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Confirm at least twice with all the service providers that all is on track.
Ensure that you have a least one rehearsal where all involved parties are present. You want to make sure that everyone know where to stand and what to do when they are in “live performance”.
You can never plan ahead and
something can go wrong. Never Fear! You can be prepared and your
guest’s won’t even notice the “mistake”. Here is an emergency kit
for the big day in case of any mishaps.
This is reference documentation needed to change in making the new status official.
The information below should be delivered to each person involved for pre-wedding social and organisational events.
Who pays for what (etiquette)
Who does what?
Arrangements with church, minister, organist, wedding car and his and her transport, best man suit, beverages, honeymoon and hotel reservations(make sure car is in good order if to be used), and lawyer’s appointments. Check passports etc. if you are to travel. Suits should compliment each other and bridal gown. It’s not expected for groom to pay for suits. He has to send a bouquet of flowers to the bride where she is getting dressed on the day. Give Usher and best man details to fiancé, make sure they accepted. Choose the rings with the help of the bride to be.
Introduce the two families. Choose Bridal attendants and their clothes, flowers, all bouquets, flower arrangements of mothers, colour schemes. Works out guest list. Writes and orders the thank you notes. Organise all change of name paperwork. Decide on the date, time and type of wedding. Organise the music.
The Bride's Maid :
Arrange your own transport to the bride's house (if possible). Make yourself available to help the bride and her family with any assistance they may need, prior to the wedding and particularly on the wedding day. Assist and help organise any junior attendants. Help the other attendants and flower girls. Mix with all the guests at the reception. The bridesmaids are often called upon to help read out messages and good wishes cards. Usually there is the same number of groomsmen as bridesmaids allowing for the best man to accompany the matron-of-honour. You have no specific duties except to look after your chosen bridesmaid during and after the ceremony and at all times during the reception. You should also assist the groom and best man before and during the wedding in any way that may be required. If no ushers are chosen to escort the guests to their seats at the church then the groomsmen usually perform this task. Be of any assistance that may be required of you at any time.
Assist groom with arrangements. If a bachelor party is to be held. Try not to have it the night before. It might be fun but can also ruin a perfect day for the couple. Look after the groom and ensure practical jokes don’t go to far. Help photographer arrange the group photos. Gives full attention to the matron of honour at reception. Act as official witness at the signing. Looks after the brides maids in an event of an after party. Safekeeping of any clothes and Travel tickets for the groom on the day.
The Bride's Father :
Provide reception, if agreed. Accompany the bride to the church in the last car and escort her to the correct position at the altar steps. Escort the bride down the aisle which is traditionally representative of what is known as "giving the bride away'. Escort the bridegroom's mother to the vestry and down the aisle. Leave in the third car, to proceed to the reception. Organise a reception speec. Ensure the comfort of all guests. Introduce and socialise with the groom's family and friends. Enjoy this very special day.
The Bride's Mother
The mother of the bride's duties are really in line with the bride's, as it is traditional that most arrangements are made together, especially the mother and daughter have a close relationship. Be aware of the groom's involvement and be sensitive to both the bride's and groom's specific wishes at all times. If you have not met the parents of the groom, it is a good idea to organise a relaxed social event. Often this is a chance to discuss the forthcoming wedding and what expectations each side may have. Arrange the wedding guest list. Ask the groom to organise the guest list for his friends and family, in conference with his parents. Mail invitations at least six to eight weeks before the ceremony. Advise the bride and organise with her all areas of the wedding. Make all arrangements for the wedding and inform the relevant people of their duties. Choose your outfit for the wedding and ensure it complements the colour theme of the wedding. Make accommodation arrangements necessary for out of town guests. Help the bride wherever possible.
