The big day has finally arrived! All those months of careful planning are about to pay off – just follow the penultimate part of our wedding checklist and you’ll have the best day ever, guaranteed!
The word of the day is DELEGATE! Your chief bridesmaid, best man and ushers are there to take on any last-minute jobs. If there’s a problem – however big or small – leave it to them to sort out. Ask them to work with the venue’s co-ordinator and to only involve you if it’s absolutely necessary.
The bride comes first
On the morning of the wedding, the bride must get ready first. Leaving the bride until last is a common mistake most bridal parties make. They think that if everyone else gets ready beforehand, then they’ll be free to assist her. Not so! Prepare the bride’s hair and make-up first, then move on to the bridesmaids and mums. The bride will require touch-ups, but that’s much better than rushing her through at the last minute because a bridesmaid’s hair took twice as long as anticipated.
It’s worth surrounding yourself with people who will have a calming influence on you. Anyone that is making you feel stressed should be asked to leave the room! No one wants a stressed-out bride to emerge. You want your environment to be as relaxing as possible.
The venue’s co-ordinator will be the time keeper on the day. He or she will lead you through the proceedings, gently guiding you from the ceremony, to the drinks receptions, through to the wedding breakfast. They shouldn’t be bossy or hurry you through but they will have to keep things moving, especially if you’ve got a lot of guests to feed. Don’t try to take over their job – just relax and trust their judgement.
One of the most important things to get right on your wedding checklist is your wedding photography. If you have briefed your photographer, and given him a full shot list, there should be nothing to worry about. Also, this is your day – if he’s trying to make you climb a tree or pose in an unnatural way, just say you’d like to move on. All couples need direction during their photoshoots but you also have the right to say something if it doesn’t feel right.
After your photographs, it’s the ideal time to sneak away for a few moments and reflect on the day so far. In fact, make sure you find each other on the hour, every hour. So many brides complain of ‘losing’ their husbands to friends and family at the evening reception – don’t make the same mistake!
When it comes to wedding speeches, the father of the bride speak first, then the groom and then the best man.“Too many best men write their speeches with a bunch of friends over a few beers,” says speech writing expert Lawrence Bernstein. “This can be fun at the time but often results in a speech high on rude stories and innuendo but low on sincerity. Strike a balance. The audience will enjoy some jokes at the groom’s expense, but in a context that demonstrates he’s a good friend with some decent qualities.”
“If you want to make a speech as the bride it’s best not to leave it too late, warns Lawrence. “Some brides want to use their speech to mark the end of the celebrations. This can be dangerous. Some guests will have left, many will be drunk and you may have missed the moment. I’d suggest speaking directly after your husband, providing a female perspective and leaving the best man to finish things off.”
Many couples kick off the evening celebrations with a first dance. This can be as simple or as elaborate as you like, but it’s best to learn some basic moves. “Not even professional dancers wing it!” says Tamra Lind from Your Wedding Dance. “Learn some moves from a pro or at least take some time to push back the furniture and experiment. Watching three minutes of the ‘hug and shuffle’ can kill the party atmosphere for your guests. I recommend you dance for part of the song, and then use the rest as an opportunity to get friends and family involved.”
One of the best things a bride and groom can do is to leave the party while it’s still in full swing. You may want to stay until the bitter end but, believe us, you don’t want to see your carefully decorated tables when the lights come on! Make sure that someone is in charge of paying the suppliers. Cash in an envelope is usually the best way. If you don’t delegate this job, the band (or whoever) will find the most obvious person to ask for payment (and that’s usually the woman the white dress!)
And finally, if anything does go wrong – just laugh! It’s not the end of the world – just look at your new husband and remember why you’re there in the first place. Good luck!