I kid you not, I've heard this from brides over and over "I don't even remember my wedding". or... "We didn't even have fun at my wedding because of the chaos of it all...". Think about it, you plan this big day for sometimes over a year and a half, every detail is planned, everything has to be perfect, what will my guests remember? what will my guests think about this? You read dozens of blogs trying to figure out how your wedding will stand out from everyone elses. Will my family love the food we're serving them? Seems to be how it goes with weddings these days, you spend all this money and you don't even get to enjoy the things you purchased. I once heard a bride say she spent weeks trying to find the perfect wedding cake and she didn't even get to eat more than a bite of it.
I've been to countless weddings and I've seen it over and over... the bride and groom are rushed from one point to the next, one event to the next, when they're not cutting the cake and taking pictures with family they're trying to pile food down their throats because they haven't even had a chance to sit down and eat the food they paid a left leg for. Wouldn't it be nice to actually enjoy your wedding day, not just bits and pieces of it, but the entire thing? Isn't that the plan anyways... Because at the end of the day, the flowers die, your dress gets put away, your guests leave, the cake is eaten, and your left with a few things: The Memories, your Pictures, and (if you hired a videographer) Your wedding video.
Ive been to a few weddings where I've seen their schedule work, they did it right and they honestly enjoyed their day. So, I'm writing this blog post for my couples, and other brides who are sick of doing the traditional stuff. Couples who truly want to be apart of their wedding in the best way possible. This blog post of full of information on how best to plan your wedding day schedule. I've seen it done and I just had to blog about it because more couples need to have this information...
You can't make everyone happy.
You need to go into your wedding day and wedding planning knowing for a fact that you will not and cannot please everyone. If you choose to go a non-traditional rout, some people aren't going to be happy. You need to be okay with this, because it's you and your fiance's wedding, not your grandmas, or your moms, or your sisters, it's YOUR wedding.
Why you SHOULD do a first look.
lets forget about the fact that "first looks" are like crack for wedding photographers and focus on the fact that they are one of the best decisions you two as a couple can make for your wedding day. Why should you two consider doing a first look? here are a few solid reasons why.
1. this will probably be the only time during your wedding where you'll get to be alone with your fiance. seriously, just think about it, after you two say I do, it's on to family portraits, bridal party portraits and connecting with your guests. wouldn't it be so special to spend some time away from the all the chaos and all the people and just be alone with your love? Not only is this time spent alone together on your wedding day so important but it's so special. You can react and be emotional without trying to hold back, you don't have to worry about ugly crying in front of your entire family.
2. you'll get more portraits. It's true, if you take the time before your ceremony to see each other you can take all your pictures and group photos before. that way, you can actually enjoy your cocktail hour with your guests and you wont have to spend an hour after your ceremony taking pictures when you're so eager to get to the party!
3. It's more intimate. I hear from brides that they want that "walking down the isle" reaction from their fiance and that's why they don't want to do a first look. listen here... you will get that same and even better reaction from him during your first look. I heard from one of my couples that the groom was so nervous being in front of all of their guests that when his bride walked down the isle he almost passed out. The amount of emotions and stress going through his head was too much for him to react the way he truly wanted to. this couple ended up regretting not doing a first look.
Eat your dinner directly after your ceremony!
I was recently at a wedding where this happened and it was the smartest thing I've seen a couple do. Directly after their ceremony the bride and groom went alone into a room and was served their dinner where they ate it alone and got to be together for quick second before the reception got crazy.
Buffet style dinner.
This one obviously can't apply to everyone since some venue's only let you cater through them! BUT. Wouldn't it be nice to go to a wedding where you didn't have to wait an hour and a half to eat your dinner? Umm yes. I was at a wedding recently where right when the reception started, guests could serve them selves from different buffets. These buffets had different food options for guests to come up and eat whenever they wanted. People ate periodically throughout the night. Tables weren't "released" and people didn't have to wait to eat... people just went up when they wanted to.
