Often it is the little things that get forgotten that mean a lot. Here are some last minute wedding tips to remember.
Think twice before arriving late for your wedding.
Many brides fail to consider that if the wedding ceremony runs late, it has a ripple effect on all the other planned proceedings for the day. For example, if you have organised a string quartet to entertain your guests for an hour while you are having photographs taken, and the guests arrive late at the reception venue because the ceremony ran over time, they will miss out on hearing the quartet and you might have to ask them to play longer, which will cost you extra. In fairness to your guests, whom you have invited to share in your special day, it is considered impolite to be more than five to seven minutes late.
Remember the mother of the bride.
As it is traditionally the task of the bride’s father to escort the bride to the ceremony and then to walk her down the aisle, the bride’s mother usually arrives at the service on her own. I sometimes feel that she can be a little neglected, so remind your ushers in advance that it is their job to escort her to her seat (in the second pew on the left).
The bride’s mother needs to be informed of this plan, so that she doesn’t make an entrance on her own. She should be the last person to be seated before the arrival of the bride. It is also a nice touch to ask the ushers to escort other main family members, like grandparents, aunts and uncles ? to their seats as well.
Get rid of the gum!
And please, do remember to ask everyone in your party to ditch the chewing gum before the wedding starts! This is something that is often forgotten, but is very noticeable when you view your DVD.
Never lose sight of the fact that, whether bride or groom, your speech is important. This is not the occasion for an impromptu effort. Take time to prepare your speech, so you don’t run the risk of forgetting to thank someone. Everyone, including your parents, family and friends, who have gone out of their way to make your special day memorable, should be thanked. Family members have been known to feel hurt after being overlooked in the groom’s or bride’s speech. Bear in mind that if it is captured on video, your speech is going to be around for a long, long time!
Watch your alcohol consumption…
Due to the excitement of the occasion, it’s not uncommon for the bridal couple to eat little or nothing during the day, and though you may not think about it at the time, a few glasses of champagne on an empty stomach can have a disastrous effect. Your guests certainly won’t enjoy the sight of a tipsy bride or groom and neither will you, when watching your wedding video in future years.
Finally, a few bits of etiquette advice for guests:
If you have been invited to a wedding, it is good manners to rsvp as soon as possible, whether or not you will be attending. And once you have accepted the invitation, unless you have some cast iron excuse, like being strung up in hospital after falling off a roof, you need to make sure you attend.
A venue owner told me of two weddings, at one of which seven guests failed to arrive, while at the other nine guests simply didn’t make an appearance. The father of the bride nevertheless had to pay for the absentees, as the venue had already catered for them. That’s rough on the poor guy and, in my opinion, rude on the part of the invited guests, as this situation can so easily be avoided. Caterers usually ask for the final head count about a week in advance of the day, so if you are unable to be there, it is considered polite to advise the couple in good time.
Arrive on time.
As per the advice to the bride, try to arrive punctually, so that you can be seated in good time. I once asked a bride why she felt it necessary to arrive late at her wedding, and she replied that she wanted to make sure that the guests were all seated before her arrival. She said that at many of the weddings she had attended, guests arrived at the very last minute.
Dress suitably for the occasion.
In the past it was unnecessary to tell guests what to wear to your wedding, but recent years have seen a trend towards more casual dressing among younger guests, with many arriving at the event in jeans. If the dress code is formal, menfolk should leave the jeans in the cupboard and rather bring out the shirt and tie.
Weddings today are costly affairs and, at what can often amount to R 300 or more per head, are hardly informal occasions. I’m sure many guests are simply not aware of the costs involved, because I like to think that if they were going out for a night on the town and spending that amount of money on the meal alone, they would be more inclined to dress up for the occasion!