If you are at the point in the wedding planning process where you’re thinking about a first look, the processional, signature dances, and when all these things are going to happen, put your earbuds in and hit play! In this episode, we are talking about all the things you’ll want to think about when it comes to planning these parts of your wedding.
Doing a “first look” before walking down the aisle has become a modern day tradition. Couples love it and for good reason too! Many couples choose to do a first look so that a good portion of the bride and groom pictures are taken before the ceremony as opposed to after. That way there’s a well planned flow for the guests to follow after the ceremony and into the reception.
Not only is doing a first look an excellent way to make the most out of your timeline, but it’s also a great way to settle your nerves before walking down the aisle, and it’s a special way to have a unique and intimate moment to yourselves before becoming official.
Still want the first moment you see each other to be when you’re walking down the aisle?
A first touch is a beautiful alternative that can give you the best of both options! You can ease the pressure and the anticipation of walking down the aisle by coordinating a special moment where you both can embrace one another or hold hands without actually seeing each other.
You still get the magic of that first moment (and it’s a stunning picture too!) This is also a great option if you want to write your own vows but don’t necessarily want to recite them in front of a large crowd. A first touch is a perfect opportunity for an intimate experience where you can privately exchange vows with one another.
Traditionally, the groom and the officiant will discreetly enter and wait at the altar for the rest of the bridal party to walk down the aisle. Then everyone will stand for the bride’s grand entrance. But what if you have an uneven number of bridesmaids and groomsmen? Or what if you want grandparents to walk down the aisle?
The first thing to keep in mind is that there are no rules. Just because there is a traditional way of doing something, doesn’t mean that that will work best for you or for the venue! What if you are walking up or down stairs to get to the aisle? (Something to consider!)
Here are some other options that might work better for you!
Choose whatever works best for you! And you’ll have the chance to trial run the processional during the rehearsal dinner so you can always start with an idea and tweak it from there.
If you have little ones in your wedding party (we’re talking 5 and under), make sure you take the time to consider how they are going to get to the altar. They may do just fine at the rehearsal but walking down the aisle with 200 people watching can be a little intimidating! So when it comes time to actually walk down the aisle, it may be a different story.
So depending on your specific situation there’s a couple of different things you can do. You can designate someone to walk down the aisle with the ring bearer or flower girl. Or if you have both, you could send them down the aisle together as opposed to one at a time. You could also let them take a ride in a decorated wagon or battery-operated children’s car.
This is a fairly new trend in the wedding industry! And to be honest, it kind of makes sense! Unfortunately, sometimes the bride and groom don’t get a chance to eat! It’s common for guests to want to come up to the sweetheart table to give their personal congratulations right as you take a bite of that delicious looking piece of chicken or steak. (Especially if the sweetheart table is close to the buffet)
Depending on who’s helping navigate the event, whether it’s a wedding planner, coordinator, (or a super on top of it DJ), you can recruit them to help run interference so that you aren’t constantly being interrupted in between bites. Having that conversation with someone is going to be the best way for you to join everyone else during dinner and still be able to eat.
But if there’s room available at the venue and you have someone there that can serve you, it’s a great way to take a little break from the spotlight, eat in peace, and have another little moment for yourselves.
And if you plan it well . . . you could still be at the sweetheart table for the toasts and your wedding guests would never even know!
We’re going to say it again because it’s important. . . you can cut your cake and have your first dance whenever you want! However, you only have so much available time at the venue.
(P.s. if you are newly engaged and still need to pick a venue, check out episode 001: 9 Things to Consider Before Choosing a Wedding Venue)
But if you want everything to be smooth sailing on your wedding day, it’s going to be really important that you are using all of that available time wisely and using it in a way that works best for you. There are so many things to consider and a lot of variables at play but that’s why this kind of stuff is so helpful to know!
If you’ve planned a choreographed dance and you are really, really anxious about it, or if you have an early ceremony and it would be a little too early to have dinner right after, then it may work better for you to have the ceremony, followed by a cocktail hour, followed by introductions, and then right after the DJ announces, for the very first time, the husband and wife, you could then go right into the first dance, mother and groom, and father and bride dance.
One of the biggest disadvantages of doing it this way is having potentially hangry guests. (We’ve all been there) Tip: Consider serving appetizers during cocktail hour if it’s still going to be a while before dinner is served.
In our professional opinion, there is a sweet spot for the maid of honor and best man speeches. We’ve found that the best time to give these toasts is after dinner when everyone is fed and happy.
We’ve seen it done before where the maid of honor and best man will give their speeches while tables are being dismissed for the buffet line and we’ve seen it done later in the evening when there’s been more opportunity for some liquid courage. Neither option ends up working out very well. Either guests are way too distracted or a little too tipsy.
But if you do the speeches right after dinner, or right after cake, everyone’s sitting in their seats, everyone’s content and much more able to focus on the speaker.
There’s this old wives tale that says guests will leave after they’ve been served cake. So sometimes couples will decide to serve the cake closer to the end of the evening so that their guests will stay.
But there’s a lot of other logistics that can be affected if you decide to serve the cake later. For instance, if the cake is served after dinner or after toasts, the caterers can incorporate that portion into their workflow right after the dinner service. If it’s later, the caterers will most likely be packed up and heading out the door.
It can also bring down the vibe of the dance party if you all of a sudden have to turn the lights back up, and put on a slow song so that you can cut the cake.
So we’ve found that the best time to cut the cake is shortly after dinner service or shortly after toasts for the bride and groom. (And guests won’t want to leave after cake if you’ve got a good DJ ; )
Another part of the night that can unintentionally signify the end of the event is the “final” send off for the bride and groom.
A lot of times couples will plan a faux send off so that the photographer can capture that moment. Guests will line up with sparklers, ribbons, or toy bubble machines and it can make for a really great picture, but you want to make sure that guests know that the party isn’t over yet!
So if you want that picture for your wedding album, make sure to either have the conversation with your DJ so that they can make it clear to all the guests that the night isn’t over. Or as an alternative, you can coordinate with immediate family to participate in the faux send off so that you have the people for the picture but none of the other guests have to leave the dance floor.
We are here to help and to give suggestions but what’s most important is that you celebrate your wedding how you want to celebrate it.
What’s your biggest takeaway from this episode? Let us know in the comments below!
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