It’s tour time! Just when you started to figure out this whole narrowing down the sea of options and asking questions now it’s time to be nervous about touring.
If you haven’t used the first part of the guide you’ll want to think through questions to ask before touring like alcohol or vendor policies. Maybe you want to have signature cocktails but some venues only allow beer and wine, or no alcohol at all. Or perhaps you plan to hire the DJ that worked your cousin’s wedding because he was amazing and you want people on the dance floor - you want to make sure you tour venues that allow outside vendors.
There are two sides to the tour: Getting ready and what to expect when you’re there.
We recommend choosing no more than your top 6 choices to visit. You can always visit more if those don’t work out, but if you’ve asked all the questions before then odds are you may only have 4 - 6 that are a great fit for you so there is no need to cause yourself more confusion or have to cancel brunch with the besties while you visit 20+ venues.
When you go you should take a notebook or the 2 page worksheet from the second part of the venue guide. This is where you’ll fill in all the answers to the questions you ask and take notes so you don’t forget anything about the property and how you felt during your visit. Of course everything planning related is more fun when you share it with others so grab your fiancé, bestie or a family member to go with you. Give them something to do - like take photos/videos during the tour and save yourself the easy task.
We don’t recommend taking more than 3 people with you on tours for the simple reason that most times it results in a stressed couple who feels like their voice was lost as everyone else asks questions, chats with excitement and they don’t get to do what they came to do.
What to expect on a tour
When you arrive to the venue you will want to plan to show up 10 - 15 minutes early, but not to get started early. This gives you a chance to breathe, to get your papers/notebook ready and if you’re in DFW, possible chill out from the traffic. It also gives you the chance to leisurely walk up to the venue, to stop and take in the view, walk around the grounds and find the office or personal you will be meeting with. Over all - it drastically changes your experience versus rushing in late, whipping into a parking spot to jump out of the car as you drop your phone (bummer) and rush in to start a meeting short winded.
Before you say goodbye they should review any package and service options you are interested in and yes, that means pricing. We get that can be an uncomfortable conversation - you don’t want to feel like you’re stuck in a car dealership and odds are, they don’t want you to either. In reality though, that is why you are there. This is most likely the last time you will sit face to face with them before booking the venue so it’s time to make sure you know all the details and avoid any surprises.
Don’t forget that one of these venues is going to be the perfect fit for you - and when that happens the next step is to make it official and reserve your date. If you are at that stage and wanting to check off the location from your planning list be sure to have what you need on hand to book the venue.
As you heard in the episode, a few big questions we think you cannot skip (don’t worry they are on the guide along with 13 other questions) are:
It’s getting close to your day and now you’ve got all the decorations and fun stuff set it’s time to focus on rehearsing your ceremony. By now you should have the ceremony specifics set with your officiant to know the ins and outs of what will happen so that you can do a run-through and share that with your wedding party and immediate family members. If you haven’t figured out all those details yet you will want to so that your rehearsal runs smoothly and is effective.
Here are 4 of the big questions when it comes to rehearsals and the answers/tips our team has for you when planning for your rehearsal.
Oh man, if only we could express the importance of rehearsing enough. Your ceremony is the why to the who day - all the planning you’ve put in, the goal and focus of your day. It’s the moment and memory that you will carry with you for the rest of your lives as you start your journey together. Your ceremony comes with a lot of heartfelt emotions, and rehearsing the steps will only allow you to live in the moment more while you worry about what’s next less.
The rehearsal also ensures that your family and wedding party are prepared, comfortable, and ready for the day. Your wedding party wants nothing more than to do their part and fulfill their role - giving them a rehearsal will give them the tools and knowledge to do just that. Don’t skip your rehearsal - not matter when/where you do it or with whom, it will keep everyone on the same page and make for a smooth ceremony.
All this to say that morning rehearsals have become the most popular answer for couples - it allows everyone to attend without extending your schedule too much. It also opens your evening before to do whichever activities you want - dinner with the wedding party, your family or a private date night running final errands. Morning rehearsals can also mean celebrating with a brunch for fun saving money compared to a rehearsal dinner, and also typically means that everyone can make the rehearsal.
What if you don’t want to see each other that day? No problem! Run through the ceremony 2 - 3 times with one of you (whoever needs more time to get ready) and then another 2 times with the other partner (typically the groom).
Some couples prefer to rehearse in advance - sometimes a week before, other times mid week just days before, and some the old school night before. It’s really a personal choice outlined and crafted based on you and your wedding party’s schedules.
If your venue is one of the few that includes a rehearsal time onsite you will want to coordinate with them based on their availability as well. Otherwise, your next detail is determining where.
Knowing who to have at rehearsal will help you know what parts/things to think through and have ready for that day and also help answer any questions your family and friends may through your way. The big ones obvious - “Do I need to be there?”
So, who does need to be there? Well here’s a quick run down…
So you’ve told the key players they need to come to the rehearsal… now what do you need to do at rehearsal? If you have the rehearsal workbook and guide follow the checklist and worksheets you completed to make sure you haven’t forgotten anything. For those of you doing this thing solo and without a professional or the help of a workbook here’s a quick list we recommend on what to cover during rehearsal:
Love these photos? Us too! Check out more of April Sapp's Photography Work
Planning for your ceremony is a big deal - it is after all the whole reason for planning a wedding right? Most couples tell us that like most of the planning, they aren’t even sure where to even get started and just sort of “end up” planning the ceremony. So we decided to pull together 4 tips to get started on planning what is sure to be the BEST thing about your day - your ceremony!
