• Let’s start at the beginning with invitations. You spend hundreds of dollars and tons of time designing, addressing, & sending out these beautiful invitations, but for some reason, many guests don’t seem to read or return the RSVPs in the correct or timely manner. Therefore, don’t bother sending all of the information about hotels & transportation, etc. on your single invite. Put it on a website and give them the link. Then, continuously post the link to your FB, Twitter, Insta, etc. so that people finally take a look at it and hopefully retain some of the logistics information.
• Guests won’t really look at the invitation again until they have to (aka the week of your wedding!) or when it’s convenient, so make sure you ping your out of town guests early to ensure they have their hotel rooms booked. Yes…it is a lot of hand holding and chasing down, but in the end, it’s easier than going back to the hotel and begging for additional rooms at your reduced rate.
• Make a guest list spreadsheet complete with their name and addresses. Put it in as a Google Doc to share with your significant other, MOB, and MOG, so that they can also help you out with collecting the addresses of people. You will have to address a few different items (bridal shower invites, thank you’s, wedding invites, etc.) to people throughout the process, so it’s just easiest to collect the info once and then be done with it!
• Also, for some reason guests don’t fill out the RSVP card accurately. The line on the RSVP card is for them to write their name; however, I received plenty of cards that were entirely blank and had no idea who they belonged to! A little hint to avoid this problem is to put a number on the lower back corner of each of your RSVP cards to correspond with a number on your guest list spreadsheet. Then, there is no guessing when a blank card is returned to you!
• Sadly, one more invitation note you may need to add is acknowledge on the RSVP card how many guests are being invited. The proper etiquette is that an invitee is informed if he/she is granted a date per the envelope address; however, that is apparently ignored by many out there in my generation, sooooo I was forced to put an imho slightly tacky line on my RSVP card reading “___ will be attending out of ____”. I would designate in the second space how many people were being invited via the invitation. It avoided an awkward conversation later on…which other brides have had to have!
• Once you have your final guest list confirmed and you are starting to get some responses, you will need to put together your seating chart. Here, post-its are your new BFF. I made a large map of my ballroom and a post-it for each guest. Then, started placing the guests around the room. This makes it easier to move around your guests instead of erasing and trying again and again until you have the seating arrangement pretty much set.
• If you have a coordinator or if your venue or caterer is doing the day-of coordination for your wedding, get all of your personal items to them with an inventory list and where all of the items should go when they set up the venue. This way they have a map and checklist to get everything placed EXACTLY as you envision.
(Photo Courtesy of: Colleen Losh)
• Finally, and this is important, think about where you, your bridal party, the groom, will all need to be and how you are getting to these places. This is always forgotten and what happens is then, everyone is late to the rehearsal because they are trying to coordinate the number of cars, who needs to ride with who, and where your stuff is for the wedding day. Just do it ahead of time so that the day before it isn’t a concern!
These are all very specific things that saved a ton of extra work for my family, my groom and me. Let me know how they work out for you!
Until next time,
Lauren Pencek is a newlywed living with her husband on Capitol Hill since their wedding last fall. She is a blogger dedicated to nutrition, fitness, weddings, project management, and all around dining and entertainment in the DMV. Lauren is a NBA and NFL professional cheerleader alumna and spends her free time taking as many dance classes as possible and traveling to as many new places as possible! Follow her on Twitter @LaurOntheHill and at laurenonthehill.wordpress.com!