Matron of Honour / Chief Bridesmaid
Offer any assistance necessary to the bride and mother of the bride before the wedding, this may include: running errands, recording the details of the wedding gifts as they come in, any shopping that may need to be done, etc. Organise and attend all pre-wedding parties. Help the bride to dress for the ceremony. Help the other attendants and flower girls. On the wedding day, after assisting the bride to precede her to the church in order to be ready to group the bridesmaids. Hold the groom's ring and the bride's bouquet during the ceremony. Stand just behind the bride, to the left, ready to take bouquet and gloves when required. Arrange the bride's veil throughout the ceremony, if it is not falling correctly and neatly. Follow the bride and groom's parents into the vestry. During the reception you are placed near the bride to assist her, checking the bride's hair, make-up, etc. Help the bride to dress into her going-away attire. Help send out wedding cake to friends not present. Offer any assistance to the mothers of the bride and groom throughout the wedding day. Ensure particular attention is given to any child attendants, ensure their safety and help them with all proceedings
Do not open the champagne before the speeches start or preferably keep it off the tables and have the waiters (if available) pour it when the speeches start. Try and keep all in between breaks to a minimum, thus do all the speeches and let the guests have their pudding first before the first dance. Most people start to party right after the first dance and it is difficult to get the people back on the floor once they have sat down.
MASTER OF CEREMONIES
Booking tips and guidelines
The most important advice we can give you is to stay true to yourself, do and choose what is best for you as this your time, your special day. Keeping in mind that their are two families to consider and pleasing everyone is difficult. Before you decide on the date for your wedding, consider where you want the ceremony and reception to be held and investigate availability. Choose a date when your favourite venues are available. Book the venue for the ceremony and reception as a first priority and if any deposits are necessary to secure the booking pay these asap.
BUDGET, BUDGET! Decide on the budget for your wedding before your start making any plans as this will determine many of the choices you make along the way as some options will be more affordable than others. Decide on the number of guests that you will have at your wedding early in the process, as many costs will be dependent on the number of invited guests.
Make sure that every agreement with vendors is IN WRITING! If the vendor does not supply an agreement, write down your notes of what was agreed between you, what undertakings were made by the vendor and what your specific instructions are. Give the vendor a copy of your notes and even get him/her to sign a copy. This way there will be no room for misunderstandings and surprises!
If you can afford it, make use of the services of a professional wedding co-ordinator. They are not as expensive as you think and can alleviate much of the stress that builds as the big day draws closer.
Some Helpful Tips and Ideas:
Giving a wedding a theme is a good way to ensure that all the details come together and compliment each other. This way everything from where you decide to hold the event, the invitations, the music, etc. can all stem from the theme and ensure that your special day is unique and memorable. A theme can give it your personal touch.
Garden Wedding: It allows for the wedding to be a bit more informal. Venues that can be used include botanical gardens, the backyard or garden of your or a friend’s house, a country lodge. A garden wedding allows for a mid-morning wedding which is very cost effective as you can serve breakfast / brunch which is cheaper than lunch or dinner. Also, the bar service is limited to fruit juices and perhaps champagne which really brings down your cost. You can then have the rest of your wedding day to spend either with you new spouse or a very intimate group of close family and friends.
Victorian Wedding: Lace! A Victorian wedding is one that is very formal and is based on the era of Queen Victoria. This would be a grand wedding with lots of pomp and ceremony. The reception could be in the form of an afternoon tea-party or an evening grand ball. You can have some black and white or sepia photographs taken to ensure that these also follow your theme.
Safari Wedding: If you and your partner or lovers of nature and the bushveld, why not combine your two great loves and hold your wedding on safari! Many game lodges, locally and elsewhere in Africa can also accommodate weddings. The African bushveld is a perfect backdrop for your special day and as such allows for a simple but memorable day! Make sure that all the details link into the theme and this will mean earthy tones and natural textures!
Medieval theme: Have the bride and groom as the king and queen and the rest of the people are appointed a theme. The obvious would be to have the people at the main table to be the most important. Arrange with the DJ or MC to do announcements and arrange games or other interesting events……….
The options are endless, use a bit of imagination and enjoy the day.
Book the venue first as this will give you a guide as to how many people you can invite. Get a quote in writing and find out till what time you can book the venue that night Is there a fee if the wedding goes on beyond that time? How early can people gain access to the venue in order to set up? Do they have a catering service? Can you have a band or D.J playing at the venue and until what time? Find out if your church allows photos and videos to be taken inside. If you are booking a hotel find out if there are any other functions happening at the same time as your wedding and if so, will it interfere with your wedding. Is there adequate parking and is there a security guard to ensure that the cars aren't broken into. Make sure if other permits are needed i.e. beach weddings etc.
