Choose a venue that suits your style and be sure of their finish time. I’ve had many brides and grooms very upset about early shut down rules.
Choose a celebrant and photographer who you get along with and who fit your vibe and style as a couple. One of them will start the party and the other will capture it.
Always provide pre ceremony drinks. There is nothing more welcoming that says ‘hey, you’ve arrived at our wedding- take a load off and settle in’ than a drink on arrival. I often hear of event managers telling couples guests will get smashed. Total BS IMO. Never seen it. People have one, maximum two pre lift off drinks and it means they’re relaxed, in the zone and they get way more on board with the ceremony.
Music is non negotiable. There’s nothing like live tunes of course. Nothing. Nothing creates an atmosphere like it. A totally worthwhile investment. If you’re going recorded playlists please make them personal. Give yourselves plenty of time to make them and have fun with it- sit down together and collate the songs that are nostalgic for you and your partner.
Don’t leave too long between the ceremony and reception. Ideally, at the same venue. It’s a pain moving from place to place, particularly when people don’t know the city. It’s nice and relaxed going to a wedding and knowing that’s where you are for the night. A space of more than an hour or so between both is dangerous too. People will be smashed before they arrive at your party.
Nominate a bossy family member to help get the family portraits done quickly. They can assist the photographer to get to the good stuff by calling up those on the list and keeping a nice steady flow going.
Make sure there’s abundant food. There is nothing worse than being hungry at a wedding. One of my enduring memories of a friend’s wedding was being so hungry that we left the venue and went to Pie Face, then returned. Not good. On the subject- serve food that feels like you. If that’s fancy pants a al carte great. If it’s pizza or burgers- do it. Your wedding day is supposed to be a reflection of you.
Don’t invite people you don’t want to get stuck talking to on the day. Every obligatory invite steals valuable d floor time away from you.
If you have a massive crew or people coming from interstate/ overseas arrange a pre or post wedding lunch so you can spend some good time with them catching up before or after the wedding. That way you don’t have to have the big ‘reconnection’ convo on your wedding day.
Don’t seat everyone. A standing crowd is always more engaged. 20 seats at the front for the parentals/ close fam and any oldies/ preggies is enough.
Unplug it. Seriously. You want all your people totally with you during your ceremony, not behind their phones.
Get a photo booth. So much fun. Everyone loves them and if they take a pic for them and leave one for the guest book then happy days for everyone.
If you have the crowd for it- a singalong is so amazing for creating a massive vibe. Let people get a drink or two on board and get a couple of people to lead it and have fun with it. They’re so great for uniting a crowd and bringing the fun. Following it with your first dance if you’re having one is a total master stroke.
Pull a signature move: espresso martinis at 9pm, a whiskey or gin bar, trays of frose or alcoholic iceblocks, an icecream cart. People love and remember these things.
Bang out the speeches straight up. Get them out of the way and time limit the shit out of them. Make it fun and enforce it with a buzzer or bell. People doing speeches feel they can’t relax fully until they’re done. Just smash em out early.
Don’t bother with dessert. Serve your cake or cheese or just have gelato.
Get a DJ. Spotify and playlists etc are not the same thing. A good DJ will read the crowd and where are they at and play stuff accordingly. Are they in Stevie Wonder territory still or is it time to crank out some Queen B?
Have fun with it! Delegate all you can. People genuinely want to help. If you’re having a big wedding on a private property or just with a lot of elements and guests- pay a wedding planner. Worth every cent. Do you really want the bloke hauling in the portable dunnies calling you on the morning of your wedding saying he can’t get into the property? Hell no- let someone else deal with that stuff.
Image: Tess Follett Photography. Get her!