I’ve mentioned before that Mr. Plane works at a private country club in Ann Arbor. Due to this fact, he has seen a lot of weddings and has a lot of opinions on our wedding. When I wrote the post about our tasting, a couple awesome readers commented about wanting to get some more advice from someone “on the inside.”
Ask and you shall receive!
I sat Mr. Plane down and asked him what advice he has for brides planning their weddings. From food to guests to timelines and everything in between, Mr. Plane offered up his top tips on what he is most likely to notice and what your guests will likely take note of as well.
So without further ado, I give you… Mr. Airplane’s Tips from a Vendor!
#1: If you are planning a long gap between the ceremony and the reception, make sure your guests are aware of it. You don’t want eager guests walking into an unset ballroom and wondering what’s going on. Make sure your invitations or wedding website has specific timing information readily available for your guests. Better yet, provide suggestions for your guests of things to see and do in the interim. Out of town guests will be especially appreciative — as will your venue’s staff!
#2. If there is a dress code where you are holding your reception, make sure your guests dress accordingly. The club Mr. Plane works at does not allow jeans in any shape or form. While most country club weddings tend to be on the formal side, I can think of a few of my own family members that wouldn’t automatically think jeans are unacceptable for such an affair. This is something that is easy to politely mention on your wedding website.
These two might get turned away at the door. / Image via farfetch.com
#3: Provide a detailed timeline for the reception to the coordinator/venue manager. In order to have the best food and service possible, the staff needs to know what is going on. For example, if they don’t know how long pre-dinner speeches will be, your delicious food will just be sitting in the kitchen drying out under a heat lamp. While Mr. Plane stressed the fact that no wedding follows a timeline down to the minute, knowing approximately how long each part of the reception will be will assure everything behind the scenes runs smoothly as well.
#4: Cater your bar package to your guests. While an extensive open bar doesn’t fit into everyone’s budget, if you are doing an open bar, think about what your guests will enjoy the most. If holiday festivities in your family mostly consist of just beer and wine, you’ll probably be safe not including liquor in your bar package. However, if your dad’s poker buddies like to celebrate with some scotch on the rocks, perhaps a full bar will better suit your needs. Also, keep in mind that most all-inclusive venues won’t pour shots (for liability reasons), so if your friends rarely mix drinks and prefer straight shots of firewater, keeping the bar on the simple side may be in your best interest.
This might be all you need. / Image via Estate Weddings & Events
#5: A good DJ is the key to enhancing the guests’ experience at a wedding. Since crashing someone else’s wedding to get a sneak peek of a potential DJ is a thing of the past, this is where researching reviews and conducting interviews is very important. You don’t want someone that will steal the show, but a DJ that also acts as an emcee will keep the night flowing. Because his or her #1 job is playing music, a DJ that can read the crowd and switch up a playlist that isn’t quite working is also a benefit.
#5b. Make sure the DJ has the correct pronunciation of any wedding party or VIPs that are being introduced. It just makes it less awkward/confusing for everyone involved. Write out names phonetically and go over pronunciations in your final pre-wedding meeting.
#6: If you are serving multiple entree choices, label your escort cards clearly. The benefit labeling your escort cards is that servers won’t have to waste time asking each guest if they requested the chicken or the beef. But make sure those labels are clear to the staff — tiny colored stickers on the underside of the escort card won’t cut it. Streamline the dinner service and your guests can spend less time at their tables and more time on the dance floor!
Cluck or moo? / Image via Style Me Pretty
#7: If you are showing a video or a slideshow, have someone test it out beforehand. No one wants Uncle Bobby walking in with his Netbook five minutes before dinner and expecting a waitress to help him hook it up to the projector. Make sure your venue is aware that you plan on using their A/V system and stop by before the day of the wedding to try it out. Detailed setup instructions provided for the person responsible is also a plus.
#8: Most favors that aren’t edible get left behind… This point has been frequently debated on the ‘bee boards, but based solely on Mr. Plane’s experience, this is the trend. As much as monogrammed unicorn figurines might seem like a good idea to go with your enchanted forest theme, your guests will be much happier with something they can eat in the car on the way home.
#8b: …Especially favors that aren’t located at each place setting. Most of your guests probably aren’t going to be wandering around to make sure they didn’t miss anything at the reception. If you plan on thanking everyone with a favor, you’ll guarantee the maximum number of guests take home the adorable mini jars of jam you spent hours bitching about assembling if they are in an obvious spot — and what’s more obvious that in front of their dinner plate?
Don’t let us go to waste! / Image via SweetCarolineJams on Etsy
#9: If you are planning for a dessert table or late night snack, have the DJ announce when it is available. At this point in the evening, most guests will be tearing it up on the dance floor and won’t realize anything has changed outside of their Gangnam Style bubble. A slight lull in the action to announce that snacks are available won’t disappoint anyone, I promise.
#10: Grand exits almost never go as planned. Continuing the theme of “guests won’t know what’s going on unless you tell them,” most grand exits flop due to the fact that no one knows about them. If you have dreams of a perfectly photographed sparkler exit near the end of the evening, have the DJ alert the guests or give them a heads-up at their place settings.
The time is listed right on the label to curb confusion. / Image via Lollipops & Pussycats on Etsy
So there you have it — Mr. Plane’s top 10(ish) tips for a stellar reception. Of course, this is not the be-all-end-all list of what you should and shouldn’t do at your own wedding, just some opinions from someone in the industry that has seen it all.
Did he miss anything? What other reception-related questions do you have for Mr. Plane?