Preparing for the Wedding Day
- What a Planner Does to Prepare
- How an Assistant Can Prepare
- Cultural Wedding Advice
- Wedding Planner Terminology
Wedding planners spend months and months organizing a client’s wedding. Depending on the service they have been hired to do, they will send out client worksheets, help with design, and even go to vendor meetings. A wedding management client can easily add up to 25 hours of work. A partial planning or full-service client can easily add up to far more. By the end of the planning process, the planner will have a very good idea of all the logistics involved and how to implement all the wedding details.
The more prepared everyone is for the event, the better the outcome will be. However, a planner might not feel fully comfortable with sharing their wedding info until the day of the wedding. If that is the case, be sure to respect it. If you’re working for a planner who is at ease with sharing certain wedding documentation, be sure to ask to see things a few days before the wedding.
Ask to see a copy of the master timeline. This can help you visualize the flow of the event and day in its entirety. If you need a little clarification on an event or process, be sure to ask the planner.
Ask to see the reception floor plan. Most likely, you’re going to be doing a lot of setup, so seeing what you’re getting yourself into in advance can be rewarding.
Ask to see the inventory worksheet. Knowing what the bride will be bringing in and where she wants things placed will give you an extra advantage on the day of the wedding.
Questions to Ask
If you have a quick moment to chat with the planner a few days before the wedding, try to gather some of these details:
- Ask about time constraints or room-flip issues
- Ask about the flow of setup
- Ask about how many hours the couple will have the venue(s)
- Ask about any family dynamics to be aware of
- Ask about dinner accommodations
For Indian weddings, Jewish weddings, and other religious/cultural weddings, these weddings may be very different from the basics we talk about throughout this course. Be sure to ask your wedding planner if you’re assisting with a cultural wedding. If so, ask for specific logistics and details about the wedding. Cultural weddings are a great learning experience and something that can be niche. If you get an opportunity to assist with one, take the time to learn as much as possible by researching all the details before the event.
If you’re just entering into the world of wedding planning, you might be overwhelmed with the new lingo that may be hurled at you any given second. And as a new wedding assistant, you certainly don’t want to have that deer-in-the-headlights look when someone asks you to do something. Don’t fret: understanding the wedding terminology will come in its own time. The longer you’re in the industry, the more fluent with the lingo you’ll become.
We all had to start somewhere, right? Today, I’m breaking down the must-know terms so you can get through your first few weddings with confidence. Take a moment and study these new terms, knowing that mastering wedding terminology takes time. Don’t be afraid to ask a vendor friend to explain a term in more detail if needed.
All-inclusive. This is a flat fee that includes a range of services. You see this most often provided by destination wedding resorts.
Final Guarantee/Final Count. This is the final head count given to the caterer. The couple will pay for this number and is usually needed roughly two weeks in advance.
First Look. The first look takes place before the ceremony where the bride and groom are staged to see each other for the first time.
Fondant. A pliable, decorative cake covering used to decorate or sculpt wedding cakes.
GOBO. A laser-cut piece of acrylic or metal that is placed inside or in front of a light source to control the shape of the emitted light. You will often see this at the reception on the dance floor or walls.
Grand Entrance. The moment when the members of the bridal party are announced to the wedding guests as they enter the reception.
Hard Stop. This is when the wedding reception comes to an end and the DJ stops playing music. You usually have about an hour left for cleanup.
In-house. Some venues offer more than just their venue space. Additional services may include furniture rentals, catering, and coordination. Due to liability reasons, bar service might also be in-house.
In-house Catering. This is when catering services are supplied by the wedding venue. Usually, off-site caterers are not permitted when this is the case. You will see this at hotel weddings.
Personal Flowers. This refers to the bouquets, corsages, and boutonnieres of the bridal party.
Processional. The choreographed entrance of the bridal party into the ceremony.
Rain Plan. Also known as “Plan B,” a rain plan is created in case bad weather is threatening an outdoor ceremony and/or reception.
Recessional. The choreographed exit of the bridal party from the ceremony space.
Room Flip. At weddings where the reception is being held in the same space as the ceremony, the guests will often be ushered into a different space for a cocktail hour while vendors transform the ceremony space into the reception.
Send-off. The gathering of the wedding guests to say goodbye to the newlyweds as they leave the wedding reception. This could include sparklers, bubbles, petals, etc.
Stationery Suite. A matching set of wedding stationery that typically includes save-the-dates, wedding invitations, reply cards, etc.
Tablescape. The stylish arrangement of items (ex: place settings, centerpieces, candles) on a table.
Tasting. A service provided by some caterers for the bride and groom to sample different dishes in order to decide which ones they would like to be served at their wedding.
Uplighting. Using upward light to transform the reception space to take on a different ambiance for the night.
Vendor Meal. This is a meal provided by the hotel or catering company, which is typically paid for by the couple for a reduced rate. This is usually a cold deli sandwich and a bag of chips.
Venue Walkthrough. A service where the bride and groom can tour a venue to get a better understanding of what can be done with the space for their future ceremony and/or reception.
Watermark. Some wedding photographers will “watermark” their images, meaning their logo is included somewhere on the images.