Welcome to Part 3 of this series on blogs.
Every year I share my top Tips & Tricks for making your wedding day run that little bit smoother. Not only do you have my advice, but I’ve invited other Wedding Experts to join in with their top advice.
1 – Centring Your Necklace
Everyone reminds you to clean your jewellery before your wedding day, but we’ve all had that problem of the clasp on your necklace somehow slides to the front rather than staying in place. A tip I picked up, is to pop a teeny tiny bit of eyelash glue onto the clasp so it sticks to the back of your neck. Do check it won’t damage your necklace and that it’s a glue you’re not allergic to before you try it, but it’s a useful trick to keep your necklace in place. – Emily, Lotus Photography
2 – Music Creates Atmosphere
3 – Bridesmaids, Flower Dudes, and Best People, Remember To Take Your Time
Whether you’re having Bridesmaids, Flower Dudes, or Best People, remind them to walk SLOWLY down the aisle. A good tip is to remember the social distancing we all had to master. Leaving a 2m gap between the people in front of you means that everyone can see your wedding party and your photographer can get a gorgeous full-length photo of them rather than just their head poking out from behind the person in front of them. – Emily, Lotus Photography
4 – Feeding Your Suppliers
- If your speeches are after the wedding breakfast, ask your caterers ahead of time to feed the photographer and videographer before or at the same time as you and your guests, not after you and your guests. Yes, they will think it’s weird, but believe me when I say that those suppliers will want to kiss you You may not be aware, but suppliers tend to be fed a main after you’ve had three courses. This leaves very little time for the photographer/videographer to eat. Because of this, I have watched people almost inhale their food. I feel like I need to renew my first aid training for this alone! It is truly astounding how quickly they have to eat.
- Find out what the supplier food is that you’re paying for. A soggy sandwich or tiny portion of pasta will not sustain most adults for the 12+ hours that they’re at your wedding. You also don’t want to be paying good money for that. No one is expecting a three-course sit-down meal but just the main is easy enough for the caterers to add on.
- Let suppliers know ahead of time what the deal is with food and drink so they can plan ahead and bring something else/extra if needed. Most people will do this anyway if the wedding breakfast is late in the day.
- Most suppliers will not tell you on your wedding day that they haven’t been fed or that it was small/awful because it’s your wedding day and no one is ruining it for you.
- Your suppliers are there to work their asses off for you and make your day incredible. They don’t expect to be treated like royalty and they’ll be well used to sitting on anything they can find but they really shouldn’t be made to feel like a bother for asking when they’ll be fed or even have to ask when they’ll be fed. Be clear to your caterers!
– Sam, South Coast Wedding
We all know I love sparklers, however, they are logistical and Health & Safety nightmare. The weather has to be just right, the ground has to be dry, guests can’t be too tipsy, you need ambient light to get the best result, you have to get special permission from the venue, you have to set up the guests so they are the perfect distance to light the couple without setting the couple alight, you then have to dispose of all the sparklers safely, not to mention the cost of the sparklers and lighters. It’s a LOT to think about. A really easy (and FREE) alternative is to get all the guests to grab their phones and use the torch function. No need to worry about hair catching alight, weather conditions, how tipsy everyone is, or rush to get it done before the sparklers burn out, this option gives you loads of freedom, zero cost, and still creates a beautiful moment. – Emily, Lotus Photography
6 – Use Technology
A wedding website is a great eco-friendly, budget-friendly way to stay organised for your wedding. You can send Save the Dates, collect RSVPs, confirm guest numbers, and have a wedding countdown.
You can also use it to provide valuable information for your guests that you may not want to add to your invitation such as accommodation, travel, parking and restaurant information, dress code, gift registry… basically whatever information you want to give! Wedding websites also make it easy to communicate last-minute changes to your guests without having to call or text everyone individually.
