Hiya folks! It's been almost a MONTH since my last blog post. Christmas, New Years, and life got in the way. But! I'm back, and ready to share some wedding day dos and don'ts that I learned from our big day, which happened 8 WEEKS (!!!) ago. There are two categories - 'The Great' and 'Not so Good'. I wouldn't categorize anything as 'bad', because our wedding day still takes top spot in my list of Best Days Ever. There's just a couple of things where if I had to go back and do 'em differently, I would.
HAVING THE CEREMONY AND RECEPTION IN ONE PLACE
I get it. You have a religious obligation to get married in a church. Or, you know of a really cute barn that would be perfect for the ceremony. But, if you can swing it, having the ceremony and reception in one venue saves on your most precious wedding day commodity - time. It's true what people say, your wedding day goes by in the blink of an eye. The less locations, the more time you have to savour the moment.
While we were 'savouring the moment', we also had unintentionally set up a home base for our wedding party and family to meet, get ready, and decorate the venue. Everyone in one location also meant that we could get ready there, including hair and makeup. Our makeup artist, Nikki, and hair stylist, Mandee, were able to take their time and the beautification process (I don't care how that sounds, I'm using it!) was stress free and relaxed.
Budget wise, having everyone (and thing!) in one location cut down on costs. There was no need to order a limo or Uber for wedding day transportation. And, bonus points! Because our wedding was in the winter, our venue waived the ceremony fee.*
As for our guests, I heard from multiple people they appreciated the later ceremony, and single location.
*When we were venue hunting, I found the average ceremony fee was about $800. Before you book a location, make sure to ask if they have a ceremony fee, and whether they can waive it if you get married off season.
WEDDING PHOTOS PRE-CEREMONY
If you're comfortable with doing a first look, taking wedding photos before the ceremony is another time saver.
As I mentioned above, our ceremony was at 5 p.m., which gave us lots of time to take photos during the day. It also gave us something to do, instead of milling around nervously. I think our photographer appreciated it, as he had ample time to get the shots he needed, instead of rushing things between the ceremony and reception.
I also heard from a few guests that they appreciated this - they didn't have to entertain themselves for a few hours while the bridal party took photos.
DELEGATING ALL OF THE WEDDING DAY RESPONSIBILITIES
Before the wedding we assigned members of the bridal party different tasks including:
- General venue decorating
- Helping the DJ, officiant, and photographer set up
- Lunch and coffee pickup
- Moving the envelope box to a secure location (along with the gifts)
- Party favour set up
This helped out BIG TIME, especially during the ceremony and reception. When it's your wedding day, you're pulled in a million different directions and really don't have time to hammer out logistical issues. Having a few friends (or if you can afford it, a wedding day coordinator) makes sure you enjoy the day without getting bogged down with issues.
NO PHOTOs POLICY DURING THE CEREMONY
Peter and I decided to have a strict 'No Photos' policy during the ceremony. Our officiant made the announcement before we walked down the aisle and luckily, everyone obliged. I'm really, really, happy we did this for a few reasons:
- Our guests were forced to live in the moment and enjoy the ceremony
- People trying to take photos during wedding ceremonies are distracting to other guests and to the bridal party themselves
- Guests trying to take photos can get in the way of the photographer, who is THERE TO TAKE PHOTOS! LET THE PHOTOGRAPHER DO THEIR JOB!
We did, however, have a sign letting guests know our hashtag (it was #hamkey2016). The morning after the wedding it was super fun to scroll thru Instagram and see all of the snaps people took throughout the night.
Peter and I hemmed and hawed over whether to have a photo booth for weeks. Was it worth the extra money? Would we appreciate it? At the end of the day, we are happy that we shelled out the extra dough. If you can afford it, I'd recommend you do it too. It was so much fun to look at the photo booth pics the day after the wedding. Our guests really appreciated it too - who doesn't love a photo booth???
THE NOT SO GOOD
I thought that a receiving line was old fashion. Awkward. Unnecessary. But, in hindsight, it's something we should've done. While we did try to say hi to everyone, we were pulled in so many directions we didn't get to give everyone a quick hello. A receiving line would have easily solved this problem.
CLEANING UP AT THE END OF THE NIGHT
While our bridal party definitely helped us clean up at the end of the night, there were a few items (tea lights on the table for example) that I wish we gathered. I think in hindsight I would've made a list of stuff that I wanted to take home, and stuff I didn't care about.
Going Off Script During Speeches
As I mentioned in a previous post, we went off script during the speeches and I ended up missing a paragraph I had written about my bridesmaid, Carly. For you future brides and grooms, DO NOT go off script!