Here at The First Dance, we care deeply about relationships. This includes the married couples relationship, the connections with their parents, extended family, and friends. Weddings can require the diplomacy of a United Nations Summit, and yet our culture offers little in the way of real help beyond “it’s your day, do what you want.” This is why we created our website, book, classes, and this is what we love to tackle!
No matter how much or little you spend on your wedding, one of the biggest tragedies of a “great wedding” is something you can actually control (unlike impossibly controlling parents, jealous friends, or the weather.) It’s called FLOW.
What do we mean by flow? Flow is when the entire experience is smooth and hospitable for everyone involved. It means people feel comfortable where they’re supposed to be, knowing what is going on, and having things develop (food, toasts, music) in a logical, timely fashion. Many weddings lack flow because it requires managing every single aspect of the guest experience and how the event will unfold. Many large events other than weddings also live or die on “flow” which is probably one of many reasons event planners are hired by companies because the event can’t risk being executed poorly.
This is where a wedding coordinator, event planner, or experienced friend can help out. Whether you’re spending $5,000 or $100,000 on your big day, FLOW can be more important to the success or failure of how much fun guests have and how well all the pieces are put together.
Here is a very short list of flow in action. These are from the point of view of wedding guests. I have experienced a large number of these myself and you probably have too. Comment on other experiences you’ve had as a wedding guest!
• You are twenty minutes late to the ceremony because there was no map, or there was unpredicted road construction, or the map provided was so poor you got lost (thankfully the 3 minute ceremony was delayed because a set of grandparents was also completely lost….)
• You’re friends with BOTH the bride and groom and get flustered when the usher asks “which party” you belong to in order to figure out which side of the pews you should sit at?
• You get to the ceremony and have no idea where to park or what door to enter
• After the ceremony you and everyone around you has no idea if they’re supposed to stand up, wait for others to stand first, or have no idea where to go when you do stand up?
• Have you been pulled away to help with some task, leaving your date to sit or stand alone, because you are needed for something unexpected?
• Have you argued with your date about how much time you have to linger after the ceremony before getting to the reception because neither of you has a clue when it starts or how long it takes to get there?
• Ever been stressed out to race to get to the reception because you are afraid your group of 6 friends won’t be able to find a seat together if you hang out too long after the ceremony?
• Wondered what the bride and groom were thinking assigning you a table with people you had nothing in common with?
• Ever had to walk around 15-20 tables, trying not to bump into people with food in their hands, grumbling as you have to walk AROUND every table, trying to find your name?
• Ever been excited about who is at your table, only to sit down and not be able to see the people across from you because of the centerpieces? Then you realize no matter where you move the centerpiece, you’re blocking someone?
• Ever wonder when it’s safe to step away to the bathroom, or make a quick call, or get some fresh air away from the crowds, but are afraid you’re going to miss something important at the wedding reception?