Before I start, can I just say that that was the best summer ever! Yes, it was summer up until this past Sunday since my last wedding didn’t end until then and I can’t bear the thought that I missed the awesome start of fall with pumpkin spice lattes, cozy sweaters, boots, and crisp mornings. I also missed an entire summer but I dealt with that yesterday by purchasing a new pair of boots. Seemed fair. Moving on.
So I decided to compile a blog of 10 crucial planning tips that I unfortunately have experienced through weddings I’ve attended and assisted with (I’m avoiding including saying one’s I’ve planned because it hurts my ego too much when things go wrong). Alright. Here goes:
1. Ceremony Music
The most awkward weddings I attend are the one’s that have forgotten to plan out ceremony music. Do not, and I repeat do NOT have your groom or groomsmen walk down the aisle to nothing. Music sets the entire tone for the ceremony. Make sure you have music playing 1/2 hour before the ceremony, a song for the entire bridal party walking down, a song for the signing of the registry, a song for the first kiss & exit, and music for about ten minutes afterward.
2. Ceremony Mic
A ceremony without a microphone is like a ceremony without guests. But truly, they have no reason to be there if they can’t hear any of it. Do not forget to confirm with your DJ that you need a mic for the ceremony. If you don’t have a DJ, don’t forget to rent a mic with your sound system.
3. Bridal Party Snacks
A hungry bridal party is a cranky bridal party. Pack a cooler of snacks and drinks for your bridal party during photos. My favourite items are bottled water, granola bars, chips, Kleenex hand wipes, and champagne or beer.
4. Family Photo List
If you forget every other tip, do not forget to make a family photo list. Your photographer should ask you for one but if they don’t make sure you make one before hand. My rule of thumb is no more than 15 minutes for family photos, which is approximately 12-15 photos total. Stick to immediate family and grandparents. Avoid aunts, uncles, cousins, etc. as too many photos really kill the excitement after the ceremony. More on this in a future blog post.
5. Ceremony Rehearsal
Without your ceremony you aren’t married. And when your ceremony goes badly, everyone notices because it feels awkward. When it goes well, everyone raves about how great and nice your ceremony was. Make sure you plan a ceremony rehearsal and run through it 2-3 times. Make sure your officiant/pastor/etc. is in attendance, as well as your bridal party, parents, and wedding planner.
6. Seating Chart
I went to a wedding this summer with open seating. This is a terrible idea. Please avoid this at all costs and take the time to plan out your seating chart. Rule of thumb is that your guests should know at least 1 couple/person at the table they’re seated. If they don’t know anyone, put them at a table with someone they’ll get along with. It’s a long evening to be sitting at an awkward table.
7. Cash Bar
Can’t afford an open bar? No problem! But make the gesture to put wine on the tables or offer complimentary non-alcoholic beverages. Non-drinkers shouldn’t have to pay $3.50 for a pop when often they have a reason why they aren’t enjoying a cocktail such as they’re the DD, pregnant, a vendor, or just don’t want to. At the end of the day it’ll only add about $100.00 to your final bill and it’s a nice thing to do.
8. Thank-You Speech
One of the most overlooked planning details is forgetting to write out your thank-you speech before hand. I can’t even tell you how often this happens and how many crucial people get forgotten. Write it out and read it at least 3 times before your wedding day. There’s nothing worse than having someone really deserve a public thank-you at your wedding and not get one. You’ll feel terrible the next day and that person may feel grossly unappreciated.
9. Thank-You Cards
Believe it or not, there are people out there that don’t send thank-you cards. I know, it’s true. If this is you and you’re feeling guilty… that’s probably fair because you should. Half kidding… Sending out thank-you cards should be your top priority after returning from your honeymoon. Make sure you get those out as quickly as possible and write a genuine hand written note in each one.
Last but not least, you really need to just calm down. The day before your wedding you’re going to feel a thousand emotions all at once, that only escalate up until you walk down the aisle. Take a deep breath, remember that it’ll all be over in less than 48 hours and you’ll wish it could all happen again when you wake up the day after your wedding. So plan to enjoy it. Plan to have someone else take care of all the behind the scene details that day (ideally a planner) so you don’t have to think about anything but enjoying it all (and making that thank-you speech). Remind yourself that this is one of the best days of your life and it will be perfect. Flaws and all.