Wedding Series:  Part 3 of 5

We’ve all heard the standard commentary from any bride and groom who just married:  the day flies by / it’s all a blur / you forget to eat / you didn’t get to spend enough time with anyone, including your new spouse! / you’re pulled in a million different directions and have no control over your time / it was the best day but you don’t remember half of it … the list could go on and on.

I heard all of these things, too, and was determined to find a way around some of them – all of them – if possible!  We received some really great tips along the way and came up with some on our own as well, and I’m here to share my absolute best day-of advice I have to offer.

1) Pick 3 different run-of-the-mill moments and “snapshot” them in your mind
Not the big huge moments, not the guaranteed-to-be-photographed moments, but random snapshots in time.  Take 10/30/60 seconds and just look around, take it all in, and specifically remember those points in time.  Someone gave my husband and I this advice and it’s the same advice we give to our friends if they ask.  We each have 3 separate “moments” stored forever in our mind and I love that.  Six moments that would’ve otherwise been lost forever, but we managed to capture them.  It’s super cool.  Trust me and do this one thing if you use nothing else on this list.


2) Give yourself MUCH more time than you think you need
Schedules and timelines are important – super important! BUT. Once you map out your day-of timeline, add a bit more time to each item on the list. Even if it’s just 5 or 10 more minutes.  If you have a 5:00 wedding and plan to start hair/makeup/etc. at 11, make it 9:30.  If pictures start at 3, move it up 30 minutes.  Your stress-level will really appreciate it.  I know you already have the weight of putting on this perfect event on your shoulders – why give yourself the added stress of having a tight timeline that has little to no wiggle room?  Everything will take longer than you think, you’ll have a problem with something, and you’ll appreciate the extra buffer.  Give yourself the gift of the extra buffer. 🙂


3) Do as many traditional post-ceremony activities BEFORE the ceremony, where possible
Now, I’m not telling you to change your entire belief system or to go against everything you believe in. That’s not the point.  The point is to get as many pictures taken and as many things done BEFORE the ceremony as possible, that way you’ll have more time to spend with your guests enjoying your day!  Here are a few suggestions that will not work for everyone, but might work for you.

A planned first look –> I loved this idea so much.  We were able to have a private moment that no one else (other than the photographer) was able to experience on our wedding day.  The rest of the day is chaos and being pulled in a million directions, but we were able to spend some time – just us – and experience that first look (and all of the emotions that come with it) privately.  One of my wedding-day fears was always ugly-crying all the way down the aisle.  I honestly think this one helped me to avoid that possibility! P.S. – my husband, and others I know who have chosen this path, claims that this did not take away from any of those feelings and emotions of seeing your bride walking down the aisle toward you.

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Pre-wedding pictures, almost all of them! –>  One benefit of a first look is that you are able to take even more pictures pre-wedding so you don’t spend 2 hours posing after the ceremony.  This one was huge for us.  I think we may have spent 30 -45 minutes max taking pictures after the ceremony and before the reception.  We wanted to hurry up and get to the good stuff and we wanted our wedding party to be able to do the same thing.  We took some of the standard family pics, and some of the two of us outside as the sun was going down, but otherwise everything was handled and everyone was able to get to the party faster!


4) Instead of having ushers release the rows for the recessional, do it yourself!!
How many brides and grooms you know have claimed to either not have spoken to everyone they needed to or spent all of their time talking and no time eating (or dancing)?  Almost all of them.  I’ve been to weddings where there was a receiving line – and that’s one way to knock this one out, but I really love the alternative we chose.  After you’ve exited the ceremony, walk all the way back down the aisle with your spouse and release your guests row by row yourselves.  This gives every single person at the wedding the opportunity to speak with and hug the bride or groom and it knocks your small talk time down significantly.  Even better, it gives you more time to actually eat and to do all the fun things!  It’s a win-win!

5) EAT!!
Brides are notorious for hardly eating or not eating at their own wedding.  You’ve picked out all this delicious food (and paid for it!), why not make certain you get to enjoy it!?  The two previous items help with this piece of advice, but it really is important.  I may be a bit less polite than some, but I decided that I was absolutely NOT getting up from my dinner table until I had eaten my fill. And I didn’t.  And it was perfect!  I didn’t care if I was interrupted, as long as they didn’t care that I was chewing my food and drinking my champagne while we talked.  I was just certain I did not want to be the person who didn’t eat on her wedding day (and consequently passed out or got hammered drunk because of it) 🙂 Trust me – eat that delicious food!!

6) Hire a day-of coordinator (or entrust a friend or family member to handle it)
This one isn’t in everyone’s budget – and unfortunately it wasn’t in ours – but it is a HUGE difference-maker.  To have one or two people who basically manage your day will take a big load off of the bride and groom.  If it’s a friend or family member, it would ideally be a person who is not already involved in the wedding party.  Having someone manage the event will ensure you keep your schedule, people are where they need to be when they need to be there, and they can handle the sticky situations as well.  We had 2 different aunts who handled decor execution as well as ceremony direction.  I’m certain the whole thing would’ve fallen apart without them!


Regardless of any of this “advice”, remember that this is yours and your spouse’s day and everyone is there for YOU.  They’re there because they love and support you and, while it likely won’t go off without a hitch, it will be great and it will be memorable!  Just do your best to sneak away with as many of those little memories as possible.

Part 1:  6 Unique Wedding DIYs & Cost Saving Tips
Part 2: 6 Wedding Planning Tips That Are Guaranteed To Reduce Stress
Part 4:  Contrary to Popular Belief…

Part 5:  OK You’re Married, Now What?


**All photos by Realities Photography