In 40 years, when we are older, wiser, and living our best lives with our husbands or wives, what will you remember from your wedding day? Will you remember how the cake tasted, how your perfume felt as you applied it on your wrist and neck before walking down the aisle with your father? Are you going to think of all of smiles and well wishes you received and how you danced the night away? I certainly hope so–these small moments define your day and while photography can capture aspects that, the only thing it cannot do is change how it was spent. Once the shutter clicks, the moment passes and may lead into even grander moments or may usher in the finale of your evening.
While you are still planning your wedding, organizing your timeline with vendors, and picking out bridesmaids dresses that are flattering but not overpowering your own dress–think of what your marriage means and who it’s going to be spent with…I’m talking about your future spouse. The one thing that we get so little time for is each other. While your marriage may be about your forever love, your wedding day can easily become about everyone else except you two. And while some folks may think that that is okay, because you want your family and friends to have a nice time–they are only there because they believe in you and love you.
So what am I getting at? I’m suggesting that you two schedule some time to spend with one another before your wedding day ends. But how, Nate? It’s simple, budget your time.
We live in a changing culture. Folks aren’t waiting until brides walk down the aisle to see one another, they’re doing first looks before the ceremony. While this might be something you’ve considered or heard of–perhaps one of your best friends did it but you want a traditional approach. That’s awesome–do it! It’s your wedding day and I’d never tell you to do something that you don’t want to do. But while we’re still planning for your big day, let’s just have a quick history lesson.
Our tradition of waiting to see the bride until the ceremony is an old one–and I’m not talking tacky 80s old, I’m talking thousands of years old.. Arranged marriages were set up by families for political, monetary, or power gain–perhaps it was a merging of families so that two lands could be united, a herd could be strengthened, or something else. But we live in a virtual age where we get the choice to choose who we want to love, who we want to marry, and when we will. Waiting to see the bride walk down the aisle prevented grooms from running away from the marriage since everyone was already present. Especially if the bride was not someone he wanted to spend his life with just to combine two families.
Today, it’s a surefire thing that when someone walks down the aisle, the person at the end wants to marry them. So while it may be tradition to wait to see someone walk down the aisle for the first time–or perhaps you want to do what your parents and grandparents did–then by all means–do it. But if you’re thinking that this blog has more meaning than a little history lesson, you’d be right.
A first look can allow the wedding day timeline to be adjusted enough to ensure that your portraits can be done intimately, together, and without the prying eyes of everyone else. It also means that you get to spend that much more time with your soon to be bride or groom on the most special day of your life. In fact, one of my bride’s in April is setting her timeline up to do a first look and allow some time before her ceremony to specifically spend with her soon to be husband. No one else. How they spend their last 30 minutes being two separate individuals will be up to them. But we planned and have built their timeline to allow this. Not only will she get to spend the majority of her day with her best friend, but she’ll have those memories to look back on with him–for all their life.
Timelines don’t write themselves and it certainly does take a lot of work to get a wedding setup. As a future bride or groom, you might be wondering who is going to do the set up, the tear down, guide people in, and take care of all of the other what ifs. That is where we come to my next suggestion.
Hire a day of wedding coordinator. Your money will never be better spent than on someone who has a paid job of ensuring your wedding runs like a well oiled machine. It’s their sole purpose to ensure that you don’t have to step in and schlep, lead, or worry. That has all been planned for and will be executed by your professional coordinator.
My wife is a wedding coordinator and the majority of her work isn’t on the wedding day but rather leading up to it–reaching out and confirming with vendors, creating timelines, and confirming help to setup and teardown. Doesn’t that sound like a dream?
Our wedding day didn’t include a wedding planner but knowing what we do now, my wife and I both agree that we would love to have had one to ensure that our day ran smoothly and to get the most out of our day instead of having to break down tables and chairs at 1AM—even though that makes for a pretty good story.
So–when you’re thinking about your wedding day in 40 years–think about how you want to remember it. What do you want to remember? Do you want to have had a moment together without anyone else (before you go home, undress and pass out from exhaustion?) where the true beauty and appreciation of being together before all of the pomp and circumstance begin? If so–I hope that these tips will help you.