The rehearsal is often the first time the whole wedding party gets together before the wedding ceremony and perhaps the first time some of the bridal party may have met each other.
Often my couples will request not to have a rehearsal as they have so much on their To Do list that fitting in a rehearsal can be quite the chore. So the big question - is a wedding rehearsal really necessary?
In my experience, I believe it is. Although you may have attended many weddings and have observed how it’s done, you haven’t actually walked that walk. Many brides are as cool as a cucumber until they hit the top of the ‘aisle’, then the adrenaline and nerves kick in and without a rehearsal they may get a little lost and not enjoy every moment as much as they should.
Forty-five minutes, on location, should be ample time to cover off such things as the logistics of your ceremony with the majority of the wedding party. It is important for any little people involved in the ceremony so that they know where to walk and who to walk to, a great chance for them to become familiar with your celebrant; choreograph where to stand; how to move into and out of the ceremony area; who will have the rings and how will they be handed over at that moment of the ceremony; where do the parents sit so they have the best view of their son or daughter’s face throughout the ceremony; where the signing table will be located; where will the guests reader stand. Also this is the ideal opportunity to complete the last of the legal documents before the ceremony.
A rehearsal held around the same time as the actual ceremony gives the opportunity to check where the sun will be at that time of day so as not to be shining into either the wedding party’s or guests eyes.
Those of my couples that pushed back on a rehearsal, always thanked me for guiding them in the direction of a rehearsal because it did help them to know what to expect, assisted in reducing their nerves and in turn contributed to a relaxed, seamless and spectacular ceremony - just as they had planned.
Photo - Midwest Wedding Photography
Not setting a budget - It’s so easy to get carried away, there are so many choices to be made and often it’s the smaller purchases, the favours, the decorations, the candy bar, or stationery that can end in tears. Set a realistic budget and have a talk early on as a couple about your “deal breakers”, what you really want to pull out all the stops on.
My friend is going to take photos at my wedding - As a celebrant there is a huge difference between officiating at a wedding where a professional photographer is documenting the event and those where the photographer is an enthusiastic amateur. Usually the first difference is that I am totally unaware of the professional at work, they are unobtrusive and make the best use of their equipment to get in close. The amateur on the other hand is in my face, standing in front of guests and asking for the kiss / ring exchange / signing to be repeated so they can capture it. Word of Warning - if you hire an amateur for your wedding, expect an amateur result!
Not listening to your Experienced Wedding Vendor - There has been a lot of hype about “wedding mark up” and often vendors are seen as money grabbing opportunists. The truth is vendors may charge more for a wedding because a wedding is more work than other events. Your wedding vendor makes themselves available for calls, consultations and planning meetings and may send dozens of emails back and forth with their clients before the event. Most of all they are committed to making your wedding a success, after all, their reputation depends on it.Listen to your wedding vendor’s advice, they’ve been involved in hundreds of weddings and they know from experience what works and what doesn’t. Trust their knowledge and experience and draw on it.
Not considering your guests – Most weddings take place in the height of summer at a gorgeous outdoor venue. Remember whatever the weather conditions your guests will be out in them longer than you will. If you have no shade, consider hiring umbrellas for your guests or suggesting they bring their own hats or umbrellas. Consider having handbag fans for guests and/or bottle water on hand to keep them hydrated. even a couple of tubs of sunscreen will be much appreciated by your guests.
Make sure you have a “Plan B” in case of rain or the unforseen cold snap and ensure you have a Plan B communication plan for your guests. If your ceremony site is a little hard to find include a map in your invitation or your wedding website or Facebook page, and if it’s a little off the beaten track then some quirky road sings will build the anticipation and guests won’t get lost.
Being late for your own wedding - Keeping your guests waiting especially on a hot summer’s day, will not impress them. In addition a late bride means a late ceremony, a late reception, less time for post ceremony photos and over cooked or cold food. Put together a run sheet to ensure your preparation before your ceremony is planned and everyone involved in your wedding party knows what has to be accomplished before that walk down the aisle.
It’s easy to avoid these potential disasters with good planning and making great choices. Your wedding professionals will be an invaluable source of advice and experience if you need clarification or guidance.
more and more couples are choosing to have an unplugged ceremony as part of
their day. For those of you that this might be new to, an unplugged wedding is
one in which electronics are “unplugged”, meaning the guests are politely asked,
usually for the ceremony at least, to refrain from taking photos or video. This
has become quite popular in recent years, equally so has the ‘plugged’ wedding
where guests are encouraged to take photos throughout the entire day.
