12 Helpful Hints from a Recent Bride

One of our sweet brides, Sydney, recently wrote to us and shared some of her helpful hints as a recent bride! We will be sharing more about ALL the details of her amazing wedding soon, but here are a couple of tidbits and sneak peak of her classic wedding. Thank you, Sydney, for your excellent advice - we couldn't have said it better!

1. Have a “first look” and take all of your pictures before the ceremony! Emotionally and logistically, this was the best thing we could have done! We were able to see one another, chit chat, pray with each other, and just get our jitters out privately. We didn't have to share that first special moment with the world, just the two of us. It made us both SO much more relaxed for the rest of the day. We were able to take our time with our photos and then relax with our family and wedding party until we all rode up to the ceremony together. 

2. Wear your rings in your group pictures. If you are having a first look and therefore, taking group pictures with your fiancé before the ceremony, go ahead and wear your rings. You're not cheating; you'll like to see them in your pictures. 

3. Stay organized. Keep a spreadsheet or written list of guests’ names and mailing addresses. Add columns as needed for RSVP numbers, gifts, thank you notes, etc.  

Photo-wise, take the time to write down a list of formal photos you want taken. Give it to your planner, your photographer, their assistant, your bridal party and family members. This is especially important if you have a big family like ours. I even put it in order so that our more elderly relatives were finished first so they would have plenty of time to 

4. Have a charity registry! Instead of a gift registry, we chose three of our favorite charities to which guests could donate in our honor. We already had the basics needed for our home so it was extremely gratifying to be able to direct those gifts to organizations that were truly in need. Offer to mail guests’ donation checks and/or include links on your website to donate online. Being able to give almost $10,000 to charity was one of the most rewarding aspects of our wedding!

5. Hire a wedding planner. It is absolutely worth it for you and your parents' peace of mind. A planner gives you a professional to bounce ideas off of, a guide for etiquette, and someone to run the show the day of so you can sit back with your girls, do your makeup, and have a mimosa. 

6. Make time during your reception to sit down for at least two minutes by yourself. I remember later in the evening after I had spoken to and hugged about 400 people, I sat down in one of the porch swings away from the crowd and consciously soaked in the details of the atmosphere. It is one of my most vivid memories of the whirlwind of the evening. 

7. Choose your words wisely. What other time in your life will you have this many people gathered in one spot focused on you? Use this opportunity to speak to the hearts of your friends and family, to convey and reiterate the importance of marriage in our society, to strengthen and renew their own relationships. Put some real thought in to what you want your 
pastor to say, what scripture or quotes you want read, and how you show respect to the institution of marriage. 

8. Ask your fiancé what's important to him… and then heed his suggestions! He probably doesn't care one way or another about peonies vs. garden roses but it is important to know his perspective about the big picture. Don’t forget it’s his wedding and marriage too! 

 9. Try on every dress your mother wants you to. Just do it. It doesn't mean that's the one you have to buy, but it will mean a lot to her. Invite your grandmother along as well.

10. Keep your guests well informed. Use your menu cards to inform guests of the cuisine, as well as what to expect for the evening. If you have a really large crowd, designate a person to "emcee" to let your guests know where the food tables are located, where the bathrooms are, when and where to gather for the bouquet toss, etc. Your band leader or DJ may do this for you; just make sure you give them a detailed list. 

11. Eat first, mingle second. If you are eating buffet style, designate someone to have plates of food ready for you and your parents in a private location. Right after the ceremony, as you're signing the marriage license, go ahead and eat because once you walk in to the reception, it's on! 

12. Have a plan in place for your flowers after the wedding. I feel like so many of our beautiful flowers went to waste. Designate certain friends and family beforehand to take arrangements home to donate to churches or nursing homes the following day. 

Remember: the three things you have after it's all said and done are your photos and film, your rings, and your spouse. 

Make sure you are 100% happy with all three! 
Love, Sydney 
Photography by Whitebox Photo