Advice For Every Bride:
In today’s world there are so many means to receive information. Social media plays a huge role in spreading information via websites and applications, allowing users to create and share content while participating in social networking and bringing together people and ideas from around the world. Wedding planning today is so different from the past when brides relied on bridal magazines and bridal shops to help them with all their wedding details. Today’s brides have a myriad of unlimited resources including, bridal magazines and bridal websites, industry professionals, Pinterest, specialized apps for the phone, and, of course, Google. Endless sources of options and advice can be overwhelming and exhausting and may not help you focus on what you really want for your special day. A better way to gather wedding information may be to pulse previous brides or industry professionals for their advice. They have recent wedding experience will likely have lots of tips, and mishaps, to share with you as you navigate the wedding planning process.
I was a bride once and like many girls, my friends and I grew up dreaming of our wedding day. We fantasized about our groom, the wedding, and all the details of the day. As the planning process for my actual wedding progressed and the day, preceded by years of anticipation, finally arrived, the wedding and reception literally flew by. Six hours of time was gone in what felt like minutes. From wedding prep, to endless photographs, to hugs and well-wishes from family and friends the pre-wedding hours were a blur. Before I knew it, it was time to walk down the aisle, pose for endless photos, dinner, toasts, dancing, cake, bouquet toss, more dancing, more photos, and then, in what seemed like a blink of the eye, my wedding was over. Looking back on the wedding planning process and wedding day, the advice I give to brides is to try and enjoy the actual moments more. Though weddings involve a lot of people and timelines, ultimately the day is yours, your friends and family are there for YOU, and the special moments aren’t going to happen without you. Enjoy every minute!
Here at Amos Productions we are blessed to work with wonderful couples on a daily basis. One of our recent brides, Stacey DeMoss, offers her best advice to future brides.
“Future brides and grooms need to make sure they hire professional vendors. Hands down it’s the best decision they could make. It takes all of the stress out of the day knowing that you have an amazing team making sure your day turns out fabulous.”
We also have the opportunity to work with many wonderful industry professionals at local venues around the Bay Area. Allison Bruley is the Corporate Event/Office Manager for Beet’s Hospitality Group at Palm Event Center in the Vineyard and Casa Real at Ruby Hill Winery. I had the opportunity to ask her as an Industry Professional what advice she would offer to brides and grooms.
“My advice for the bride and groom is to make it a priority to stop and appreciate the moment You have to consciously take time to make that happen. With the whirlwind of the day you can get wrapped up and have it pass by without truly feeling like you are present. When coordinating events I make my clients take a deep breath and soak it all in. They always appreciate the reminder!”
I was also curious to hear from Allison on how vendors can best serve the bride and groom.
“My advice for vendors is to set a realistic expectation with your client…even if it’s difficult. Clients often come to us with grand visions that can be difficult to execute. We cannot let our desire to please the customer lead to disappointing them in the long run. If you develop a relationship with honesty your clients will trust your advice.”
There are many common words of advice from bride to bride as well. In researching first hand stories it seems that no matter how much advice a couple receives from family, friends, and planners, details can be forgotten or, after the fact, brides wish they had done something differently. Missed photo opportunities, vendor timeline confusion, or décor delays can be better planned and accounted for prior to the wedding with the help and advice of industry professionals who coordinate such events on a daily basis.
Here is a list of some of the more common words of advice from past brides in random order:
Have a Plan
Delegate a bridesmaid, family member or friend to take care of all of the important day of responsibilities for you. Are there gifts that need to be taken home, a guest book that needs to not be forgotten, or vendor tips to be handed out? Make sure you assign these duties in advance so someone else can take care of them on the day of your wedding. Select a person you trust will not forget any of the items you assign to them. As the bride, you should have confidence that all details are covered and not have a thing to worry about on your wedding day.
Bridal Party Timeline/Itinerary
Create an itinerary that details the wedding week/weekend for your entire wedding party and anyone else that will be a part of this special day. This will ensure that everyone knows where and what they will be doing and will not need to contact you to see what is expected of them and what’s to come next.
Don’t forget to eat and stay hydrated on your wedding day. Not eating or drinking (water) can make you feel weak and tired. Snack throughout the day and ask your caterer to pack you and your groom a “to go” dinner and dessert for after the wedding. You won’t pay attention to how hungry you are until after all the festivities conclude and you realize you’ve barely had time to eat since you walked down the aisle.
Allison Bruley has witnessed time and time again brides and grooms missing their meals.
“Adrenaline is a powerful appetite suppressant. At Beets we try everything that we can to get them to eat. We follow them with a cart of food during pictures and we guard the head table during dinner. Even with all of this effort they still do not eat! This is why we send them home with a goodie bag of late night snacks. From personal experience, you should prepare to get back to the hotel and have that hunger hit you like a freight train. Ultimately you may order room service but you can’t say we didn’t try!”
Take Pictures Before You Say “I do”
While this can be a controversial issue and many brides and grooms look forward to the first reveal at the actual wedding ceremony, it is becoming more common for brides and grooms to take special photos before the ceremony. This keeps guests from waiting and also allows the bride and groom to be more involved in the cocktail hour and other events leading up to the reception. If you choose to do a first look, work with your photographer and videographer to find a secluded location to see each other for the first time. Take in the moment away from family and friends and get those special shots before the ceremony.
Anna, the owner of Ultra-Spective Photography in Livermore shared her thoughts on a “First Look”. As a photographer she gets to know her clients first and finds out what is important to them. If her clients tend to be more traditional they will stay traditional. Some of her clients want to attend the cocktail hour with their guests and traditional items aren’t as important to them, so they choose to do the pictures prior to the Ceremony. Anna admits this can be a tricky topic.
