How To: Plan A Successful Walk Through

Having a walk through is one of the most important things you will do before your wedding.  A walk through is where you figure out the logistical details of wedding flow and where each element will be placed.  While I dislike using the word necessary, I will say that you really, really, really should have a walk through (unless you are getting married at City Hall). 

Maybe the last time you saw your venue was months ago when you first booked it and you weren't paying attention if there was an ice machine in the kitchen or a (working) outlet over on that post for the DJ.  Ta-da! You should have a walk through! 

Gabriel Harber

Gabriel Harber

Walk through's can be done at any time, but are typically held around 2-4 months before the wedding when you have a better idea of what your event elements and decor will be- that way you can account for all the details while you're at the venue and find a place for everything.  It's also a great idea to let your vendors know when you're having the walk through, as some may want to join depending on their set up needs - for example, typically lighting vendors like to come to check out how much equipment they will need for the job and then can provide you with a more accurate quote.

As a planner, walk throughs are one of my favorite things.  I love figuring out the best flow for your day to make everything seamless for you and your guests by determining the best location and set up for your decor and vendors.

If you choose to do the walk through on your own- here is a general guide of questions you should keep in mind for each vendor and wedding flow - keep in mind your needs will vary based on your wedding size, venue and decor. 

Catering: Is there a fully stocked kitchen onsite they can use?  How big are the refrigerator(s)/freezer(s)?  Is there an ice machine?  Do they need a staging area or additional tables for any elements - dessert table?  Hors d'oeuvre station?  Where will those be placed?  Is the kitchen close to cocktail hour or will the food need to be brought far for refills at the cocktail hour location?

Photographer: Is the lighting in your reception area on a dimmer?  Are there lots of windows in the space or behind the ceremony location (if you're getting married inside)?  Where do you want to do your portraits?  Where do you want to do the first look?  Are there any unique lighting situations at your venue that could affect the photography?  

Lighting: Are there beams they can attach to, or use to hang the cafe lighting?  Are there ladders available onsite or do they need to bring their own?  Has this type of lighting been done before at the venue?  If so, what's worked?  Are there any lighting restrictions?  Is the lighting setting up over the reception tables (if so, lighting should set up before the tables get placed below)?

DJ: Where will the table go?  Does the venue have a 6' table for the DJ or do you need to rent one?  Where is the closest working outlet?  Is the DJ space close to the dance floor? 

Seating Chart: Where are you going to put this?  Is there enough space for guests to look at the chart, enter the reception space and find their table quickly, or will it bottleneck?  Where can you place it that will create a better flow into the dining space? 

Escort Cards: Where will you place this table?  How large of a table do you need?  Does the venue provide the table or do you need to rent it?  Is it going to be placed outside and there's a risk the cards will blow away? 

Welcome Table/Guest Book Table: Where will this go?  What size table do you need?  Do you need to rent it or does the venue have a table you can use? 

Cocktail Tables: Where will they go?  How many will fit?  What is the flow? 

Bars: How many do you need?  Do the bartenders need a backbar table?  Do they need to be close together or spread out for the flow of the space?  Are you using 6' tables or is there an actual bar at the venue?

Photobooth: Where is there enough space?  Is there also space for a prop table (if needed)?  Where is the closest outlet? 

Dessert table: Where will it go?  What size table is needed for the amount of dessert?  When do you want it to be set up? 

Musicians: Where will they go in the ceremony space?  Is there enough room for them?  Do they require shade?  Do they require amplification (if so, where is the closet outlet)?  Don't forget to rent chairs for them.

Band: Where is there enough space to place them?  Is the outlet close by working? 

This is not a completely comprehensive list of all the pieces and elements that will be discussed at a walk through, but this guide should give you a general idea of the kinds of questions you need to consider during your walk through if your wedding has some of these elements.  Walk throughs are exciting!  They are another piece in the puzzle that makes your wedding day flow smoothly and seamlessly!  Don't want a coordinator, but need help at the walk through?  Contact me, I'm happy to put together a customized quote for walk through help! 

What was the most helpful thing your walk through did for you? Leave your comment below!