We send out a questionnaire to our couples asking what they liked and what they didn’t like about previous weddings they’ve attended. Why do we do this? Well, it helps us learn more about their priorities and what they have experienced from a guest perspective. This gives us SO much information about their style, and it also allows us to best craft a customized budget and timeline.
The most common responses we see are “there was too much time before dinner, and we were starving!” or “it wasn’t clear what the guests were supposed to be doing” or “the cocktail hour after the ceremony was almost 2 hours as we waited for the couple to take photos.” These are important because they drive home why we plan from the guest’s perspective at the same time as the couple’s.
It is your day – and your event
The wedding industry has a princess attitude to “get whatever you want because it’s your day” – and while we are on board with this to a certain extent, we also want to make sure that your guests have a great time (and you get time to actually spend with them). This means a clear timeline, with movements built in to make sure that we can use the magician’s trick of “look over there while we do this over here!” while still providing clear instruction and next steps for your guests.
I can’t properly go over every way throughout the planning process (and the wedding day) that we go through this in one blog post, as it’s a cornerstone of how we plan in every respect, so I’ll stick with a cocktail hour example for now.
A smooth and enjoyable experience for all guests
We have quite a few people who want to change (read: shorten or lengthen) cocktail hour – no problem! Let’s get to your goal and go from there! Our goal with the cocktail hour is to get an appetizer and drink in everyone’s hand. This is the only point in the wedding where everyone is starting on empty and all need a drink at the same time, so it’s generally the time with the longest bar line. While we can do some things to solve that (pass wine, have a simpler bar menu for cocktail hour, staff more bartenders, separate the non alcoholic drinks from the bar, etc), we still need enough time to process through both food and drink for the full crowd. So, depending on your goals, we may not want to cut the hour short if you would like the full group to be serviced (is there anything more frustrating than standing in line and not getting a drink because something was starting in another space?)
This is just one example of many that we’ll walk through in our planning process to make sure that your day is crafted and executed in such a way that you and your guests have a smooth and enjoyable experience. When you sign on to allow us to plan or coordinate your wedding, we start with your goals, the WHY and the culture you’re trying to achieve, then run through several options to find which solution may be the best fit to achieve your goals, and provide a great experience for you and your guests!
Hey Cassie! Great insight here! I personally like a longer cocktail hour, but that’s just me 🙂 Thanks for all these wedding planning tips!
We love a long cocktail hour too, especially if there are some fun activities (I’m looking at you beer donkeys)!
Beer donkey… hmm. Interesting lol.