This is a blog i've wanted to do forever. I'm usually working or if i'm not doing that i'm working, so I haven't had a chance yet to actually sit down and pen this one. What would I tell a bride & groom if we were trapped in an elevator and I had five minutes to tell them any tips for their wedding day. I’ve attempted to write this in a coherent way which follows the timeline of a wedding day but some of it may only be snippets of a thought. Regardless, I hope you enjoy this.
Your wedding day goes fast. The more moving parts you have, the more details, the more planned mini events you have for the day, the more stressful. If you're a bride put someone in charge of checking on flowers, following up with the guys to make sure they're on schedule.
If it's possible don't get ready at multiple locations. Okay hair and make-up, then we go to moms for the bridesmaids to get their dresses on and then we go to the location to get my dress on. The guys are getting ready at Mark's and Tim is getting ready at Donny's house and we'll all meet at Rob's house and head over. I kid you not, this happens. Your friends and family will be late if you're counting on them to be in a certain place at a certain time. So if you can get your hair and makeup done and dress on at the location, do it. Relax. Netflix and chill....? Okay wrong phrase, that's how you got into this. Second piece of advice on this, get ready at a hotel. You can save a few dollars by getting ready at home but you’ll have to contend with a dozen or more people in your house before your wedding and guaranteed that after the wedding you’ll both be the ones putting everything back together and cleaning up. Stay in a hotel, make everyone chip in if you want. Wherever you choose to get ready don’t forget to bring some tunes, better yet a bluetooth speaker to compliment your spotify playlist.
Where you get ready will be a mess, a disaster, the opposite of organized. Keep your stuff together. Keep the important stuff together even more so. If you're the bride then it really helps if you have the rings, flowers, shoes, and any details with you. The photographer will be with you most of the morning (like me, if you're lucky). This means you can get all these detail shots done relatively quickly and have more candids taken of you.
Buy a nice hanger for your dress. Most places will only give you a plastic hanger (.14 cents) for your priceless wedding dress. If you went to a higher end wedding boutique they will most likely give you a nice one. So back to what I said, buy a nice hanger with your names and date on it or a pearly one.
The bride should get her hair and make-up done somewhere in the middle of the all the bridesmaids. If anything needs to be corrected you will have plenty of time to do so. This also leads to more photos before the wedding. Also consider doing a first look for photos, google it. This basically means you can do a majority of your photos before the wedding even begins and have a special moment with your spouse and maybe your mom or dad. You’ll also be able to enjoy a little bit of cocktail hour with everyone.
If you're the groom then make sure all your guys get to where they need to be on time. You only need about twenty minutes to get ready. Make sure to check your tux the day before to make sure you have pants, shirt, shoes and that everything fits. There is a popular mens wear provider that I have noticed regularly forgets something or messes up. I've seen nightmares happen.
This is one day where you could potentially put your friend in charge of your phone and actually relax. Do it, take advantage of having a secretary for the day. They can take messages and do your bidding. Don’t try and take charge of your day by running around and fixing things, make calls, ask friends, tell people what you need, this is your day!
If you're the bride or groom's mother, chill. Let them enjoy the day. Sometimes a task-master shows up to your wedding day and will work up the bride or groom. I’ve had mothers of the bride and groom stand there and ask me questions throughout the day which is fine but takes away from my time coordinating with the bride or groom, a wedding planner or the venue’s coordinator. Another big thingI want everyone to know on their wedding day is someone will drop the ball (a tiny ball usually), there will be a small mishap or two (lost pin for a boutonnière or the color of the napkins is off or a microphone cuts out for a second during a speech) but at the end of the day you will be married and none of your guests will know anything happened. BTW, have a little present for your parents on your wedding day, i've seen this happen and it means the world to them. It's your day but it shows when you take a moment to reflect and say Thanks! :)
Write a letter, scribble down those feelings and make your significant other cry. This will make their day a little bit more special. Maybe include a gift, a bracelet they've wanted or a watch he eyed before. The letter are great because you can save them or have a photo taken of them and have this little moment bottled forever.
