Do you have any idea how many things need to be arranged on your wedding day? We, the coordinators, separate the wedding day into two phases. Preparation before the ceremony and the wedding day itself. I must say that preparations before the wedding ceremony are typically the most laborious and stressful. It can get particularly stressful when the ceremony starts early. There is lots of work to do with the seating, you’re basically renting empty space and need to get everything there by yourself. In such cases, we start the day before the wedding, because we usually need to build a tent and carry in the furniture. We wouldn’t have the time to do this on the wedding day. Usually, the florist also arrives and prepares part of the decoration.
On the wedding day, I will arrive a couple of hours before the wedding starts. First I will meet up with the bride and groom and make sure everything is running smoothly. Then I check the progress of the preparations. If possible, we will try the wedding ceremony itself with the guests/bridesmaids, bridesmen that will be in the wedding procession. This has proven to be really useful, as they are then much more confident and less nervous.
Then we prepare the place where the ceremony will take place. I give instructions to the florists inform them of the location of the ceremony arch, the seating and decorations and they will get to work. Then I will personally tend to all of the details – the seating, the name tags and I will check that the wedding rings are prepared. We will check the sound system with the technician, along with the playlist that will be on during the procession.
The banquet decoration is done simultaneously with the decorations of the procession. That is if the wedding is in one place. If not then this usually complicates the whole process and the logistics can be much harder to coordinate. When decorating the banquet we first check the table layout and chair count. We check the table styling with the florist and then we lay out the name tags.
At the same time, we take care of the sweet bar, which must be styled before the procession starts and then put into the fridge. Considering the fact that a lot of money is invested in weddings it’s quite necessary to thoroughly document everything. This is possible only before the wedding.
When everything is decorated and ready I go and check on the bride, calm her down, I bring her the bouquet and hand out the flowers and corsage to the guests. I’ll get the necessary documents from the fiancées and witnesses and hand them over to the officiant. We will go through all of the details of the procession with the officiant. Sometimes an interpreter is present – they need to coordinate with the officiant.
Then I welcome the guests, hand out myrtles, explain the wedding procedure and seat them down. Then we coordinate the wedding cortege and bring in the bride in such a way so that no one sees her up until the last minute. When everyone is in position, I’ll signal to start the music, band, officiant, wedding procession and the ceremony may begin.
Before the banquet, I’ll arrange the toasts, the celebratory welcoming of the newly-weds and plate breaking (the Czech tradition) with the manager of the restaurant. We will quickly go through the service menu one last time. There might be more menu’s to choose from – we do then need to know who is sitting where and what they are having.
Then I will seat the guests, prepare the microphones for the toasts and check that the celebratory fanfare to welcome the newly-weds is ready. I like the so-called grand entrance where we announce the coming of the newly-weds in a grand manner. Their favorite music will be playing, the guests will applaud and cheer and an all-around great atmosphere will be present. Once the newly-weds are seated, I will announce the name of the speaker and hand him the microphone. After the toasts, I’ll signal to the catering and the service may begin.
During the banquet, I will regularly check the speed and quality of the service and I’ll check the soup for the newly-weds that they will have together. Throughout the banquet, we will comment and explain the various traditions to the foreign guests. Before cutting the cake I’ll agree on the fanfare with the DJ and check the timing for cutting the cake with the catering. I’ll ask the guests to pay attention once the cake is ready to be cut. The newly-weds will need an explanation on how to cut the cake, once they cut it together, then the personnel will take care of it.
The formal part of the wedding is typically concluded after the wedding cake is cut. After this the party starts, the course of which varies from wedding to wedding. It’s typically kicked off with the first dance and opening the dance floor. I need to check with the DJ that he has the right song for the first dance prepared and for the dance with the parents. Then I invite the guests to the dance floor, if needed I will prepare the confetti. Then fun ensues, the guests have fun, dance and we focus on planning the next activities, e.g. throwing the bouquet, we do this one in a very fun way – the girls have little dances and we take off the brides garter. We also have various performances, child corners, photo corners, etc… Each wedding is different and has its own specific program. Sometimes the guests have some presentations or the newly-weds do, surprises as well, etc..In the evening hours we oversee the preparations for the evening refreshments and sweet bar, which I start later due to the heat in summer. Before I leave I will check the state of the account and I’ll go through it with the newly-weds, I’ll take their wedding gifts to their room, I’ll prepare other gifts, etc…
Then it’s time to say farewell to the guests and newly-weds and delight in that feeling of having done a great job. Typically two of us coordinate the wedding, I don’t think it’s possible to fully coordinate a wedding with just one wedding coordinator. If there is a larger wedding or a wedding that is logistically challenging, there might be three of us present.
During the wedding day, our work takes many forms. Overseeing and communicating with the suppliers, which we pay at the same time. Moderating the wedding – welcoming the guests, announcing the upcoming activities and trying to stir up a good mood. Last but not least we assist the newly-weds, we’re there for them the whole time and we’ll guide them through each stage of the wedding.