Friday, February 17, 2017

Wedding Preparation : Things to take note

Hello readers! This post is written just to benefit anyone to go through any possible things that you might have overlooked during your preparation of your wedding.

First thing first, after you have secured your wedding banquet venue, do remember to get from your sales manager,
  • Wedding reception layout plan
  • Wedding banquet table layout plan

This will be very important if you are planning to have some decor setup done at the wedding reception area and you will need to brief your vendor the respective decor that you would like to have it at your reception area, as for the wedding banquet table layout, its for you to know the table number of guests that you are going to arrange them based on the layout.

Depending on the performance that you are looking to have on your wedding, for us, we engaged live band and i was suppose to give our 2 march in songs + 20 songs that i would like the singer to sing during our wedding. It took me quite awhile to carefully select all these 20 songs and finally managed to give to the person-in-charge 1 week before our wedding
so that he can get the singer that i have selected to practise the songs for the actual day.

For us, we top up the additional cost to get the singer to emcee as well, but i have overlooked to request from them their emcee scripts, even though they are using the standard one for wedding, but i have totally forgotten to inform them or the singers not to follow the standard emcee scripts as we are not showing any childhood montage before our 1st march in. So, its important to ensure the emcee scripts has been vetted and to brief your wedding helpers to double check with the singer on the actual day when they are doing their warm up to ensure no miscommunication.

Things to take note or prepare beforehand
1. Guest registration List on the day of reception (hard copy)
2. Checklist of items brought to the venue
3. Updating your parents/siblings on the actual day wedding flow.
4. Briefing handbook for brothers & sisters

1. Guest registration List on the day of wedding dinner reception (hard copy)
While the table arrangement plan of your relatives & friends should be ready nearing the actual day of your wedding, do remember to print it out in hardcopy unless you want to do it in laptop or google drive which i initially wanted to, but its troublesome to bring the bulky laptop on top of other items that the sisters have to look after, thus we stick to using manual list).
Do not underestimate the importance of this guest registration list because your sisters/brothers may get confused if you do not arrange in a way that is easy to understand beforehand. This was an issue between Jeremy and I as we don't see things eye-to-eye during the prep, i told him to arrange the guest names in alphabetical order because it is easier for the person who is marking the attendance to refer and search for the names. But he stubbornly refused to heed my advice and decided to go ahead with the table arrangement format as registration list. An example that i extracted out as shown below, we are using the excel to do our table arrangement, for me i create a folder in google drive because i find that is is easier for me to update on the go and you can provide access to share viewing rights in the folder, so you & your partner can edit anytime.

For this format, this is where we list down the table number because we have received the banquet layout plan and its for our own reference INITIALLY who we want to place sitting in front or at the back, but this format is a big NO to use for guest registration list. For eg : he wrote Xiao Gu, which stand for small aunt, i am not sure if all newlywed or its only us but we didn't get full names of our relatives, as my i don't have alot of relatives, only my mum side, it was easier to tally against the list. But not for Jeremy side as he has a very large family group. So it would be better to get full names of your relatives beforehand. So when you are doing the table seating plan, this format allow you to see how you want to group your family and friends but not suitable during registration because we will not be at the reception table to do the reception duties and wedding helpers definitely does not know how to identify your relatives and friends.

I swear this was a disaster. Bad one.

We had endless arguments before our wedding, and he just refused to listen to my advice, i had hosted events before and i have experienced situations whereby if your list of guests name is not arranged in alphabetical order, it will be a very challenging task for the helper to tick against the attendance of our guests. So the argument was eventually resolved for this issue where we had two different kind of lists.

For bride guest list, all my guests name has been arranged in alphabetical order, and my sister know my friends so it was not too challenging to get her to identify them when they came to the reception table.
This was my guest registration list on that day, by putting the table number against each guest name, helper will be able to tell them the table number that they are suppose to be seated. No conflict.
I didn't get my relatives full name as my dad's only invited his friends and we don't stay contact with my dad's relative side so no fuss for me when i can write according to the order of my uncles and aunties. Though i think ideally, if you can get their full name, it wil be best because if your helper can't find their name despite arranging in this order, the guests can look through the list and find their own name if its stated inside the list. This will help to reduce the amount of time people are crowding around the reception table.

