On Saturday, I spent about 12 hours helping set up and serve (and do much of the cleanup; I bailed after midnight because I had appointments the next morning) for our friends' wedding. While I was happy to offer assistance, and it was so nice to be able to watch their ceremony and see how much love they share, I had a bonus motivator: this is the venue where we will also be married in, oh, 11 days.
It was an excellent opportunity to learn the space and find out what worked and didn't work. I now know the secrets of the elevator buttons! And I made friends with the desk clerk by bringing her some wedding cake. My sweetie helped string lights on Friday, so she knows which outlets on the patio don't work; we can stay away from them.
Our wedding is in the daytime and of a smaller scale, so many of the specific details don't apply to us, but a test run of a big event in the same space was invaluable. Some good takeaways: Find a rolling trolley to move many items at once. Bring many dishtowels, bus tubs, and a couple of coolers. Put up signage in the elevator hallway so people know which way to turn. Expect things to take longer than they should afterward, but less time than expected during the event. Wear sunscreen!
The patio chairs are bigger than I'd thought, and several people mentioned that they were comfortable. We're planning on using them since there are just enough for our guests (our friends rented tables and chairs). We had similar ideas about archway decorations. Sightlines on the patio mean there is a good place for First Look photos away from guests, but we should prep the space with a nice background. It takes time to go between the kitchen area and the patio in the elevator, but it's not ridiculously slow. The guy directing service (sadly, not a venue employee, but a friend of the couple) should be cloned -- I can only hope that our day-of coordinator is as on the ball.
I feel much more relaxed now that I have had this test run. I have the necessary information to put the finishing touches on the day's schedule. I know that I can walk in on Saturday morning and assign our excellent wedding crew to various tasks and make it all happen. Some things will not go according to plan -- do they ever? -- and that will be okay, because we'll have backup and I won't have to fret about it. And at the end of the day, we will have had a wedding and I will be alone at a sushi bar with my beloved, and it will be good.