Booze will take the edge off, if you're nervous then have your favorite drink; make it a double. It's your wedding day and you can get away with murder. But seriously, ice cream for breakfast, do it; it's your day.
You want to try the dress on ASAP and put it through a little stress test to make sure it doesn’t fall apart, go over every inch. Dresses will come undone in certain areas or glue isn’t enough or a loose stitch here or there. You don't have to have your dress on two hours before the wedding but you want to make sure you have enough time to go over everything before it’s game time.. You should know that everything fits the way it's suppose to. Make sure you have enough time for error to happen, stitches to be made, pins to be pinned. Make sure your bridesmaids know how to hook a button or do a corset type back. Make sure you and a friend know how to stitch before your wedding day. I once watched a bride spend fifty minutes having friends attempt to stitch a problem area following the wedding, it was cringe-worthy. Bring scissors and a sewing kit and know how to use it.
We're not teenagers anymore and having a flask bulging through your pocket during a wedding or subtly showing it to your friends during the wedding is tacky. If you have a flask or bottle make sure it's not showing through your pockets for photos. Make sure cell phones are turned to vibrate.
While we would love the phone and iPad free weddings we know people are not always going to abide by your rules. Buy some silk and use it to keep friends and family from stepping into the isle during your wedding. Just string it down the altar closing off people from entering and exiting here, they can enter elsewhere. This works for backyard weddings and churches. I've had plenty of times where a kiss is about to happen and an aunt or uncle or friend steps into the middle of isle and holds up an iPad. This will only prevent everyone from stepping into the isle, cell phone and iPad free weddings just translate to the guest sticking their phones in the air to record the wedding. This may be very annoying but in their minds they’re just doing it so they can send you a nice video of your wedding or a nice picture afterwards most likely.
Keep on schedule as much as possible but remember that you are the bride and groom and what you say.. goes. You can be late here and there and the vendors will work with that as best as possible. If the whole day runs behind though then maybe the food has already been cooking now gets dry or the DJ & photographer's schedule is off. I have seen a minister start a wedding before the entire bridal party and guests had arrived because she had another wedding to attend. I've seen a reception on the opposite side of the building kick off during written vows, both weddings were suppose to happen at the same time but ours ran late. I'll always remember the Valquez wedding that was opposite the wedding I was shooting. It took the employees who worked there about four minutes to get the music turned down for the wedding to continue. This venue did make up for it and they redid their vows
During the ceremony take your time walking down the isle, soak it in, smile, get awesome photos , look at your dad, take a peak around the room briefly. Once you’re standing up there don’t forget to keep a smile on that face (shouldn’t be that hard). Don’t think about other things while you’re up there, look in the mirror at your face when you’re thinking about something (it looks like you’re concerned or pissed at the worst). Take your time putting the ring on your spouse, don’t slip it on and let go of their hand. Hold their hand and slowly put it on, more photos!
Formals & Reception
If you want to have good photos during the formals then smile, make sure the bridal party is smiling. Make sure everyone is having fun. Most people's default face is not smiling, it's thinking, worried or aimless. We all know the resting bitch face, this also applies to the guys. They only have to smile for a little bit. Do shots before, give everyone candy, promise a five dollar bill, get that smile happening. During group photos or any formal photos… stand up straight! It's not time for selfies and if you angle your neck or arch a certain way because you think it looks good when you do it in selfie then your photos will look like you have a medical condition. Focus on my camera and not the Ipad or Iphone next to me, I promise that my photos will be much better. If you focus on the phone camera instead of me, then you might look a little wonky in the photo. One more big thing, stop talking and look forward when the photos are being taken. It’s easy for me to get the bride and groom to focus because we’ve spent time together the whole day and also during the engagement session and have a report, but family members and friends sometimes want to joke around and look around the room during these photos. When I sort through the photos the biggest thing i’m looking for in formal photos are the bride and groom smiling, looking forward and making good eye contact. If your family member happens to have their mouth open in four out of the six pictures then there is a good chance that it will make the final cut… an open mouth.