So my sisters thought it was strange when they saw that the bride and groom guest list is different and the brothers was caught struggling with the namelist when guests started to crowd around the reception table. And they had to seek the help of the groom because that list is done by the groom and only the groom will know how to place them. In fact, actually i do have his guests full name or at least their chinese name because all the invitations card is written by me to send to Jeremy's relatives but he has never tried to listen to me when i was trying to communicate to him nicely. So most of the times when i was busy taking photos with my guests, the groom was not with me, which makes me pretty pissed because i already seen it coming that what he is doing is wrong but he is too stubborn and this is something that he know i will never forget in this lifetime whenever i tried to share my wedding planning tips with my friends.

So, i am sharing it here in my post to remind all newly wed to take this in mind when you are planning your guest list, you wouldn't want to have either one of you having to sort out the guest list when you are supposed to be the main lead of the entire wedding banquet dinner!

2. Checklist of items brought to the venue.
As i mentioned earlier, there might be items that you are bringing to display at the reception area like your wedding albums etc, create a checklist and assign someone to keep it for you after the wedding.
You will be very busy trying to meet & greet your guests. (sounds like a mascot in a theme park) Displaying the items and keeping it after that should be allocated to one of your wedding helpers duties. It is very important to assign duties out and ensuring your wedding helpers know what to do without having you to remind them the time etc because you will be very busy with your guests and the least you want to know is forgetting to bring your things back after the wedding dinner.

For us, we left our ROM certificate at the solemnization ballroom. Taking care of the soleminser,
ensuring the soleminser is being escorted and taking the cab was the duties of one of the brothers which Jeremy has assigned, but he has failed to ensure his brothers make sure our items is all being placed back inside the room as he did not brief them properly.

We only realised the next day when the banquet manager texted us showing a screenshot of our ROM certificate that it is with them that we realised we didn't bring back to our suite!
Hahahaha, i didn't know it was that important to keep it because if you lose it, the ROM will only issue you one with a Duplicate chop on the certificate that makes it not the original cert anymore.

So i was very thankful the banquet manager and their staff checked before throwing anything away just like that. Phew. Later, my friends told me it is very important as we will need the cert for housing and for kids registration issues next time.

3. Updating your parents/siblings on the actual day wedding flow.
If your parents are not very active like ours in helping out at the wedding, i think it will be better to update them, to give them an idea to know what to expect during the wedding. Especially during the evening banquet when most of the guests is coming to attend the wedding. First and foremost, your parents transport arrangement, unless they drive, which my parents do so they make their own way to the venue. It is also important to update your siblings that is not in the wedding helper entourage as well because initially my plan was to get Jeremy brother to pick up his parents to the banquet venue but the sister informed that her husband will be borrowing from his friend car to drive them to the venue, but eventually the husband was sick so they didn't drive so i think they cab over to the venue instead.

The original plan was to have Jeremy mum and his sister to do their makeup at our bridal suite as well but last min changes because Jeremy nephew couldn't get to sleep so they get their MUA to do at home instead. So, bride-to-be need to accept these last min changes and respond according to the situation because nothing might goes accordingly to the plan. But it's very important to go through with your parents and siblings the table arrangement, even though i can guarantee you that its not going to go according to plan as well. But having more people understanding the table arrangement will makes it easier to seat your guests when helpers are going through the list.

The initial original plan was to have Jeremy parent's staying over with us at the hotel, but Jeremy dad need to prepare materials for his business the next day thus they didn't stay. If not, it would be alot easier to get everyone staying together at the hotel without thinking of the transportation back home later.

I just find it a pity despite everyone complimenting that they had attended a very beautiful nice wedding, but all i can see was things not being done right. Haha
For my own side, i leave it entirely to my sister, limei to settle the table seating. I swear i had asked my parents more than 5 times if its ok to put relative A & B together etc, and they said ok, but during actual day, it was not, with relatives suggseting A&C should sit together, cousins want to sit together. I don't mind so much since i know the table arrangement is meant to be messed up as long as everyone get a seat. But Jeremy's side was worse, which i mean the guest list earlier, because his confusing list, he had to direct his own relatives to who supposed to sit where etc. Had he followed my way and let his brother do the work, i think i might have a happier memorable wedding.
I was speechless on the day of the wedding by his behavior.