Instead of the old disposable cameras left on tables at the reception, guests are invited to download popular ‘free’ apps such as wedpics where they can then upload all their photos taken. This is a great way to encourage guests to use their technology at the same time discouraging them from adding them to social media before the couple have a chance to announce their marriage officially.
There are pros and cons for both sides of this arguement and it is really an individual choice. Just remember that by asking guests not to take photos you may also miss out on some great candid shots that your photographers may not capture – they can’t be in all places all of the time.
Your celebrant could commence the ceremony prior to the Bride’s arrival with such words as;
Guests, can you please refrain from taking any photos as the bride enters, however the couple are happy for you to snap away throughout the ceremony. Also, please wait until the newlyweds make their announcement on social media – we all know that it’s not official until the bride updates her marital status on facebook!
Please turn off all cameras and devices, sit back and relax while our professional photographer captures this special occasion - we promise to share with you the many beautiful pictures he/she will capture today
The Bride and Groom respectfully request that you please turn your phones to silent … there’s a lovely photographer here taking photos…they asked her to come, so please rest your camera as the ceremony only needs one.
There are so many decisions to make throughout the wedding planning process so try not to let unplugged v plugged by the bug bear that will stress you out! If you are just not sure of what to do then perhaps consider asking for no electronic devices to be used during the ceremony, and then request that they put them to work once the ceremony has concluded.
Regardless of your decision, it will probably fade in to the shadows as you focus on your day unfolding.
It is always difficult if someone has died in the family, and even more so, when it is just days, weeks or even months before a wedding ceremony. Chat with your celebrant about how the memory of your loved one can be included whether it be in a subtle manner through a candle being lit or a photograph near the signing table or at the entry point of the aisle or even placed on a chair where they may have taken up position had they been there. It’s also worth considering discussing this with other members of the family because it is important so that no-one gets a real shock when they hear the deceased's name.
If it is someone really close like a parent or grandparent, then maybe there is a lovely quote they may have used, or offered some advice, or you can just choose to mention them during the speeches when most people are a little more relaxed and the sadness won’t cast a shadow over the ceremony.
On one occasion my bride lost her father just a day earlier, she was amazingly stoic and decided to continue on as there were people coming from overseas and interstate – I personally don’t think the shock had really set in – we opted for a candle to be lit as she walked down the aisle and it remained lit for the ceremony and throughout the reception.
What was important in this instance was to find the balance of being able to enjoy the day without the bride feeling guilty about being happy yet still mourning the loss of her father.:
There are many ways to remember those important people in our lives who cannot be with us in person; my own daughter-in-law attached thumbnail sized pictures to her bouquet of grandparents that had been lost to us.
There is a time and a place for dedication and finding the balance can go either way. Weddings are a time for happiness, time for reflection and a time for sharing so providing the memories of loved ones is respected with delicacy and respect, then it doesn’t have to overshadow the celebration of two people’s commitments to each other.2
Out of all
the events to celebrate your marriage, the wedding ceremony itself will
probably be the most meaningful and, hopefully, memorable. It will also be the
scene setter for all the fun and celebration that will follow at the reception.
But, let’s be honest, the ceremony itself is the reason for the celebration!
Part of planning your ceremony is choosing the music and your celebrant can guide you if you are stuck for ideas. What I have found is that for some couples they find choosing the ceremony music difficult – so many choices to refine it to just three, four or five. So much so, that they sometimes give up, choose a couple of traditional songs for the Processional and Recessional, and leave it at that. And, while that is certainly one choice which will work well for some couples, I do believe that the ceremony music can be so much more.
Music can enrich almost any event, and that is particularly true of a wedding! And you can certainly enrich your own ceremony with the beauty and grandeur of music. Some opt for live music with a solo violinist or harpist; others are happy to have their favourite tunes waft over the PA system
The music you choose for your wedding ceremony is a reflection of you and your hopes and your dreams. In essence, the music you choose allows you to share an important part of yourself with your guests. It touches both you and them, and can bring you and your guests together.
Tip for Processional – You may need to consider two songs, one for the bridal party and one for the bride-to-be. These could be meaningful and poignant or as a couple, ‘your special song’
Tip for Signing the Legals – This is the fill-in music, so something that your guests will enjoy listening to whilst you are signing the legal documents, keep in mind that you may need two songs here.
Tip for Recessional – Pick something upbeat and happy as this symbolises the start or the celebrations
How do you select your flowers, not only will you be carrying them, have them for Grooms button hole, they will be in all your photos and possibly throughout the reception venue.
Well chosen flowers bouquets and buttonholes enhance the atmosphere, colour and fragrance of the occasion and creates a beautiful and elegant environment.
