Being in the wedding industry as photographers and filmmakers, my wife and I have seen our share of amazing moments and unfortunate moments that could have been avoided. Today we’re here to give you tips and advice that we’ve learned not only from the many weddings we’ve covered but also from our own wedding.
Our wedding was the greatest day of my life and it was an amazing gathering of family and friends. Looking back, here are just a few parts of the wedding that brides (and ourselves) could have planned better.
Tip 1: Choose your venue wisely
If you can, choose a venue that specializes in weddings and events. You will avoid all sorts of hassles and problems that you could run into, that the venue is not used to or not familiar with. Wedding venues have seen what can go wrong and are used to routine. If the venue has many events going on the same day, you’re not being taken care of the same way, and you run the very real risk of something being double booked the same day as you. Make sure your venue has everything (or at least most things) you’re looking for.
Tip 2: Sound matters, guys!
Be aware of where you need sound. We attended a wedding once where the ceremony did not have speakers, but the reception did. So, they had to use the speakers from the reception room, and point them outside through a window. The sound was so low, that at times we weren’t even sure that there was music playing during the entrances! Music is everything; don’t take it for granted. It sets the tone for the whole ceremony.
If you plan to have an “iPod DJ” for the love of all that is good make sure the songs aren’t from YouTube. Your guests will notice and they will judge you. Pro Tip: If you don’t have Spotify or Apple Music sign up for a free month and get the quality of music your guests deserve.
Make sure the DJ only plays the songs you request, and not his. I recommend a mix of oldies and new songs. No specific order. The aunts, uncles, and grandparents will appreciate a nod to the classics. Be sure that you pick a DJ that clicks with you and is sure to respect what you’re looking for.
Tip 3: Make a family photo list!
Make a list of all the family members you would like to have photos with during the family photo session and make sure you delegate someone you trust to gather the family members in the appropriate order. The photographer doesn’t know what most of your family members look like and it will take longer if they have to stop, go grab Aunt Brenda and Uncle Bill, run back and take the photo and then run and get the next family members. Be part of the solution, not the problem.
Tip 4: Delegate
Expect the unexpected. Setting your expectations right is important in any kind of situation; in this case, your wedding day. Expect something to go wrong on your wedding day, and be ready to accept it and move on – things happen! It happens at every wedding we’ve been to so designate a person for people to go to if there are any problems. They need to be familiar with the schedule of the event so they can make announcements and communicate with the event staff.
If you don’t have anyone who you trust enough for this or you don’t want to burden anyone in your wedding consider hiring Sarah J from The Personal Bridesmaid to be that amazing person that sticks by your side to help with anything from the dress fitting to assisting you in the bathroom! She will go above and beyond and add to the stress-free day you and your husband-to-be deserve. Lastly, don’t forget to delegate someone to decorate your getaway car! Don’t assume someone will just do it, and don’t think that you have time for that.
Tip 5: Wear an old shirt when getting ready
The morning of your wedding day when you’re getting ready with makeup and hair, wear a shirt that buttons down. This way you don’t pull a regular shirt off over your head and smear half your makeup and mess up your hair! Also, make sure it’s an old shirt so that when you are getting your makeup done none of the makeup falls onto one of your nice shirts.
Tip 6: Don’t wing your bride and groom speech
We all like to think that we’re charming, witty, sexy, and suave…where was I going with this? Oh right… But when you get called up to do your speech mid-reception (and after a few drinks) all of that kind of goes out the window and you wish you had a little piece of paper in your pocket that you could refer to.
As newlyweds you may forget that people are going to expect you to get up and thank them for coming and helping out. When my wife and I were called up to give our speech, we immediately realized that we had nothing written down. I mean we’re pretty charming for the most part, but we should’ve written something a week before the wedding instead of trying to remember everything we wanted to say on the spot.
Tip 7: Make time to go to each table to say hello to all of your guests
Don’t worry, this doesn’t have to be long and you’ll still enjoy your meal. Even if it seems a bit cheesy to you it will mean something to your guests. At our wedding, there was so much happening that we never had the time during dinner to chat with each table and we regret not being able to do that. There were some guests that left early and we only had the opportunity to see them in our impromptu receiving line (we didn’t plan that, it just happened).
Tip 8: Take the time to dance with your wedding guests at your reception
The dancing is usually the craziest part of the wedding where time flies by and before you know it your special day is coming to a close. Before your wedding, think about the people in your life that you’d like to dance and party with so that you don’t get caught up in the moment and miss out on some great memories. Make time to do the Macarena with your sisters or waltz with your grandparents.
Tip 9: Give yourself a grand exit to end your big night in style
Have people in charge of teardown after the wedding so you can go have fun being married. This is something I wish we had done at our wedding. Instead of having a nice send off, we waited until everyone went home and spent the next 2 hours tearing down the venue before leaving for our honeymoon. Part of this had to do with not thinking to delegate this task. Delegation is very important for your wedding!
Tip 10: Make opening your gifts special
Wedding gifts are amazing and some people feel rushed to open them so they can send out those thank-you cards. I encourage you to pick a day when you’re both free to make the most of this time. We randomly ended up opening our gifts at my parent’s house the day after our wedding with my parents, my sister, my two fluffy dogs and my best friend who was eating his meal from last night that my parents took home, and honestly, that is a memory that I will always cherish.