Before the Wedding:
- With regards to your last names, are you going to have one married name, ie. wife takes husband’s name, or will you hyphenate the two names? Perhaps you both wish to retain your own names. Legally, there are no rules on this.
- What are your theme colours, and what colour will your bridesmaids be wearing? Make sure to let me know so I can wear an appropriate colour to blend in.
- Are you interested in having a theme to your ceremony, or do you prefer a ‘traditional’ approach?
- Setting the stage: what do you want the site of your wedding to look like?
- When selecting your ceremony location, keep the elements in mind. For example, if you are by the water, late afternoon often brings strong winds. What position will the sun be in during your ceremony? You don’t want you and your guests paying more attention to the sun in their eyes than the ceremony! If you are set on one location, visit it at different times of the day before you select your ceremony time.
- Is your ceremony situated in a tricky location, such as in a large park or reserve? Consider tying balloons en route to make it easy for guests to locate.
- If your ceremony venue is a ‘pop up’ and requires seating, make sure those who need it know to use it, and your other guests are confident to fill spare seats if there are any before the ceremony starts. Seating also provides some structure for your venue, provides a path for the bridal party, and helps to avoid awkward crowding!
- Do you need a rehearsal? Book your rehearsal time in when you are booking your wedding, to ensure availability and reduce last minute stress.
- On the morning of the wedding, remind your bridesmaids to assist you with your train or your flowers during the ceremony, particularly if you are outside and it is windy. (I often find they are so nervous that they forget to do this!)
- Music is a key influencer when creating an atmosphere, and it is imperative this is orchestrated correctly. Consider having one person in charge, who knows exactly when to start and finish, and do a test before the guests arrive to check that the volume is loud enough.
- You can also have live music, which is wonderful and is sure to impact your guests. I would suggest working with someone like Scotty Sax, a talented Saxophonist and band manager, who can always find the perfect style of band, duo, or trio, for your wedding.
- How are you going to arrive and enter the ‘ceremony space’? Do you want to walk in traditionally, or plan something unconventional that will surprise your guests, and maybe even your groom?
- If you are being given away, do you want this person to say anything special before they sit down?
- How long do you want your ceremony to be, and what do you want included? Readings, poems, music? Ceremonies generally last 20-40 minutes.
- If you ceremony includes readings, who will do them? It is lovely if someone close to you delivers it, rather than the celebrant. It adds interest and variety to the proceedings and becomes very meaningful.
- How are you going to present the rings and who will do so? Will they be presented on a pillow, or simply in their boxes? Do you want them ‘blessed’ by the celebrant or ‘warmed’ by significant family? I have seen couples do lots of interesting and lovely symbolic gestures that can add real meaning.
- When it comes to signing the Marriage Certificate, you need to sign the same name you signed on the ‘Notice of Intent to Marry’ form, i.e. your maiden name or previous married name. With all the excitement of being newly married, sometimes brides get confused about this!
- How will you leave the ceremony, as a married couple? Do you want special effects, such as rose petals thrown or balloons released, or just special music playing?