Disclaimer: This post is completely opinionated. It is from my experience as a caterer and ‘bridal bitch’ for more than fifteen years, as well as being in seven weddings as an attendant of some sort. It is compiled from the conversations employees had in the kitchen during/after events and cracking up over the antics of whatever reception was going on. It is by no means meant to be a gospel truth, it’s just lessons learned over time!
Continued from yesterday, and to be continued tomorrow!!!
- Depending on your religion, ethnicity, and personal preference, just about anything goes. You may have a full homily, you may have written your own vows, you may have just enough strength to say “I do” and nothing else. Pre-ceremony music is fine. Eighteen solos is extensive. A long-lost tape recording of dad playing the recorder is a bit much. Just remember your guests. Communion for 200 takes a lot of time, so have more than one person offering. A full homily can take awhile, so make sure that you have seats for the wedding party. Many people may not be of your faith, so a program would be nice explaining traditions such as kneeling, head coverings, etc.
- When choosing to get married outside, remember your guests and your wedding party. I have seen brides pass out from heat exhaustion, and then get upset when the groom removes his jacket because he was hot. Having a formal garden wedding is a bit of an oxymoron–you can get married at 6pm outside, but the dress code will not be 6pm formal.
- Attire. Flip-flops are not appropriate for guests or wedding party during the ceremony. If people change for the reception, that’s another story, but it’s tacky to get married in rubber thongs. Beach weddings are better barefoot than in flip-flops. Also keep in mind that if you hire a bagpiper for your ceremony it might be a good idea to have an indoor, air-conditioned ceremony. Having an outside ceremony in July can be difficult for a man in full piper attire–wool kilt, wool socks . . . you get the picture.
- When walking down the aisle, have fun. Don’t stop and wave at your friends. Don’t try and figure out who is where. But most important, hold your flowers properly. Your forearm should rest on your hip bone. If you don’t consciously try and hold them low (think of it as a floral external chastity belt) you will end up with your flowers clutched up at your chest, sitting right under your chin.
- When your spouse-to-be displays the left finger for the ring, trust them that it is the right one. Remember, their left is your right. Do not do what my friend did, and swat the hand away and reach for the hand on their left. You have now placed the ring on the wrong finger, and it’s a bad omen.
- Candles. Watch out for candles on the altar, as you have tons of hair spray in your hair. Been there, seen that more than once. Also the unity candle. If you choose to have a unity candle, that’s your prerogative. But please, please make sure that everyone involved knows how they work. At my parents wedding the ushers went to light the candelabra and lit the unity candle at the same time. Then when the parents went up, the grooms parent’s candle refused to light and stay lit. Tried several times and then when they sat down it went out again. By the time my parents went up they had to light the grooms candle on the unity flame, blow out the unity candle, and then start over again. Should have been an omen for things to come.
- Don’t lock your knees.
- Make sure the groomsmen and bridesmaids (and for that matter you and the groom) are not chewing gum. Also make sure that the boys are not carrying toys. I once had to remove the light sabers from the groomsmen because they were hanging an inch below the tux jacket.
- Make your position on children at the ceremony known ahead of time. If you do not want small children, arrange for child care to be available so that parents do not have to be burdened. Know that the same decision has to be made for the reception.
After the ceremony, before the reception
- If you are one of the couples that has a reception several hours after the ceremony, be prepared to entertain your out of town guests. Many of them will simply arrive at the reception site early and the caterers will be annoyed because they have just started to get ready. Others will be inconvenienced because it is taking up a large part of the day.
- If you have the reception immediately following, and are taking photographs, have a huge cocktail hour. Otherwise you’re taking 90 minutes to take photos leaving your guests waiting. You may plan for 30, it always takes 90. I’ve been a guest at more than one wedding out of state where I have had to leave before the bride and groom even made an appearance because the photos were taking so long.
Tomorrow, the reception and the cake