A Wedding Rehearsal When Your Ceremony Venue Isn’t Available

This is a conversation that I have with a majority of my clients. Typically in the beginning stages of planning the wedding, after falling in love with or after booking the venue, it becomes apparent that the space most likely will not be available for the ceremony rehearsal. It happens often at downtown venues. The wedding industry is growing in Greenville, and you see a lot of Friday (and Sunday) weddings during the busy season (and sometimes just because). Many venues are not able to guarantee you access for a rehearsal because it’s still a day where they would be able to rent out the space for another event.

I always encourage my clients to not worry because I have a lot of experience with off-site rehearsals. We do not have to be in the actual ceremony venue for the rehearsal if the space isn’t available at all the day before the wedding or the time that it would be available isn’t practical (i.e. all of your wedding party is traveling in from out of town and it’s only available at 9AM or it would include a lot of travel time to get everyone there and back).

Off-site wedding rehearsals work because a rehearsal consists of three components:
1) Figuring out the order for everyone up front and working through the processional/recessional orders
2) Learning what the ceremony will sound like and practicing any people moving parts
3) Figuring out exactly where everyone will stand – determining “their spot”

The first two take the longest and can be accomplished anywhere that we can pretend to have an aisle and stand against an empty wall or space. The final part, learning exactly where to stand, can happen very quickly on the wedding day once the bridesmaids and groomsmen arrive at the venue (and it doesn’t have to happen together as long as someone pays attention to spacing and lines up both parties the same way – my job!).

What I encourage my clients to do in this situation is to go ahead and plan for the venue to not be available (if there is any chance at all that it won’t be) and have a rehearsal dinner location that can accommodate the ceremony rehearsal itself (or select another location nearby that is available prior to the dinner). Oftentimes, we brainstorm and come up with a few restaurants downtown that they can look into that would work. Other times my client has secured a meeting room in a hotel or other open space for us to use for the wedding rehearsal. I do advise against having a plan for a rehearsal in the park or other public outdoor space so that plans do not have to change last minute if the weather is not cooperating (the last thing that anyone needs to be worried about the day before their wedding).

When planning to host your rehearsal in the same space as your rehearsal dinner, there are a few things you’ll want to do. First, you should plan to only look at spaces that have a private dining area available. You wouldn’t want your rehearsal to interfere with other customers’ dining experiences. This is not going to be a quiet task, and it would be very disruptive if not in a separate space.

Second, you should always make your restaurant or rehearsal dinner contact aware of your plans to rehearsal in advance. Discuss whether or not they will need to still be setting anything up during that time and discuss whether or not you would want drinks available to your wedding party ahead of the dinner service time.

Third, plan your time rehearsal time accordingly. I always suggest one and a half hours before the dinner time. My wedding rehearsals take a solid hour, and this way everything is guaranteed to be wrapped up before any additional dinner guests show up and before the kitchen is ready to start sending out any food.

Finally, be ready to explain what you would need, regarding setup, from the dinner venue so that everyone knows what to expect. I have always advised that we really don’t need anything special, just a bit more room to move between the tables where our “aisle” will be and a clear space to line the entire wedding party up against one wall. It doesn’t have to be completely squared off or similar to the shape of the ceremony venue. We’ll all use our imaginations! (And, it’s sometimes helpful to have a few pictures of the actual ceremony space on a phone in case there are any questions.) Sometimes it will be the first time a restaurant has accommodated this sort of thing, and they usually just want to make sure they know how to prepare.

Speaking of using your imagination, one challenge when doing an off-site rehearsal is explaining this to a small flower girl or ring bearer who may not understand that this isn’t the actual location of the ceremony. When this is the case, I always focus on talking about what they will be doing (tossing petals or holding a sign, etc.) and who they will be walking to meet (sitting down with a particular person – which I highly advise for really little ones – or the wedding party buddy that they will stand near). Then, I make sure that they will be on site at the ceremony venue with plenty of time for them to review what they will be doing in that space.

Venue availability for a rehearsal is definitely not something that I would take into consideration when selecting a wedding venue since it’s so easy to work around. Of course, it’s ideal to rehearsal in the actual space but not absolutely necessary. With a little planning and efficient coordination, an off-site wedding ceremony rehearsal will be just a perfect as an on-site one!

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A Better Wedding Coordinator than a Blogger

To say that this blog has been neglected would be an understatement. With twenty-one weddings last year and a new full-time job, chatting with anyone other than clients and vendors about wedding details has officially fallen to the wayside…

I did want to pop on here and let anyone who happens upon this page know what’s been going on and that, yes, I am still very much active in my wedding coordination business.

