The thing about weddings is... sometimes brides get so focused on the flowers, catering, attire, the flow for their guests, etc. That they forget to plan in the fun for themselves and their groom!
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In a nutshell… here is what I see happen A LOT:
Bride’s know how to plan the prettiest day ever, but they neglect to plan the most fun day ever.
Some brides even remember to plan out lots of fun for their guests but still don’t plan out how its going to be fun for them.
Sadly, I must admit that when I got married I didn’t have the wisdom to plan this in—though don’t get me wrong— I still had a great day and I loved my wedding, but I literally spent the entire reception in line. My husband and I finally cut the line with less than 20 minutes of our reception left for us to quickly cut the cake, have our first dance, toss the bouquet, and exit! It felt like it was over in the blink of an eye!
Since then, I have been to many more weddings (I got married young in age and young in my wedding vendor career haha), and I have learned a thing or two about what needs to happen to make the wedding day something the bride and groom actually get to be a part of.
I’m going to tell you the secret to make sure you get to actually enjoy your big day!
ITS ALL ABOUT THE TIMELINE.
you cannot have fun if you do not plan time for yourself to have fun.
Things *always* take longer than you think they will, and you *always* have less time than you think you do.
Plan your day with plenty of time between things so you aren’t rushed.
If you are hosting an event that is all in one venue (i.e. you are not moving venues after the ceremony for the reception) a fabulous way to give yourself time for photos, and not feel rushed is to have a cocktail hour. This can be a classic cocktail hour with actual cocktails or it can simply be some appetizers and hors d’oeuvres served with water or a soda bar (…flavored lemonade bar, hot chocolate bar, coffee bar…etc).
Don’t plan your ceremony to be immediately followed by your wedding dinner (or luncheon) which is then to be immediately followed by the reception! GIVE. YOURSELF. TIME.
(seriously consider having at least an hour between things— and not an hour that is meant for you to be traveling between venues and event locations. give yourself time to transition on top of time to travel)
PRO TIP: Minimize the locations you will be moving between. I would say the maximum amount of traveling you would want to do is 2 location changes.(3 locations) I.e. start at where you’re getting ready, travel to the ceremony location, and then travel to the dinner/reception location.If it’s possible to do the entire event in one place (i.e. get ready, then head to the venue and stay there the rest o the day OR even better, get ready at the venue, and don’t leave until you’re ready for your honeymoon!)
**If you are having a luncheon or dinner before your reception HAVE IT AT THE SAME PLACE or do it the night/day before so you don’t spend your entire wedding day in the car!!!!
make time for the things that are important to you— if that’s having a wedding-day bridal-boudoir shoot, or if it’s getting ready pictures with your bridesmaids, plan for it (even if the photographer is mostly just documenting, she and your will probably want a few “posed” shots which will add time to your getting ready process). If it’s having a first look with your groom before the ceremony, a first look with your mom, dad, or bridesmaids, if it’s eating dinner with your guests instead of staying in a line, if its dancing the night away…WRITE IT DOWN AND GIVE IT THE TIME IT DESERVES.
*Do keep in mind that time is money, and longer time means paying your vendors for longer hours, renting event spaces longer etc. It’s your one day though, so make sure it doesn’t pass you by with a rushed itinerary. If budget is an issue consider simplifying the overall plan to focus on and give time to what matters most to you and your love. For ideas on how to plan your dream wedding on a budget, check out this blog post: “…a Stunning Wedding on a Budget”
Something I see brides get stuck with (and I myself got stuck with), is a never ending receiving line. I mean—congratulations on having so many people who love and support you—and it really is fun to have a lineup of people telling you how beautiful you are all night (you’ll feel like a princess in Disneyland;)) BUT You’ve gotta get out of that line sometime or you’ll miss your own wedding! Some ways to avoid being trapped in a line all night are:
Don’t have your parents in line with you, keep it moving by having only the Bride and Groom. Let your parents mingle, they’ll have the time of their lives!
Have a set start and end time for your line-and don’t let that time-frame be longer than 60-90 minutes (Have your wedding planner, the venue hostess, your sister, maid of honor, photographer—just someone you can trust to watch the clock come give you a 10 minute warning and then come again to remind you it’s time to cut the line)
When it’s time for the line to end, don’t be discouraged by people still being in the line— grab your new spouse by the hand and walk (quickly) down the line waving and smiling and blowing kisses (again, just like the princesses in Disneyland) You may get stopped by a few insistent huggers but you’ll be done quickly and be able to move on to…. eating…cutting the cake.. dancing…mingling with your friends etc.
One major way you can make your wedding day easy breezy and actually get to enjoy it is to hire an event planner. A talented and organized event planner will help you have the best day ever from the planning stages to the grand exit! Plus, you have the benefit of getting your wedding day put together by someone who isn’t doing it for the first time (*cough cough* like you probably are—most brides are first-time-wedding-planners, and most bride’s don’t get a do-over!)
Check out my girl Belle Bodas and Events if you’re looking for an amazing event designer! I can’t say enough good about her organization skills, planning experience, creativity, professionalism, and overall calming influence! She’s a true gem, and you will be head-over-heels with her instantly!
**If you are a Temple Bride…
It can be hard to not spend your whole day driving since your ceremony is at a different location than your reception, and the usual open-house-style temple bride reception leaves lots of couples in line all night! (more thoughts on temple weddings that break the mold coming soon to this blog…stay tuned).
My temple-bride timeline recommendation is:
An early afternoon ceremony (Between noon and 2:00pm) you will exit an hour after your sealing time, have photos for about 90 minutes, which will have you leaving the temple between 2:30 and 4:30 (depending on your sealing time). I would then suggest having a wedding dinner (or cocktail hour) at your reception venue beginning around 4:30-6:30 (plan for your arrival at the venue about an hour before the next thing on the itinerary begins so you can take photos, get ready again, or just relax and enjoy your guests— you could have a cocktail hour begin before your dinner or reception so your guests have somewhere to go after the temple and something to do while you do photos, get ready, etc.)
With the afternoon ceremony you could also do a brunch/wedding breakfast before you go to the temple, and have an earlier cocktail hour/reception instead of a dinner. If you want to do brunch you’ll want to choose a later sealing time (i.e. 2:00)—don’t forget you have to arrive at the temple more than an hour before your sealing time. (see: The Temple Bride Timeline for more info)
***Disclaimer for temple- winter -brides*** make sure you do not have a sealing time later than 1 pm! it gets dark by 4:45-5:30 and you will be racing against the sun to take photos!!!
I hope this was helpful! If you have any tips or tricks for making your wedding day amazing feel free to leave them in the comments!