4..  Briefing handbook for brothers & sisters 
If you have the time to create one, i would highly recommend you to have one and pass down to each and everyone one of them as early as possible, this will be a list of job duties assign to individual brothers & sisters. Get them to go through over and over again in their free time so that they will not forget and messages can be conveyed.

The handbook should include (i am using my own wedding as a guide)

  • Actual Day Morning Schedule
  • Actual Day Solemnization + Evening Banquet schedule
  • Contact numbers of all vendors engaged ( For us, banquet manager, decor vendor, sales mgr of the venue we booked, live band vendor, driver)
  • Floor Layout, table seating plan of wedding venue.
  • Job duties of all wedding helpers (will elaborate further in this post)

Actual Day Morning Schedule,
Traditional,the groom will pick up the bride back to groom house for tea ceremony before bride return back to her own house and return back to groom house to rest before heading down to check in to hotel for the banquet dinner.

But for us, the groom stay in Tampines, i stay in woodlands, our wedding banquet dinner is in Yishun, so it doesn't make sense for me to return back to Tampines to rest before going to the wedding dinner venue, anyway we don't have the time as well because it overrun and i only check in to the hotel around 3.30pm. But the times flies super fast and you feel like you are racing against time.

So you may want to start with indicating the
Time that MUA has to reach your house, from Point A (Bride House) to Point B( Groom House) before going back to Point A (Bride house) again time allowance at each point. However, it is essential to ensure that you have a time-keeper to ensure you guys stay on track without exceeding the designated time however do emphasise that sometimes it's ok to overrun the time.  (The whole wedding should be a beautiful process and not a marathon, thus while it is important to keep track of the time, you should brief to all your wedding helpers not to over-enforce on the time management, this happens to me when i was not in a rush of time but OLM keep rushing the groom, and for the evening, its was the groom that was rushing the entire process like some operations. zz)

This is our actual day morning schedule.
Everyone will have different timing because of the auspicious timing that groom can enter the house to pick up the bride, usually for teochew bride, they have to wake up super early. For me it was 9am, so i could sleep till 6.30am in the morning.

My Actual Day Morning Schedule

0600 - 0830hrs - (Sister's preparation, bath, getting changed, breakfast & arrangement of any gatecrash materials)

Depending on each bride preference, i choose to gather all of them to stay over at my house the night before since they was going to do some gatecrashing materials and no panic
attack when everyone will be around to wake each other up. Except PC as she was in Thailand and she came back on the midnight flight and reached my house early morning. When i woke up, she was already dressed and in my house already. Haha

As for the bride to me aka me. I set my alarm clock to be at 6.30am. Even though it's half an hr later than the sisters but it means alot to me having adequate sleep! Haha

0630 - 0700hrs - Bride woke up, bath, putting on my contact lens and having my breakfast before the MUA arrived at my house. (Depending on individual, i am pretty fast so half an hour is sufficient for me since i don't have to do my own makeup)

0715 - 0900hrs - MUA will do my hairdo/makeup, at the same time, photographer and videographer should have arrived by then for either phototaking/video recording.

As the groom can only enter my house after 9am, olm misunderstood and thought that they have to enter our house exactly at 9am. kinda stupid and no one was with me as i was waiting in the room when the sister's is outside waiting for the groom and his brothers.

So, i think it is very important to ensure one of your sisters stay by your side at all time, at least before the groom enter the house so that if you have instructions to make, there is someone to pass down. For me, i was quite mad because i was in the room trying to tell OLM outside that he only need to enter after 9am, and not exactly 9AM. She was practically rushing him, later on when i spoke to the photographer, he told me he did mention to my sister it's ok to enter later but obviously fallen on deaf ears. So i strongly emphasise that you have to brief all your sisters to listen instructions properly. Not to take things into their own hand. Unfortunately, all the sisters was outside during the gatecrash so i was alone in the room waiting for them to finish the gatecrashing games.

