"The Big Event" Wedding

I had the pleasure to work as a "day of" wedding coordinator for a large wedding in Jacksonville, Florida this weekend. The Big Event out of St. Augustine was the planner for the wedding and they definitely know what they were doing! It is always nice to work with a new team of people and to learn different tricks of the trade. This wedding was different than any wedding I have ever been a part of before. The invitation requested that the guests arrive at 12:30 for the wedding, but the ceremony wasn't until 1:15. There was a cocktail gathering before the ceremony, a cocktail gathering after the ceremony and then a seated dinner with dancing. I am not sure if the guests really knew it was going to be a 7 hour affair, but I didn't see many complaints as the sushi was passed and the libations were flowing.

All of the festivities took place at the Sawgrass Club House. Kelly's Bloom Room did a fabulous job of transforming your typical clubhouse into an actual "bloom room." The combination of whites, creams and light pink flowers were absolutely beautiful! The room where the ceremony took place was roped off and guarded by a lady wearing black (a.k.a...me) whose job it was to keep guests from entering the petal sanctuary too soon! We did not want guests trampling the rose petals that were placed down the aisle, so we strategically escorted each guest along the sides.

Take a look at the band of flowers across the top of the picture. These boards were taken down after the ceremony and mounted to the front of the stage in the grand ballroom.

**Hint: if you are going to re-use flowers, you do not want your guests to see you do it. There was a back door from the ceremony room to the ballroom that the florists used to work their magic while guests were enjoying the cocktail hour. If you can make this happen at any point during your wedding weekend, it can save you a lot of money!

Things you might want to consider:
The Club had lunch boxes set aside in small obsolete room for the vendors (photographers, musicians, etc) . Your vendors have to eat, especially if you have them working for 12 hours. The lunch boxes will keep your vendors from hanging around your buffet line.

If you are having a dessert bar in addition to your cake, see if there is a way for the venue to keep the dessert bar hidden until the cake is cut. You don't want to see your cake go to waste.

Your "throw away" bouquet can be used as a centerpiece during the reception to save a little money. See the blurry picture on the right...the top of the arrangement actually lifts out as a bouquet.
If the venue typically has fresh flowers in the lobby or hallways, then they probably have them done on a weekly basis. Ask if they wouldn't mind having their florist use your wedding colors in that week's arrangements. This will help with your flower budget.

The white flowers on the left were actually done by the venue's florist. We could not have asked for it to match more perfectly!
Ask your venue about their "roll away bars." Typically your wedding will be held in a room that does not have a permanent bar. I loved the look of these bars. They are classy and actually look like they are there all the time.

You very rarely see this nice of an ice bucket at a roll away bar, but I am going to start requesting it!

Water canister...$20 at Garden Ridge! The floating orchids add such a nice touch!

Seated Dinner:
We don't see as many seated dinners in Birmingham as planners do in other parts of the country, but it all depends on size and budget.

Having the menu at the place setting adds another detail to the table. If you are going to use your initials...use the brides first letter of her first name on the left, the groom's on the right and the first letter of your new last name in the middle.
Don't forget that you want your centerpiece to be high or low. Your guests need to be able to see each other. The bride wanted both...and it looked really nice!
The wedding went off without a hitch and we had vendors telling us that they wished all weddings ran as smooth as this one. The key to a successful wedding is all about the planning!

Happy Planning!
Design DetailsDan Gavin