So where do you begin? A few things to consider are colour, season, venue space and how they will complement your ‘theme’.
Let’s look at venue first; think about the space and what flowers would work best be they large assortments or small and delicate. Indoor or outdoor. Window lighting, colour of the walls or carpet can all have an impact on the flowers. I suggest you take a photo of your ceremony and venue location to show your florist. This will help them to guide you with your choices.
Season plays a big role in choices and cost. At a price your florist can ship in non-seasonal flowers however choosing in-season flowers will certainly help reduce the cost and there will be more choices.
Choosing a colour is possibly the easiest step of choosing flowers as you are probably already working to a theme. Will your theme be romantic, rustic, modern, traditional; the choices are endless as you’re your flower choices. Pops of colour will add to the theatre and to your photo portfolio so be careful not to clash with the bridal party colours.
In this photo the bridal couple chose a native theme, relying on the surroundings to provide a delightful backdrop. Their choice to place bunches of native flowers in hessian covered buckets, tied with lace and strategically placed on logs made a fabulous ‘arbour’.
As a bride or groom, your pre-wedding beauty
preparation should be one of the most enjoyable parts of planning your wedding.
Here are a few practical tips to help you prepare for your big event.
Skin – you want to be feeling and looking radiant on your wedding day but sometimes the stress in the lead up to the day can play havoc with your skin. Book in a consultation at least six months before your ceremony to work out the best treatment for your skin type and then schedule regular facials.
If you’re down to just a few weeks before the big day, or are being very mindful of your budget, then do this at least a couple of weeks before the wedding to give any blemishes or impurities time to clear.
Tip for her Experimenting with new make-up or skincare products in the fortnight before your wedding is a huge no-go – if you get a reaction, it may not clear up in time – more stress
Tip for him Even if you’re a blokey bloke and don’t care too much about wedding beauty preparation, starting a simple skincare regime months out (daily cleansing and moisturising will do the job) could make a huge difference to your skin come wedding day
Make-up – A professional make-up artist will ensure your make-up lasts the distance; they know how to give the professional touch that is needed to look your best in your photos. If you are going to engage a professional wedding make-up artist then do get in early and do your research well in advance. Word of mouth of course is the best way to find a reliable make-up artist because let’s face it, we only recommend those we trust to do the job.
Tip for her Professionals know all the tricks to ensure you look gorgeous in your photos, but it’s important to ensure that you’re comfortable with your look too, so book in at least one trial run with a make-up artist so that you will be comfortable with the look
Tip for him Even the blokeyist of blokes use make-up for men, let’s face it, a spot of well-placed concealer can hide dark circles and blemishes and with a good make-up artist, no one will ever know
Hair - In the months before the wedding, avoid a radical new haircut, this applies to both the bride and the groom. There might not be enough time to grow it out if it doesn’t turn out the way you had visualised.
Tip for her If you have the budget, it really pays to have a practice styling session with your hairdresser. Take along some pictures of styles you like, so you’ll be able to work out what suits you.
Tip for him Guys don’t always get the chance to pamper themselves, but a barbershop visit may be just the thing for that extra-smooth shave or perfectly-trimmed beard, also makes for a great morning session with the groomsmen.
Hands & Nails - It’s hard to find time on the day to fit everything in, so opting for a gel manicure a day or two before will free up more time on the day. Also get a great, glossy finish with zero smudging or chips. Organise a session for you and your bridal party to ensure all the girls are looking at their best and are matching.
Tip for her Give your nails a polish-free few weeks pre-wedding so they’re in great condition and not liable to break.
Tip for him Manicures aren’t just about polish, though many men are trying this out too. Having your nails shaped, hands massaged and cuticles attended to will mean you can confidently show off that new ring you’ll be wearing
There are so many details that go into planning a memorable wedding.
Often the arch is the least thought about prop, yet it is the frame to your ceremony that your guests observe and witness this special event. As you walk down the aisle you will love having gorgeous flowers or flowing cloth and rustic wood to frame your memorable moment. It will be a little taste of your style that will stand out in photos for years to come.
Once you have decided that you would like a wedding arch to be a part of your ceremony, you need to then consider how you will obtain one. . There are so many options. One is to purchase a wedding arch and then decorate it yourself with flowers.You may have a handyman you can call on to create one to suit your style, but then there is always the consideration of how to transport to your venue and then how to construct it.
You can also rent a wedding arch, usually the supplier of your tables and chairs may also have arches to order, leaving either yourself and your bridesmaids or your florist to add the floral finishing touches.
Some venues already have a purpose built arch they can provide, allowing your to decorate yourself.