There are some great simple free wedding website builders that you can DIY, or if you don’t have the time, or are looking for something custom and unique you could hire a website designer to build you something you love. – Nikita I Do Website Design
7 – Tidy As You Prep
Bride & Groom Preps are usually messy affairs. I’ve regularly tidied up dirty plates and glasses, loaded dishwashers, hung up suits, put makeup away, turned off hair straighteners that have been left on the floor, although I do draw the line and ask you to move your dirty pants off the floor yourself. OK, I’m a bit of a “Monica” and like a tidy room, but the main reason for this is that you don’t want your dirty laundry in the background of all those preparation photos. The rooms don’t need to be spotless but ask your Bridesmaids, Groomsmen, and Best People to help control the mess, and if all else fails have a “messy corner” where people can leave their stuff whilst the rest of the room is camera ready. – Emily, Lotus Photography
8 – Glowing Skin
9 – Go Old School With Your Speech
I’ve seen a huge increase in people using their phones to write their speeches, which makes sense, you usually have your phone on you and it’s nice and compact to carry around. Except there’s one problem; remembering to charge it. I’m not saying use a quill and parchment (although that would be seriously cool) to write your speeches, but stick to pen and paper, that way you don’t have to worry about your phone battery dying at the worst possible moment. – Emily, Lotus Photography
10 – Keep Your Energy Levels Up
Remember to eat! It sounds so silly, but the day is so busy and there is so much going on that sometimes you don’t get a chance to just sit down, have some food and take a few minutes of downtime. It can be a great idea to speak with your venue or caterer beforehand to see if they can put something back for you, ready for when you need it – after all, you will be needing as much energy as possible ready to hit the dancefloor later on! – Hannah, Rainbow Grazing Co
11 – May I Introduce You To “Uncle Bob”
Ask any photographer whether they have met “Uncle Bob” and they will always nod. You see, Uncle Bob is a pet name that has been developed for a wedding guest who enthusiastically wants to use their camera and capture everything, and I do mean everything. Personally, I love Uncle Bobs because I totally understand the enthusiasm and usually ask them to be my glamourous assistant by helping me round people up for group photos, but I’ve seen couples get infuriated when they keep seeing their beloved Uncle being overly snap-happy. Here are some top tips on what to do when you have an Uncle Bob in the family:
- Firstly, don’t ban them from bringing their camera. Everyone takes photos at weddings, if you ban Uncle Bob from bringing theirs they’ll be hurt that they have been excluded. Instead, ask them to only bring their camera and not their lighting rig and reflectors (yes, I’ve seen it happen).
- Explain when they can and can’t take photos. If you want an unplugged ceremony, remind Uncle Bob that there are strictly no photos during the ceremony, but then happily say they can snap during the drinks reception. I personally have no issues with Uncle Bobs taking photos over my shoulder during group photos, but I do draw a line for the couple’s photos, I want that to be a quiet moment for my couple and Uncle Bobs usually understand that.
- Remind them not to step in front of the professional photographer or videographer. We’ve all seen the TikToks with wedding guests jumping in front of the photographer when they are taking photos of the first kiss, cutting the cake, or the first dance, and yes I’ve had this happen (only once, and it really was an accident). It’s a rare occurrence, but gently remind them that you have spent a lot of money on hiring someone you trust to capture your day, so respect them and not jump out in front of them while they are working.
- Most importantly reassure Uncle Bob that you want them there because you love them, and you want them to be part of your day, celebrating with you rather than working. So yes, of course they can take photos, but they also have to dance, laugh, smile, drink, eat cake and enjoy the day with you.
– Emily, Lotus Photography
12 – Gather Up Those Details
13 – Honouring Those Who Can’t Be There
I am always so humbled when I see the beautiful ways my couples honour those loved ones who could not be part of their wedding day. This year, one of my brides honoured her mum by having charity pins as wedding favours. I thought this was so simple and so beautiful, and I loved how all the guests very proudly wore their sunflower pins 🌻 – Emily, Lotus Photography
14 – Aiming Your Confetti
The confetti shot can be one of the most epic moments of the day and makes for a great shot in the wedding film, however, it can fall flat if the guests launch confetti directly at your face.
