For a bride, it’s the one negative guarantee about the wedding day: it goes from beginning to end in the blink of an eye. You receive all of the advice to “remember everything”, and you have every good intention to do so. But it is completely understandable to become overwhelmed; all of the time, planning and anticipation have culminated to the magical day that is FINALLY here! Before you know it, the day is over, and all you are left with are a lot of beautiful pictures and a hazy memory. While it may seem daunting to attempt to emotionally invest in every second, I do suggest a few key events that you should savor to the fullest…
The last hour before the ceremony:
It may not seem like a big deal, but relishing the last few moments before walking down the aisle is a wonderful way to prepare yourself for a beautiful ceremony and enjoying the rest of your day. I have received a lot of positive feedback from brides because, as a planner, I build an hour of down-time into the day’s itinerary before the processional begins. Many beneficial things can happen in this last hour: (1) if unforeseen circumstances cause your timeline to fall behind, you have an extra hour to catch up; (2) someone can be designated to assist with cleaning up your “prep” space, ensuring that your personal belongings are packed and there are no extra hassles after the reception; and (3) you have extra time to relax, grab a quick drink or snack, take a couple of extra candid pictures, and revel in a quiet peace that comes before saying “I do”.
This one kind of goes without saying; it’s the reason why we’re all here! But you’d be surprised how many couples don’t remember their ceremony. Whether you write your own vows or recite traditional ones, cherish every second. Take your time speaking, BREATHE, and squeeze your honey’s hands extra tight. This moment is sacred and just for the two of you; don’t rush and enjoy!
Post-ceremony pictures (just the two of you!):
Let me preface this one by saying that you don’t want to drag this period out forever; try not to extend post-ceremony pictures beyond the cocktail hour. But if you can, take care of the wedding party shots first; then, allow them to go ahead to the reception. Spend the rest of the hour with just your sweetheart and the photographer. Your photographer can guide you to special locations in and around the venue for beautifully posed pictures. Or he/she can remain silent in the background and take candid shots while you two reflect on the ceremony, kiss, and enjoy the brief time of privacy. It’s actually quite romantic!
I tell my brides “don’t forget to eat”…. Later in the reception, I still put a large bag filled with to-go boxes from the caterer in the get-away car. I know that it might be wishful thinking, but I do advise couples to take some time to sit and enjoy the dinner that took a huge chunk out of their overall budget. I do understand the tendency to get caught up in all of the excitement, or spend most of dinner speaking to all of the relatives that simply must come up to the table to hug the happy couple. Allow your planner or DJ to encourage guests to allow some time for you to eat before visiting. Once you have finished dinner, you can always make the rounds to each table to greet guests.
Your first dance:
Some couples will spend time and money on dance lessons. Some will come up with a crazy, fun duet to surprise their guests. Some will simply choose their favorite ballad to sway back and forth to, while gazing into each other’s eyes. No matter how you do it, take all of the time you need. My favorite pictures, by far, are of the first dance, and many of your guests will enjoy celebrating that special moment with you. There are many popular songs that seem to be a staple at weddings; but I encourage you to spend time talking about your ideas with your fiancé. Allow this decision to be between just the two of you, and choose a song and dance that is special and speaks to your unique story as a couple. You are sure to look back on your first dance as one of the favorite moments of your wedding day.