It’s so easy when planning your wedding to get caught up in all the details of the reception: colours and decorations and favours! Oh my!
But it’s important to remember the actual heart of a wedding: the ceremony itself. Whether it’s religious or secular, simple and modern or full of rich cultural traditions, the ceremony is really the big moment and can so often be overlooked in the finer details.
With the help of the lovely Kelly Mortimer, Nu Bride is here to help. Kelly is an international wedding venue expert and has managed weddings and events across the globe for leading 5-star venues including Claridges and The Rosewood Hotel for A-List celebrities and royalty. She definitely knows her stuff! Today she’s sharing her top tips to ensure if you are getting married at your venue, your ceremony goes perfectly.
Take it away, Kelly!
Photography by Rose Photo
It’s all about the timing. To figure out the best start time for your day, work backwards. This way, you can ensure you’re leaving enough time but also don’t have guests hanging around. (A pet hate at weddings is when guests are bored and nothing is happening!) Consider if you start at lunchtime that they won’t have had time to eat beforehand – hungry guests will devour the canapes in minutes! (Nu Bride: Hungry guests are also miserable guests!)
VIP and Readers’ Seating
Photography by Jeremy Standley
Seating plans aren’t just for dinner!
Take the pressure off of your wedding party and have VIPs and readers’ seats pre-reserved – with their actual names on them in good time. This saves any embarrassment or confusion about those important front rows and who is sitting where and prevents a bottle-neck at the top of the aisle.
Finding the Ceremony Location
Photography by Kate Hollingsworth Photography
If the entrance to the ceremony is not obvious and guests could drive by or miss the turn, station someone from the bridal party at a relevant post to guide people in.
Photography by Bernie & Bindi
If you are having live music then be sure you have an agreed arrival time (not just the start of the ceremony), allowing plenty of time for them to set up AND be in position before guests start wandering in. Musicians usually have a few requirements, so know these beforehand and communicate them to your venue. For example, they might ask for chairs without arms and water, nothing complicated, but saves running around at the last minute.
If you are not having live music at the ceremony, ensure someone is responsible for pressing ‘play’! It is likely you’ll have various pieces of music and they need to be in order and numbered. Venues will often not be responsible for this, so allocate the job to your wedding party or reliable friends and family.
Consider Having a No Photo Policy
Photography by Fiona Kelly
You’ve paid a professional photographer (maybe a team even) to capture stunning memories of your day. However, if you allow guests to take photos during your nuptials then the photographer will only achieve images of your guests holding up phones and iPads. Consider having the person conducting your ceremony announce that there are no photographs allowed, and you can also have a small sign at the entrance or note in the Order of Ceremony. The guests will be more ‘in the moment’, engage and not watch you through a screen, plus your professional photos will be better than theirs!
Photography by Nick Church Photography
The moments before the ceremony are crucial.
It’s a time when a processional line up needs to take place, everyone in order, smoothing hair, dresses or outfits. Know where this will take place so that guests can’t see the final prep happening before the big entrance!
Nu Bride: It’s also a huge moment of calm. Be mindful. Take your time and don’t forget to breath!
Photography by Amber Marlow
Allocate one person you trust to ensure you’re picture ready before you walk down the aisle. They can also keep re-check you at the top of the aisle before the ceremony begins. Give that person the authority to do a ‘final fluff’ if needed at the top of the aisle before the ceremony starts to ensure photo perfection.
Focus your gaze
Photography by Nikki Van Der Molen
Decide beforehand if you will watch your partner walk down the aisle. Make the decision and stick to it! If you look ahead, then at the aisle and so on you’ll look very panicky! Choose your view and commit to it.
Nu Bride: Don’t panic. They will come. Just breathe.