(#2 Will Blow Your Mind!)
W&T Reveals the Top 10 Things That MIGHT Give You More Stress Than You Ever Expected…
#1 RSVP List
RSVP (“respondez vous s’il vous plait” in French) aka “please response”. RSVP is probably the biggest headache of the wedding dinners. The couple has to decide how many tables they want for each side. As well as who will be responsible for managing the attendance.
Attendance is where the problems start. Because after the seating arrangement planning and making sure no one would feel left out at the table. There are always last minute changes.
Nowadays, there are web services that you can engage to manage your RSVP for you. However, many still prefer to handle it themselves. Typically, the groom will be in charge of his side of friends and relatives and the bride hers.
But what happens when you have people who kept changing their RSVP status? It’s going to be a huge headache keeping track of all the changes. This includes the guests that are unable to confirm until the actual day. As well as those who could not turn up at the last minute. And for relatives, it’s going to be very hard to estimate how many were coming and you have to be careful not to leave anybody out.
You can save yourself by including a response card with a postage-paid return envelope. Or to ask to RSVP with regrets only, meaning if you don’t hear from them, you’ll assume they are coming. Alternatively, you can send both the physical and electronic invitation and keep track from there. Set up reminders via email list and you can add the Wedding Dinner to their mobile phone’s calendar. BUT most importantly, always, always CALL. Call after you’ve sent the invitation and follow up with them, the biggest fear would be empty tables!
#2 Red Packets or Hong Bao
Receiving red packets of cash from guests is a Chinese tradition at wedding dinners. The most common problem that couples face is not knowing who the red packets are from. Thus, not knowing how much a particular guest had given in the red packet.
Usually, the reception will record attendance and get the guests to write their names on the red packets before putting it in the collection box. However, things might get busy when guests arrive in a large crowd and the reception loses track of the guests and their ‘hong baos’, or guests might just deposit their red packet in without anyone noticing. Don’t forget to request more pens at the reception and have family members carrying a nice pen just in case.
When the dinner starts, the red packet boxes would be sent to the bridal suite. Usually, at the end of the long night, the couple would do a first count and subsequently, the second count will be done again at home.
Please check with the Banquet Manager how many of these red packet boxes will they provide. You can consider additional boxes if only 1 box is available.
Here’s another way to save time: You can allocate a family member to be responsible for the counting and auditing of the red packets. Also, please check with the Banquet Manager if they can provide an accountant to audit the second count. After both parties verified the count, the cash can be handed directly to the Wedding Banquet for payment. Sometimes the count could be completed before the last dish was served.
Consider such a practice for your wedding dinner; it saves you the hassle of ferrying the red packets around and you only have to extend your credit limit to top up if the bill exceeds your red packets collection. Furthermore, you save the stress of carrying loads of cash around and bringing it to a bank to deposit.
#3 Reserve/Backup Tables
You may have invited 1,000 people, of whom 800 responded. Be prepared for last minute cancellations and attendance. It is essential to have backup or reserve tables. Depending on the venue, there are different outcomes for unused, backup or reserve tables.
For example, if you have a guest list for 79 tables, you could prepare 77 tables and have the 2 tables as reserves. If the guests do not turn up and the 2 reserve tables are unused, no food will be served. Thus, no costs will be incurred. Please check if there is a Wedding Concierge on hand to assist at the wedding itself, so you can have less worry and you can focus on the occasion. When planning for your wedding dinner, please remember to ask and clarify the policies of the venue’s reserve tables.
#4 Leftover Food
Some tables might end up not being full, so guests may have double portions; otherwise the venue typically disposes of the leftover food.
Guests might feel embarrassed to ask for the packed food. Hence, you might want to let them know that they can request to bring food home if they want to. You can even ask the emcee to announce, this can really help to reduce food waste. Be prepared to take away tables worth of food. Think in advance – you can distribute the food to close friends and family members for a second round.
#5 Rehearsal Dinner
Some venues do provide for a rehearsal on the actual day just before the dinner. Some couples would have their rehearsal at around 5pm on their wedding dinner. You could request for a rehearsal if you were not provided one. You need to try out the microphone, sound system, projector functions, screening of your montage and even your march-in. If there’s no rehearsal, please request for a briefing session about an hour before the wedding. However, it all depends on you as some may feel that a rehearsal is not necessary.
Huge wedding venues may not necessarily have the parking facilities to accommodate the number of guests. Usually complimentary parking coupons would only be given to 10% of the guests. The bridal car would usually be given the free valet service. Thus, complimentary parking coupons would be given to family members and some close friends.
Guests might expect to get complimentary parking coupons. You might want to indicate on your invitation card that parking is at one’s own expense. You could recommend a mode of public transportation.
Also, wedding dinners tend to delay and drag on till late. Many guests at the wedding dinner could also leave before 12 midnight so they could catch the last MRT train. As a result, there could be a lot of leftovers from the last two dishes (desserts included). Thus, you could consider arranging for chartered buses or taxis to send your guests home.
#7 Bridal Suite
Usually, a one-night stay is part of the package if you hold your wedding at a hotel or a country club.
If you anticipate a bad hangover from the dinner, you might want to request for a late check-out or extend your stay.
Having to rush and clear out the room after barely having enough rest doesn’t sound like fun for the first day of your marriage. Some wedding day package would offer a two-night stay in their bridal suite.
Decision making could cause some misunderstandings between the couple. Perhaps the bride and groom can have their own set of responsibilities and authority on certain arrangements for the wedding dinner.
#9 Change of Outfits
The bride usually changes her gown during the dinner. Some brides would change their gown twice – once after the walk-in and another during the dinner. Request for a room near the ballroom if possible to facilitate convenience and easy changing of outfits.
#10 Keeping the Guests Entertained
As the couple makes their rounds and change their outfits, the guests have to be kept entertained. Here’s where the emcees play an important role. So engage your personal friends to tell stories and jokes instead of just using the venue’s staff. Other than playing video montages of your marriage ceremony in the morning, or of your lives before you met, or displaying your childhood photos next to each other. You might want to have some games or performances for your guests.
Sometimes you can think out of the box to keep your guests entertained for a memorable time. How about organising a dreamy sand art show or an exciting Mask-changing Show?
Stay Tuned For More Useful Tips from W&T in the future!