Shhh… I have secrets to tell you. Believe it or not, wedding planners aren’t born with wings or a magic wand. Directing a wedding day from the moment the couple wakes up to the moment they’re whisked away under the moonlight actually does take a little magic, mixed with a bit of something else – perhaps sugar, spice, and everything nice? (And… queue theme song!)
OK, back to reality. The emotions on a wedding day can be overwhelming for couples, bridesmaids, groomsmen, and families… but for planners, it’s all normal. Planners like me love emotions – they give us energy and purpose and makes all the months of effort so worth it.
But, we also understand that budgets may not allow for a planner to manage the wedding day logistics. After factoring in the cost of securing venues and caterers and floral designers and bartenders, sometimes a planner doesn’t make it on the list of must-haves. (No hard feelings, we understand.)
So if you’re getting married and you’re unable to hire a day-of wedding planner, or if you have friends and family who want to pitch in and help on your wedding day, here are 7 wedding secrets to remember to help give you a more flawless and stress-free day:
7 Wedding Secrets From a Planner
1. Getting Ready: If you’re hiring beauty professionals for your hair and makeup, make sure the bride goes second to last (or sooner). Yes, we want the bride’s makeup to be fresh, but if things run a bit behind schedule (mimosas and giggles tend to linger), the couple’s reveal photos can move forward while the last bridesmaid is getting gorgeous.
2. Pre-Ceremony Photos: Wedding day timelines flow more smoothly when wedding party photos (and family too if time allows) are taken before the ceremony begins. Just be sure boutonnieres are pinned on the groom and his fellas (some photographers can do this – just check ahead of time). My heart cringes when I see photos without them.
3. Ceremony: When your flower girl is feeling a little shy walking down the aisle all by herself, here’s my little trick… I hide a piece of candy at the bottom of her basket, under the petals. I whisper that if she gets to the bottom of the basket she can have it. I of course make sure she asks Mommy or Daddy first.
4. Cocktails: An outdoor bar is a breath of fresh air (weather permitting), so ensure the bar is in a shaded area. If not, the ice will melt super fast and service may slow down to keep the ice replenished.
5. Reception: When hors d’oeuvres are served during cocktails, guests’ appetites are full enough for the first dance and parent dances to happen before dinner is served. Otherwise, try to serve dinner as quickly as possible. If you’re having a buffet, it’s best to have table numbers. Even if seating isn’t assigned, having table numbers helps maintain the flow at the buffet because the DJ can release guests by table.
6. Special Moments: Always make sure the mothers of the couple are in the room when the first dance, parent dances, cake cutting, toasts and bouquet/garter toss are happening. It really is their day, too.
7. Grand Exit: Be aware of lighting outside of your venue. If it’s very dark outside with little to no lighting, bubbles and rose petals are nearly impossible to see, and a photographer’s flash can only go so far. When using sparklers, buckets of water are messy and useless. A couple of pails with sand to keep the sparkler upright is all you need.
Whether you’re a bride, a groom, a parent, or part of the wedding party, knowing these 7 secrets gives you an edge on the wedding day. Be prepared for some high fives, eye winks, approving nods and thank you grins from those who notice you taking action. And even when guests don’t notice the magic you sprinkled on the wedding day, glancing at their smiles does the trick, too. Happy planning!