Wedding planning checklist with blank space and roses

Your wedding day should be carefree and calm, and the bridal couple should be relaxed and confident that their planning will result in a seamless transition from ceremony to reception to sendoff. Planning a wedding means handling a million details, trying to foresee a number of scenarios and guests’ needs and making certain the things you plan are a match for the space and adhere to the rules at your venue (many don’t allow candles with flames, for example).

For couples doing much of the planning themselves, it can be overwhelming. How do you know what to ask? Here are some things to remember and questions to ask.

Questions

• Who pays for what in a wedding?

• Does your venue allow candles and sparklers, homemade desserts and edible guest favors?

• Which vendors should receive tips on top of their contracted prices?

• What is a reasonable day-of timeline?

• How many hours does the couple get the venue for the rental price?

• When can your vendors get into the venue to decorate, set up, do sound checks, etc. Is any equipment available to them, such as a ladder, microphone, etc.?

• How long does the couple have access to the venue for rehearsal?

• What time must everyone be out of the venue after the reception?

• What is the deposit fee, and when is the remainder due? Is any of it refundable?

• What is the rain plan?

• Does the venue allow your choice of caterer and beverage service or is the couple required to use an in-house vendor? Same question for the wedding cake.

• Is staff for bar and food service included in the venue fee?

• Can the couple use candles at the ceremony and reception? (Some venues require flameless LED candles and lights). Are sparklers allowed for the sendoff? (If so, remember to have pails of sand where guests can douse hot  sparklers.)

• Who is responsible for setup and breakdown?

• Does the venue provide parking and where is it?

• How can one accommodate people’s dietary issues?

• What type of transportation should be provided for guests?

• What does the venue’s coordinator handle?

• Is the couple allowed to bring in food and alcohol for the bride, groom, attendants, etc. to drink and eat while getting ready?

• Is there a place for the bridal parties to get ready for the ceremony?

• Who announces transitions and keeps the timeline on the wedding day?

• Where are guests allowed to smoke?

• What should a bride have in her day-of emergency kit?

• What is wedding insurance and is it needed?

• Does the space accommodate a live band or DJ?

• Do the couple need to hire security or is it provided?

Don’t forget

• Remember to include your photographer and videographer in the food and beverage count.

• Put someone in charge of gathering items left in the dressing rooms, any gifts brought to the wedding and any decor, personal items and food that must be removed from the venue.

• Make sure you designate someone who will pick up any cards brought to the reception. The day-of coordinator should have a safe place to keep them.

• Have someone pick up your cake topper and properly prepare it for freezing.

• Ask a family member or friend to take charge of the bridal bouquet and attendants' flowers and arrange a place and time for them to be picked up or preserved.

Email Gambit managing editor Kandace Power Graves: kandaceg@gambitweekly.com