1- Button up dresses take longer than you think so start earlier than you planned to, and a crochet hook is a godsend for those fiddly little blighters!
2- Groom, Best Man & Ushers. Have a tie tying practice session (with or without beer) a week before the day, decide on a style, full Windsor, Half Windsor, Trinity, St Andrew, so many choices or if you want a laugh you can go for a Pratt.
3- Bridesmaids, aside from the important duties of the hen night and pouring champagne it’s a great idea to have a little emergency bridal pack. Contained within would be a sewing kit, safety pins, mints, plasters, tissues, florists’ pins, mouth wash, stain remover, baby wipes and maybe a lint roller. Be that hero Bridesmaid!
4- Corsages, buttonholes, boutonnière, whatever you call them wear them well.
Formally, men’s go on the left, women on the right (easy to recall as women are always right). Although tradition dictates that they should be both on the left as it is closer to the heart, go figure!
Confusing as it is buttonholes DO NOT go through the button hole, I know right? Like pinning a floral tail on a be-suited donkey they DO however go in that area, on the lapel, pinned first through the suit, then the stalk and then back into the suit jacket. It’s not rocket science (although I have seen two rocket scientists struggle to do this) but it IS very difficult to self-serve, and that is why you have a best man and ushers. Don’t forget Mum’s, Dad’s and maybe grandparents when ordering these mini floral delights as they ward off evil spirits so the more you have, the better. And a final word to the ladies, do not pin them upside down such was the tradition in the 1900’s, it’s the 21st century now and it just looks weird.
5- When considering walking up the aisle you will be asked by your officiant and (if you book a pro) your photographer if your Bridesmaids will proceed you or follow you up the aisle, so have a chat and decide which you would prefer. If you decide that you will send your maids as a warm-up act then be sure to wait until the aisle is clear before you make your entrance. If you simply follow the Bridesmaids it will be difficult, nigh impossible for your photographer and/or videographer to get good shots of your aisle walk, and you can’t really go back and do it again!
6- And when you both exit, think about the school sign “walk don’t run” and definitely don’t run with scissors on your wedding day.
7- How long is too long. The average time between the end of a ceremony and the start of a meal is 90 minutes, but if your ceremony is a distance from your reception venue then consider the travelling time as well, or if you have a very chatty aunty you haven’t seen since you were 3ft tall maybe extend it to 120 minutes. This time is primarily for being warmly congratulated, having a well needed drink, some nibbles and of course photos. Don’t forget you will have all day to chat to people, during the meal, and gap between the meal and evening and then into the evening, you only have daylight for photos for a limited period depending on the time of year, so if photos are important to you, make the most of it & chat later!
8- No jokes! That is the official line in tips for a groom’s speech, you don’t HAVE to entertain and be funny, that is the job of your best man (sorry!). However, the best grooms’ speeches I have heard (and I have heard a lot) have had a smidgeon of wit about them, one of the best ever was delivered as a rap!
But if you’re not a budding Flavor Flav please be sure to mention your new WIFE, or HUSBAND, I guarantee you’ll not be held in high regard if you don’t, I can attest to this having seen it with my own eyes (and open mouth).
Try to maintain eye contact, breathe, practise and thank everyone you need to (especially parents). And always remember, they are all there FOR you and they are all on your side.
9- And finally, that first dance. The choices are simple. If you’re not a seasoned dancer already you can get dance lessons (in plenty of time!) or you can do what most couples opt for and choose a slow, romantic song with meaning to you both and just sway, just make sure you give your photographer enough chance to get some great shots before inviting your guests to join you! Make sure to follow for the next episode dealing with those difficult issues of unruly Bridesmaids, family politics and drunken uncles. (not a chance)
Written by Mark, a professional photographer at Evolve Photography who has worked as a full-time wedding photographer in Devon for over 20 years and has captured more than 1500 weddings (which might well be a world record?)