During the reception, the bouquet toss, cake cutting, garter belt.. it helps break up the night. Otherwise it's eating and occasionally dancing. A fun DJ will keep things going but get everyone involved with games when possible, the DJ will usually work in a few fun things.
Yes, cake smashing in each others face. At this point the wedding is eighty percent over. All the formal photos have been taken and you know that heavy duty make-up that you put on is meant to last the day and also repels cake. This will look awesome for your photos, highly suggest it. How this works is he feeds you first and then you feed him followed by a kiss. Somewhere in there work out who's smashing but keep in mind there is the kiss afterwards. Your friends and family will appreciate this.
You have to options for thanking everyone, receiving line or visiting everyone at their tables during the reception. Both take time, you don’t have to do both or either if you don’t want. If you’re going to visit tables then have the photographer go with you and be the bad guy (photographer: okay guys, move it along we have to get photos over here). This way you can visit everyone, get a photo with everyone and eventually be able to sit down eat or go and dance.
Last piece of advice. Relax, enjoy your wedding day. Big picture, you're getting married and the flowers, the favors, the seating and the schedule don't matter in the end. It's you and your fiancé tying the knot. (drop the mic). But seriously i've had just as much fun at a backyard wedding as I have had at a top floor hotel wedding on Boston.
If you do a photo where your dad or mom is giving you a kiss on the cheek or vice versa then make sure to actually give them a kiss or have them give you a kiss. If you don't connect then the photo literally looks like your smelling someones face.
When your doing group photos don't put your arms around peoples shoulders unless their a good friend. Family and loved ones put their hands on peoples lower backs. Shoulders are for friends, backs are for loved ones. Think about a bride and groom with their arms around each others neck and shoulders, they look like buddies not a bridal couple. If you put your arm around someones back then make sure your hand doesn't poke out around the opposite side of them. This makes your hand stand out and looks like a random phantom hand.
Once reception starts you can switch to some flats. If your feet hurt then switch out the heels for flats, all the formal photos have been completed. You can always keep them on for the dance with your groom or your dad but enjoy your day and be comfortable. Most of the photos taken at a reception aren't of peoples faces.
The next day if you have wedding photos to post, you do not have to post every single one. Enjoy your fifteen minutes of fame and post over the next few weeks. As far as anyone knows you are being fed pictures from the photographer, friends and family and just want to share the photos, they don’t know you are sitting on a mountain of fun wedding photos. Not going to lie, it’s pretty fun to brag about a wedding by trickling out photos.
Don’t try new skin treatments before a wedding, you don’t want to be orange or have a rash on your face or super shiny skin on your wedding day. Think twice about spray tans also. If you want to be tan then start working on it the natural way or a tanning salon.
During the reception if you’re getting your photo taken then hide the booze. You don’t want a beautiful photo ruined by a bud light can or your arm around someone with a glass of some brown liquid.
Your photographer, DJ, wedding coordinator can be your. personal bad guy. If you don’t like the way someones behaving then you can have the DJ or MC make an announcement to stop a certain behavior or the wedding coordinator to pull someone aside. I have on plenty of occasions been told about “trouble” people and given authority to be a dick to them if they acted up.
Guys, if you have a pocket square then learn how to fold them before hand. They don’t all have to be perfect but they should all match. If you have a bow tie and are going to be fancy then do a clip on bow tie. Learn how to tie a tie though, that’s easy and you should know how to do that.
Moms, the girls most likely don’t need huge sandwiches before the wedding. Snack food is the best, cheese, grapes, hummus. This keeps everyone feeling light and full.
Moms, the guys will eat whatever you out for them. :)
If you have kids then plan on things not going according to plan as far as smiles, tantrums and regular behavior. Have a treat for them, a cool new toy and something to preoccupy them with.
Advice from a Make-up Artist.
Melissa Macgrory extension cord. I bring one but some may not which can be a life saver for airbrush or hair people. The hotel will usually bring one up for you. - Usuallly the guys are in one room and girls in another... girls should pick the one with the better natural light. I did a wedding once and the bride was in a room facing the inside of the hotel that had no good light but the grooms men’s room was bright as could be