Meet up with your photographer before you set a time for your wedding and before you send out your invitations. Everything takes a little longer on the day than expected and if you have an experienced photographer he or she can guide you on the best time to start proceedings in order to get the best lighting conditions. It will also decide whether you will be rushing your formalities or being able to enjoy the moments and take them all in. The day is unfortunately a blur for most couples (that is why you need all those moments captured as you cannot remember them) so if you can it helps to have a few moments to stop and catch your breath.
Ideally you should get ready at the venue (if it has the facilities) so that you can eliminate any worries of getting stuck in traffic etc. You also do not have the hassle of climbing into and out of a car in a giant puffy dress which is quite an art (have not tried it myself but from what I have observed).
Brides tend to be late most of the time (in fact almost all of the time) due to their hair and makeup taking longer than planned so start your hair and makeup at least an hour earlier than originally planned. There is no harm in relaxing and enjoying some champagne with your bridesmaids instead of panicking because you are running late.
Choosing a spacious room to get ready in will help too as the amount of accessories needed for the ladies can fill up most rooms and when you consider that there might be four or more of you then it can result in finding a needle in a haystack.
For the gents just add on one extra minute to the ten minutes that you allowed for getting dressed just because you have to now where a tie and get dressed carefully instead of throwing on some baggies and slops. Sorry ladies.
Your church or chapel should be a place that you are comfortable with and the same applies with your minister. You are already nervous and anxious so standing in front of all your family and friends with a strange minister that you are not familiar with will not help to calm those butterflies on Red Bull buzzing in your tummy.
Do not be afraid as most people are of saying the wrong thing or forgetting your words during the vows as the minister will always repeat things for you and a little mistake will break the ice as well. Chuck in a few tears and the whole congregation will be on your side and loving you. Ladies you can do this as well. Exiting the church can be tricky so going ahead of everyone else will result in you standing outside on your own and then having two people congratulate you and throw three petals at you while the rest of the family and friends are still standing in the aisle or in their pews. Getting everyone to stand outside on either side and throw petals at the same time will give you some spectacular photographs and then people have the time and space to come congratulate you if desired.
This is always the big moment and couples place a lot of emphasis on this part. Some forward planning with your photographer is essential. You do not have much time as you don’t want to keep your guests waiting so having to travel for 30 to 40 minutes to get to your location and back is waisting valuable time. What most people say is that it only takes 5 minutes to get to the location but in actual fact it takes you 5 minutes to get in and out of the car and straighten up and then a couple more minutes to walk to the location in your giant meringue. This all adds up so take it into account when planning the photoshoot. The shoot is only for the bridal party so no other family members should be invited as it means more people to worry about getting lost, family members wanting to either be included in the photograph or take the same photograph and the biggest concern is that you will be more relaxed with just the bridal party watching you as opposed to an audience. The idea of the photoshoot is not just to get some unusual and beautiful photographs but also to give you some time to catch your breath and take in the day so far. To step away from the crowds and be on your own will just slow the day down before you have to move into the next part of the formalities. Discussing the type of photographs that you would like to be taken with your photographer will make the photoshoot run smoothly without having to throw ideas back and forth on the day.
Everybody wants to have relaxed and different photographs but realistically getting your 90 year old grandparents to lie on the grass will not happen or will happen but will take up a lot of time getting them back on their feet again. Giving a list to your photographer if you have any strange requests is quite acceptable and will help in capturing the people you want as the day is too busy to remember everyone and leaving out your 3rd cousin’s room mate might never be forgotten (that wedding gift might also suddenly be removed). Getting a family member who knows all the family will help speed up the process as well.
Running through the times with your photographer before the day will give you an idea of what time you can be expected back at the reception and when to start the meals. Why not have the guests have their soup in mugs outside in the chilly afternoon while they wait for you to return? Skip the piece of lettuce with a shrimp on and go straight into the main course. The starter seems to be more of a formality than an enjoyable moment so skip it. The men will love you for this. Cutting the cake and serving it towards the end of the evening when all your guests are finished eating will result in you taking most of it home (actually this sounds like a good idea especially if it is a chocolate cake). Another awkward moment is throwing the garter and bouquet to 3 people as most of the guests have already left. The dj’s hate to interrupt a full dance floor as it can be difficult to get it back again so throwing your garter and bouquet early on will get this out the way and allow for no more interruptions to the party. The dreaded table shots can be a simple formality as well. How about getting each table to stand with you on their way to collecting their meal or joining you on a strategically placed couch for a more informal and fun photograph. Another approach is having a hat stand full of dress-up goodies nearby and having your guests wearing giant sun glasses, wigs, pink feather hats etc in the photographs. They will have fun and give you some unusual poses as well. No rugby balls, cricket bats or fishing rods allowed.
Every couple dreams of their day running smoothly so a little bit of planning with your suppliers will put everyone’s minds at ease. Being flexible will help as the weather is unpredictable and some things cannot be planned for so be prepared for some unexpected surprises and try to just go with the flow. You are the only two (probably only the bride to be honest here) who really know what is supposed to happen so if the candle does not get lit or someone is sitting in the wrong place don’t panic as the guests don’t know the original plan so will think it is part of the day. Don’t let the little things stop you from enjoying your beautiful day.