“As you know the traditional first look at the altar can be a very emotional moment and sometimes it’s nice to keep this tradition. BUT in terms of photography, of course, we get better images for the “first look” if we do it prior to the ceremony. There are pros and cons to both and it’s a balance between creating amazing images and being true to telling the story of the day.”
Anna provided a short list of the pros and cons regarding before or after Ceremony photographs.
Photos Before The Ceremony
The advantage to doing pictures before the Ceremony is the photographer will have more control over lighting and it allows the bride and groom more time with their guests. The disadvantage is the bride and groom will have to be ready for the wedding day much earlier and guests who come early may see the couple before the actual ceremony. The element of surprise is also gone, which Anna says can be a good or a bad thing. Some brides and grooms like the impact of seeing each other the first time at the ceremony, while others get nervous.
Photos After The Ceremony
The advantage of doing pictures after the ceremony is that the sun, except during the winter months, is usually lower in the sky, offering a softer/prettier light. The disadvantage is obviously the bride and groom have less time with their guests and cocktail hour participation is usually not something they get to experience.
Stacey DeMoss opted to do her photos prior to her Ceremony.
“Doing a first look and getting as many pictures out of the way before the Ceremony is the way to go. We were able to enjoy our cocktail hour with our guests instead of taking pictures and then we snuck away before sunset to get some romantic ones. Best decision.”
Soak in the Moment
You have spent months and months planning this day. From the food, cake and music to your various vendors, table linens and lighting options, every detail has been thought out and accounted for. You have enjoyed the planning process, stressful or not, and now your vision for your special day has become reality. You are surrounded by people who love and care about you and these same people mean the world to you both. Look around the room, see the people there, feel the love that surrounds you and embrace the amazing feeling you feel. This day is filled with emotions that will last you a lifetime. Marriage isn’t always easy, so remember these special moments and being able to reflect on them always will be such a blessing. Focus on the two of you, not everyone in attendance. It’s not about keeping the reception party going, it’s about making memories with your spouse. This is a blissful day; soak up every minute of the love and excitement.
Feel free to speak up during the toasts. You have all of your family and friends there to celebrate you. Say a little something to all of them and it will mean so much. Often at weddings you only hear the best man and the maid of honor speak, sometimes the parents. Change it up and surprise everyone.
Tell Your Love Story
Guests will love to hear your story, coming from you. This is a memorable way to share your love, include everyone else and leave a lasting impression. This differentiates your story from everyone else’s.
Lock In the Venue
It’s important to lock in the venue and date first, before making any other major decision. You don’t want to buy a wedding dress in plans of having a summer wedding and then the venue you book only has winter dates. Your dress, decor, linens, flowers, menu, etc. typically revolve around the time of year of your wedding.
Hire a Videographer
A lot of brides and grooms wait until the end to book a video of their celebration. Weddings are expensive and videography often is last on the list. But, why? These brides and grooms often regret not having a video to watch and tell the story of their special day. Videos are sentimental gifts that can be enjoyed between you and your newlywed, your family and friends for years to come.
Stacey DeMoss admitted, “To be honest we weren’t planning on hiring a video team for our wedding, but after seeing our teaser video I’m so glad we did. We really enjoyed seeing the live action for the wedding day.”
Check out the Wedding Video Teaser that Amos Productions produced for Stacey & James.
Get Personal Recommendations Before Hiring Vendors
Take your time and don’t rush your vendor selections. Spend more time planning and enjoying and less time rushing and stressing. Make sure your special day is a reflection of you, and choose vendors that can accommodate your vision. Family and friends may make recommendations, which you may choose to consider and can be a great starting point in your planning process. But ultimately, the day and those who contribute to it should be your choice.
Delay Your Honeymoon
Delayed honeymoons are becoming increasingly popular among newlyweds in this ever so busy lifestyle we live, filled with distractions and unreasonable demands. Most couples are on a budget and by waiting for certain seasons, flights and accommodations can be cheaper. It’s also nice to get things put away after the wedding, finish up last minute projects and complete everything at work before you head out for a week or two. You may be able to relax and enjoy your trip more, rather than worry about lingering items on the to-do list. Being spontaneous and booking last minute travel deals can add to the excitement of a delayed honeymoon getaway.
Don’t Let Perfection Get the Best of You
What bride doesn’t want her special day to be perfect? The event is an expression of you and your love. But, keep in mind that some of our best memories are those we don’t expect or plan for. Embrace the unexpected and don’t let it ruin your day because in the end, all the details will be forgotten and the overall impressions of your special day will be the most treasured. After all, wedding isn’t about perfection but about the love you share.
Stacey DeMoss expressed this perfectly when she said, “Make sure the day is about you as much as possible and NOT about your guests or family wants.”
In the end, the best advice is to plan ahead, don’t sweat little things that can’t be controlled, roll with the unexpected, stay on budget, and try to complete the planning a few weeks before the big day. Steal special moments with your significant other throughout your wedding day, remembering just why you, your family and your closest friends are there. Soak up your vision, as this will be one of the BEST days of your life. Your dress will be amazing, the food will be scrumptious, the flowers will bring romance to your reception, and the cake will be perfect. Keeping your perspective realistic will make you a happy bride indeed!
We would love to hear your stories and advice, whether you are a past bride, a bride to be or an acquaintance of someone getting married. What do you feel is the most important piece of advice for someone planning their dream wedding? Please share your experiences, ideas and any information that may come in handy to a bride and groom planning their wedding day.