Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Your Big Exit

You've planned all the details of your big day, now is the time to think about the end. Don't be sad. It means the rest of your life begins now.

Many couples haven't given much thought to how and when they'll exit their reception. You should talk about it beforehand with your future spouse. How late do you imagine staying? Will you sneak away into the night or have a grand exit?

A big exit depends on how many guests will stay to the end. If your reception is late on a Saturday evening and you've invited your church, the place may clear out early. If you have a short lunch reception, this may be a great opportunity for a grand exit as most of your guests will still be there.

Be honest about what you want and have a plan B if the event goes differently. You don't want to miss your own party just so you can have everyone send you off. Sometimes enjoying the evening with your closest friends and slipping away when the two of you are ready can be just perfect.

Another thing to consider and plan with your vendors is- tear down time. Vendors will be told when guests have to be out and when clean up needs to be done but they will jump at the chance to clean up early and get out.

Make sure to speak to your caterers about how and when they'll clean up. Make sure they ask you if they want to clear the room early because nothing bursts your bubble like all your pretty decorations carted off before your eyes and tables slammed shut. Then add it in writing to your catering contract.

Plan with your DJ or band when they will stop and if there's background music at the site that can be played if the music ends before the reception does.

Plan who will take all your presents and cards and decorations home before your event. Your romantic first night should not include you packing your car to the hilt and having to load and unload. Hire someone else to do it.

Make a point person for the end so that no one is harassing you for what to do about all the wrap up details. Someone family or friend who knows you well is best. Let them decide and just enjoy your spouse and your celebration.

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Hiring a Great Photographer

Photo: Roddy Maccinnes

You've probably read many articles about how to spot a good photographer.

  • Make sure to see entire wedding albums, not just their highlight real. Anyone can get a few great shots.
  • Make sure he's great at lighting and focus. (no seriously, some are horrible!)
  • Make sure their style of photography matches your style. Asking them to be different creates a struggle for them. Photographers are artists, go with art you like.
  • Make sure you understand pricing and copyright details. You want to actually be able to have and use your photos.
These all make sense but...

Here's the real deal to picking a photographer... Pick one you really like! Personally. Think his photos are great but seems a bit snooty. Just walk away. Are you very quiet and is the photographer very bubbly and outgoing? Maybe better search elsewhere.

Why does this matter so much? Because of all your hired vendors, this one will be with you ALL DAY. Seriously. Hanging out in your room as you wait for those guests to sit, In the limo with you when you've just finished your ceremony, right next to you eating your cake... all day. It's why you're hiring her, so that you can remember it all. You'd better like her.

He should fit your personality and meld well with you as a couple, your wedding party and your family. This will make your day so much more enjoyable. You will relax more as will your photographer and to boot your photos will turn out better! Nothing says insincere photo like an uptight bridal party.

So take your time, interview people over email, over the phone and meet with them a couple times. Then pick your favorite and prepare to have a great day!

Photo: Mike Oliver

Monday, August 25, 2014

Your Wedding Toast

Photo courtesy: Roddy MacInnes

Give the people what they want...

It's not a crass story from college or a long winded tale of your connection. It's something to make them look great and tell them how much they mean to you. The Bride and Groom obviously think highly of you. They've asked you to speak to hundreds of people they know. They've given you a microphone and let you loose.


Plan ahead. Most of us are not amazing spur of the moment. Especially when the emotional stakes are high and you just might be slightly dehydrated and exhausted from all the anticipatory celebrations.

  • Write down ideas- ask a friend for feedback
  • Write bullet points easy to see
  • Practice it.
Keep it short. It's really not about you. You've just been nominated to say things to make the Bride and Groom look and sound great and to give guests who don't know you all well, feel a great part of the day. Besides, the best part of what you'll say is usually at the beginning. You're not likely to get much better blathering on. Be succinct.

Don't know what to say or like talking in front of people? Google a funny or sweet poem or quote that fits well and start with it. Say how happy you are for the couple. How honored you are to be asked to be a part of their day. How much you love them and then raise your glass and take your seat.

If you've been asked to give a toast- do so. If not smile and stay seated. They love you anyway but have other plans.

If you haven't been asked to speak but your best friends tipsy mother in law decides to put in her two cents? Begin by going to stand next to her quietly. (She may realize it's uncomfortable and wrap it up.) If she goes on and it's polite, let her speak. If it's inappropriate and you can see the Bride and Groom are uncomfortable, hug her and take the mic and say something witty if it comes to you. "Guess we need to check the air filter on this microphone. Time to party!" (psst.there's an off switch on the side.)

By the way, it's a good idea to let people know before hand who will be speaking and it what order. You can begin with dads, then the best man and end with the maid of honor. This is traditionally done because the maid of honor tends to be the best spoken and lightest of them all, setting a good tone to leave off on. You may do it in any order and you do not have to ask your best man and maid of honor to speak if there's someone more appropriate for the occasion or who would be great to speak to your crowd.

If your mom's dying to speak and you want to say hundreds from it, then let her do so at the rehearsal dinner and tell her ahead of time so that she can plan.

To the bride and groom!