I DOS AND DON’TS
Ideas and advice
By Rebecca Mitchell
Consider an “unplugged wedding”
These days, nearly everyone who attends a wedding has a smartphone camera or compact camera at the ready to capture memorable moments. While this can be a great way to see the event through numerous “eyes,” it can backfire when a guest inadvertently jumps in front of the professional photographer to capture a candid moment. Oftentimes, photos include guest faces hidden behind the backs of cameras and smartphones. Not to mention intimate photos, like “first look,” captured by well-intentioned guests ending up on social media sites prior to the couple’s viewing.
Consider asking your guests to refrain from using their cameras—entirely or at certain times. You can include this request in your invitation mailing or ask your officiant to make a heartfelt announcement at the beginning of the ceremony.
Reduce the time spent taking photos after your ceremony
Set up a bridal photo shoot prior to the wedding. It will serve as a dry run for the bride—her hair, makeup, dress, and shoes can be tested prior to the big day. Ask the photographer to suggest a location that has good lighting and will complement the bride’s look.
Consider the children
If you plan to have children attend your wedding reception, organize a children’s buffet complete with kid-friendly food, drink, and desserts. Plus, have some tabletop activities like coloring books and small puzzles for them. Your young guests will love the special treatment, and parents will appreciate your efforts.
Host a hometown party
If you are having a destination wedding, consider hosting a reception in your hometown for family and friends who cannot attend. It’s a great way to include as many people as possible in your celebration.
Don’t let your liquor bill surprise you
Ask the caterer to stop serving liquor once your budget limit is reached. Request that your caterer check with you (or someone you designate) about con- tinuing the service—if you want to spend more money than originally budgeted.
Create a unique hashtag to share your photos
If you don’t mind your guests snapping photos with their phones, document your special day by creating a unique hashtag and sharing it with your guests. Tech-savvy guests can upload images using your custom hashtag for followers to view. Be sure to make your hashtag easy to remember and original!
Ask about restrictions at your venues
Check with staff at your ceremony and reception locations to find out about any restrictions or regulations on flowers or other decorations. Use of candles or open flames is often non-negotiable.
Learn something new
Take dance lessons with your soon-to-be spouse and learn a choreographed number for your first dance. It will likely surprise and delight your guests, and be a fun prewedding activity for you and your partner!
Ask for a midnight snack
As the bride and groom, you will be very busy socializing at your wedding reception and may not get much to eat. Ask your caterer to prepare a special box of reception food that you can enjoy later.
Look for inspiring ways to make your wedding reflect you as a couple. Consider creating a wedding brand—a meaningful image or monogram—that can tie together your wedding elements. Weave it into your decor or “stamp it” on your paper goods. From wedding invitations and ceremony signage to dinner place cards and custom thank-you notes, your options for uniqueness are endless.
Capture the spontaneity
Rent a photo booth for your reception and watch your guests flock to snap shots of funny expressions, endearing embraces, and silly disguises. Provide some creative props, and let your guests have fun! Typical rentals include photostrips for guests and a CD of the night’s images for you.
Throughout the planning process, you will discuss many details with your vendors, friends, and family members. Keep track of the information in a notebook or binder. Use or create tabs to organize it by sections so you can easily find what you need when you need it. Make it a size that’s easy to transport, as it will likely not leave your side until after the wedding.
Tap your friends & family
Don’t be afraid to ask for help from your friends and family. Match their skillsets with your needs, and watch your to-do list shrink! Remember: these people love you and want to participate in your big day. Plus, it will reduce your stress to delegate tasks and know they will be completed well.