I forbid the sisters to play disgusting games/low class games on the brothers thus most of the games is brainstorm by me or at least with one sisters at a time, which was a mistake because everyone interpret the instructions of the games differently. Thus it is very very important that more meetings and communications is essential to brought across the message to everyone involved in the wedding. For my side, at least i had several meetings with the sisters, but i think it would be better if the meeting is arranged with brothers & sisters together because everyone will be brief the same and reduce the chances of miscommunication on the actual day.

0900 - 0920hrs - By right if the groom reach my house by 8.30am, the plan was to play the gatecrash games outside the corridor from 8.30am till it is 9am before he can enter and we would only need to take around 20minute before departing for groom's house. (FYI: i stay in woodlands and he stay in tampines) so we had taken into account the time estimated to travel.  However our photographer/videographer stopped them from coming up because they have not finished filming me with the complete hairdo/makeup. I was only ready close to 9am thus it will not be feasible to put this timing. So for bride to be, don't try this timing that i had initially assumed that it will works. This is because photographer want to film me after the makeup everything was done before they will go down and film the groom before coming to the gatecrash segment.

A practical timing would be 9.00-10.30am (at least 1hour, counting the gatecrash games, but 1.5hour is the max).

1100 - 1200hrs (Tea ceremony begins, Jeremy's has alot of relatives in the house so the tea ceremony took longer than the usual, do remember to check who will be helping out with the presenting of the teacups to the newly weds, for us, Jeremy's sister was the one replacing the cups and present to us to offer to all the relatives.)

During this time, you could get the brothers & sisters to help themselves with the food catering prepared, i think for our brothers & sisters, the real work starts only in the evening, feeding them since morning hahahaha and the sisters helped themselves with the food as i was having the tea ceremony and they was so full that they couldn't eat anymore.(look out for my photos in next post) (One mistake that i overlook was to ensure they had their early dinner first before the dinner banquet starts) After we check in to the hotel, Jeremy went off to the supermarket to get some stuffs for himself and couldn't get him to prepare food for all the brothers & sisters, i think it would be better to pre-arranged delivery of bento meals at least for the brothers & sisters to the suite before the reception starts because they was quite hungry by evening after their own preparation and checking all the stuffs and they had to wait till 8pm before dinner starts.

I was really too overwhelmed with stuffs that i overlooked this.

1200 - 1300hrs - Back to Bride house for tea ceremony, photo-taking before we start to pack up and head for OCC.

End of Actual Day Morning schedule.

We had our Solemnization on the same day of our banquet dinner so we created the actual day evening schedule as follows :

Actual Day Solemnization + Evening Banquet schedule

1530hrs- Reached OCC and check in to our bridal suite.

1530 - 1630hrs - makeup starts for my sister & mum, (freshen up for the brothers & sisters in another room) I think it would be good to have more than 1 room, for us, we had our bridal suite and additional 1 wedding helper room so that there is at least more than 1 bathroom for them to freshen up themselves as well.

During this 4.30pm, light refreshments were provided for the newlywed by the hotel, so depending on the bride, for me i am a very fast person, so i do things pretty fast and i do eat pretty fast on the move, so i wasn't that hungry when we only started dinner at 8pm as i had a pretty full meal before that. Hahahaha, i had like sandwiches, fruits, tarts, fries etc. The groom disappeared for quite long as he was busy stocking up his cheese as he was prepared he will had to drink alot during the dinner.
So, i advise to ensure someone settle all the misc stuffs for the groom, if he had brief them way ahead.

1700 - 1800 hrs - 1st Hairdo & Makeup for Bride

1830 - 1845hrs -  heads to solemnization function room for the ceremony

1845 - 1930hrs  - Cocktail reception, phototaking

1930 - 2000hrs - ushering of guests in the ballroom and most guest seated in ballroom

2000 - 2030 hrs - First video before 1st Match in, cake cutting ceremony, 1st dish served

2045 - 2100hrs - 2nd Hairdo & Makeup for Bride, change of suit for Groom

2100 - 2115hrs - 2nd video featuring morning highlights before 2nd march in via buggy

2115 - 2130 hrs - Popping of Champage, Wine Toasting.

2130 - 2230hrs -Table phototaking, seeing guests off at the entrance of the wedding. Wedding completed!

