Part 1: A Wedding Weekend – Start to Finish

A wedding venue owners schedule does not start on wedding day! There are many things that have to be done in preparation for that beautiful event.  I want to share what it is like on a wedding weekend here at the Ridge. I have picked a real wedding, hence the title: A Wedding Weekend – Start to Finish.

Remember, every wedding is a bit different and comes with its own set of circumstances that you will need to deal with. That doesn’t mean things are bad. This particular wedding day we were dealing with possible rain showers.

We have chosen to remain small and because of that we do not have permanent employees. Moving things after set up will require extra hands. Our goal is to pay off our house in 10 years. My husband Les and I do most of the work ourselves.

After every wedding we evaluate. What could we have done better?  What do we need to purge? And wow, that worked better this time, let’s be sure to do that again.

We have a sprinkler system, but there is still hand watering to do every day. Yes I know this is my own fault! I don’t need to have pots sitting around or a garden, well wait, YES- I-D0! And, this takes time also.

I thought it would be best to break it out in time slots (not exact of course) with commentary worked in.

A Wedding Weekend

Thursday Evening: 4:00 pm – until done

Les weed-eats the lawn and then uses the leaf blower to get everything off of the sidewalks. The grass gets blown back onto the lawn along with the pine needles. We have some graveled areas that get blown off as well. Then pine needles and grass are picked up by the lawn mower bags. I will mow the lawn as soon as Les is done using the leaf blower.

Friday Morning:

The restroom area is cleaned and set up: I put the Girl and Boy signs on the proper restrooms, add the soap dispenser, wash the mirror, add towels for hand drying and put out the garbage can. Oh, and turn on the water spigot so the water works at the hand wash station.

Friday Rehearsal: 3:00 pm– 5:00 pm

Before rehearsal everything must be cleaned and in place – my son gives up his basement bathroom and moves to the upstairs one, for the wedding weekend. Our TV room becomes the staging area for weddings and is also cleaned.

2:45 pm

The wedding party starts to arrive. There are about 35 people in this group. We do not monitor parking on rehearsal night because our parking lot is big. Greeting guests as they come into the yard is fun and I get to meet the families. I like to meet with the wedding officiant and talk about chair removal after the ceremony and if the ceremony will start on time. I’ll request to talk to everyone before they leave so I can go over parking on wedding day.

3:45 pm

People are bringing in supplies for the next day and I am showing them where to put things. We only do one wedding a weekend so bringing things in on rehearsal night works great.

4:00 pm

Everyone has arrived and they are heading down to the ceremony area to practice. I have set up 15 chairs so they can see where the isle will be and practice seating parents and grandparents.

4:40 pm

While everyone is in one place, at the ceremony area, I go over parking for the wedding party on wedding day.

4:45 pm

I meet with the bride and those in charge of décor set up the next day. I have my notebook and write down where everything will go: guest tables, food tables, dessert table, guest sign-in, beverage table etc., how the ceremony area will be set up and the décor I’m responsible for putting in place.

5:00 pm

It’s time to go, but, that does not happen. I could walk around and point to my watch, but that would be mean, so I wait. By 5:30 this crowd is off to their rehearsal dinner in town.

A Wedding Weekend

Wedding Day: 10:00 am – 10:00 pm

My body alarm goes off at 5:00 am. I check the weather app because we are supposed to get rain today. We have the barn in case of rain, but we don’t want to use it unless necessary.

The bride has envisioned her reception on the lawn with the view to look at. I want her to be happy! We might have to play the wait game for a while to see what the weather will do. This is stressful because our crew leaves at 9:00am.

We have discussed the situation with the wedding party during rehearsal, and they are willing to help if we need to make a mad rush to the barn with chairs and tables.

Time to rise and shine! I’m up and getting things ready; coffee, and waffles for the boys when they get up. Of course the dog and cat need fed too. I stay in my PJ’s until 8:30 when I slip away to have my shower for the day.

6:00 am

Time to get my “chair string” out of the Magic shed. I tie two strings, one on each side of the pergola pole (ceremony backdrop) and go straight back which forms the isle. Then the boys are able to keep the chairs in line and the isle looks nice and straight.

I get the shepherd staffs that will be placed at the beginning of certain rows for hanging jars. I also grab the rubber orange mallet/hammer so Les can put the shepherd staffs in place.

7:00 am

My crew gets here to help for the next two hours. I have two of my three daughters that come to help for each wedding. My son is also available for a short time this wedding before he slips off to work for the day.

We decide to set up like there will be no rain today.

Chairs are loaded and taken to the ceremony area to be set up.  Others are busy loading up tables on the new trailer to be set up at the reception area. There will also be the dessert, DJ, beverage, food, and guest sign in tables to be set up.

Décor is gathered and put into place. The French doors need decorated and the ceremony pergola. The “always and forever” doors need to be carried to their destination and set up. The forever doors always take time because the ground is not level.

Everything is washed down: chairs, tables, garbage cans, all outside furniture.

9:00 am

We try to have everything in place by nine; however this is not always the case. We have a dog that must be in the garage before guests arrive and sometimes, most of the time, the wedding party arrives early. That is why I like to have everything in place by nine.

We take one last look around to see if we missed anything and then our crew is done and off to their busy lives. That leaves Les and me alone for the rest of the day.

Whew, we haven’t even started with the wedding party arrival yet and look at all that has been accomplished. I hope – Part 1: A Wedding Weekend – Start to Finish will be helpful as you plan your wedding day schedule.

Part two will address wedding day and clean up.

Until next time,

Teri : )

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Part 2: A Wedding Weekend – Start to Finish

Part 3: A Wedding Weekend – Start to Finish

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