I readily admit that the hardest thing about my wedding day will be letting go of control of the entire thing. I am a control freak, and although I would have happily eloped and done something super simple, if we're doing the big family-and-friends wedding thing, it's going to be done in exactly the way I want. (Disclaimer: my partner John of course has had tons of input and the opportunity to participate more in wedding planning, too, — he's handled tuxedos and is working on rings and alcohol — but he honestly just doesn't know or care about much of the details at weddings, which is where I come in. I've thrown many a party, lecture and event, so I've got a better idea of what's required to make a big event come together.)
In any case, I've had to realize that I myself will not be setting up the rooms or tables on my wedding day. I will be getting ready and taking pictures and greeting guests and having fun. I have a great friend volunteering as a day-of coordinator, three staff members, and a venue coordinator to arrange rooms and decorations, serve food, and make stuff happen.
However, I still want to have a hand in the layout of the rooms, even if I can't physically be there for the set up. Thus, using Google Sheets, I made an approximate map of our venue and placed every table, chair, and decoration where I want it to be, setting the boxes up as squares and using a legend of 1 foot squared = 1 box. I found most of the measurements on my venue's website (the fabulous Floating World Gallery in Chicago) and made guesstimates of things I didn't know, like the width of the doors and some hallways. I also obtained measurements for all the tables from the venue coordinator. I've got one sheet for the ceremony and cocktail hour setup and another for the reception layout.
This has been working really well, as I can move things around any time I need to with the Sheets app on my phone. I also can write lots of notes for how things are going to go. It's really helped me visualize things and helped solidify some abstract issues, like, “oh hey, we need trash cans” and “wait, I didn't order enough tablecloths during Black Friday sales, I should fix that.”
These layouts will be shared with every vendor and coordinator at our wedding, both in physical and digital form so they always have access to it on the day of. When it comes time, I may make a few more layouts that indicate exactly how items will be placed right before dinner, right after dinner, when the cookies and milk are served, when the glow sticks are set out, etc. Though these items are all on the sheets right now, I think it'll be easier to have a different map for each moment in time for perfect clarity.
Overall, though it took a little time and work to set this up, these layouts have been super helpful in the wedding planning process; they've definitely helped me relax and feel more in control of the whole day.