As I said, in 2016, I coordinated twenty-one weddings, including one in Philadelphia for a sweet acquaintance of mine from the event world. I also transitioned from a real estate development job in NC (I had been driving an hour each way) to a job with a local festival downtown in Greenville, SC (and my commute is now one mile). I am doing event-based work all of the time now, and I tend to see quite a bit of overlap in contacts between the wedding and festival worlds.

Although I do plan around festival dates and pre-festival events, I am still coordinating as much in 2017 as I was in 2016. Meetings and site surveys are much easier to schedule nowadays, too. I’ve found my groove again with the balance between both of my roles, and I can’t wait to see what 2018 has in store! In the meantime, I still a few dates in 2017 available if someone needs me. ;)

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A Look Back on 2015 – 32 Weddings!

A Look Back on 2015It’s so hard to believe that 2016 is here already! Things were so fast-paced last year that this little blog didn’t get nearly the amount of attention that I had intended. Instead, my clients had all of my attention as I coordinated 32 weddings in 2015!

Looking back, I thought it would be nice to have a little run down of all of the venues I worked at last year!

In 2015, I coordinated ceremonies at:

After those ceremonies, I took care of the coordination details for receptions at:

Now that was a fun year! So many wonderful clients, great vendors, and awesome wedding memories! Here’s to 2016!

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Wedding Season & a 2014 Wrap-Up

Greenville Wedding SeasonWhen I first started coordinating, wedding season, for me, was May & June and then October. Those are prime times in Greenville. Those are months when it’s best to make your vendor decisions far in advance, especially for photographers, officiants, and other vendors who can only do one wedding a day (maybe two for officiants depending on the ceremony times).

Nowadays, wedding season, for me, is pretty much all year (May, June, and October are just really busy). I’ll end up with small gaps in the winter when it is a less popular time to schedule a wedding (but I LOVE a January wedding, hello, Avett Brothers), and then I’ll have some gaps in the summer when it’s traditionally a bit hotter (but any summer weddings is still lovely, especially inside).

With all of that being said, February is an entire month off for me this year. It’s the only month this year when I don’t have a wedding or event, and I’m fully enjoying some downtime/recharge time on the weekends.

It’s also now the time that follows Christmas, New Years, and Valentine’s Day. Prime engagement time! So, I have been meeting lots of new brides!

Since I hadn’t stopped yet to look back on 2014, I thought now would be a great time to reflect and to let everyone know what I was doing all of last year.

In 2014, I coordinated 29 weddings. All of those were in the Upstate, but I also traveled down to Folly Beach to help with my best friend from high school’s big day (my first on-the-beach wedding!). [Read more…]

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Celebratory Drinks with Pearl Wedding Cake Vodka & Liquid Catering

Wedding Cake Vodka Group of Cocktails

Have you ever had a friend get engaged and simply popping a bottle of Champagne seemed like it wasn’t special enough? Are you tired of generic wedding shower punches? Then this post is for you!

A little while back I had the opportunity to spend a fun evening with Lindsey from Liquid Catering, our favorite professional bartending company in Greenville, SC. I had picked up a bottle of Pearl Wedding Cake Vodka because it seemed like a fun challenge, and I reached out to her to create some celebratory wedding cocktail recipes.

The goal was to create recipes that could be used at three different points during an engagement: the newly engaged, the wedding shower, and the bachelorette party! Not only did they each have to fit the theme, they also had to taste really good! Lindsey has had plenty of practice creating custom cocktails for weddings and other parties, so it’s no surprise that she knocked this one out of the park!


Pearl Wedding Cake Vodka - Put A Ring On It Put A Ring On It – Cheers to the new fiancés!


2 oz. Pearl Wedding Cake Vodka

1 oz. white grape juice

3 oz. prosecco

Shake vodka and juice in a cocktail shaker until cold, strain into a flute and top with prosecco.

Williams Sonoma Sanding Sugar Gold

We added a little gold glitter garnish using the sanding sugar from Williams Sonoma.

After a little trial and error, we decided it was best to run the sanding sugar through a food processor to make it a bit more fine. Not for too long though! Just enough to break it into some smaller pieces. We ran a lemon slice around the glass and the smaller pieces held put, no problem!



Pearl Wedding Cake Vodka - Coconut Lemon Cake PunchCoconut Lemon Cake Punch – A perfectly balanced wedding shower cocktail


1 oz. Pearl Wedding Cake Vodka

1 oz. coconut rum

3 oz. lemonade (we used Simply Lemon so it was nice and tart)

Mix all ingredients and chill (can be done in small or large batches). Pour over ice to serve.

