Well, it's the beginning of September and the big stuff is done! Whew!! Finalized my decor (thank goodness, that was a toughy as y'all know), got my passport (finally got approved, thanks US government), started to book our honeymoon (which I'm thinking that I should do a post just about that after we get back, yeah?), vendors are booked, the scheduling of the last meetings have been done, you name it, it's done! But it doesn't stop there...there's the little details now. Yay!! Everyone loves those, right? ;)
So let's back up a little bit; the decor was such an issue for me. I wanted to include cactus' so bad, but yet have a vintage romantic theme. That was a hard thing to figure out and design when it's your own. If it was a client of mine, no biggie! So annoying. Anyways, as you know we were spray painting our own bottles (all shapes and sizes) and then we got to the point of the collection where we had to mock up a layout and table arrangement so we could actually count how many we needed, which is not my forte when it comes to my OWN projects btw. We also had to count the cactus', candles, votives, in addition to the extras we would have to use for the gift table, our love story timeline, and everything in-between. Although I really, really, really wanted to do a mixture of banquet tables and round tables, it was just going to be too many bottles to haul around. I mean when you think about it, you have to put 2 times as much on the banquet to make it even look nice since there's more space compared to a round. So we are sticking with all rounds for the guest tables. Unfortunately, brides sometimes can't get everything they want :/
We played around with the idea of the rounds and after we estimated how much space the plates, silverware, and glassware would take up, we decided that we would do 3 single stems in the middle with 2 cactus' and 3 candles. For the head table, we were just going to use our bouquets as the centerpieces so my staff will put them in cylinders once we leave for the cocktail hour (side note: this can save you some money! Since you're already paying for them and you're only holding on to them for the photos and ceremony, you might as well get the most out of them). Then to fill up the space a little bit more, we'll add some bottles, some cactus', and of course candles. With (2) 8 ft banquets and then crescent tables on either end (we are doing a harvest table which is when people sit on either side of the table rather than having them all sit on 1 side facing the crowd - sometimes a harvest table can save you space and sometimes it can't), we will end up with our 6 bridesmaid bouquets with my bigger bouquet in the middle, 8 candles to scatter, 8 cactus' to scatter and because the tables are wider and larger, we'll put 10 extra bottles of single stems to scatter as well (if need be). We want to make it look full, but not too full. So we got the final numbers, after my interns counted about 3 more times after I did ;)
Hint: Always get extra everything from candles, votives, flowers (especially if you're doing single stems like me), linens, etc. just in case! Once you set the room up like planned, there will be little nooks and crannies you can fill up with the "extras". Plus, you have to think about those "emergency" situations too! Another thing to take in mind, is make sure that you have someone setting up that has the eye for that sort of thing (if you don't have a planner).
Another hint: Always mock up a table! You want to make sure that by the time everything gets on the table centerpiece-wise, there's enough room for the must's like the plates, silverware, etc. ESPECIALLY for the head table! Head tables tend to have a lot more "stuff" on it! I have seen it where there was barely any room for the must's. So make sure you ask your venue (if they're providing the tables) the measurements of the tables, width and length, along with the quantity.
Our mock up
We also had to figure out what "extra" signage we needed like bar menus (people want to know the bar situation. It's handy to post it on your website like "cash bar" or "beer/wine hosted till it runs out" or "hosted all night", etc. You can also have it on the bar so bartenders don't have to keep repeating themselves. If you do put it on your website, guests can plan accordingly and get money before the wedding if needed, we all know ATM fees suck), food menus (sometimes people just need to be told what to do), welcome sign, instructions on "signing our growlers" since that was going to be our guest book, signage for directions (restrooms, gift table since it's not right inside the entryway, and the photo booth). Along with a sign for outside so people know where to enter since there's 5 million doors to Landmark. And lastly, we are going to have a sign by the exit with the shuttle times since our guests will probably forget even though it's at the hotel and on our website. So overall, don't forget about signage as part of your decor set up! Again, people need to be told what to do and where things are. I'm sure you have been there before. Put yourself in that situation again when planning your wedding decor.
The hardest part about my complete decor set up was making sure everything tied in together!! It's hard to visual something when you don't have the venue and all the supplies, including the exact flowers, to do a mock set up. In the end, I think our flowers that we chose (see past post) will tie it all in. The cactus' can be funny to play around with since you automatically think of the desert, but we should be fine ;) People don't notice anyways if things don't flow together, only the bride (or myself as a wedding planner) will notice. So at some point you just have to give up, throw in the towel, go with it and trust your gut that everything will look great together.
We did run into a little unexpected cost when it came to our "decor set up". The linens!! Because I have worked with Marna's Catering before and because I saw the ivory chair covers we were going to go with at Linen Effects, something wasn't sitting right with me. I emailed Marna's and asked if they could send me a sample of their ivory linen which they did. At my last meeting with Linen Effects when I was making my final decision on everything, I brought the sample with me to hold up against the chair covers. These chairs were going to be bumped up against the guest tables so you don't want the ivories to be mismatched, right? Right! And that is exactly what happened!! The ivory linen from Marna's (which is included in our catering quote) didn't match with the ivory chair covers from Linen Effects! If we were going with white or black, no biggie! But with ivory, there's different shades; they can be a little bit more yellow looking or an actual ivory. So we had to add linens to our order at Linen Effects! Yay to spending more unexpected money!! :/
Hint: Always put money to the side as these things DO happen!
We just had our details meeting on September 13th with the venue (always schedule it 1 month before your wedding as most details will be worked out by then). In order for them to do the layout and finalize everything, we had to know the following: final guest count, what tables did we need besides the head table and guest tables, the specs for the music, vendor arrival times, what equipment and decor was being brought in if any, etc. You name it, they need to know!
Hint: It's always good to start planning your production schedule as vendor contracts come in as sometimes what you're paying for includes a certain amount of time. That way you get a head start for your details meeting. This also includes asking those vendors what they need at the venue so you don't forget to ask them in a few months. Do it right then and there.
Another hint: It's also smart to have RSVP's due a month and and half before your wedding since your details meeting will be 1 month before. Like us, we just got a final RSVP on September 12th and they were due on August 28th.
I did get my layout the 14th and there were a lot more tables that were different sizes than we originally planned. We have bistro tables, high tops, 6 ft rounds (seated for 10 people) and 5 ft rounds (seated for 8 people). Our harvest table changed a bit which now there were going to be crescent rounds on either end. Then there were the tables that were in-between like the photo booth prop table which had to be 6 ft, the dessert table which had to be 8 ft because we were going to put coffee on it, you name it. To save money, we had to see what tables were going to have chairs next to them (which again, we had to order those linens from Linen Effects so they would match their chair covers) and then what size they were along with how many. In result to having the rest of the linens come from Marna's since they were already included in our catering quote. Talk about a lot of math and a lot of second guessing yourself, which is why I had my interns count 3 more times after I did....again! Even when it came to the final count of single stems!
It's all about the little details and making sure you got everything. The best way to make sure you didn't forget anything is go through the day play by play and go from table to table in the layout. Now the production schedule is another ball game, but y'all will have to wait for that one ;)