Fashion fads: if you want timeless pictures, it’s probably best to avoid anything that is overly current or considered especially modern, as these will be the things that will date your album first. If you look back at an older relatives wedding, you’ll likely notice what decade it represents. This is all very well if they married during the ‘vintage’ era (you know the one, that forty year span we spoke about earlier)…but not so much when you hit the eighties and nineties. Poofy long sleeved dresses, big boffs, thick framed glasses and huge veils that flowed for half a mile past questionable perms (just look at Charles and Diana; so very very eighties). Not to everyones taste these days, but certainly decade recognisable if that’s what you want. Look at what you’re using and ask yourself if it’s timeless. But of course if you’re happy to represent the year that you wed, then by all means go ultra modern.
Print your pictures, laptops die: Whilst we’re on the topic, lets talk about those priceless photographs. Please, please, please remember to order an album! It’s a cherished heirloom and computers can (and will) destroy treasured memories by wiping hard drives completely never to be returned. Technology is your best friend and your worst enemy at times. Much like that second muffin you’re about to eat…
Group shots: It’s nice to welcome Suzy to the family who has been dating cousin John for three weeks. But with his track record he probably won’t still be with her in another fortnight…and to be honest, it’s a right ballache to clone out unwanted guests. Remember to get your group shots with immediate family as well as extended family. It won’t take the photographer that long to get those few extra shots, but it will take him or her hours and hours in photoshop to remove them after the event. P.S. “you can just remove it in photoshop can’t you?” will not sit well with your photographer, so do what you can in the moment. Wediting was meant for refining, not reconstructing.
Trust your photographer: Hopefully you have done your research and picked a person who is trained, experienced and knows exactly what they are doing at a wedding with a camera. So don’t be surprised if they do unusual things like standing you in the shade on a glorious sunny day. They’re simply using top shade to avoid squinty eyes and nasty shadows on your face. Just go with it, they will have shot many weddings before and will probably have reason to what they’re doing. Trust them. Note: do try to give reasonable time to the photographer where you can on the day instead of just ten minutes and then expecting miracles. After all, the pictures are the one thing that last after the day.
Inspiration: Try not to send your inspiration (FYI beach pictures when you’re marrying in a city hotel are irrelevant to your photographer) to your suppliers just days before your wedding. Chances are they have already sorted it. Plus they might not even see the new email in time. Avoid disappointment by having advance clear communication including all the final plans laid out in writing to avoid potential cock ups. Things like where, when, who, what, how much and how soon. A detailed guideline with the plan of events will enable them to figure out what they can do with you in the time that they have. Just don’t give them ten minutes and expect miracles.
Kids: Some people love kids. In fact many people have kids before they say their own nuptials these days. But not everyone shares the same adoration for the little folk and it’s worth bearing in mind that children are quite often uncontrollable at special occasions when caught up in all of the excitement.
Be careful who you invite knowing that little Tommy toerag from three doors down will be the one legging it up and down the church aisle with a toy trumpet on your wedding video and nobody will ask him to stop because he looks soooooo cute in a three piece suit. It’s perfectly acceptable to declare your day as an ‘adult only zone’ – a chance for Mums and Dads to do their own thing without the mini me’s to care of.
So if you do want to tell rude jokes in the speeches and stay up talking about the old times until dawn, then you do that. Children welcome or not, either is as acceptable as the other. Do whatever suits you and your wedding, kids can make or break it.
Wedding day politics: If you’re from a divorced family like me, then you have my sympathies when it comes to politics. From the seating plan, to who gets to walk you down the aisle, any kind of tradition flies out of the window. There really is no right or wrong these days regarding what should be done. So be firm, reminding the relatives snubbing their noses that this is YOUR day before you even begin. Oh and the highest bidder doesn’t necessarily get their own way. It’s so lovely that Great Aunt Mabel wants to donate the largest chunk of the finances, but that doesn’t mean to say she gets to pick what colour the bridesmaids wear because she paid for them. Be strong – your day.
Alcohol: Oh we all like a tipple in celebration, but for goodness sake don’t get leathered before you even arrive at the church. It’s a long day and a little champagne breakfast on an empty stomach and sleepless night can only end in complete disaster with a bath and bed before your evening guests have had chance to arrive. Take it slow, pace yourself, eat sensibly even if you’re not hungry (you don’t want to faint at the altar) and try your best to wait until the evening if you really want to nail the hard spirits. You’ll appreciate your wedding night a lot more if you can remember it!
Don’t panic if it doesn’t go to plan: On the morning of your wedding, it would be brilliant if you could hand over all responsibility to someone you trust if you can. You’ve spent months preparing so why ruin the next twelve hours by fretting over cold canapés and missing croutons? This is what bridesmaids and ushers are there for, or better still, hired help like a wedding planner or master of ceremonies who will carry the celebrations along for you. The day is long but will fly by so fast that you need to cherish each moment as it happens. By heaven you’ve paid enough, so have fun!
Pick your suppliers wisely: A dress off eBay is a risk, a student photographer with only their family in their a portfolio is a risk, flowers from the garden are a risk, a cake made by your Mum is a risk…I’m sure you get my point. I’m not saying go all out and splash the cash on anything and everything, in fact I’ve seen many budget weddings done wonderfully. But do have trial runs where you can and do order products in advance so there is plentiful time to change plans where necessary. There are places to cut costs (like on invites, favours and table decorations), but there are places where really you can’t. As with anything, prioritise with your budget and choose wisely according to your own preference according to what means most to you both.
Personal appearance: As a serious note from your future self; please don’t fake tan, dye your hair, apply a face mask, wax visible areas, get laser eye surgery or anything else out of the ordinary just hours before your big day! Your body might have a melt down, react to a substance badly and then you’re well and truly screwed. Give yourself enough time for recovery but not enough time for regrowth where applicable and you’ll be just fine. Also remember when you’re on holiday sunning yourself, that tan lines last a long time and are not so removable with scrubbing.
With all this being said, I’ve never known a wedding be exactly the same as another and some things you just can’t predict. No amount of money can persuade the weather Gods to do as they’re told and no amount of pre-warning can prevent some family members from squabbling on the dancefloor. Just remember to enjoy celebrating your marriage with your nearest and dearest. With perfect preparation everything that can, should go to plan.