Delegate a Bridesmaid or Groomsmen to give the instruction ‘up not in’ as throwing the confetti up will create the perfect flurry. And Bonus Advice: Always choose biodegradable confetti – Sam, Coastline Films
15 – The Groom’s Grand Entrance
Traditionally, the Groom is already waiting for their betrothed at the end of the aisle, and it’s only recently they’ve been “allowed” to turn and see their partner walking in. Why not buck that tradition and have the Groom make a grand entrance too? Invite their Parents to walk with them, or they can even follow after their Wedding Party just like the Bride traditionally does. Grooms, you totally deserve a Grand Entrance as well! – Emily, Lotus Photography
16 – Wear Sunscreen
17 – Where To Get The Dress Drycleaned
18 – Calm Your Mind
19 – Speeches Between Courses
Before I got into weddings, I thought having your speeches between courses was a brilliant idea, but I quickly learned that they can be tricky. Here are my top tips on how to make them go smoothly:
- If you are feeding your suppliers, make sure they are served immediately after the top table. I know, why would you serve your photographer and videographer before the rest of your guests??? The reason is that your suppliers will need time to eat their food, and then get all the equipment set up before the next speech, which includes the videographer having to mic up the next person speaking. If they are served last, they will have to wolf down their food or skip their meal completely in order to be ready for the speech.
- Pick your food carefully. By that I mean don’t pick food that requires very exact timing. Your catering team will be able to guide you on what can wait an extra 5-10 minutes if a speech runs over, but things like a souffle will not wait.
- Be strict on timings. If you have told a speaker that they have 10 minutes for their speech, remind them that really does mean 10 minutes.
- Don’t start speaking too early. I know nerves can kick in, and you really want to “get it over with”, but wait until the dishes are cleared before you stand up for your speech. As well as dirty dishes not looking great in photos, on one occasion someone dropped the microphone into a pile of gravy.
- Don’t start speaking too late. I’ve had weddings where speakers started their speeches just as the desserts are being served, and all the guests politely put down their cutlery to pay attention which led to a lot of very melted ice cream. Your guests want to hear your speech, they’re excited to hear your stories, they won’t go near that dessert until your done, even if you say they can eat whilst you’re talking, trust me, they won’t, they want to hear you, so avoid the trap of thinking “oh they can eat whilst I talk”.
– Emily, Lotus Photography
20 – Accessorise Your Way!
21- Making Weddings Accessible
You want everyone to enjoy your big day, so don’t forget to make your wedding accessible to all of your guests.
- If you’re getting married in a field or the woods, can all of your guests easily get to the ceremony? Consider whether laying down a carpet would prevent trip hazards, like tree roots, and make it easier for guests with mobility aids (nothing like going down the red carpet to your wedding!). Alternatively, have fun, maybe hire a TukTuk or a golf cart to help transport guests.
- Check your venue has accessible toilets and suitable parking. You can always reserve a parking space if someone needs it closer to the venue.
- Ask your venue to arrange for ramps if there are any stairs, and make sure that they are laid down before guests arrive.
- When designing your seating chart, consider whether guests need somewhere to place/park mobility aids.
- If a guest is visually impaired, write down your wedding stationery and timeline in large print or brail for them.
Write down your vows or speeches for guests with hearing impairments so they can join in on the stories about the two of you.
- And most importantly, don’t be afraid to ask your guests if there is anything they need or would like. You’re inviting them to your wedding because you love them, and they are going because they love you too, so don’t be afraid to ask.
22- Plan What Happens On The Aisle
Walking down the aisle is a magical experience, seeing the person you love waiting for you, but you need to plan what happens so there’s no confusion.
- Have seats reserved for your wedding party and check they know where to go once they’ve walked up the aisle.
- If you’re having a big dress, veil, or cape, make sure the aisle is wide enough for you and your escort to walk comfortably.
- Time your music so you know who is walking at which point in the song and how fast everyone needs to walk.
