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You might guess that I like weddings—and you’d be right. I love weddings. I love being there to see two people commit their lives to each other in front of their community of family and friends & celebrating with the people who mean the most in their lives. That being said, there are a few things that occasionally happen at weddings that make me sad—anything that takes away the focus on the bride and groom, or diverts their attention unnecessarily from each other. I strive from the get-go to do anything I can to make a wedding day better, smoother, happier, and easier—I want every couple to love their photos, and love how they felt on their wedding day. Because when you look at a photo of yourself, you remember how you felt when that photo was taken. So if you’re anxious, stressed, worried, or nauseous (I have a funny story for that one…), you’ll remember that! I want to create memories for every couple that reflect the best of their wedding day.
Looking back at my own wedding, there are a few things I would do differently. I loved my wedding day, but I caused myself some unnecessary and avoidable stress. At the end of the day, some things didn’t end up like I envisioned, because I didn’t articulate my expectations and priorities effectively. And now that I’ve been part of dozens of weddings, I have a behind-the-scenes insight on how to make things go a little more smoothly.
Here are a couple patterns I’ve noticed that can interfere with the Bride & Groom enjoying their day to the fullest:
1—Worrying about other people’s expectations
This is your wedding, not your mother’s or your aunt’s or anyone else’s. While it’s important to honor those people you love, you shouldn’t spend your time agonizing over anyone’s disapproval or preferences. Learn to clearly, politely communicate your desires and priorities. And then communicate them again. You can’t blame anyone but yourself for disappointed expectations if you don’t speak up and tell everyone what you want! At some point during the planning or the day itself, someone will explicitly or implicitly judge your decisions. Brush it off, and have a quick, easy response that ends the discussion. I like “Thanks! I’ll take that into consideration.” And then do whatever the heck you want to! But don’t spend too much time or energy convincing or explaining yourself. This one was hard for me as a bride because I wanted to please everyone else. But I’ve learned through experience that if you try to please everyone else, you end up pleasing no one and making yourself miserable in the process!
2—Avoiding each other
I completely respect the decision not to do a first look—it’s a very personal choice and your wedding should reflect your own priorities and expectations. BUT, be sure to carefully weigh the pros and cons of seeing each other before the ceremony or not. I’ll have to write another post on this one! If you do decide not to see one another, consider having your ceremony earlier in the day. If you have an evening wedding and don’t do a first look, you’ll spend most of your day apart. If you’re aware of this and fine with it, great! But you only get one wedding day—why not spend the majority of your time with your sweetie?
3—Being too much of a control freak
In case you haven’t been told before… Delegate! It’s the original reason for having bridesmaids and groomsmen after all. Don’t be afraid to give each of them duties, and write them down if at all possible. Designate a “wedding bouncer” to handle any situations that arise, and let your vendors know to direct their questions to someone other than you. Don’t spend your precious wedding day time making last-minute decisions about decor or running minor errands!
Note: this should not be your mother. Moms are great organizers, but it’s the best gift to your mama to let her enjoy the day. If she’s insistent, give her an easy job so she feels like she has something to do, but it won’t take away from her ability to relax and be present. Maybe she can be in charge of pinning the bouts and making sure the grandmothers get corsages.
4—Bad posture or absentminded facial expressions
This one is easy to forget, and I make it part of my job to gently remind couples about posture throughout the day—especially when photos are being taken. This also extends to the silly things we do when our mind is elsewhere. I tend to scowl and squint while working on my computer, and I’m a terrible nail-biter; I’m glad there isn’t any photographic evidence to betray me! But on your wedding day, not only are you the center of attention, there will be more than one camera documenting the candid moments too. During your ceremony, as much as I want to, I can’t tell you to stop chewing your lip or slouching. The best advice I can give is to practice! I also find making a habit of taking a deep breath every few minutes can be an easy way to also remember to straighten your shoulders, tighten your core muscles, and put a relaxed smile on your face. It’s easier than running through a laundry list of things to remember!
A lot of brides want to skip hair and makeup as an expense. After all, you do your own hair and makeup every day and for most special occasions—and I know you want to feel like “yourself” on your wedding day, not like you’re putting on a “bride” costume. But here’s the thing—when you’re doing your makeup for a normal day, there’s a lot less pressure. But if you mess up on your wedding day, it’s not as easy to start over. When you’re the bride, you need to take any opportunity to diminish your stress! Professional makeup lasts beautifully all day and looks amazing in photos. Especially if you have troublesome skin, pro makeup can do more than Photoshop to make you look natural and amazing. You want to do everything to minimize your stress, so let someone else take the reins and make sure you look great. It’s relaxing too! You get to chill out and sip a mimosa while someone else primps and polishes you, instead of agonizing over getting everything perfect on such a monumental occasion. Personally, this might be one of my own biggest wedding regrets! There were a handful of things I did wrong as a bride simply because I didn’t know any better. Now, having seen amazing professionals at work helping a bride to relax and look gorgeous on the morning of her wedding, it’s something I wish I would have made a priority for my own wedding.