Friday, November 15, 2013

License, gifts and decorations. Oh My!

There are several obvious aspects to the wedding for which you plan for, when to cut your cake, who will complete the blessing, what you shall eat; however, the planning should not end there. Once dinner is done and the dancing begins, there are several important items that still need your attention surrounding the end of the evening and the following morning. You will need to plan arrangements for your the marriage license, gifts, you decorative items and the tuxedos.

Marriage License: Be sure to ask you officiant if you or they will be responsible for mailing the formal marriage license to the state for processing. In most my experiences, the officiant will be the one mailing in the license. But, if you are responsible, you could come prepared by bringing the necessary postage and charging an extended family member or friend with placing it into the mail after the ceremony and the needed signatures. If you need to travel from your ceremony site to the reception site, this can be done in transit. If your ceremony and reception are at the same location, ask the facility where you drop outgoing mail. In the event that neither of these are an option, you can slide the formal certificate, and the certificate that is yours to keep, into the locked card box at the reception to be tended to the day after the reception.

Gifts: You will want to put someone who is trustworthy in charge of the task of gathering the gifts and card box at the end of the night. Notably you will want to choose someone who will have enjoyed themselves, but not too much. Often a parent is chosen to do this; but it too can be a trusted friend or extended family member.

While it is standard etiquette for guests to send large gifts directly to your home, it is possible that these large gifts may still arrive at the reception. Additionally, you have no way of knowing how many gifts you will receive verse gift cards. Therefore, the rule of thumb is to simply be prepared. If you are having your reception at a venue that does not have overnight accommodations, you will want to be sure that whoever you have charged with this task has a vehicle, or access to a vehicle, that is large enough to accommodate the potential gifts. They will need to be able to load them into the car to transport to whatever destination you have selected. Ideally, since they are in the vehicle, it would be best to transport them directly to your home or the home of a parent to watch while you are away on your honeymoon. This way the gifts are only touched once. If they are transported to the location in which you have arranged overnight accommodations do not leave them in the vehicle. In this case you will have to load them onto a luggage cart and transport them to a guestroom.

It is considered inappropriate and rude to utilize a luggage overnight; however, by the time your reception has ended all the majority of the arriving guests will have checked in, thus they will not need the cart. The point? Roll the cart loaded with gifts directly into the guestroom so they can simply be wheeled out and to the vehicle(s) in the morning. I would recommend promptly thereafter returning the cart for the use of guests who are checking out.

This same scenario of transporting the gifts and cards via luggage cart, to a guestroom, will hold true if your reception is at the same location as where you are staying. The difference here would be questioning your venue to see if they provide any assistance at the end of the night with the transport of the gifts and cards. Note that I said assist. Some facilities will not offer any assistance in this process due to liability reasons while others will offer assistance to whoever you have placed in charge of this task. The facility may retrieve the luggage cart for you to load up and they may even take the cart to the predetermined destination but they will not complete this task solo on your behalf.  

As for the gift cards, in the event your hotel has safes in the room I would recommend using this for the gift cards. Many hotels to do have safes in the room but they do have safety deposit boxes located in the executive offices. Many hotels will not publicize this as often there are a limited number of boxes so be sure to ask if they have one and what is the procedure to secure one for the evening of your reception. Again, you can simply leave the cards in the locked card box with the other gifts if you so choose.

Decorative Items: If you are a fan of Pinterest you may very well be planning to make some or all of your decorations. Even if you are not planning on making any items at all, at the least you will most likely have a cake topper, card box, guest book with pen and toasting glasses. Typically, the facility will place these items out for you during the set up process, but you will need to have someone and some way to retrieve them at the end of the night. Ask the facility what their protocol for returning / retrieving these items. Each facility may be different in their response. With that, a recommendation would be to ask them to place these items on the gift table as each items is used. Meaning, once the social hour is over, the guest book with pen can be moved to the gift table. It will still be accessible by your guests in the event they had not yet signed it but it will be in a central location at the end of the night. This too applied to your toasting glasses and cake topper which can be placed then once dinner is done and the dancing begins as you will no longer need access to them. 

If you are making centerpieces and other more extensive items for which you do not want back as the facility if they will dispose of these for you and if so is there a charge. In the event you want to keep these items, see if the facility is willing to store them until the next morning. As mentioned before regarding the gifts, you will want to be sure that you have ready a large enough vehicle to get all of your decorations home. Many times my brides who wanted to keep their items wake up the next morning realizing that they did not bring the same large SUV for which brought these items. So be sure to plan as rarely can the facility store the items for you as there will most likely be another wedding or event that will be delivering their items to the facility and storage space is not ordinarily in abundance.

Tuxedos: The last item for today is the tuxedos. Some brides prefer to leave this completely the responsibility of the groomsmen which is ideal; however, in some cases the bride and groom rent the tuxedos in lieu of a groomsmen gift. It is in this case that you will want to prepare and make arrangements for their return. To ensure everything is returned as needed, place someone in charge of gathering all of the tuxedos the morning after the reception. If a tux is not returned in full, such as missing a tie, you may get charged. Therefore, in advance make a list of all the items that should be in the tuxedo bag (jacket, pants, tie, vest, shoes, etc.) and give to whoever you have placed in charge. Have all the groomsmen meet in a designated guest room with their tux and tux bag and together they can all quickly go through the check list to ensure all of the items are accounted for. If there are any items missing have the groomsmen check their guestroom again but if that does not solve the issue, try asking the facility to check the lost and found items as it is likely the article of clothing was left at the reception site.

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