Pre-Ceremony Set up
If my car is not packed already, my husband helps me load it up with my emergency kit (a 60lb suitcase) and all of the bride’s personal items. I get to the venue between two and three hours before the invitation time depending on the amount of set up involved. Usually I have a bridal attendant assigned to the bride who will arrive earlier to assist the bridal party with whatever they need (and to be my eyes and ears). I have a powwow with the assistants who are working with me that day (as few as 1, as many as 6 depending on the complexity) to go over the flow and things to be aware of that day.
Vendors start rolling in asking tons of questions and I feel like the air traffic controllers on the runways flagging planes in. The assistants start on ceremony set up first, then move to cocktail hour set up, and finally reception. Sometimes the set up is not finished until minutes before the guests walk through the door. One of my pet peeves is for guests to see ANY sort of set up, so I start walking through the areas giving call times. 20 minutes! 10 minutes! Florists are usually scrambling to get the ceremony finished and I’ve been known to keep guests out of the ceremony area so they don’t see somebody’s khaki’d backside unrolling the aisle runner! Throughout all of this set up time the bridal assistant has been keeping the bride on time, herding the bridal party around for photos, and keeping me informed as to whether or not everyone is happy. If someone is not happy I jump to fix that.
Once family arrives things become chaotic and the train is barreling full speed ahead toward a wedding! Everyone has a question or concern and I try to stay in the area to address his or her needs.
In between family questions, I talk to the ceremony musicians to make sure they have their cues, I pass the marriage license off to the officiant, and I make sure that all set up is ready for the ceremony.
(Interesting story about the wedding in the photo: the Chuppah that you see above was made by a relative and had ZERO weight to anchor it down. It was a windy day and it started lifting up like a balloon and we almost had to have the groomsmen walk it down the aisle. Thankfully, one of my assistants thought to wire it to the trees with some of the wire in my emergency kit. It worked!)