- 2 years ago
We are attempting the seemingly impossible, planning our own wedding completely on our own with a budget that may make most laugh in disbelief. So far, we’ve been pulling it off fairly well – getting married at a beautiful plaza in one of our city parks (super cheap!). As an event planner for a non profit humane society, I have experience putting together large fundraisers and events, but am finally reaching the extent of my experience and am hoping the collective hive mind can help me pull the rest of this off. Forgive the longwindedness – brevity has never been a strong point for me.
The issue: We are having the ceremony and reception in the same plaza (image attached). Because it’s technically a city park that is open to the public during the day, our ceremony cannot start until 6pm at the earliest. Because we are trying to pack a ceremony, dinner, and reception into a 4 hour time slot, we are wanting to save as much time as possible by having all the tables set up prior to the ceremony starting, so transitioning from ceremony to reception will be as easy as moving the chairs. If you look at the image attached, we are using the top half of the rectangled plaza as the ceremony space (which will transition to the dance floor once the chairs are moved) and the back half of the plaza as the dinner area. My original idea was to seperate the space with a stand alone door at the beginning of the isle, flanked by sheer muslin curtains (7ft tall) on a cable wire stretching from end to end. My fiance has some reservations about 1) the length of the space, and how it will look with a “sheet hanging in the middle of the plaza” (his words, not mine.) My main reason for the curtains was to hide the empty tables during the ceremony- I don’t want them in the background of our pictures as we’re walking up the isle toward the stage. All that being said, does ANYONE have layout or decor suggestions that allows us to have everything set up prior to ceremony starting?
Second issue: Timeline. I HAVE NO IDEA WHAT I’M SUPPOSED TO DO HERE. Seriously, this is a plea for help. We have priced day of coordinators, and as non profit workers, their fees are absolutely out of reach. I’ve only attended a handful of weddings, none similar to what I’m trying to pull off and all had professional coordinators. I’ve read the “6pm timeline” board on here and none have really jived with what we’re doing. Here’s my tentative timeline, which is desperately missing key things, I’m sure. Any and all suggestions would be great.
9:00am-10:00am: Rehersal Breakfast (we have access to the venue all day to set up and decorate)
Before Ceremony: Hair/Make-up/Getting ready pictures/Bridal Portraits/Bridesmaids and Groomsmen Pictures (seperate as I do not want to do first look until ceremony if possible)
6:00pm-6:45 Ceremony (allowing 15 min extra time as I don’t believe we will actually be able to start at 6pm on the dot)
6:45pm-7:15pm Transition (we have a separate courtyard with cocktail tables and bar that will be serving our guests as the chairs are moved from ceremony to tables and our caterers set up, we will also be taking bride/groom pictures at this time)
7:15pm-11:30pm: Dinner/Reception (dinner will be served cafeteria style, at leisure until 9pm) **this is where I get confused, when does the bridal party come back in? is it announced? do we get announced and then go straight to our table at like 7:15, if so, how does the party transition from sitdown dinner to “it’s time to start dancing”? Our band will overlap with dinner, starting at 8:00pm, so I’m wondering if the bridal party should just wait/eat our food away from the plaza after pictures, and then come in at 8:00pm to signal that the dancing is starting?**
11:30-12:00: Clean up
If you’ve made it this far through my drivel, god bless you. I literally had no idea how stressful planning such a special day could be. Any suggestions are so greatly appreciated. (every time I try to upload with a photo, it tags my post as spam so here goes try number 3)