30 truths you need to know about your wedding day (part 1)

One of the great things about having been a recent Hudson Valley bride is I can relate tidbits of information back to you, the engaged couple. They say hindsight is 20/20 and now that my wedding has been over for a few years, I can tell you there are at least 30 (maybe more) truths about your wedding that no one tells you…but really should.

Some of these may be a no-brainer, and some of these may come as a surprise – but either way, they are things you need to know. So, because this is such a long list, I’m going to give you 10 now, share another 10 with you next week, and the final 10 the week after that.

So, let’s begin, shall we…

Wedding Truth #1 – Your wedding day will be the BEST. DAY. EVER.

 

I know this sounds really cliché, but when I tell you it’s the best day ever, it really is. I thought I knew what walking on “Cloud 9” felt like before, but it wasn’t until our wedding day that I really knew what that meant. Why is it the best day ever? Because it’s the one day that encompasses every aspect of what makes something the best: excitement, love, family, friends, good food, good drinks, fun dancing, fairy tales, delicious dessert. Everyone that has ever meant anything to you is in one room together. The reality is, it’s probably the only time that will ever happen.

Wedding Truth # 2 – The most important part of your wedding is signing your marriage license

 

Ok, this is the unromantic truth. You can have the most gorgeous couture gown, have the most exquisite décor and flowers, have your meal prepared by a world-renowned chef, etc.; but at the end of the day, the only thing that matters is signing your marriage license. Without that piece of paper, your marriage is not legal. It needs to be signed by both you and your spouse, and two witnesses, usually the maid of honor and best man.

Wedding Truth #3 – Always check your reception area

 

Photo Credit: Myles Studio Photography

No matter where you have your wedding, and even if you have a wedding planner setting up the space, always check the reception area prior to guests entering the room for the formal reception. You need to do this for three reasons. One, it is a great moment for you and your new spouse to break away, get a moment to yourself, and really absorb the atmosphere, alone. When you are being announced and walking into the space, you won’t have time to really enjoy the space and see it. Two, it gives you the opportunity to give it a once-over to make sure everything is placed the way you like it and to make sure nothing is off. For example, I noticed the flowers on my cake were missing, and if I hadn’t had that moment to notice it and have it fixed, it would have made it very awkward later on. It also gives you a chance to speak with your DJ to go over the intros. And three, it’s a great photo op to be in the center of the dance floor, just the two of you.

Wedding Truth #4 – You will be very warm all day.

 

Even if it’s the dead of winter, between the endorphins and adrenaline, being the center of attention, the excitement of the day, running around, and your dress and tux, you are going to be warm all day. I remember being outside taking pictures and some of my bridal party noticed it was chilly, and I was hot, to the point of almost sweating – and I’m usually the one that always cold. And, let’s face it, a wedding gown, as pretty as it is, is made out of material that is not very breathable, same with tuxes. So, it’s essential to bring with you that day, things that keep you cool or help you deal with the heat. You can download your free wedding day packing checklist here.

Wedding Truth #5 – Never give your rings to kid or dog ring bearers.

 

Photo Credit: JT Sander Photography

I will be the first one any day to say kids and dogs make the cutest additions to your bridal party. However, cute does not always equal responsible. Your rings are expensive, and, just after your marriage license, they play the second-biggest role in your ceremony. They don’t say “With this ring, I thee wed” for nothing. Therefore, if you are having a little kid or your dog be your ring bearer, they can walk down the aisle with a pillow or a little box tied around the dog’s collar for pictures, but make sure an adult has the rings at all times. Again, this is usually the responsibility of the best man or maid of honor. Anything can happen and the last thing you want is for the dog to see a squirrel and run off with the rings, or try to pull the box off the collar and chew it. Little kids, depending on their age, might chicken out, and not even make it down the aisle, so, you want to make sure the rings are in good hands, near you at all times.

Wedding Truth #6 – You may probably never see the photos your guests take.

 

Your guests will be taking photos all day, and I explained how creating a wedding hashtag makes it easy for you to gather all the photos guest post on social media. I also give you tips on what to do if you don’t want guests sharing photos on social media. However, the reality is most likely, you will only see a fraction of all the photos taken. This is because either the guest doesn’t think they are good enough photos that you would be interested in, or they just don’t have the time to email them or send you hard copies. For whatever reason, don’t expect to see many of them.

Wedding Truth #7 – You are going to feel gutted when your wedding ends.

 

The first truth I mentioned was your wedding day is your best day ever. That’s why, when the final song is played, when the last guests leave, when the house lights go up and the staff is packing up your wedding day décor, it’s gutting to think it’s all over. Yes, you have a whole lifetime to look forward to, which will bring with it days that are just as good, if not better. However, when something you’ve spent countless hours, days, and months working on is now over and done with, a little part of you thinks “Now what?” It’s very bittersweet.

Wedding Truth #8 – The most relieved you will feel is during your recessional.