Candied LemonOur garnish for this drink was candied lemons. I had them in a cocktail at Nose Dive once, and I became obsessed. To make my own, I read several recipes. The two most helpful were Martha Stewart’s Candied Lemon Slices and the Candied Meyer Lemon recipe from She Wears Many Hats.



Pearl Wedding Cake Vodka - Love Is SweetLove Is Sweet – A shot that everyone will enjoy!


1 oz. Pearl Wedding Cake Vodka

1/2 oz. creme de cacao

dash of grenadine

Shake all ingredients in a cocktail shaker and pour into a shot glass.


Pearl Wedding Cake Vodka - Something BlueSomething Blue – Wedding cake and pineapple are a great combination


1 oz. Pearl Wedding Cake Vodka

1/2 oz. blue curacao

1/2 oz. pineapple juice

Shake all ingredients in a cocktail shaker and pour into a shot glass.


I hope everyone enjoys their cocktails! Thank you, Lindsey, for being such an great mixologist!

P.S. Pearl Wedding Cake Vodka has no idea who we are or that we love their vodka this much. We just found a cool product we wanted to share.

Pearl Wedding Cake Vodka Cocktail Recipes with Liquid Catering

Happy Wedding Planning & Cocktail Mixing!

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A Tale of Two Weddings: Pretty Place & Hartness Pavilion at Furman and The Cherrydale Alumni House at Furman

A few weeks ago I had the pleasure of coordinating weddings for two couples that are dear friends of mine. They were actually Saturday and Sunday weddings on the same weekend at Furman, and the schedule worked out perfectly where I was able to coordinate both. It was a jam-packed few days, but they were full of fun, happiness, and very sweet moments.

For Amanda and Scott’s wedding, things started off on Friday evening on the top floor of the Erwin Penland building, where Scott works.They have a big conference room upstairs that was perfect, and we had a very helpful and efficient rehearsal with both their minister and ceremony musician in attendance. Check out her rehearsal bouquet, great idea for a first grade teacher!

AmandaScottRehearsal [Read more…]

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Interested in meeting with a Day-Of Wedding Coordinator in Greenville, SC?

Meet the Coordinator in Greenville, SC

Are you planning your wedding in Greenville, SC and thinking about using a Day-Of Wedding Coordinator? Not sure if it’s what you need or want to learn a little more about the services offered? Maybe you just want to meet and chat with the person who could potentially become a major part of your wedding team?

I completely understand where you are coming from! That’s why I’ve decided start scheduling introductory meeting times each month so that I can set aside a time to meet with couples (or brides, brides and their mothers, brides and their friends) who haven’t booked me yet but just want to meet me and see what this day-of coordination stuff is all about. [Read more…]

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A Review of Uptown Entertainment’s Best Wedding Music Advice for Greenville, SC Brides

Uptown Entertainment Justin Reid

Photo Credit Michelle Brooks Photography

A few months ago, I had the pleasure of working with Greenville wedding DJ Justin Reid (pictured above). I was so impressed by his professionalism and level of service that I asked him to partner with me for this post. You can read more about his company, Uptown Entertainment, on their website, but in this post I wanted him to:

1) let you know a little more about himself and

2) tell you what, in his opinion, couples need to consider when planning for DJ services at their wedding

Justin is able to offer a unique perspective because he is a newlywed (he married the love of his life back in October), and he’s been doing weddings for over eleven years! Since his wedding was in NC, he actually had to go through the process of hiring a DJ, just like every other couple out there (although he definitely had a better idea of what questions to ask and what to expect!).

So, without any further adieu, here are his great answers to the questions that I posed! [Read more…]

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Boston in March

So, when you work in the wedding industry, you sort of have to take vacations during the off season (or have to risk missing out on the opportunity to help a really cool couple with their wedding!). This past weekend I headed up to Boston, MA with Jon to visit his family.

Much like weddings, we think food is super important during vacations, too! So, we braved the cold weather and had some fun times with family while eating some really good food.

Since I didn’t have the opportunity to write a wedding-based post this weekend, I present to you a Boston-based post instead! [Read more…]

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Wedding Day at Cliffs Chapel and Old Cigar Warehouse in Greenville, SC

Cliffs Chapel Ceremony

The wedding this past Saturday was just as beautiful as I had thought it would be. Jac and Chad were so happy to be celebrating this day with all of their family and friends, it was a pleasure just to watch them. By the way, isn’t the back of that gown gorgeous? [Read more…]

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