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


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.


Venue: Studio 450

Planner: Eyal Tessler/In Any Event

Catering: Olivier Cheng Catering and Events

Flowers: Lewis Miller/LMD

DJ: Generation Events

> Our favorite reception themes (with photos!)

> See 2,000+ gorgeous reception decor ideas

> Find out 20 ways to spice up your reception venue

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  • 08/03/12 at 05:42

    Its a fact that most people, clients, and even some Wedding Vendors have no idea what goes into planning a wedding. It starts weeks or months before, and for some, ends weeks after. It was nice to see all the “behind the scenes” shown to the public! Keep it coming!

  • dee
    08/12/13 at 01:36

    I am getting married and have hired a group called The extra hands . They do all the behind the scenes photos, hair make up, and wardrobe help…They stay for 10 hours during your wedding day… has anyone else used them.. the 3 women are very nice and very energetic and enthusiastic… my event is in Rhode Island.. they where recommended by a T.L.C. reality show personality.. It will be nice to have someone touching up make all day , and taking the photos that the other photographers miss out on. I am changing my dress , they suggested the entire bridal party change along with me to lighten up the evening and give everyone a chance to dance and have fun..they sent dress suggestions and themes…i like the group was wondering if anyone else used them.. they work in nyc, Rhode island, Boston, Florida, and Cali. i contacted them via email and received info immediately which i loved..Theextrahands@aol.com
    send me your thoughts.

  • Jeff coneys
    05/13/14 at 07:13

    Looks like a fantastic venue with a spectacular view

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Escort cards are extremely easy to personalize and an excellent way to bring in your wedding day colors -- from calligraphed seating cards set atop a textured linen to apples tagged with each guest's name or small personalized bundles of lavender tied off with string. Other ways to display escort cards: Pin them to a clothesline, post them on a board covered in color-coordinated ribbon, or incorporate them into your cocktail hour using personalized stirrers tagged with guests' names.
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