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Here at Lang Floral Designs, we have created wedding flowers for more than 100 weddings. I have been in the industry for almost a decade. The first several years, I ran this business on the side of my full time Graphic Design career. Then, when I had my first baby, I decided to quit my full time job and build this business into more than just a side hustle. This business has followed my through my twenties, and well into my thirties. So, I have worked weddings under many different scenarios;
When I was younger and working full time, I would stay up almost all night before a big wedding arranging, because I didn’t get off work until 5pm. Those early years, I remember doing wedding set-up days completely exhausted from a “being tired” prospective. However, I had my youth on my side, so physically I was some how able to handle that. I’m 36 now, and let me tell you, there’s NO WAY I would try to stay up all night working before doing a wedding. I think I would literally pass out the next day.
I’ve done weddings while in the first trimester of pregnant when exhaustion is beyond what any normal person experiences. And then in the third trimester when I was doing that wonderful pregnancy waddle thing just trying to make it from one side of the venue to the other. I spent the entire first year of motherhood nearly throwing my back out after every single wedding. There were so many difficult and unhealthy seasons, and if you’re in the wedding industry in any capacity, you know that weddings are HARD WORK.
Through the years, I’ve learned some valuable tips and tricks to help get through a busy wedding set up day, and ultimately, wedding season! I’ve even asked some wedding industry friends of mine for their go-to resources so I could share them with you. Several gave me one very valuable trick that I hadn’t even thought of (tip #4). At this stage of my business, I feel like I’m at the healthiest I’ve ever been in terms of knowing where my limits lie physically, knowing what steps I need to take for a quick recovery so I can do it again the following weekend, and knowing when I need to call in the troops for help.
So let’s dive right in:
1. Electrolytes and Potassium
Of course we all think about drinking lots of gatorade and water if we’re sweating our butts off on a hot sunny day. However, I learned during the extreme months of third-trimester pregnancy when muscle cramps and fatigue were at an all time high, that a combination of electrolytes and potassium made a world of difference with. If I were on my feet a lot, I would get a Charley horse (or muscle spasm) in my calf multiples times a night. However, like magic, if I had drank a sports drink the day before, I wouldn’t get them. Bananas sometimes helped because of the potassium, but didn’t seem to have the 100% effectiveness that electrolytes did.
And then after my second pregnancy, I struggled with dehydration. So now, I’m very aware of how my body feels energized if it’s properly hydrated, and super drained if it isn’t. Considering the amount of walking, lifting, sweating, and hard work that goes into a big wedding, being hydrated before, during and after is a MUST!
Proper hydration with electrolytes, along with the potassium you get from eating bananas makes a huge difference all day for me. I feel energized, I’m not as quick to feel drained in the sun, and my muscles are much quicker to recover.
My favorite is the Glacier Cherry Gatorade. There are a LOT of the sports drink flavors that I hate, but this one is delicious to me. It also comes in a Zero Sugar Version and a Powder if that’s your thing.
2. Anti Fatigue Mat
When I decided to write this blog, I asked some of my industry friends for their tips and tricks (thank you Bloomers!). This one came highly recommended for the prep week leading up to the wedding. Whether you’re a florist, a caterer, or a cake baker, chances are you spend DAYS before on your feet preparing for a big event. Especially if you’re working in a shop with concrete floors, this Anti Fatigue Mat will help your feet, ankles, and back feel their best before you hit the ground running on wedding day.
3. Good Supportive Shoes
I have estimated that we could walk as much as 15-20 miles at a big wedding set-up day. That’s more than a half-marathon!!! One day, I’m going to wear a pedometer to confirm this theory. However, in my younger years, I would wear cheap black ballet flats with no support. My 36-year-old self screams back at that stupid 20-something girl asking her where her REAL shoes are. The fact of the matter is, you get what you pay for in shoes. So, I guess I just didn’t want to spend the money. Or maybe I thought the ballet flats were cute. Either way, I came to the harsh reality in my 30’s that good supportive shoes with arch support are an absolute MUST for me while working a wedding.
These Black BZees Walking Shoes have been LIFE CHANGING for a busy wedding set-up day. The soles of these are SO cushy and comfortable, but also have a medium amount of arch support, which is perfect for me.
I also love all Clarks, but THESE are my favorites.
And finally, Sanuks! If you’ve ever owned a pair of Sanuk sandals, you’ll LOVE these Sanuk Loafers (they come in Black and Tobacco Brown!)