One thing we cannot stress enough when it comes to your ceremony is to choose your officiant wisely. We dive into this a little more in our blog that talks about whether or not to have a family or friend officiate but at the end of the day you want to make sure you talk through your ceremony in-depth with your officiant. It will get you all on the same page, make sure you are both prepared and ready for a smooth ceremony. Okay so on to the tips!
Officiant (of course) - make sure they are legally ordained in your area so that it counts!
Wedding Party - who will be standing by you? Whether it’s just 1 person for each of you or 8 on each side choose wisely. Those photos are going to be hanging on the living room wall for the rest of your lives! All kidding aside, your wedding parties do not have to be even in number so don’t stress that too much. Of course, you’ll also want to know who your maid of honor / best man is as well [or man of honor / best maid].
Family - parents, grandparents, siblings, and aunts/uncles. They will all want to know if they have a role, what it will be, what to wear, and where to be. Traditionally parents are a part of the procession. Grandparents really depend on how comfortable they are walking, and your overall vision. Commonly we have siblings or an aunt or uncle that take the place in these roles as well - so if your family structure is unique let it shine! You should be surrounded by your family, no matter what their label is.
Flower girl and ring bearers - when choosing these roles most couples are still sticking to the traditional route and choosing young ones. You will want to think through their ages - under 3 will need to be accompanied down the aisle. If there are no children in your life then don’t sweat it! Half of our weddings do not have either of these and the others sometimes just have one or the other. Again - it is your day so do it your way!
A new trend we’re seeing includes adults in these roles and simply giving their title a small change. Put your brother on petal patrol complete with a server's half apron that has pockets full of petals - or ask your grandparents to carry a single stem flower and your rings down the aisle instead.
Ushers and greeters - this is an area we’ve seen change over the past couple of years as well. Ushers are not a typical role now that “choose a seat not a side” has become so popular. However, you should think back to those grandparents and parents you decided to include in your ceremony. Traditionally, the women will need an escort down the aisle and their significant other will follow behind. Especially if their significant other is walking, say, the bride down the aisle.
Greeters, or the welcome party as we call them are a great way to welcome your guests. Have them staged at the entrance to your ceremony area, perhaps by your guest book handing out programs or waters to your guests as they arrive.
Some cultures extend this by having the ceremony (or one of them) on a separate day. You also want to decide what time of day fits your vision the best.
This is just the beginning of planning your ceremony but remember - it may not take up much time the day of (at least compared to your reception) but it is the most important part of your day and deserves all the attention it demands during planning! A few other things to think about include:
If you've read our Part 1 to starting your timeline then you already have your outline - the big moving pieces listed out and ready to rock. Now it's time to plug in all your specifics and make it your own and make it fit your day. Everyone has a different list, recently we are seeing less and less of some traditions such as the garter toss. So if there is anything you do or don't want to include in your wedding ceremony or reception timeline feel free to make it all you own!
Let's do a quick run down of some of the most common / main items.
Timeline 101 Prep: Before You Dive in...
Oh timelines… It’s a key part of planning and commonly the main part that our couples say they either are dreading or are worried about for the day of. We get that, there is a lot that goes into it and so many moving pieces! Not to mention, you actually want to be able to kick back and enjoy the whole thing, not just stare at the clock and go one checklist item at a time right?
Before you dive into your timeline there are some things you should have ready, some information that will help you shape your timeline and bring all the pieces together.
1 - Vendors and Venue(s): Contracted Times
So the big question: How long do you have access and do you have your pros onsite?
A quick check to your contract and services should solve all your questions for this. You will want to make a quick note of the times. For your venue, you want to know what time you have access and what time you need to be cleaned up and offsite. If you have more than one venue you will want to know how long it takes to travel from the first to the second - a bigger perk is that Google maps will let you pick a day and time to account for normal traffic patterns during that time so you can really plan appropriately. If you have any other services included with your venue package (for example, at our venue we include security) make a quick note for how many hours you have that as well.
For your professionals, such as your photographer and DJ, you will want to know how many hours you have paid - and how much additional time would cost you too just in case you want to extend your time.
The average rehearsal lasts 4 hours and most guests don’t last much longer so don’t worry about keeping things going too long - they’ll be having so much fun on the dance floor they will be wiped! You can always have an after-party at a local bar for those who aren’t ready to finish up celebrating your new milestone!
2 - Ceremony Time: Sunset and Time of Year
First you need to decide what time of day you'd like to say " I Do". If you’re picturing a traditional evening reception with dinner complete with sunset golden hour photos then you will want to know two quick things.
First - what time does the sun set on your date? This is easily done with a quick google search. Simply include your date and location like so: [sunset in Krum, Texas on 10/10/20]. Secondly - use this info to chat with your photographer! They are the pro after all, and they will most likely have a preferred time to capture your photos and ceremony before the sun goes down.
Bonus - have an idea if you want to take sneak peeks or wait to see each other during the ceremony? Let your photographer know so that they can plan accordingly and designate more time before or after your ceremony.
Don’t forget about the time change! This is a BIG one particularly if your date is in November or March. Keep this in mind as it will make a big difference in when you’d like your ceremony to begin and of course for when things will get dark in a hurry.
So what happens once that's been accomplished? Now that you’ve worked so hard to draft the perfect timeline what do you do with it?
First up - have your pros look it over! If you don’t have a coordinator, ask your photographer, DJ, or another vendor to check it out. When you’re all set you will want it to be shared with your key people including:
If you’re needing help with your timeline reach out to our team! Like drafting floor plans, this is a service we help with and would love to help keep planning a little easier on you and give you one less thing to worry about.
Contact our team HERE.
Check out more on Timeline 101: What's in a Timeline HERE
10340 Jackson Rd. Krum, TX 76249