The reason why you're getting married! (Hopefully!) The wedding ceremony! Here are some of my top tips for having a stress free wedding ceremony– so all you have to do is relax and soak in every moment!
Iron out your rain plan way before your wedding day
This is one of the first things I encourage my couples to talk with their venue about. It's something I highly encourage asking before you've even booked your venue! Rain is usually the biggest stress points. If you know (and love) your venues' rainy day backup plan it will greatly reduce stress if rain is in the forecast!
Consider a first look
Lots of photographers will push hard for a first look because yes, it makes our day much easier, we have almost double the time for photos. However, I am not going to push you into doing a first look if you don't want one. I understand that some people have been envisioning seeing their soon to be spouse at the aisle for the first time and if you’re one of those people I support you. 110%. No 120%. However, there are some benefits of a first look, and one of those is nerves and expectations of your ceremony. A first look allows you both a private moment. You don’t have the eyes on you or the expectations. So often grooms feel the pressure to cry (or internal pressure not to). A first look allows them to show whatever genuine emotion they might have seeing their person on their wedding day. So if you are private people, or nervous in front of crowds, or worried about crying (or not crying) a first look might be a good choice for ya.
Do a rehearsal the night before
I know this seems obvious but you’d be surprised how many couples don’t actually rehearse where people will stand and who will escort who. It really reduces stress and eliminates any of those awkward moments during the ceremony of people not knowing where to go.
Get to know your officiant
The absolute best ceremonies I’ve been to have been when the officiant actually knows the couple. They can tell their story, speak to their journey, and give them actual advice. Make sure your officiant knows how to pronounce your names (I’ve seen some that don’t…) and make sure they remember to tell the guests to sit down (seen it many, many times). Consider your officiant being a mutual friend, pastor that’s known you both for years, etc.
Talk with your photographer about ceremony restrictions
Your photographer needs to know way before the ceremony where they can stand, if they can use flash, etc. Some churches won’t allow photographers to be at the front aisle, some won’t allow you to be past the last guest. Make sure to confirm this with your venue and then your photographer, that way they can plan and organize ahead of time.
Provide fans, blankets, or umbrellas (or all 3 if your wedding is in Texas)
Couples always stress about their guest experience (which is very kind). If you’re having a wedding in the summer, it’s likely going to be hot. Your guests will know and expect that. But a nice little sentiment is to provide fans. Same if it’s cold, love a cozy blanket set up.
Make sure you and your wedding party is fed and hydrated
Especially for a Texas wedding, standing outdoors even for 30 minutes can be dangerous without food and hydration. I’ve seen bridesmaids pass out because they didn’t drink enough water and were standing for too long. Take care of yourself!!!
Have an unplugged wedding
I have had so many brides be absolutely crushed when they’re walking down the aisle and they see tons of little screens pointed at them rather than the faces of their family and friends. Not only does it take them out of the moment but it is incredibly stressful. I recommend a 2 part unplugged plan of action:
Have a sign before entering the ceremony space asking guests to be present and unplug.
After all the guests arrive and before any part of the processional have the officiant politely ask to turn off and stow their cell phones and cameras (we’re talking airplane style). Tell them they genuinely want to see your smiling faces as you walk down the aisle.
This is the one thing that I ask of my couples during their ceremony. I will never tell y’all where to stand, what to do etc. But I do ask that you walk at a slow pace, both for the processional and recessional. For two reasons. 1. Your wedding day is going to be over in a flash and everyone always says it becomes a blur. Soak in the moment. Like really truly soak it in. Look at your parents, squeeze your dad's arm, notice the color of your fiances tie, smile at your bridesmaids. Remember every little detail you possibly can. And 2. Well obviously because it’s easier for me to take your photo and more of them. So often after the ceremony couples just want to run out, which I so appreciate the enthusiasm and if that’s truly what you want to do, go for it! But I might not be able to capture that moment properly.
Consider a tangible special activity during the ceremony
Some of my favorites are sand pouring, wine pouring, knot tying, etc. I love these because they produce something tangible that you can take home and keep forever.
Handwrite your wedding vows
Not only does it look so much sweeter than reading off your phone but then you can frame those vows and save them forever!
Have a special exit!
This can be confetti, bubbles, rice, lavender, the options are endless but make such a fun moment! Have your guests pick up whichever item you choose with their programs.
Decide if you want to go into hiding or greet your guests after the ceremony
Both options are great, but here’s the pros and cons for each so you can decide which is best for you. After the ceremony, you can leave the ceremony space as a married freakin’ couple and immediately go hide somewhere. This is a great option if the timeline is tight and/or if you want that private moment as new new newlyweds. Or you can hang back just past the beginning of the aisle and give hugs to your guests. This is a wonderful moment to hug and celebrate. It also gives me an awesome opportunity to capture candids of you and your guests. But. It takes a long time. Like a long time. I’ve had this process take 45 minutes because naturally everyone wants to congratulate you. If we’re on a time crunch it might be best to save these moments for the reception.
I hope you're enjoying my Stress Free Wedding Series! Next up is the Reception!
Leah Goetzel Photography is a wedding photographer based out of Dallas, Texas and serving the greater Texas and Colorado area. If you are interested in learning more about our services we'd love to hear from you! Send us a message here and we'll get back to you in 24 hours!