If you don't want to do traditional things at your wedding... don't.
just because something is done over and over, doesn't mean you have to do it. I've been to countless weddings where the bride and groom decided not to do certain things that's "expected" at a wedding. She didn't toss her bouquet, he didn't go under her dress in front of her entire family. What you do on your wedding day is up to you.. you call the shots. I've even been to weddings where they had a family dinner the night before and they did all their intimate toasts then instead of the day of their wedding. It's seriously up to you..
Family portraits don't need to take up 45 minutes of your day.
I can't tell you how many times the bride and groom thought they needed individual portraits with certain family members on their wedding day because "it's what's done.." Do you know how many family portraits never even make it past the bride's inbox? Countless... I always encourage my couples to get family portraits with immediate family, because those are the only people who are going to see those photos in the end.
Getting ready: You need to give yourself MORE THAN ENOUGH time.
You need to give yourself as much time to get ready as you possibly can. Why? because no matter how early you get ready, the ceremony never EVER starts on time. People are always late, things happen out of your control and we're only human. If you need to be at your venue at 12 o'clock, you and all your girls should be getting ready AT LEAST 4 hours before your ceremony starts. I can't tell you how many times the makeup artist has been an hour late, the hair girls have been late, or your brides maids have been late. You should set your day up for success, that being said, wouldn't it be nice to get ready for your wedding not rushing through things and stressing out about things. Wouldn't it be nice to enjoy the time spent hanging out with your girls and your mom/ grandma? Yes. Give your self MORE THAN ENOUGH time. because you'll end up needing it.
You need to give your photographer at LEAST 30 minutes for your bridal portraits.
Your photographer can't get you those pinterest worthy images you so deserve to have if they aren't given the tools necessary to do it. I always tell my couples, we need at least 30 - 40 minutes for your bridal portraits. Wether this is before your ceremony or after. You won't regret it.
As fun as it sounds, don't get too drunk at your wedding.
The day flies by so fast anyways, being drunk too early in the day will make it fly by even faster. This one may not be for everyone, but I've heard couples tell me over and over that they regretted drinking so early the day of their wedding. If you're planning on getting drunk at your wedding (side note: there's nothing wrong with wanting to get drunk at your wedding) but if you're going to do it.... do it at your reception, after everything has been done. meaning, after the cake has been cut, after you eat, after first dances and after you greet your guests! These are special moments you need to be 100% there for and remember.
Here is comes... Don't settle for a photographer. These pictures are one of the few things you'll get to take away from your wedding. make sure you hire someone you completely trust and admire.
Below i've placed a schedule of a wedding that ran so smoothly and gave the bride and groom enough time to enjoy and be a part of the day. If I had to sit down with a couple and plan their wedding day schedule, this would be how it would look . this is a tool for couples to use to give them a good idea of how to plan their first look. In this case, the ceremony started at 2:00 pm and the reception started directly after at the same venue. This isn't always the case, but can easily be adjusted to best fit the location of your wedding.
7:30/ 8:00 am: girls get ready (guys too.. but lets be honest they won't until the last minute..)
12:00-12:30 pm: first look with bride and groom.
12:30-1:00 pm: bridal party portraits + immediate family portraits. (you would tell your family to be ready for family portraits at the location of your choosing at 12:30 pm)
*from 1:00 to 2:00 pm- you and your family / bridal party have an hour of free time, or back up emergency time to use for pictures or anything because of something that was late out of your control. an hour may seem like a lot of free time, but it won't seem like enough the day of your wedding.
2:00-2:30/45 pm- ceremony (ceremonies on average last 30 minutes-45 minutes) in this case, I'm saying the ceremony lasts 30 minutes. keep in mind, ceremonies almost always never happen on time.
2:45-3:00pm - bride and groom eat dinner alone away from guests. (if there's a bridal room, this works perfectly)
3:00-3:30 pm- reception starts: cake is cut shortly after and guests can begin to eat. ( I always recommend the bride and groom cut their cake as soon as you get to your ceremony so that the staff can get your cake on plates for your guests to enjoy later in the evening)
the rest of the night, the schedule is up to you. you get to enjoy your celebration of your marriage.