Walk yourself through as:
The Guest: You are driving to the wedding and have turned onto the street, you know the address, now which one is the house?
You: A sign, such as: "The Smith - Townsend Wedding" will prevent guests from searching for numbers on the house. Attach some white helium balloons with ribbon long enough for the balloons to be seen several houses away. Do not skimp on the sign. Poster board has a tendency to flap and curl. Not classy. The front yard is the first impression. That means grass mowed, hedges trimmed, flower beds weeded, driveways and walkways edged (use the blower or broom to sweep away clippings) and power-washed or hosed down. Even if you have the guests go around the house and not through the front door, sweep and wash the porch. Enhance the yard with natural embellishment. Flowers in the flower beds and/or in attractive containers will suffice. Do not do gaudy, this is a dignified occasion, not a circus.
The Guest: You arrive at the wedding in your car. Where do you park? Is there ample room on the street? Is there valet parking?
You: The number of guests you are expecting, at the gathering, dictates what is enough parking. Can the guest park within a short and safe walking distance? If not, is there a church or local business close by that you can work out an arrangement for parking? In that case, you will need valet parking. Guests will not appreciate parading down the street, in good clothes and high heels. They came to celebrate not to exercise.
The Guest: How do I get to the backyard? Around the house? Through the house?
You: Clearly identify access to the backyard. A plywood (or other sturdy material) sign painted white and adorned with wedding motif and a directional arrow can lead the way. Again, attach a couple of balloons to attract attention. Carpet runners (available at rental stores) make an elegant path for the gala event. Have a sign in book ready on a small table or podium. Make it simple, but attractive.
The Guest: I am standing in the backyard, now what?
You: People enjoy being greeted. Have someone designated to be the greeter. Let the guest know that they are welcomed and give them any special instructions. Where to set the gift they are carrying might be one.
You probably do not want people wandering through your house, but this is inevitable, unless you plan on renting an unsightly port-a-potty. Ugh!
Not only will guests need to use your bathroom, the bride, groom and their wedding party will need separate rooms to prepare for the ceremony.
The Bride's Room:
- The perfect room, for the bride and her wedding party, is the master bedroom. They need access to a private bathroom.
- Clothes rack or over the door hooks for dresses.
- Places to sit.
- Full length mirror is a must; a tri-fold mirror would be great.
- A dressing table with mirror for makeup and hair; or bathroom vanity
- Sewing notions: needle and thread, safety pins, scissors. Things needed for a quick emergency repair.
- Aspirin or something else for headaches.
- Bottled water and fresh fruit or light non-messy finger foods. Chances are, the bride has been to busy or excited to eat. You do not want her fainting at the altar.
- The room temperature should be comfortable. There will be people bustling about the room creating heat. Set the thermostat on a lower setting. Ceiling and portable fans can be a big aid in keeping the bride and her wedding party cool and calm.
- Ask the parents of the flower girl to bring something for play. Most likely she will stay occupied with being one of the big girls. She will be in a princess state of mind and will, for the most part, keep herself entertained in that special fantasy world all flower girls visit.
- A box of tissues, for those happy tears.
- If you want to do something special for the bride, a vase of fresh flowers in the room will certainly add to the felicitous occasion.
- The perfect groom's room is a game room equipped with a pool table or other games. The guys will not spend as much time primping as the girls, and need to be kept busy so they will not become bored or, even worse, wanderers.
- Clothes rack or over the door hooks for the tuxedos.
- Places to sit.
- Full length mirror, for that all important once over.
- Pocket combs for unruly hair.
- Shoe polish wipes.
- Someone with knowledge of how to tie a tie, should be on standby.
- Sewing notions: needle and thread, safety pins, scissors for emergency repairs.
- Bottled water and fresh fruit or light non-messy finger foods. Note: It is amazing the number of weddings that the bride and/or groom have allowed themselves to become so hungry they become lightheaded or almost dehydrated from lack of fluids.
- The room temperature should be comfortable.
- the parents of the ring bearer should bring something they know will occupy their son's time. The ring bearer will feel the camaraderie of the groomsmen and will usually try hard to be one of the boys.
Something extra nice, for both the bride's and groom's room, are live video feeds to televisions in each room. The video camera can be set up to send real time feed of the guest as they arrive and mingle. The bride and groom will both appreciate this gesture and feel more connected with their friends and families.
Even a simple backyard wedding takes major time and hard work. There is more than just the backyard involved: parking,the kitchen, the bathrooms, room for the bride and one for the groom, and the first impression... the front yard.
A luscious lawn, trees for canopies, and vibrant flowers, a perfect setting for two people to unite in marriage. Is the time it took to plan and execute, and all that hard work worth all that effort? It is, and it will be for all the years that follow.