Your wedding day is up there in the top ten most stressful events in life – but definitely worth the time, effort and planning. But no matter how carefully you think you’ve planned every last detail, from the outfits and flowers to the cake and photographer, from appetizers to guest favors, there are things nobody thought to mention that could spoil your fun.
To help get you through the day with nothing but great memories, here are 8 answers to your questions for a stress-less wedding (for brides and grooms).
1 What if something goes wrong?
You’ve put in all the planning in the world, decided every last detail between you and, on the day, the florist shows up with carnations instead of roses or the cake has blueberry filling instead of cherry and it’s a complete disaster! Except it isn’t. There is a very good chance that at least one thing will go wrong and, as long as it doesn’t give your guests food poisoning or cause anyone broken limbs, it’s a good bet nobody will know the difference except you. Accept that even if things aren’t precisely the way you wanted them, they are pretty amazing anyway and the really important thing is the person standing in front of you, not the fact that Cousin Betty lost too much weight and her bridesmaid’s dress is way too big.
At the wedding
2 Where do we stand?
When facing the altar, the bride traditionally stands on the left and the groom on the right, although it’s the other way around for Jewish weddings, and guests follow suit. Of course, for same-sex weddings, it helps to pick a side beforehand and have the ushers direct guests accordingly.
3 What’s the protocol for veils?
Many brides are option to go veil-less nowadays, but for those who enjoy the tradition, the veil should either be lifted by the bride’s father as the reach the groom, thereby revealing his daughter to his future son-in-law, or by the groom after the ceremony and before the kiss. There are also two ideal times to remove it – first, right after the ceremony, or second, right after the first dance. Have someone on standby to fix your hairdo!
4 How do we kiss?
Drew Barrymore said it best in The Wedding Singer – Church tongue. You don’t need to be overly conservative with just a quick, dry peck, but a little restraint is good. It’s your first kiss as a married couple, so enjoy it, but don’t act like teenagers on a third date.
5 How does the weding party get to the reception?
Whether you’ve arrived at the church in a limo or a horse-drawn carriage, things are going to be a little different after the ceremony. While the bridesmaids travelled with the bride and the groomsmen with the groom, we’re sure the happy couple would prefer to get to the reception (and the photography session) without being responsible for their entourage. Don’t forget to make transport arrangements for them. Go classy and give them a treat for being there for you by hiring them limos, or give them some much-needed stress relief with a party bus.
6 How should we greet guests?
Unless you endured the dreaded receiving line and got it over with right after the ceremony, a personal visit to each table during the appetizers or first course helps you make sure you’ve greeted all your guests and thanked them for coming. Remember to mention anyone who has travelled a particularly far distance during your speech thanking everyone and, if you’re going to start mentioning specific people who helped, make sure you’ve written their names down so that you don’t forget anyone.
7 How and when do we cut the cake?
Everyone loves cake, but when do you cut it? If the cake is also serving as dessert, after dinner and before the dance floor opens is the ideal time. Otherwise, you can opt for just before the reception kicks off, as you arrive and before the first dance – this option is especially good if dinner is still going to be a while. The groom holds the bride’s hands in his for the first cut, then makes the second cut solo and feeds the bride. The third cut is done by the bride solo, who then feeds the groom. Again, for same-sex couples, decide in advance who cuts second and who third.
8 Can we change clothes after the ceremony?
It’s become a bit of a trend in the last few years to change outfits for the reception – whether it’s because the bride fell in love with two dresses or because you want something a little less cumbersome to move around in after the ceremony and photos are done. Of course, you don’t have to go the whole hog and have two full wedding dresses; you could have a more casual, comfortable outfit for the party. Whatever the case, make sure you plan changing time beforehand. There is no traditional time to do this, but a couple of suggestions are: after the photo session (or during, if you want to have photos with your new outfits), after the first dance and before going around to greet guests, or just after dinner and before the dancing begins.