 

“We did it!” was the first thing that came to my mind when the ceremony was over and we were leaving the church. I literally felt like a ton of bricks was just lifted off my shoulders. The formalities of the day were over, the worry about getting to the church on time, the anxiety of planning and making sure everything ran on schedule was over and now the fun could begin. When I look at those pictures of my husband and I walking down the aisle, we have the biggest smiles on our faces – pure euphoria.

Wedding Truth #9 – Some guests may come to the ceremony even if they are not invited to the wedding.

 

If you have a wedding in a house of worship, you may have guests show up who weren’t invited to the wedding. Think about it: If your reception is at the same place as your reception, it’s obvious there is a closed private event going on. However, houses of worship are open to the public, regardless of what is going on. To explain what I mean, how many times have you been to Saint Patrick’s Cathedral in Manhattan and seen a wedding going on? It’s the same situation, just a different setting. Also, your wedding may appear in the house of worship’s bulletin or other announcements; so if a parishioner sees your listing – and maybe knows your parents – they may ask to come to the service only.

Wedding Truth #10 – Your bridal party relationships may change.

 

Photo Credit: Sweet Alice Photography

When you choose your bridal party, you choose the friends or family members who have always been there for you. Your bridal party could be as little as zero people – you don’t really need a bridal party – or upward of 10 or more. However, you need to realize that while those people have been important to you, and you plan on them being in your lives forever, relationships change. I don’t mean to end on a sad note, but friendships change with time. Things happen, through no fault of anyone. Also, just because you were in someone’s bridal party, does not mean you have to invite them to be in yours. Keep that in mind when choosing your party. If you have a lot of members who are there because you feel like you have to pay them back, rethink your choices. Do you want to look back at photos and think “Who was that?” or “Why did I ever invite them?”

 

Join us next week for part 2…

Featured Image Photo Credit: Hannah Nicole Photography

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Social Media and Your Wedding: What You Need to Know

It’s hard to remember a time before social media was such a big part of daily life. It’s almost second nature now to go directly to your favorite social media outlet and share news, especially exciting news, like your wedding.

 

When you got engaged, the first thing that probably came to mind was to immediately change your status. Got a gorgeous ring? Then you need to show it off? Got your invites? Went for a tasting? Booked a venue? Got your dress? Got your tuxedo? Then people need to know, right? Wrong!

 

Getting engaged is an exciting and life-changing moment – there’s no doubt about that – and being able to share your wedding planning journey and eventual wedding day with others is a normal and natural response. Now, don’t get me wrong, this is not to say that social media is bad; but when it comes to your wedding day, there are some things to consider when it comes to social media, regardless how “social” you are in your normal everyday doings.

 

When it comes to your engagement…

 

Photo Credit: Majestic Studios

It’s completely normal to want to share your good news with everyone, but think about the people connected to you on social media. How many of them are really good friends and how many are just really good acquaintances? How many do you see or speak to on a regular basis? Does everyone need to know that instant? Do you REALLY want all those people to know, or do you just like the feeling you get when you get acknowledgments and likes? I don’t mean to sound harsh here, but think about what your urgency is to want to post on social media right away.

 

If you do want to post the good news, make sure you set the privacy setting so only those you really want to know can see. If you only want certain people to know, you might just want to pick up the phone and call them. I, for one, would much rather find out through a phone call that my friend got engaged than to see it online first, then get a call. There’s something very distant and informal about sending such great news via the Internet instead of face-to-face (or via phone call or Skype or Facetime).

 

When it comes to wedding planning…

 

Photo Credit: Majestic Studios

Posting every detail about your wedding planning, while you mean it to be innocent, can have adverse effects. Some people may automatically assume since you are sharing all your planning details with them on Facebook they will be invited to your wedding. Then, what happens if they aren’t? Just try to put yourself in their shoes. While most may not care, some may. Think about the folks that you are ‘friends’ with and how many of them will actually be invited. Again, not to sound harsh here, but unless your friends or family are in the wedding or helping you plan it, most people don’t really care about every little detail. It may come across as annoying or gloating to folks, even though you don’t mean it to be.

 

When it comes to your wedding…

 

Posting pictures of your wedding day kind of goes along the same lines as proclaiming your engagement. For your online “friends” who thought they might be invited, but who weren’t – because, let’s face it, every wedding guest list has to be cut at some point – you may be causing a lot of hurt and resentment.

 

Also, if you are like me and value privacy, sharing wedding day photos to your friends online means you are really sharing them with the world. If someone you know shares one of your photos, do you know who they are sharing it with? Anyone can save that photo and do whatever they want with it. Do you really want complete strangers seeing photos of your private, personal day? If that may be a concern for you, don’t post. It’s best just to email people some photos, or invite them to view your album online from the photographer.

 

Photo Credit: Hannah Nicole Photography

Also, this is MAJOR, beware of copyrights. If you plan on sharing photos on social media, make sure you own the copyrights or have written permission from the photographer to do so. Most Photographers will put a watermark on photos and will say that if you want to use photos on social media to please keep the watermark on for that reason. If they say you can use the photos and they don’t have a watermark, make sure you give kudos to the photographer anyway. When you think about it, you are giving them free publicity, so pay it forward and make sure you tag them in the photo or post.