Seating: It usually seems like a good idea to set the main table on a stage when available but it is more practical to place the disco on a stage as this way they have open view of the crowd. The guests want to talk to the honoured guests as well as the bride and groom want to interact with the guests. You end up with an empty table on the stage or the people sitting there all alone as people get tired of getting on and of a stage and it is a problem for old or disabled people. It is also not advisable to place a main table in front of a stage as the sound will irritate them. Place the older people to the back as this will place them further away from the music and all the main activities which could tire them and they can also enjoy the processions. It is a good idea to place the main table on the side of the dance floor as this would give them easy access and a full view of the processions in their honour. If arranged place all the “workers” such as the dj, videographer, photographer, etc together at one table close to the floor and disco so they can be there when something happens and don’t have to fight thru a crowd to get to the floor. Try and keep the groups of people together in groups whom know each other to get the talking going but don’t split the families. Arrange the tables so that they sit alternatively and not one family left and the other right. Use this opportunity to bring them together.
Lighting: Especially if the event is going to into the evening, ensure that there is sufficient lighting that sets the mood. Make use of fairy lights, candles, and lanterns to provide soft lighting and set a romantic mood! Also ensure that there is lighting on pathways to avoid accidents as guests move around outside
Table Settings: The bulk of the time spent at the wedding is at the table, so ensure that the tables look as attractive as possible and encourage interaction between the guests. Here are some tips:
Centre-pieces: these should be kept low to allow the guest to see each other and chat freely without having to look around the centre-piece. To cut down on the expense of lots of flowers, use flowers along with candles or fruit (which can be eaten) to create attractive centre-pieces. At one event, the centre-piece was a glass bowl with water and rounded stones at the bottom completed by a live goldfish. At the end of the event, one of the guests at each table could take the goldfish home!
Name cards: this is a great way of personalising table settings and making each guest feel individually welcomed. A message of welcome and thanks can be included on each name card.
Linen: the table linen can add to the decor as you can opt to incorporate colour rather than the traditional starched white! Napkins can be folded in creative ways and tied with ribbon or sprigs of herbs to add character. Clever folded napkins can also be a clever way to “package” the cutlery and save table space!
Crockery: it is well worth the expense to use good quality crockery and cutlery that add to the effect of the table and indicate how special the occasion is. Instead of all-white crockery, get something with a border of gold or colour that will “frame” the food. Also ensure that all the crockery, cutlery and glassware is gleaming and free of any water stains.
Favours are a small gift to each guest to thank them for sharing in the day with you and also as a memento of the special event. Remember that favours do not have to be either expensive or elaborate. The trick is in the wrapping and presentation! So you can choose something simple and wrap in an imaginative and attractive way to make a really memorable favour.
in gold bags or little boxes and wrapped with pretty ribbon
Candles tied with satin cord
Don't have a facial too close to your wedding day, allow at least two weeks to avoid breakouts. Have a manicure and pedicure to ensure beautifully groomed hands and feet. Everybody will want to look at your rings Don't change your look too much, your partner fell in love with you so stay yourself
ˇ Photo & Video
Book the photographer and videographer well in advance as these guys are usually booked up months, sometimes years in advance.
They are a very important part of your wedding day as through them you will relive your wedding day over and over again.
Find out if they know the venue and how to get there.
You must select a photographer and videographer that you can relate to as they will have to interact with you and your guests throughout the day.
Ask them if they are familiar with your traditional customs.
Do they have back-up equipment.
Budget in time for your portrait session and ensure that the guests are looked after in your absence. Give them snacks and drinks, or have them fill in a guest book with well wishes
The professional videographer is always looking at creative ways to capture your wedding. This person might make use of special effects or filters to give a nice look to your video. Some amateurish mistakes is to swish the camera around like a fire hose or to make excessive use of the zoom function by zooming back and forth causing your video to appear very busy.
ˇ Flowers & Decor
Flowers and decor are important as they carry a theme through your wedding.
The only thing that restricts you here is your budget, remember that staying within your budget is important to avoid unnecessary stress.
An idea to add aroma to your venue is to add a few drops of your favourite essential oil to your flowers.
Balloons also add a magical element to your wedding. Choose somebody who knows what they are doing to avoid deflated balloons halfway through the reception.
If you want to keep your bouquet ask you florist to make a smaller bouquet for you to throw.
Remember to ask if they know the venue as this will make it easier for them to know how best to decorate the venue.
