5 Things You Didn’t Know About Setting Up a Wedding

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Last week, we (Hannah and Vi-An, editorial assistants at TheKnot.com — hi!) were lucky enough to get an invitation to go behind the scenes with Eyal Tessler, an event planner at In Any Event in New York City. Eyal showed us what it really takes to put a wedding reception together — and we couldn’t believe all of the moving pieces, people and coordination it takes to create a gorgeous reception.

We showed up at Studio 450 in lower Manhattan three hours before a reception was scheduled to begin there. We took a lot of notes, hung onto Eyal’s every word and learned a ton — there’s so much that goes into setting up a reception that we’d never thought of. Here are the most eye-opening realizations we had.

1. It takes all day

While we’d like to think that the empty white room changed into a stylish reception space at the snap of Eyal’s fingers, it really took an extensive and heavily-planned timeline to bring all of the necessary elements together. For the sake of flow within the space, each group had to arrive and set up at their allotted hour. Starting as early as 9 a.m., the first crew of caterers arrived to set up the rentals. Then came the florists, sound and lighting technicians, and so on. For more details, watch this video of Eyal explaining his game plan for the day.

2. Some of the most important details are
totally unnoticeable.

When we first walked into Studio 450, we were totally wowed by the clean, bright space and fresh décor Eyal had brought in. But it wasn’t until we took a closer look did we notice the little, non-obvious things that really made a difference in how flawless the space looked. Case in point: A server was crouching at the escort card table, steaming the tablecloth so it would hang just right. The dinner napkins were folded into pockets (rather than plain squares) to keep the menu cards, which were printed on vellum, from curling in the humidity. Like the secret ingredient in a recipe, they were the kinds of details a guest might not notice, but if they hadn’t been taken care of, something would seem off.

3. Your waiters will have their own dress rehearsal.

About half an hour before the reception was set to begin, we saw one of the coolest things — the waiters rehearsing the dinner service! This particular wedding featured synchronized service, where servers emerged from the kitchen in a line, circled the table, and set plates down at the same time in one smooth motion. The effect was totally wow-worthy — check out this video of the waiters practicing to make sure they got it just right while in front of guests.

4. You don’t need a full kitchen to serve gourmet
to 100+ guests

With seriously impressive food on the menu, you’d think that the food prep required a fully-equipped kitchen. But all it took to whip up French dishes like foie gras macarons (yes, you read that correctly) was a small kitchen area, along with a few makeshift tables and burners. And of course the caterers came prepared with smaller bites — appetizers like cheese straws and popcorn were brought ready-made in foil trays.


5. A wedding can smell awesome.

The second thing we noticed when we walked into the reception space (after how gorgeous the room looked) was the fresh, summery scent. We found out later that it was the centerpieces — which were filled with whole mint sprigs and chamomile flowers — that were making the room smell like a cross between an organic farmer’s market and a field of wildflowers. The scent played perfectly into the look and feel of the wedding — bright, airy and alive — and only enhanced the effect the couple was going for.

VENDOR INGREDIENTS

Venue: Studio 450

Planner: Eyal Tessler/In Any Event

Catering: Olivier Cheng Catering and Events

Flowers: Lewis Miller/LMD

DJ: Generation Events

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