 

Lastly, you know your guests are going to take photos. However, if you do not want photos of your day shared online, you need to make it specifically clear to them either in the invitation or at the wedding (such as in your program or signage at the event). Otherwise, it will happen. If you don’t mind that guests share your photos, you can make it known to your guests that it’s ok by creating a hashtag and posting that hashtag in the same way.

 

What are your thoughts? Are you, or have you, shared photos or details of your wedding on social media? What was the feedback you received?

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5 secrets to being an awesome wedding guest

Being a guest at a wedding is not as easy as you think. Being an awesome wedding guest is even harder.

 

You may think that as a guest, all you need to do is just show up with a nice gift, sit quietly, eat your meal and dance. But so much more goes into being a great wedding guest. The couple put in a lot of time and effort in making sure their wedding makes everyone happy. It’s easy, as a guest, to forget that; it wasn’t until I got married that I really understood exactly what goes into making an amazing day. Based on what I’ve seen and what I’ve experienced over the years at weddings I’ve attended, I believe If you really want to impress the newlyweds, there are 5 secrets you should know:

 

Secret 1: Be respectful of photographer and videographer space

 

We all love to take photos and videos at weddings for our own keepsakes, and some of you may be excellent photographers, but the couple didn’t hire you to take their photos or videos of their wedding. They hired – and made a big investment in hiring – professionals to do that for them. Does that mean you can’t take photos and videos at weddings? Of course not. What it means, though, is making sure you do not get in the way of the professionals who are there to do their job. So, no standing in the aisles, no cramming to get up front for a view of the cake cutting, no standing in the way of the first dance, etc. It’s all about just being mindful of your space and who’s around you. This also means not getting in the way of other guests who want the same photos. Remember, the couple will more than likely share photos with you once they get them back, so take photos with the understanding that you might not get the picture perfect shot; the professional will.

 

Secret 2: Share your photos with the couple

 

Photo Credit: Hannah Nicole Photography

As mentioned, taking photos at a wedding is encouraged, as long as you don’t interfere with the pros. That being said, couples won’t get their professional photos for some time after their wedding day. So, even if you don’t get the perfect shot, share them with the couple. Trust me, they are going to be really eager to see what the day looked like from a different perspective. Even though we knew our professional photographer was doing an awesome job, we wanted as many photos as we could get from that day because – guess what? – our photographer couldn’t capture every moment because, well, he was photographing us. Couples want to see what was going on while they were being photographed. Don’t worry if they came out too dark or were blurry or you only took a few. Don’t think your photos aren’t ‘good enough,’ because they are. Any moment captured that the couple might have missed is awesome and very much appreciated.

 

Secret 3: Do not post photos, stories, or videos of a wedding you attend on social media without the couple’s permission

 

Photo Credit: Hannah Nicole Photography

I just explained why sharing your photos is a good thing, but they need to be shared privately. It’s easy, in this day in age, to assume everyone is on social media and everyone is comfortable with it. That is not always the case. Even if the couple is on Facebook and other social media, a wedding is a very personal and private, invitation-only event. A couple may not want videos of a teary speech or a silly dance, or them reciting their vows being shared or be tagged in any photos (even if you can limit the privacy settings). In some cases, couples who are comfortable with you sharing photos will generate a hashtag for you to use when posting on social media. That allows the couple to literally search that hashtag along every platform and be able to find every photo guests posted. However, if you don’t see a hashtag listed on the invitation or at the wedding itself, do not share the photos online without getting their permission. Instead, send them your photos personally, either hard copy or via email. You can’t assume it’s OK to share on social media just because everyone does it.

 

Secret 4: Send the hosts a thank you

 

I know that sounds kind of weird, right, because the couple should be sending you a

Photo Credit: WCHV

thank you for coming and for your gift. But, when you think about all the time, money and effort they spent to make sure everyone had a good time, it’s nice to reciprocate and tell them how much you enjoyed being there. I’m kind of old-school and still think a personal, hand-written note is nice, but an e-mail would be just as good. Along with a thank you, send congratulations along with some memories of the day.  For couples who are especially sentimental, like we were, how awesome do you think it would be for a couple to receive a message full of memories and/or photos of that day? You can say something like “I don’t know if you know this, but during cocktail hour we were talking to (fill in the blank) and we were discussing how (fill in the blank).” Couples could miss these little stories because they are busy doing their own thing, but they’re items to cherish! I know I couldn’t get enough of our guests’ stories.

 

Secret 5: Save mementos

 

Photo Credit: WCHV

Couples, whether they had a professional create them or they did they themselves, spent a lot of time and money deciding what kinds of invitations, programs, menus, favors, and other various props to have at their ceremony and reception. So, grab an extra program or two, save an extra menu, or any other trinket given to you at the wedding. A couple might have saved extras already, but being able to provide those to the couple, just in case, is heartwarming. Let them know you saved a couple of extra for them in case they wanted to keep them.

 

What have you done as a wedding guest that you thought the couple might like? Couples, what would you want your guests to do? We’d love to hear your ideas.

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