Every bride wants her wedding day to be exceptional and she has certain expectations of what it will be like to experience  her wedding  day.  I’m sure those expectations do not include at the end of it wondering if her guests had a good time because she did not.  I just experienced the joy of my nephews wedding in Pittsburgh where I attended strictly as a guest with no pre-planned expectations of being involved in any part of the plans.dsc01472

Bride Did Her Research: I think the bride had done her best to research what needed to be done and when and had done a beautiful job of picking a location, planning her decor, choosing her apparel and color theme. The lime green dresses were accented with vibrant bouquets of orange and green.  The groomsmen, in spite of teasing the bride that they would be wearing suits, did show up in tuxedos with lime green ties.

DIY Decorations: The bride and her attendants had put together lovely  bubbles with handmaid tags laid out on a table decorated with raffia, candles and tins of cookies for favors for the guests.   She was also given a unique journal for her guest book which allowed the guests to autograph it along with personal messages for the bride and groom.dsc01452

When It Rains:  When the wedding day arrived, there were unexpected blessings as it began to rain.   Because President Obama was appearing at the Phipps Conservatory for the G20, extra tents had been put up in the same place as the ceremony and reception were to take place. The ceremony was to be in the garden, not under a tent, however, as it rained on, Phipps decided to allow the bride and groom the use of the extra tents for the ceremony which would take place in front of a beautiful fountain.

Tip #1:  Have backup plans in case of rain. Not everyone is lucky enough to have the President appearing at their wedding facility.

As the aunts of the groom we were asked if we could come help one of the brides friends put up the decorations for the wedding. We arrived about one and a half hours before the wedding and put together orange and creame japanese lanterns with led lights in them and hung them from the poles under the tent.  We had barely just finished when the wedding guests began to arrive.

DIY Decorations
DIY Decorations

Tip#2:  If you are doing your own decorations, you need a group of assistants to do them, had we not been there to help (and there were 5 of us) the friend would never have been able to finish by herself.  Also make sure you have any tools you might need such as sissors and step ladder with you or make sure the facility will have them for you.

Who’s In Charge? About this time the directors from the Conservatory  and the caterers were starting to ask us aunties questions, as to where things should go, what table did the bride want the cake on? etc. The musicians arrived and wanted to know where they should sit that would keep them out of the rain and place them in the best spot for the ceremony music. The grooms men were unsure of where to seat the guests of the bride and groom.  Luckily, though none of us were wedding planners, I publish The Spectacular Wedding Planner and along with my sister, who is a photographer, the groom’s uncle who is a photographer, and another sister who had just had a wedding for her daughter recently, we were able to help make many of these decisions in a way that hopefully worked and pleased the bride and groom.

Tip#3.  If you cannot afford a wedding consultant, make sure you go over all these details with other service providers who may be willing to direct the details at the reception site, such as the facility director or caterer.  If none of these people are willing to direct and answer the myriad of questions that will be asked of someone at the reception,  then you need to make a very concise list of all details and make sure everyone involved, from the caterer, to the florist, the cake company, to the facility know what your desires are because you won’t be available when these people are pulling things together. Generally, your maid of honor will be with you so she won’t be able to direct either, so pick out a responsible individual to represent your wishes in all these areas.

Officiant Knows Best:  At the wedding rehearsal the officiant had given advice as to how the guests should be seated that differed from the standard directions of brides family on the left and groom’s family on the right.  He had very good reasons for doing so because he knew the way he had placed the attendants and the bride and groom for the ceremony. Unfortunately, the people who were now in the position of directing things,  us aunties, were now giving directions based on what we knew to be standard ettiquette and it did not agree with his advice.  When he comes up to us and suggests we change which side we should be seated on seconds before the ceremny started, it seemed like the wrong thing to do to expect the brides family and grooms family to switch sides at that point. dsc01460

Tip#4:  Whomever is going to be directing the wedding ceremony and instructing the grooms men as to how to seat guests at the ceremony needs to also be included at the rehearsal so they can hear and follow the advice of the officiant.

Disc Jockey or Ipod? The bride and groom had decided to forgo a disc jockey or entertainment director in favor of putting their favorite music on an Ipod to play during the reception.  In fact, they really did not like the idea of having a DJ at all so they were happy with the decision. They did think ahead and realize they would need an amplification system to play the music through and rented a sound system for that purpose. At some point about 24 hours before the wedding, they asked my son who had actually emceed a few weddings in the past if he would make announcements for them.  My son grew up with his father owning a disc jockey company, so he had the  knowledge to do a good job for the bride.  Unfortunatley, the music and tools he needed  were back where we lived in Las Vegas and not in Pittsburgh.  With the help of Itunes and his dad sending him the information he needed he was able to plan the series of events to direct the wedding and the music to keep people dancing! What he did not count on, is the bride and groom really only wanted 80’s music and did not want him to play anything else.  Our stand in DJ was able to direct the grand entrance, the cutting of the cake, the first dance, throwing of the bouquet and garter but was not able to get the party going without the ability to play a variety of music.

Tip #5:  A preselected music list on an Ipod does not take into consideration what the mood of the crowd is at any given moment. A professional DJ company will know what it takes to get the party going, whether it needs to be a slow song or a fast one, your IPod can never know this.  Your Ipod cannot direct events and even if you go that route you will still need an amplification system which will still cost you money. The money you will spend on a professional disc jockey company will be worth it in the fun you will have and the lack of worry you will experience when you have someone to direct the traditional events of a wedding reception.

No Worries, Be Happy:  My nephew and his wife had a lovely wedding, but the saddest part was hearing the bride say she did not enjoy her self and she was not sure if her guests did either.  A bride should never have to say “I was so busy worrying about what should happen next and who was making sure of it that I was overwhelmed and stressed and could not enjoy myself.”  This couple deserved better, the groom is already fighting cancer and if ever a couple deserved a perfect day it was them.

Tip#6:  No matter what happens on your wedding day, none of it is as important as the love you have for each other. Do your best to plan the details of the day, hire a coordinator or a professional disc jockey and then trust them to do their jobs!  They will make sure your guests have a great time, and when you can relax and not worry if every detail goes exactly as planned, you too will enjoy your wedding and have no regrets to look back on this day of your dreams.

Focus on Each Other
Focus on Each Other


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