Right before we open the doors, I station one or two assistants by the escort card table and the entrance in order to assist guests find their cards and their table. I wrote a blog about the importance of providing your coordinator with an alphabetical list of guests and their assignments that I recommend reading.
It takes 5-15 minutes to get guests seated depending on how many guests there are and whether they were able to find their escort card during cocktail hour or they have to find it on their way to the ballroom. If we are doing a grand entrance with the entire bridal party my assistants have to round them up as guests are finding their seats. If only the bride & groom are doing a grand entrance I just keep them hidden as guests won’t go ANYWHERE if they see the bride or groom! I always feel so bad pulling my couple away from their guests, but we just can’t get anything happening until they are hidden!
Once the guests are seated my assistant runs to tell the DJ or Band that we are a GO! for the Grand Entrance. We open the ballroom doors and the reception begins. Once the activities start happening, I make sure that everyone gets their cues for their toasts, etc. Rarely during the reception is the room left without myself or one of my assistants keeping an eye on everything. When the reception starts I cut my staff down to one or two assistants. I talk to the Banquet Captain throughout the evening to make sure that they are ready for things like the champagne toast and cake cutting, and I check in with my clients at least every 30 minutes. After guests are served their entrees I check with the Captain to see when and where the vendor meals will be served. When our meals are ready I let my clients know that the vendors will be out for about 15-20 minutes to eat. This is usually the first time I sit down since I had breakfast that morning. Getting back up hurts my feet and legs so I’ve started taking an aspirin or two around the reception start time.
Once all of the big activities such as cake cutting are finished and guests are dancing, my assistant and I start discretely packing up items so that when the reception is finished, we have almost everything packed and loaded either in the bridal suite or a family SUV. A checklist of all personal items is kept and either a family member or bridesmaid signs off stating that they have seen all of these items packed and secured.
When the reception ends I’m usually around for about 30-45 more minutes to say goodnight and make sure everyone is ok. Once I get home I pour myself a glass of wine and fill a large bowl with cold water and ice cubes. I find that soaking my feet in ice water takes away all of the swelling and soreness and I’m good to go the next day!
And that, my friends, is a wedding day from my perspective.
To see a 5 minute video of me actually working a wedding click HERE.