4. Compression Socks
This tip also came from a few of my florist friends. Several SWEAR by these Compression Socks. They said they wear them during a long day of arranging and during the wedding day itself. Basically, any time they’re going to be on their feet for a long period of time.
5. A Good Night’s Sleep
Good sleep the night before a big event is essential for me. I’m sure you’re thinking this is obvious, and you would of course get a good night’s sleep if at all possible. However, I have learned that if I plan the 2-3 days before the event well enough, getting 8 hours of sleep is a reality.
Not only do I feel physically ready and rested for the big day, but I also feel more mentally focused and able to take on stress, unexpected issues, and communicate more clearly with my team, than if I were exhausted from a night of little sleep.
6. O’Keeffe’s Hand Cream
As a florist, I put my hands through a lot. They go through the wringer during a busy wedding season, especially when it’s also cold outside. I would imagine most cake bakers and caterers struggle with having dry hands as well, because they have to wash them so often. For me, the fact that my hands are constantly in and out of buckets of water causes major damage. Mine get so bad that I used to have painful cracks and splits on the tips of my finger all the time. I’ve seen the commercials for O’Keeffe’s Working Hands for years, and finally gave it a try about a year ago. And seriously, it’s like MAGIC! A little goes a long way, so one container lasts a while. I buy the two pack on amazon so I can keep one in my shop, and one in my bathroom. However, I’ve found that it’s most effective when I use it at night before bed. I really can’t remember the last time I had a split at the tip of my finger where I had to wear band-aids on them. This used to be me ALL. THE. TIME. O’Keeffe’s also has great Foot Cream, and Lip Balm!
7. Good Snacks & a Candy Bar
I always try to eat a good healthy breakfast with plenty of protein before a long wedding day. But lunch is almost always a grab-and-go situation during set-up. So, I bring several options for lunch and snacks. In my experience, it’s so much better to be OVER prepared, than under. Some of my go-to options are, a peanut butter sandwich, trail mix, protein bars, and I almost always grab one of my favorite chocolate candy bars as well. This may seem counter-intuitive, but let me explain:
I mentioned before that I can easily walk 15+ miles on a big wedding set-up day. Pair that with occasional heavy lifting, sometime several hours up and down a ladder, and melting under the hot sun. On occasion, I get suddenly weak and shaky feeling. I think this is a low blood sugar thing and to be expected after all that physical activity. So it helps a ton to have like a rush of sugar/calories. I’m sure there are many ways to do this, however, I don’t allow myself the opportunity to eat a chocolate candy bar often, so I get to reward myself a little too.
8. Sun Protection
Especially if a large portion of set-up is happening in direct sunlight, you have to be prepared with sunblock. Here is my favorite non-greasy option.
Sometimes it helps to wear a hat as well. In the hot sun, a hat can make a big difference in staying cool and keeping the sun out of your eyes. This Black Mesh Hat is the professional option I like best.
9. An Epsom Salt Bath
Another thing that has been hugely helpful for me is taking an Epsom salt bath once I get home, to help with next-day soreness. I use this Dr. Teal’s Foaming Bath. The Eucalyptus Spearmint smells AMAZING and is my favorite, however, the Lavender version is also great and super relaxing.
10. A Professional Massage & Plenty of Rest
I used to feel guilty about spending money on a massage. A good massage isn’t cheap. I have a family, and there are plenty of things we could spend that money on. However, I have learned that this is simply a step toward self care for me. When you work your body so hard during a large wedding week or wedding season, it’s so important to care for it with some good R&R.
If you’re in the Chattanooga area, I would highly recommend Dee Holmes at a New Day Massage. If you’re not in Chattanooga, reach out to your local community to see who your friends and family recommend. Support a small business rather than a chain if at all possible.
Also, a great business mentor of mine, Jessica Zimmerman, told me to make sure that I have NOTHING planned the day after, so I can just stay in pajamas and rest! I couldn’t agree more. Mental and physical recuperation is crucial!
I hope these 10 tips have helped you see that you can survive and even thrive through a busy wedding season as a wedding vendor, with just a little extra preparation.
Need a good Wedding Budget resource to share with your new clients? Click HERE to download our Wedding Budget Spreadsheet with Percentages. You can share this link with your brides to help them budget for their big day!
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Lang Floral Designs is a premier wedding florist in Chattanooga, Tennessee. We do wedding and event flowers in the surrounding areas of East Tennessee and North Georgia, and we also love providing brides everywhere with useful ideas and information for their wedding day. For a better idea of all we can do at your wedding, click here. Contact us today if you’re interested in hiring us for your wedding or event.