For me, as i had probably mentioned before, i didn't really look into the solemnization ceremony preparation so it was very random when the brother ask if i would want my dad to accompany me into the ballroom. So i say ok. I thought it would be a fuss free ceremony where i can just walk in sit down with Jeremy and we can start to sign the paper and prepare to welcome our guests at the reception area, then the brother ask for songs that i would like to play as well, and i didn't even prepare one for solemnization, so it was a random selection and i had forgotten the song that was used as well.

So for those bride that place great emphasis on solemnization ceremony, don't follow this post as i have nothing much to suggest as it's the most least concern part for me. Haha

However, before the soleminisation ceremony, i believe the brothers & sisters do have their own respective job duties that they should or can refer to the handbook created to check and ensure everything is set up properly.

We didn't have one, with job duties allocated on paper, but i don't blame that everyone will remember their duties and no specified instructions, it somehow got abit disoriented.

For us, i do allocate duties for my sisters to help check and ensure the vendor that i engage to do set up at the reception area arrived on time, this is important whereby you provide your vendor the sister/brothers contact but you need to ensure the sister/brothers have the vendor contact number too.

I think i only provide the vendor the sisters contact no, so the person who turned up is also different from the one i liaise with and there were some issues which i was pretty mad initially as i had given the vendor that i engaged the reception layout and even indicating which props to be arranged at which corner of the reception area, the items that i required, but it seems they had miscommunication at their side and they don't exactly have an idea where to place and i think lm was the one telling them based on a copy that i given to the sisters to counter check.

Next, i had the sisters to check for me all the tables, to ensure menu is correct, vegetarian or halal pax cutlery is at the correct table. Initially they didn't set up the correct amount of tables so fortunately the sisters was alert enough and informed them of the shortage.

For the stage setup as well, it was different from what i had shown them the actual stage setup, so they texted me to check with me, the sash on stage was gold when it was supposed to be red. As they check that it was different from what i had prepared and quickly checked with me when i was doing my makeup, so they contact the manager to get the person to change to the correct one.

There were so many hiccups i guess during the wedding dinner reception.
Initially, i do assign my sisters to check the AV, sound system to ensure our 1st march in video and the morning gatecrash video can be play, but during the preparation when i was in the suite, Jeremy was giving his own instructions when i first assign lm to check, so i was not sure how he brief his brothers but it was a big issue later because he was too impulsive and refused to communicate properly with my sister that during our 1st march in, wrong video was play. Instead of playing the video that i created, they was playing our photoshoot montage, which i find it strange when the music was so weird, nothing that i had expected. So i told him the issue, to which he quickly call the brother to change the video, and 2nd time when they changed, they change the wrong video, when the 2nd video was the actual day morning gatecrash video. Eventually, he had to run up like a fool and change the video himself.

I find it incredible funny and it serve a good lesson to him though its the first and last time we are doing this that its important to listen instead of listening to rebutt back.

He wants to get his brother to check the AV, but they didn't do a good job out of it.
They screwed it up, because he didn't brief them properly.

Later on, i get to know the cause of the problem, there was miscommunication, which i believe they must did not even try out the first video and no briefing was told to them which video to play, which i presumed Jeremy didn't even go up the control room to show them as well and they simply assumed its the photoshoot montage because of the file name.

This is the responsibility of the groom to brief them, but he didnt. So it cause such a big embarrassment when people start to watch the photoshoot montage playing instead of the correct video. The brothers has also failed to check and making sure the video playing is in sequence, they say the videographer didn't close the tabs so they got panic and click the wrong video the 2nd time.

I think it is their duty to ensure the tabs is closed or at least making sure u click the correct button, its a very big ballroom and there were so many guests! The video should follow according to sequence. So i feel at least overall my sisters are the ones that do all the correct duties because i given them briefing. But the groom side didn't.

This serve as a good sharing experience for all the newly wed who are planning their wedding to take note of all these to ensure your wedding is run smoothly.

But nevertheless, despite all these hiccups, the wedding goes pretty well as some of our guests start to ask us the decor contact, price, our live band contacts, because later the vendor came to msg me to tell me they have new business after our wedding. Hahaha.

Next post will be on the actual day morning post!

Till then.