It is a good idea to check with the venue where the ceremony will take place what their rule is about confetti. Some venues do not allow confetti as it leaves debris, which is bothersome to clean up later. Beside the ready-made confetti there are other ideas that are both different and fun. Some ideas include:
Depending on the wedding theme and the level of formality, you could present the confetti in different ways like:
packs of confetti packaged in paper cones, net parcels, tulle bags,
When choosing or designing your wedding dress, do not neglect the back as this is what your guests will see during your ceremony.
If you are going with a train, walk around with it to get used to it and remember that you may need to kneel or walk around the groom depending on your traditions.
You may also consider a removable train so that you can dance or attach a loop to the end of your train to slip over your wrist to hold up the train when dancing
ˇ Wedding Rings:
The exchange of wedding rings is an important and focal part of the ceremony and deserves the honour of good presentation! Why not present the rings either on cushions or in ring bags, which can be presented at the appropriate time by a ring-bearer. If you are using ring cushions and want to be sure that the rings don’t slip off the cushion, an idea is to sew some ribbon onto the cushion with which you can attach the rings. Make sure the knot or bow is one that can be loosened easily.
Comfort is the order of the day. You will be on your feet for along time so your shoes need to be comfortable. Walk around in them at home as often as you can to wear them in to avoid blisters.
Check that the soles are non-slip. Scratch them with sandpaper if they are too slippery
An idea for the cake is to ask the dress maker for a piece of the fabric of your wedding dress and have the pattern detailed onto your cake.
Remember that a multi-tiered cake no longer has to be a fruit cake.
Remember that if you have 100 guests it doesn't mean that you need 100 invites as each couple only receives one invite.
Try to carry your theme of your wedding day with the invites as this will give the guests an idea of what to expect on the day.
Order more envelopes than invites to compensate for mistakes when writing down the addresses.
Ask for a proof reading of the invite before they are printed.
Have the thank-you cards printed at the same time to save costs and to keep the feel the same.
Remember to include the service providers i.e.. the photographer, videographer, D.J or band, marriage officer if he/she is staying on and any one else other than the guests in your numbers to the caterers. (They do not need the full 3 course meal but they do need to be fed and refreshed.) Remember to consider vegetarians, Kosher and Halaal needs if you have invited guests that fall into these beliefs.
Buffet or served meals? See if you can arrange to taste the dishes before you book.
With a buffet the bridal couple dishes up first then the immediate family then the guests.
If your wedding guest list is large try to arrange two identical buffet tables to speed thing up.
The caterer should employ somebody to man the buffet tables to explain the meals and to keep them topped up and neat throughout the meal. If you are having a sit down meal, meet with the waiters before hand to ensure that they are well groomed and courteous.
Whatever car you decide to arrive in make sure it has been serviced and is roadworthy.
Drive the route on the same day of the week at the same time as your wedding a week before the actual wedding in order to see how long it will take you. Check with the traffic department if there are any sporting events or demonstrations happening along your route during your wedding day.
General: Pick the first song as something meaningful to both parties. A traditional waltz works but here we suggest to something romantic rather. Pick a DJ whom can give you a set price for a time period and charge extra when it goes over that. This way you know where you stand budget wise instead of hourly rates where you are not sure of the tag. If that is your budget, tell the DJ that he has to stop at a specific time and no later. In the same view even if you booked for 5 hours don’t try and drag the party. It is better to have a function to remember than a long party that people try to drag out and it becomes like a boring parliament meeting. We had one function in the afternoon that lasted 10 songs after the opening song and people talked about it for a long time as the people really went all out for those 2 hours the function lasted. There are people who don’t want to dance and wait for the couple to leave. Rather have lots of people saying goodbye with an arch than just a few shaking your hand at the end. With this in mind it also makes sense to book a DJ who can give you a final quote, settle him/her before you leave and you will be sure that you can leave early and the party will stop at the said time. Unless prearranged with you they cant come back and claim an extra two hours as you paid in full only up to a specified time.
There are some questions you can ask a Dj just to make life that much easier and to ensure you have a joyful evening.
What style of music do they play?
Do they play requests? (Although most DJ's do, there are some that don't, but please note that a good DJ will establish whether the request is for all entertainment or for this specific persons listening and thus wont always play all requests)
Will they also be your Master Of Ceremonies? ( This is an option although not the best idea. Remember that the DJ doesn't know the people and thus it will be very impersonal. A DJ can later take over to help with the flow or just help out with announcement etc.)
