time the ceremony started and ended. I even snuck unobtrusively into the back of the church to take a peek at the proceedings in progress!
The experience gave us some good ideas for the logistics on my wedding day. And now that I've tackled the wedding day timeline, the next step is communicating all of that logistical information to the wedding party and family members involved.
"Review the day of the wedding" with the wedding party, says celebrity wedding planner Mindy Weiss. "[Tell them] what time they need to be ready and discuss transportation to and from the church."
When it comes to the schedule of the ceremony itself, Weiss says all of that is generally covered at the rehearsal.
"Usually the church wedding coordinator is quite thorough," she said, "But make sure everyone in the wedding party knows where to go once they are down the aisle and everyone knows their roles ... the readers, candle-lighter etc."
My parents and I also started thinking about some of the details at the reception site, from where we'd like to place the table cards to where we'll take pictures. We also discussed what to do in lieu of cocktails outside on the terrace if (gulp) it rains or is cold out.
I want to have some personal touches as part of the day, and one thing I haven't quite decided on yet is how to do a guest book in an original way.
Weiss says there are lots of options beyond the standard, lined guest book.
One of the most popular choices with her clients, she said, is a photo booth. Your guests pop in and take pictures, and one strip of photos is used in the guest book and they get to take the other home.
"The guests sign the scrapbook type book and paste [in] their picture and it becomes a fun coffee table book" for the bride and groom to keep," she said.
Weiss also says you can get creative and do something that fits with the couple's interests and personality. She recently created an event for a couple who did a library card box instead of a guest book because the bride loves to read, and had everyone sign a library card. (CLICK HERE to read about the wedding and see photos on Mindy's website.)
With only three weeks to go until my wedding, Weiss says I still have time to do something personalized.
"Some photographers take engagement pictures and make it into a sign-in book that the guests can sign and enjoy the pictures," she said. "You still have time to make a book online."
Does my reception really have to have a "theme"? Television shows and magazines keep referring to the bride's theme. I've seen Tuscan-themed, diamond- themed, and even winter-themed. I was planning to just pick a color scheme for the linens and bridesmaid dresses, have some pretty candle centerpieces and go from there.
Weiss said there's no need for a theme for your wedding. She said the viewer's plan sounds "lovely."
"You don't have to have a theme...in fact, you and your partner should be the theme!"