As planners, whenever we attend weddings as guests, we catch ourselves doing a mental status update of every single detail. (Flowers? Gorgeous. Aisle? Could be wider. Linens...OMG someone forgot to steam the linens!) This mental madness occurs because we know that nothing—not a single chair garland, not one escort card—just “happens” on its own. Every single design detail at an event is planned, created and executed by someone.
The key to making a wedding look stunning and run smooth, then, is in making sure that “someone” knows the importance of the details. Even if you’re not the one doing the setup (and we hope you aren't), you should make plans ahead of time to have your wedding planner or other helpers double-check key points in the event setup. You should also set expectations with your planner and vendors ahead of time—let them know how important details are to you and what level of execution you’ll be expecting. While most seasoned vendors understand the importance of such things, some don’t—so it’s always best to be proactive and outline expectations, measurements and placement ahead of time. Again, this is all something a seasoned wedding planner can easily help with—you just have to hand over the reigns!
To help you on your quest for dreamy, detailed perfection, then, we’ve created the following day-of checklist:
- The Aisle
- First and foremost, even if you've told the rental company or venue to set a 5’ aisle, always ensure your planner is present during the setting of the aisle to make sure it’s perfect. Once all the chairs are set, it's extremely hard to move them to accommodate a wider aisle.
- Make sure the aisle is straight and wide enough to accommodate however many people you have walking down the aisle (keeping in mind that there may be more people walking back down the aisle after the ceremony, especially if you have an uneven number of bridesmaids to groomsmen).
- The average aisle width for two people walking down the aisle together measures about 5 feet—we recommend adding on an additional 2-3 feet if you have three people (bride + parents, or two bridesmaids + one groomsmen) walking down the aisle together.
- Chair Rows
- Make sure rows are nice and straight (use a piece of string as an easy way to quickly get chairs in line).
- Make sure chairs are placed equally distant from each other—meaning, if the chairs are set approximately 1” apart from the next, you want to keep that approximate distance for each neighboring chair. (You don’t want to see some 1” gaps and some 4” gaps—it will throw off the balance when it comes to wide-angle photos of the ceremony).
- Check the chairs from all angles—chairs may look straight from the back of the aisle, but a quick check from the side might prove the rows aren't straight after all.
- Cocktail Tables
- If there are ties, be sure the ties are set at equal heights across all the cocktail tables.
- Be sure the linens are straight and steamed.
- Be sure tables are aligned from all angles. If they’re not, a wide-angle shot will show this and they’ll end up looking messy and “off” in photographs.
- Be sure chairs are barely grazing the linens—pushing in the linens looks bad in photos.
- For rectangular or square tables, be sure chairs are lined up seamlessly—you’ll really be able to tell if chairs aren’t aligned in photos against square or rectangular tables. Some planners eyeball this, while others will use a spool of string to get it right. Whatever you choose, this is an important detail you don’t want to forget! It may seem tedious, but misaligned chairs can make for awful photographs.
- Make sure that linens are steamed and seams are straight.
- Chargers should be set about an inch and a half from the table’s edge.
- Ensure that all chargers are set the same around the table—this is especially noticeable on longer rectangle or square tables, and it’s definitely noticeable in photos.
- Make sure all napkins are lined up.
- Ensure flatware and glassware is lined up. Take care when setting each detail (don’t be afraid to use tools or cheat sheets to determine where everything goes).
- If napkins are placed to hang off the table, ensure they’re all hanging an equal distance off the table—again, this is definitely noticeable on longer tables.
- Make sure that table numbers or table cards are all placed in the same spot at every table, facing the doors where guests will enter from.
- Make sure menus are straight, in line and in the same exact spot on every place setting.
- Check all other design details (floral embellishments, candles, etc.). Ensure candles are lit (or will be lit when the time comes). Ensure flowers and centerpieces are properly placed. Ensure placecards are straight and placed at the same spot on every place setting.
Overall, you’ve put in months and months of planning—so don’t skip the small stuff on the day of. It’s often the most random detail (like a ceremony chair that’s out of line, or a linen that isn’t straight), that can ruin photographs or undermine the entire event aesthetic. Remember, the smallest things can make or break a wedding—so be sure your eye is trained to spot these ahead of time!
Photo courtesy Jen Huang Photography
Wedding Planner LVL Weddings and Events