What selection of music does the D.J have? (Important fact, remember that there are billions of songs out there and a DJ can NOT carry the whole CD Warehouse with him. Thus some DJ's only cater for a certain style and you might end up with a metal DJ at a classical gathering.)
What will happen during their breaks if they take any? (DJ's usually don't)
Do they know your venue? (Its good practice to give the DJ some sort of sketch or explanation on the venue lay out. It will help him to prepare and minimise confusion and all sorts of surprises such as mic feedback and sound bounce. If possible arrange for him to have a look at the place and ask him for input on the setup of the hall, as it does not matter how good a system is, if the setup is wrong your sound will be poor)
How much do they charge if your wedding goes on overtime? (minimise financial surprises. If you know it might go over the agreed time, find out if the music can continue and how much it will cost. The DJ can regulate this in your absence and stop the party at the agreed time)
Here is some basic helpful hints concerning the DJ-
ˇ The DJ needs to be in contact with his people at all times.
ˇ Try not to put the bridal table on a stage with the DJ or in front of the stage or DJ. This way the music will deafen the bridal group or be too soft for the guests. The best place is for the table to be on the side of a hall or opposite side from the disco. This way all can see the person making the speeches and don't have to turn around. Also don't put the DJ behind other tables in a corner if there is no stage. Think of the fact that the DJ must see the floor at all times and he/she have cables to run which could cause safety risks.
ˇ It is good practice to introduce the MC to the DJ as well as inform him of any proceedings or programs so that he can fit in with it. Also introduce the DJ to the people doing your video and photo's as they might want to liaise with each other for the lighting and dances etc.
ˇ Inform the DJ of any guest speakers so he can stop any unwanted persons to interrupt the function at irregular intervals to say something irrelevant, let him make any short announcements.
ˇ Although people think it to be very romantic, do not switch all the lights in the hall off. Its a function and not a nightclub. Sometimes there are relatives present whom want to socialise as they come from far. If the venue cannot dim or partially switch off lights then rather leave them on or arrange candles on the tables. Do not let the DJ or anyone else switch off the lights before confirming with the videographer especially during the opening dance or speech. This is your special moment and if the video equipment do not support dim light its gone forever.
Try not to use relatives for music as they feel since they know you, they can do what they want, same as with a video. A good DJ works in harmony with his guests and the videographer. Also a good DJ will play a requests and music fitting the function, not only the music he enjoys.
During every wedding ceremony there are a few moments when the bridal couple is involved in activities that do not actively involve the guests, like signing the documentation or taking photographs. It is a good idea to provide some level of entertainment for your guests during such periods. Keep the guests alive and involve them at such times, a musical item can be performed which entertains the guests in the meantime. If your wedding is in the late afternoon, it is possible that your guests could get a bit hungry. While you are taking photographs, you could provide light snacks that alleviate hunger pains but don’t spoil the appetite for the meal to come. Another idea is to provide some activity while the guests wait for the bridal party to arrive at the ceremony. This could include signing a guest book. You could also provide entertainment like a string quartet prior to the start of the ceremony. You could also use “dead-time” for the videographer to circulate among the guests capturing messages to the bride and groom. Disposable cameras can be placed on each table to allow your guests to take photographs of everyone at the table...this ensure that you have a good collection of pictures of all your guests enjoying the festivities. Just be sure to remind everyone to leave the cameras on the tables and entrust one of the attendants to collect them all after the reception.
Even though planning a wedding is stressful, try to relax and enjoy the process. Employ the services of a wedding planner; they are not as expensive as you may think, and they will without a doubt relieve you of the stress.
This information is part of a 5 Year study into weddings and personal experiences people shared with the various vendors. Thanks to all the various vendors for helping us compile this information.
Special thanks for information with compliments from Stallion mobile disco (www.discoteq.co.za), New Dimension Video Recordings (http://www.newdimensionvideo.co.za/), Great Occasions (www.greatoccasions.co.za) and Perfectwedding (www.perfectwedding.co.za).
Feel free to visit their sites for more info bookings etc.
Always try to get more than one quote for services, don’t always select the cheapest. Look at what they offer and the more expensive one might be a cheaper offer.
Now a days the families share the expenses due to the high costs. Here is a budget sheet to help with the head ache of the planning.