The arch you choose is limited only by your imagination; the display above was created by the bride and her trusty bridesmaids. They visited the local market and purchased buckets of native flowers. The brides sister sourced a few logs and had them cut down to size and they created this beautiful frame - they used the natural surroundings to do the rest for them.
Remember though, if you do purchase your own arch you can put it in your backyard later as a constant reminder of your incredibly special big day!
Photo Credit - Lea Photography & Design
Here is a list of things that should be non-negotiable's on your TO-DO list. It goes without saying that you will get a hair, make-up and tanning trial to say nothing of how many times you will ‘swoosh’ your wedding dress.
Camera Shy Spend some time with your photographer, even consider doing an engagement photo shoot so you know how your photographer communicates.
First Dance I would encourage you both to take a few formal dance lessons, particularly if wither of you have "two left feet".
Vows and Speeches This is a given, don’t wing it because you may forget some very important people in the moment when all the attention is on you. Practice it loud a few times and in to a mirror is a good way of getting familiar with the words.
Rehearsal This is a given. You may think a rehearsal is unnecessary – you’ve been to so many weddings, you know the routine. Maybe not. Chances are you haven’t actually done that walk as a bride, with all eyes on you. You could be the coolest of brides but as soon as you hit the top of the aisle and you capture a sea of faces with all eyes on you, there is undoubtedly a rush of adrenaline and the nerves kick in. All thoughts of what to do go out the window, even just putting one foot in front of the other has challenged a few brides at this point.
Wedding Shoes Always practice wearing and walking in your wedding shoes. Take them to your rehearsal as this is where you will have to learn to manoeuvre over uneven terrain, perhaps down steps or along the chapel aisle. Consider having two pairs, one for the ceremony and photos and one that you know you can dance the night away on the dance floor and won’t give you blisters that will ruin your honeymoon.
Ending Conversations Gracefully As you greet your guests, you'll find that everyone will want to hold a conversation with you, and if you let them go on too long it will take your night away. Practice sentences that warmly express your gratitude for your guests being there on your special day and then a polite closure that helps you move on to the next table. Something like, 'We are so happy you could be here! Please, enjoy your dinner and the bar is over there when you're ready for a refill or hope to see you on the dance floor. This makes you a gracious host and guests are happy that you have acknowledged their presence.
Thinking about having a surprise wedding? They are a very popular choice, particularly if you want to avoid the typical wedding stress in the lead up to the ceremony. While they are a much more relaxed alternative, there are a few things you may want to consider when the penny finally drops!
Tell key people: might be a good idea to bring your parents in on the surprise; they can be a big help and may need it in the lead up to the day and let’s face it, you don’t want to get them offside!
Give your celebration a disguise: Make it something important to ensure your guests make the effort to come. I suggest calling it your engagement party or that particularly significant birthday party.
Going it alone equals hard work: The less people that know, the less help you’ll have. Consider keeping your styling very simple because you won’t have a lot of support with so few people in on the surprise.
Choose your celebrant : Work closely with your celebrant and choreograph how they won’t be ‘discovered’ before the surprise is announced. One hint of someone ‘official’ will blow the surprise you’ve worked so hard to keep.
Think about the announcement: When are you going to tell everyone that you’re about to get married? It could be with a sign as guests walk in; it could be the speeches that turn in to an announcement; you could ask the celebrant to take over the microphone and spring the surprise.
Give a gift option: Family and friends might want to give a better gift once the wedding is over. It’s perfectly fine to set up an online registry to allow guests to get you a little something extra to celebrate your surprise.
Why not include them in your celebrations
It is important to be surrounded by the people you love on your wedding day. For many couples, their nearest and dearest include a four-legged friend, but the question often is not whether or not you want your pet in the wedding, but rather how can you include your pet.
Before you decide what your pet will do, you should ask officials at the venues where your wedding and reception will be held if they allow pets on the premises. Some will have no restrictions in place, while others may.
One of the favourite ways is to incorporate your fur baby into the ceremony. Your pet can act as the ring bearer or escort the flower girl down the aisle, or even take a prominent place as your ‘best’ per right at the alter.
Whatever the role you choose for your pet, keep in mind that they will need a handler other than you who can care for them and get them down the aisle if need be.
If goes without saying that including your pets in your wedding does take some planning.
Its usually best to have your pet present in just one part of the day, say during your ceremony or for photos, and then arrange to have him or her taken home before the reception. And though it may seem like an unnecessary task to add to your to-do list, it will be worth the wonderful photo opportunity.
If you really love your best friend, don’t overlook having them in your wedding ceremony.