I go to a LOT of weddings – I think I have seen it all – so here are just a few of the things I have learnt along the way.
Find the right officiant
Finding the right officiant is so important to ensure you have a true-to-you wedding ceremony.
I recommend hiring an officiant you connect with who also has a sense of humor. A few jokes here and there can help you relax and really be present.
An added benefit of this are pictures where you and your guests look happy!
Although everyone may feel over the moon, without a few smiles and laughs here and there it can be hard to convey those emotions in your wedding pictures.
Many couples would love to write their own vows but don’t know how to start. The whole thing seems too daunting! It is really worth the effort though, your wedding is a once in a lifetime opportunity to tell your spouse-to-be how special they are to you. Begin with “I love you because” or “I promise” and see how creative you can be.
Look for Shade
This is especially important for outdoor weddings during peak summer months. Shaded areas with a decent amount of tree cover will allow your guests to feel comfortable during the ceremony and reception, and you’ll also worry less about getting sunburned. Plus, shade will keep harsh sunlight from creating unflattering shadows and squinty eyes in all your photos.
Have a Backup Weather Plan
No matter what time of year you’ll be celebrating your wedding, there’s always a chance that nature may not cooperate. If you’re planning an outdoor wedding, have a plan in place in case of rains or its way too hot. Even for couples celebrating at a venue without a backup indoor option, a great secondary choice to stay outside may be a high-quality tent. Be sure to consider these factors and determine the best plan of action so you are a lot less stressed should the weather turn for the worst last-minute.
Many outdoor venues offer emergency backup options, and other venues are actually indoor/outdoor venues, fully ready to accommodate sudden changes in weather.
UNPLUG YOUR CEREMONY. PLEASE!
You knew it was coming, because if you’ve known me for longer than 30 seconds you know how deeply I feel about unplugged wedding ceremonies.
There is a saying in photography, You can’t be at the picnic and photograph the picnic. It is SO true. Photography is actually a distancing thing! It removes you from actually witnessing something. Looking at an event through a lens (or a phone screen) distances you from the event. You can’t be present. And while I think it’s nothing short of MAGIC that we basically carry cameras in our pockets now, I am so sad that many guest feel getting a photo of your ceremony is actually more important than the ceremony itself.
For me, this is the most sacred part of your wedding day. You are promising your life to your person. You have invited people who are near and dear to you to bear witness of this monumental moment in your life. When you look out at your wedding guests do you want to see their faces or do you want to see their phones? Invite your guests to be present for your wedding by powering down their phones, tucking away their cameras and locking up their iPads while you say I do. Let your photographers record this moment for you. Let us photograph you, and your guests watching you say your vows. Invite them to be present! You can find loads of great ideas for signage or verbiage for your program about an unplugged wedding online. Trust me! You’ll be thankful later when you remember faces and not phones.
Take Your Time
You’ve been planning for months and you’ve been getting ready ALL day. But trust me, once that music starts and the bride is walking down the aisle, time seems to speed up and before you know it, it’s all over. So… take your time!