Once you have your wedding vendor team in place, there is usually a sigh of relief. Because a big chunk of your planning is done.
And that’s true. Finding your wedding vendors is big part of your wedding.
It’s also hard work. And you should take a breather!
But what many couples don’t realize is that figuring out all your wedding logistics can take just as much time or more than finding your vendors ever did.
And that’s a huge part of what comes next.
Now you might be thinking, what are wedding logistics exactly?
It’s everything needed to make your wedding actually run. And run smoothly. Everything from schedules and timing to layout and floorplans.
It’s equipment and setup and breakdown. It’s COVID safe procedures and who is going to get lunch or pick up the flowers.
There is a lot that goes into logistics.
So how do you start to think about it?
Don’t worry, Stephanie is here to help you!
In this Part 8 installment of a wedding planner turned bride’s journey, we’re talking wedding logistics.
And make sure you check out all of the tips and info from Stephanie and Kirk’s wedding planning journey from the beginning:
Engagement ring shopping online (part 2)
How to start planning your wedding (part 3)
How to create your wedding budget (part 4)
Wedding dress shopping (part 5)
Finding the wedding venue (part 6)
Hiring wedding vendors (part 7)
So, let’s pick up the story where we left off …
Once we had our wedding venues and vendors secured, we were thrilled.
After waiting for the pandemic to ease, our wedding was finally coming together. And we were happy that we had successfully navigated the post-lockdown wedding competition without too many setbacks.
To read more about how that went, check out my previous post!
So, what came next? Logistics.
Can I admit something?
One of my favorite parts of wedding planning is logistics!
Of course, flowers and design are fun and creative. But there’s something deeply satisfying about diving into the knitty-gritty details of a wedding and fitting them together like pieces of a complex puzzle.
I love that feeling as the elements of a wedding come together and click into place.
If this doesn’t exactly resonate with you, you’re not alone!
In fact, I’m probably a bit of an anomaly, and my enthusiasm for the logistics of wedding planning is one of the reasons I do what I do.
Don’t worry though, I’ve got some tips for you!
SCHEDULE AND TIMING
The first thing we worked on was our timeline for the day.
We put together a very rough schedule for our ceremony and dinner, including ample travel time from one venue to the other.
Then, we approached our photographer to find out how much time we would need for couple portraits and group photos.
Once we got her feedback and recommendations, we worked backwards and built the schedule for the rest of the day.
When the schedule was ready, I ran it past everyone to get their comments.
At this stage in the process, we ran into a small issue with the timing at our ceremony venue. Luckily, there was time to address the problem and straighten out the details before the wedding.
*PRO TIP: Check in with your vendors about timing before you build your wedding day schedule so you have their needs. Then once the schedule is ready, send it to your venues and vendors to review. You want to make sure everyone involved gets their eyes on the timeline before it’s finalized. This allows you time to iron out any kinks.
When putting together your schedule, it’s really important to give yourself more time than you need for each item on your timeline. That could be for setup, hair and makeup, toasts, etc. because you don’t know what will transpire that day.
The wiggle room will prevent things from feeling rushed.
It also gives you some cushion in case you or your vendors end up running behind.
For us, we allotted ourselves lots of extra time for travel from the ceremony to the restaurant, in case we ran into traffic.
And as it turned out, pictures at our ceremony venue ended up taking quite a bit longer than we planned. But, it worked out fine because we had that extra time built into our schedule.
*PRO TIP: When working on your timeline, don’t forget your meals! Make sure you include time as you’re getting ready to eat breakfast and/or lunch before the wedding. You’ll need the energy!
The next thing we tackled were tasks.
We tried to leave as little to do on the day of the wedding as possible, so as not to overburden ourselves or our family members. That being said, there were still a few things that we had to handle.
So we made a list!
We wanted to keep tasks relatively minimal for our guests, so they wouldn’t have much to do other than show up. However, we did want guests to carpool given the lack of parking at our venue.
To organize this, we first included relevant information on our wedding website. Then we sent an email a week before the wedding to reiterate those details.
Because our wedding was so small, we were in pretty close contact with all of our guests leading up to the wedding. And we were able to answer any questions they sent our way easily.
*PRO TIP: If you have a larger wedding and don’t have time for hundreds of questions from guests, make sure that your wedding website is as informative and as clear as possible. Spell it out for them and make it easy.
I also asked my sister if she could help me with a few simple tasks, like ordering our breakfast and lunch to eat while we were getting ready. And we asked Kirk’s brother if he could film the ceremony for us, so we’d have a video of it to watch later.
*PRO TIP: If you have family and/or friends helping you with wedding tasks, have the information laid out for them clearly. Include a timeline as well if that’s helpful. And if the task is more complicated, send the info to them in an email beforehand, so they have time to review the details. The goal here is to make it as easy as possible for them to help you.
Once we had the overall timeline and tasks for our wedding day taken care of, Kirk and I turned our attention to our wedding ceremony.
We talked about what we wanted and discussed how our vows were the most important part of the ceremony. So, we decided that we wanted to write them ourselves.
Outside of that, we didn’t have much else in terms of readings or traditions that we wanted to include.
We decided that we would keep the ceremony short and sweet, particularly because our guests would be standing for the ceremony.
My sister was our officiant, so we put together an initial outline for our ceremony and chatted with her about it to get her thoughts and feedback.
Here’s the general outline we decided upon:
- Officiant’s Personalized Opening
- I Do’s
*PRO TIP: When it comes to your wedding ceremony, you can be as original as you want, but don’t feel compelled to reinvent the wheel if you don’t want to. The internet is full of wedding ceremony resources, scripts, and videos. Cherry pick the things that resonate the most with you to create a ceremony that is meaningful and personal.
Once we had a ceremony created, we did a little rehearsal (while still keeping our vows secret).
This is super important especially if you’re working with a family/friend so the ceremony flows seamlessly on the day of the wedding.
So, we ran through the ceremony a couple of times and thank god we did! Because the first run through wasn’t pretty.
We ended up having a lot of discussion about how we wanted to do things and what we should do with our hands.
The rehearsal was a good chance for us to work through any awkwardness.
Now it wouldn’t be a pandemic wedding if we didn’t talk about COVID.
Thankfully, because of how we planned the wedding, there wasn’t too much more to deal with in terms of logistics and COVID safety.
Both the ceremony and the reception were outdoors. All of the guests in our small wedding were vaccinated, so masks or tests weren’t necessary. And our vendors were also vaccinated as well, but did wear masks around us.
At the time of the wedding in July, we didn’t feel we needed to take additional precautions. And we felt that our wedding was small enough and safe enough to handle any challenges that the pandemic and narrowing restrictions might throw our way.
And it was!
*PRO TIP: Think through your COVID precautions and procedures ahead of time. The safer you can make your wedding during the planning the process, the easier it will be to deal with COVID restrictions if they come up.
So, those were the major wedding logistics that we tackled for our wedding!
But there are other logistics as well like floorplans, shuttle schedules, rental orders and beverage lists. These didn’t apply for our wedding, but every wedding is different.
And the logistics you’ll need to think through will be different as well. But don’t worry, as a Passport to Joy member, we can help you with all of them.
And don’t forget to tune in to my next planning post!
Got a wedding logistics question now? Let us know in a comment below and we’ll be happy to help you figure it out.
And as Stephanie said, as a Passport to Joy member you’ll not only get guidance on all the logistics, but you have access to a personal wedding advisor to get all your questions answered.