- If you’re having any little ones walking down the aisle, make sure there is someone they know that they can walk towards. Lotus has a really sweet story about a very nervous flower girl, who didn’t know where to go, so ran down the aisle straight toward her and nearly knocked her over cos she was the only person she knew.
- If someone is accompanying you down the aisle, do they know which side to stand on? (Traditionally, they walk on your left, but do it how you feel comfortable)
- Plan ahead of time what happens to your bouquet. Are you going to place it on the ceremony table? Are you going to give it to a member of the Wedding Party? Do they know you’re going to give them your bouquet?
- If you are having guests do reading or present the rings, have them seated near the aisle so they don’t have to climb over the other guests.
- Enjoy the moment! Don’t race down the aisle, take it all in, and enjoy walking down the aisle with your life partner <3
Ellie, Wildflower Ceremonies
23 – A Bugs Life
I love the water, whether it’s a beach, lake, river, stream, pond, or waterfall, I’m happy. There is one downside though; on those warm summer nights, when the water is still, the bugs come out to play. If your wedding venue has a water feature, do remember to bring insect repellant, trust me, you don’t want to be getting bitten on your wedding day. – Emily, Lotus Photography
24 – How Much Is A Pint?
When choosing a venue always remember to check the bar prices – one thing your guests will remember is how much they had to pay for a round at the bar! – Cathy, Kingston Country Courtyard
25- Travel In Style
This has been the year of EPIC wedding transport, I’ve had couples arrive by boat, SUPing, campervans, double-decker buses, golf carts, and TukTuks, so if you are not into classic cars but still want a grand entrance it’s time to think outside the box! Tandem bikes? Segway? Sleigh? Vespa? Pedicab? On the shoulders of your Best Person? The possibilities are endless! – Emily, Lotus Photography
26 – Repurpose Your Flowers
If you’re on a budget and want to save money, repurpose your floral arrangement throughout your wedding day. For example, flowers from your ceremony table can be moved and used on your top table as well. Your florist will happily stay for them to then move it for a small extra charge or ask ushers to move them. – Jay, Floral Couture By Jay
This is probably the most boring tip, but is one of the most important; check your wedding admin. Make sure you have contracts with all your suppliers (and that you read them), you have their contact information, that invoices are clear about payments, that all your suppliers have insurance, and check whether your venue requires copies of insurance certificates, risk assessments, or PAT tests. I know it’s not exciting, but the truth is that things can get muddled, accidents happen, and this way you’re covered and know where you stand. – Emily, Lotus Photography
28 – Setting The Table
Put name cards, favours, and anything else for the table in numbered boxes/envelopes for each table, it will make setting up so much quicker. Oh, and don’t forget to make sure to also print out a table plan. – Sam, South Coast Wedding
29 – Guest Book Alternatives
Be honest, are you going to flip through a traditional Guest Book? If the answer is no, don’t feel like you have to have one, there are LOADS of alternatives:
- Have guests take selfies with a polaroid camera.
- Buy a large frame that you plan to put a wedding photo in and get guests to sign the edge.
- Have a local artist or guest create a bespoke “paint by numbers” and ask each guest to paint a section.
- Create a video booth and get everyone to leave a video message (there are loads of fantastic companies that offer brilliant packages for this if you’re not up for creating your own).
- Ask guests to write a date idea or adventure for you to do in the future.
- And if none of that appeals to you, just go around and make sure you hug every single guest so you have that precious memory of them at your wedding.
– Emily, Lotus Photography
30 – You Guessed It… SHOW YOUR UNIQUE STYLE!!!!
– Sam, South Coast Wedding
– Jay, Floral Couture By Jay
– Cathy, Kingston Country Courtyard
– Ellie, Wildflower Ceremonies
– Becca, To Be Adorned
– Abby, Abby Faye Yoga
– Jax, Jax Hall Vocalist
– Nikita I Do Website Design
– Hannah, Rainbow Grazing Co
– Sam, Coastline Films
– Olga, Barnet & Boatrace