As the traditional month-long apex of the national wedding season kicks off next weekend, we thought we’d bring you some last-minute hints gathered throughout our careers as behind-the-scenes observers (June bugs on the wall, if you will) at countless weddings in venues from fields to mansions, with overtones from pious to party, among folks from simple to fan-cee. These are the things we’ve heard over and over again, from guests (and vendors), and we’d like to share them with you as you put the finishing touches on what we’re sure will be a supremely joyous and memorable day for you and your families.
1. The first impressions of each of the big events of the day are the defining memories that we have of the parts of your wedding day that you control. (We also remember touching emotional moments and crazy drunk people, but those are out of your control, so our advice is not to worry about them.)
But the experience that we have as we enter your church/garden/field ceremony location, the moment that we see you in your dress as you walk down the aisle, the feeling of entering the reception venue and seeing it set up ~ those snapshots will stick with us, and you can stamp your events indelibly in our minds by maximizing the effect of those key vignettes. (That’s why professional event designers focus such attention on the “wow” factor ~ because we won’t inspect every single centerpiece, but we’ll notice a handful of focal points at each stage of the event.
Seriously, when you walk into this room, do you notice what every single centerpiece looks like? No. It’s a breathtaking room. Period.
2. We care a lot about our own physical comfort. Sounds selfish, doesn’t it? When you’ve spent months planning this day to celebrate the beginning of a new family, the commitment that you’re making to another person, etc.? Well, we care about those things, too. A lot, actually. But if you’re planning a summer wedding and it’s not entirely climate controlled, we could use something to cool ourselves a bit as we await the big event. A fan, a parasol, a bottle of (cold) water ~ these things we’ll appreciate a LOT. Otherwise, we will look like this guy and fanning ourselves with whatever’s available, and it really affects the atmosphere that you’re trying to create.
3. Embarrassingly, this kind of goes along with #2 and how your day is in fact at least some about us, to us. We are so pleased and excited to share in your wedding day with you. We know that the glow of wedded bliss (and possibly the extreme measures in place to keep your dress where it belongs) take the edge off of your own baser bodily needs on this whirlwind of a day. But we are hungry, and possibly thirsty, by the time that we get to the reception. If there’s a gap between the ceremony and the meal, something to munch on and a little something to drink are all we need to go with the amazing company and the sense of anticipation that we have as we wait to see you and your wedding party introduced. Please, please feed us. A little. Buffet style is fine. Or passed trays are lovely, too ~ assuming that the waiters aren’t high school track stars in their off hours (we’ve seen it, y’all).
4. No one is above the reception timeline, and it’s got to be someone’s job to enforce it. That someone should not be you, dear bride, and hopefully not your mother, either. (You’re almost certainly not wearing a watch, and your mama has already got plenty to manage.) If you possibly can, hire someone who is experienced at making the trains run on time. Germans and teachers tend to be quite good at rounding up herds of people for formal pictures, and at managing the timelines, if it’s too late to hire someone with lots and lots of experience to handle this unsung hero’s job. (Skip the art and music teachers, since we’re being honest. This person has to be someone who cares about punctuality and doesn’t mind stepping on a toe or two.) We’ve seen receptions derailed by timeline disasters from hours of pictures to longwinded “toasts” (epic spoken word poetry?) to DJs with no sense of event timing. Avoid having this happen at (to) your day by delegating the timeline to a pro, or at least to a (slightly bossy and organized) friend.
May we suggest someone like this pleasant looking, time oriented woman? (We tried search terms such as “cracking the whip” and “punctual teacher” to find an appropriate image, and we found that those things don’t mean the same thing to us as they do to photographers. Ahem. Also, those images are more expensive to license.)
We don’t really want to be the ones to tell you this last one, but someone has to. If you’re getting married this weekend, um, the post is over, we got tired at #4, and thanks so much for reading. If you’ve got a final fitting yet to do and/or an understanding seamstress and a credit card, keep reading, and remember that we really do love you.
5. If you are getting married in a strapless dress, you very likely have “chicken wings.” Unless you are borderline *too* skinny. Yes, you’ve seen strapless dresses everywhere on every body type from maxi dresses to actual wedding dresses. But honey, unless you looooove your arms from the front and the back, puh-lease keep reading. At your final fitting, have your seamstress/alterations guru check for “chicken wings” ~ that’s basically back fat that spills up and over the top if your dress is too tight in the back. It’s like a back facing muffin top for your girls. It doesn’t mean that *you* are fat ~ it means that strapless dresses have to be “tight” to “stay on,” and that creates a little ripple above the top edge of your dress. But don’t worry, we have some solutions: Talk to your seamstress about ways to minimize the “chicken wings,” first and foremost. (Corsetting, special bras, and even altering the line of the dress back may work.) Also, consider a shrug, bolero, and even a mantilla (for pictures but not for the reception), especially if you’re close to your big day.
Here is a tiny little picture because we feel a little bad posting one at all and as you can see this woman is very lovely in size and still she has chicken wings in a strapless dress. Easily fixed with a little lacy coverup. Which we happen to know that she found because when we Google “back fat wedding dress,” we like to follow the whole story to find out how things turned out, and she solved the problem beautifully. All because she knew to look and addressed the “issue.” And that’s why we’re telling you. You’re welcome.
So there you have it, y’all. Five “situations” that your guests won’t mention but will remember, that you can fix quite easily even a week or so out from Your Big Day. Happy planning, June Bugs!