Wedding planning wisdom. Having been a Celebrant since 2011, I know a thing or two about weddings. I also know a thing or two about moonwalking and typing really fast, but there’s not much call for my advice on these, so instead I thought I’d share some of my wisdom. Over the next few weeks I’ll be delivering some snippets of my wedding planning wisdom, so watch this space for more!
ONE: AS [BLANK] IS MY WITNESS
How do you choose your witnesses? You’ll need two, and witnesses can be anyone over 18 who is present for the ceremony. Whether it’s your mum, dad, sister, brother, godparent, best friend, adult child, or, in the case of elopements, two randoms who happened to be walking past, anyone can be a witness.
You can choose them beforehand or hold a witness lottery by placing names of those who meet the criteria in a hat, drawn out as part of the ceremony.
It’s always a good idea to have a bit of music playing/ a reading/ interpretive dance whilst signing is happening as it takes about 4 to 5 minutes
TWO: THE HEAT IS ON
During these hot summer days it’s really worth thinking about your guests comfort before the ceremony has started. You may think ‘it’s only a 30 minute ceremony’ but some guests will arrive 30 minutes (or more) beforehand and if the ceremony starts a bit later than expected then it can be a long, uncomfortable wait. If it’s a venue with no bar or shop nearby, it can get a bit dicey for your guests and I’ve had some near misses with fainters. Play it safe and have some water on offer for your guests. If this isn’t an option, let guests know it’s a good idea to bring a bottle with them. Guests who are travelling to Qld/NSW and who aren’t familiar with just how hot it can get will thank you.
THREE: ORDER OF BOOKING
In what order should you book your vendors?
1) Start scouting for ceremony and reception venues. If you’re flexible with the dates, then you’ll obviously have more choice. If you already have a date locked in but are flexible with venues then you can start to book other suppliers
2) Book your celebrant. I, personally, take bookings up to two years in advance, and the more popular dates tend to get booked quickly such as May the Fourth, Saturday’s in peak season, Easter Saturday etc.
3) Book your photographer. If you’re overwhelmed by the amount of talent out there, ask your celebrant who they’ve work with and would recommend. Some couples book their photographer before their celebrant and that’s totally cool too.
4) Book your make-up, hair, florist, stylist, on-the-day-coordinator, cake, music, food, dog-chaperone, signage or anything else you may want to make your day amazing.
And if this all feels too overwhelming, there’s wonderful wedding planners out there who can take the strain off you in order for you to have your perfect day.
What music do you need for the ceremony? As a minimum I suggest a song for arrival of the bride(s) and/or groom(s), a song during signing, and then something post-smooch.
You can also play tunes from when guests arrive, setting the atmosphere from the get-go.
Music is such a personal choice and I’m sometimes asked for suggestions which is hard to do as my taste is probably very different to yours and visa versa. So I suggest to help you decide, that you close your eyes and picture the actual moment within your wedding where the music is playing. What emotion do you want to feel? One of romance? A feeling of joy? Of high excitement? Then choose some music which fits that feeling – whether it’s Pachelbel’s ‘Canon in D Major’, Farrell’s ‘Happy’, or Metallica’s ‘Nothing Really Matters’ – and play it, imagining your wedding at that actual moment. Does the song evoke the right emotion you’re hoping for? If so, bingo!
FIVE: WHOSE WHO IN THE ZOO?
How do you choose your wedding party? How many people should you have? What do they actually do during the ceremony? Do you even need them?
Choosing bridesmaids/men and groomsmen/women is, of course, completely down to personal choice. There are many ancient traditions as to why we have them (including best men stealing the bride from her family, and bridesmaids checking that the marriage has been consummated) but nowadays most wedding party members are there for emotional support, to help plan bucks/hens parties and to provide company when getting ready on the day.
More and more couples are moving away from this tradition. Take Hannah for example. She has a large close group of friends she’s known for years. Choosing just a few seemed impossible, so she didn’t. She still had friends with her when she got ready, but during the ceremony it was just Sean and her.
Consequently this created a real intimacy which is evident in this great photo by the lovely Kirsty @wildflowerweddings
You may want to have attendants, and that’s totally cool too. It’s also worth considering whether you’d like them standing up there with you for the whole ceremony, during the introduction and post-signing part but in with your guests for the main part of it, or for them to join your guests once the ceremony has begun.
Whatever you choose, do it because it feels right for you, rather than tradition dictates. It’s your day after all!
SIX: ‘IT’S LIKE RA-A-AAAAIN ON YOUR WEDDING DAY…’
Rain. Ugh. It’s the one thing you have zero control over on your wedding day and even if you choose a non-rainy period there’s still a chance. Our lowest rainfall months in Brisbane are July/August yet we still average seven days of rain. So, if you’re planning an outdoor wedding, it’s worth having a ‘plan b’ so you don’t spend the whole day prior to your wedding obsessively checking your Bureau of Meteorology app.
Option 1) Chat to your reception venue to see if there’s a suitable spot to hold the ceremony
Option 2) Book an indoor ceremony space as your backup plan. This doesn’t need to cost a fortune if you’re just using it for the ceremony and paying the extra $$ will be worth it for the peace of mind.
Option 3) Buy some umbrellas. If it rains only lightly then investing in these could mean you’re still able to go ahead.
Finally, if it does rain on your wedding day there’s one thing you are guaranteed and that’s amazing photographs! Check out these pics of couples I’ve worked with who didn’t let rain ruin their day.
SEVEN: THE QUICKIE
In Australia you need to give one months notice in order to marry. And it’s amazing how much you can get done in a month.
Take Kitti and Paul for example. They arranged their whole wedding in this time and had their perfect day. They were focussed, decisive, and despite the short turnaround, still had so many personalised, memorable moments within their ceremony.
A quickly planned wedding does not mean a less than awesome one. If you’re flexible with what day of the week you want your ceremony and reception it can be done.
Here’s what Paul and Kitti said about their day:
‘Roxy was outstanding from the very start! She was so helpful to ensure we could meet our own chosen deadline with submitting forms (on the same day we first called her!), we had no idea how to make what we wanted into reality but Roxy was a wealth of information and suggestions, and she was very supportive in tailoring our ceremony to suit us. I think above all she is a really genuine, warm, fun and friendly person and it really shows naturally! We couldn’t have been happier with our wedding ceremony, it was just perfect thanks to Roxy and we’re so grateful! Our guests were also very impressed with Roxy, we had lots of feedback of how great she was! Thank you!!!’
EIGHT: DOGS. SIGH. LOVELY DOGS.
Dogs. Oh dogs. How much do I love our four legged yeasty-smelling companions?
Having your dog at your wedding is a no-brainer for some but for others it can be a little bit trickier.
As much as you love your dog, you may not want to have to keep an eye on him or her all day, and you also may want to consider them going home after the ceremony. If so, there’s companies who can do this for you such as the lovely Sherron @howl_yeah
If your dog can’t attend then you can acknowledge your dog (or cat, or llama, or fish, or snake…) by having their image on your invites, including them in your engagement shoot, immortalising them on your cake topper or on a fingerprint tree. Check out this blog post for more info on how to include your four-legged friend in your wedding.
NINE ONWARDS: Check in next week for more wedding planning wisdom. Or, if you’d like to chat to me, please don’t hesitate to contact me on 0478041227 or at firstname.lastname@example.org