- 7 years ago
- Wedding: August 2011
These types of posts were so helpful to me when I was planning my wedding that I thought it was only fair to give back.
Ladies (and gents!), here is some advice from someone who just had her “BIG DAY”. I am open to answering any questions people might have, and hope that other bees will share some of their advice too!
- Bridal Party: Surround yourself with a strong bridal party – make sure that you choose bridesmaids, Maid/Matron of Honor, etc. that actually have your back. I read so many posts about friendships-gone-bad, bridesmaid firing, etc, and it really isn’t worth putting yourself through that type of trouble. My bridesmaids were life savers and I can’t thank them enough for all they did for me leading up to (and including!) my wedding day.
- Gift Registry: I recommend choosing a store (or stores) that are easily accessible to your guests. For Canadian Brides – as fun as Crate & Barrel is, there are really not very many locations in Canada (only 2 in the entire GTA; 1 in Calgary, etc.) and you cannot order items online. This makes it harder for your guests to purchase items. We also registered at the Bay for the simple fact that there are HBCs all over the country, you can order online, etc. The C&B registry was not very successful even though the price point was much lower than the Bay.
- DIY: Start early and be prepared to give some things up. As you get closer to your wedding day, you start to realize that some of the things you thought were so vital to your wedding, are no longer that important. It’s not possible to do it all on your own either – loop in some of your trusty bridesmaids for help.
- Ceremony Programs: People advised me that they weren’t really necessary. I did them anyway (DIY). They were a lot of work and added stress when I didn’t need it, and people just threw them out after the ceremony. Focus your energy on other DIY projects for your ceremony – like flower petal cones, etc.
- DJ: Do your research. It is worth the extra money to get a good DJ. These guys are vital to the flow of the evening and can help with a lot of the MC tasks. Bad DJs at a wedding can really ruin the evening. Make sure your DJ knows how to read a crowd (you will be able to tell this during your initial meetings). I had a fabulous DJ and was glad we spent a little extra to put the night’s fun in his hands!
- Photographer: As above: Do your research. It is worth the extra money to get a good photographer. So many times I hear brides say they were disappointed with the pictures from their wedding. Ladies: You will blink and your wedding day will be over. You will not see most of what is going on. You will depend on your photographer to capture all of those precious moments that you could not see – and those you want to re-live through pictures. Do your research and recognize that there are some amazing photographers out there that will do a great job for a decent amount of money. I wouldn’t go as far to say that “you get what you pay for” because some incredibly expensive photographers aren’t actually that good. But don’t trust a friend or relative to be able to capture what a professional (or even semi-professional) can capture. Also – gone are the days where you should have to purchase your prints through your photographer. Most are allowing you to have your images in digital format for you to print at your leisure.
- Stay Organized: Keep all of your contracts in one place. Mark down all of your payment dates. Record deposit dates and deposit amounts. Pay with certified cheques if you can (that way you know your vendor has been paid and you don’t have to wait for them to cash your cheque so that you can balance your account – this becomes vital when you are paying 100 people all at one time!)
- Venue: Make sure your venue has (in ADVANCE of your wedding), a copy of the following items: seating chart, allergies/food intolerances, start/end times and a general outline of the nights’ events. The more organized you are, the better things will flow. And trust me: if you are not organized, your guests will know it.
- Day-Of Coordinator: You don’t need to hire a wedding coordinator to help you on the big day. Assign a trusted friend or relative to go to your venue and make sure everything is going according to plan. Choose this person carefully and make sure that they are good problem solvers. The last thing you need is a minute-by-minute report on what is going wrong. This person should be dealing with any issues in the background without you knowing. Don’t forget to give them a list of your vendors and their contact info and timing that tasks should be completed.
- Marriage license/Registry Signing: typically, the city/county/state/whatever, will issue you your marriage license in an envelope with a number of documents that need to be filed after the marriage. Leave everything in that envelope and bring it to your rehearsal. You can fill out your entire certificate during your rehearsal, meaning the minister/pastor/whoever just needs to witness it on the day of, once you’ve said your vows, etc. That allows you to take photographs of the “signing” without having to fill out your address, etc. which takes time. Our minister suggested we do it this way and it made everything a breeze on the wedding day.
- Cake: This is one tradition that is starting to fall by the wayside. If you are getting a wedding cake for your guests as dessert – get a cake that will feed all of your guests. If you’re like me, and are only getting the cake a decorative piece and for a late-night cutting (as in addition to the dessert), get a much smaller cake. You don’t need to spend the money on it and people won’t eat it. You’ll be left with a TON of expensive cake.
- Late night: If you can afford it, go for it. People LOVE the late-night, but do something easy that doesn’t require guests to stop everything they’re doing to participate. Our DJ also warned us to have the late night served in the same room as the reception, otherwise your guests will all leave the room to eat and the party will stop (or pause).
- Dancing: Brides and Grooms need to be “around” to keep the dancing going. Our DJ warned us that when brides/grooms are absent from the reception, guests lose interest and the party stops. He recommended that we stick close to where the action was – and he was right – we stayed with our guests and everyone had a great time.
- Videographer: If you can’t afford a videographer (or if you just don’t want one – like me), I recommend that you ask a family member to video tape your vows and your speeches. Even though I didn’t want a videographer, I’m finding that I wished I had those things on video so that I could see them again. Thankfully, we found someone who took video of the entire wedding and reception (we didn’t know this at the time!) Like I said earlier – the day flashes by so quickly, you won’t see everything…try to record what you can.
- Entertain your guests: If you have a 2-hour (or more) break between the ceremony and the reception…do something to entertain your guests. No one likes having to wait around for 2 hours with nothing to do while the bride/groom are having pictures done. This doesn’t have to be expensive – you can open a cash bar during this period if you don’t have an open bar, whatever. Just don’t leave them hanging.
- Have FUN! This is probably one of the biggest days in your life. Take a moment to yourself and look around – look at your guests – look at your husband/wife, and take it all in. Try to get a moment alone with your SO to just breathe.
- Say Thank You! Make sure to thank all of the people that helped make the day special for you. Chances are, your family and bridal party worked their butts off for you – thank them. And don’t forget your vendors!
Ok – I’ll stop there because my post is already really long. If anyone wants more info, let me know, I’d be happy to help any way I can.
Good luck bees!