Formal Ceremonies Tips
The Formal Wedding Venue
If you’ve decided on a formal venue for your wedding, such as a banquet hall, hotel or a country club, this choice will affect a great many factors to do with your wedding, from cost to guest list, attire for you and your guests, type of invitation, time of day, music, and food. A formal location may also require working with their staff and/or hiring assistants, such as the venue’s wedding co-ordinator, or a wedding planner.
My experience with the resident wedding co-ordinators or planners at the many venues where I have conducted weddings, is that they are invariably very pleasant, helpful, and efficient. It is clear that their goal is to make each couple feel that their wedding is unique, special, and important, and that everything to do with it should be exactly what they want and hope for.
The venue co-ordinator is the best person to answer any questions, large or small, that you may have about your wedding at their venue. Both for the rehearsal and on the day, this person will make sure everything goes as smoothly and calmly as possible. The best co-ordinators take the stress out of your day and allow you to be totally excited and joyful, knowing that all practical details are taken care of.
Hiring Wedding Planners
Hiring an independent wedding planner is a good idea if you are having a large wedding, or one with complex elements. Couples seem to divide more or less equally on whether to hire a professional or designate a friend or relation to help organize the event and see to the details.
There are many tasks with which a wedding planner can help—a planner, amateur or professional – can be assigned to take care of catering, entertainment, processions, size of wedding party, flowers, invitations, finding someone to do the photographs or make the cake, or the dress, and may make recommendations about which officiant to use as well.
Advantages of Formal Wedding Venues
Some of the important logistical extras that formal venues are often better at providing include a special room or suite for the bride and/or wedding couple to get ready in before the ceremony and to relax in afterwards. (At some informal venues I have been to, the poor bride or groom or wedding party have to slip into a small washroom cubicle to change. Not ideal!) Formal venues also always have a Plan B in case of rain, wind, hail or snow.
And their staff are equipped and experienced in dealing with just about any emergency that can arise – from thread and pins for sewing up tears in gowns and dropped hems, to flowers, printing services, and photocopying to sending cars or taxis to fetch stranded guests, to providing microphones for the ceremony or reception, to calming words to nervous couples or their friends or relatives.
Disadvantages of Formal Wedding Venues
Two things to be aware of when choosing a formal venue: First, no matter how lovely the place or the setting and how helpful and professional the staff, no matter how beautiful the table settings and decorations of the ceremony location and the reception hall, it is always going to be less personal than if you had chosen a less formal place to get married.
Second, a formal venue often has more than one wedding scheduled on any given Saturday, Friday, or Sunday, so you may be under a tight time constraint, for photos, ceremony, cocktails and reception – and all of this can be stressful.
Whatever you decide, make it your day and remember to enjoy it!