Ashley Bates, Owner and head designer of Gathered Stems Floral Couture, has been in the floral business for over 20 years and has designed flowers for countless weddings. Here she shares some valuable tips she has picked up over the years of talking with brides before and after their weddings.
1. Plan ahead! The more organized you are before the day of your wedding, the more you can enjoy the day of your wedding. Create a vendors list which has the names, phone numbers and contact person from each company you are using. Include when they are expected to arrive and what they are responsible for. Distribute this list to all your vendors so each vendor knows the other companies you are using. They all need to work together to make sure your wedding and reception go off without a hitch. This will also help with delegating chores to friends and family. Ask someone to be in charge of greeting the photographer, the florist, the cake company, etc. Include this contact person in your vendor list so the photographer, florist, …will know who to check in with when they arrive at the venue. The last thing you want on wedding day is to have people asking you questions about everything!
2. The pictures that are taken at your wedding are very important as you will look at these for the rest of your life. Find a photographer who will capture all the special moments in a creative way. Take time to research photographer’s styles, see their work and discuss what you envision. These pictures will be precious not only to you but your children and grandchildren, too! It pays to spend the extra money on a professional photographer.
3. Make a detailed itinerary with directions, so guests know when and where the wedding and reception will be held. Inform people of events, like rehearsals, that they are required to attend, so they will be where they are supposed to be at the scheduled time.
4. Be sure that children who are appearing in your wedding are dressed in comfortable, well-fitting clothing. Stick to soft fabrics that fit just loosely enough to not cause discomfort.
5. If you want to have a good wedding speech, see to it that you practice and plan for it sufficiently. Without the right amount of planning your nerves may get the better of you.
6. Well before the wedding day, all members of the wedding party should take the time to ensure that their outfits fit perfectly. Bridesmaids should have a bin with all the items they will need for the wedding such as jewelry, shoes, make up, hairpieces, etc.
7. Put together a bin for the room where you and your party will be getting ready that has emergency items such as needle and thread, band-aids, Neosporin, bobby pins, etc. Delegate one of your bridesmaids to keep the room neat and tidy since you will want your photographer to get photos of you and your bridesmaids getting ready.
8. While you may feel guilty for not following family traditions or recommendations, you need to remember that your wedding day is yours, not theirs. When family members feel compelled to offer limitless advice and suggestions, just smile and say “I’ll keep that in mind. Thank you.”
9. Choose floral centerpieces that reflect your personality and that of your partner. Your decorations should also help tell the story of your relationship with the person. Choose a color scheme, theme, or overall feeling for your wedding and carry it through to all parts of your wedding and reception. You could name each table for a special place you and your beloved have gone together, have the theme be all the activities you enjoy doing together, or express a feeling such as romantic, shabby chic, vintage, beach, or French country.
10. Midday is the best time to have wedding receptions. Most people will drink less during the day, which will cut back on the cost to fill the bar.
11. When planning table seating arrangements, try to assign your guests so that there are an even number at each table. Facilitate conversation by making table arrangements that are interesting and beautiful. Keep them low or make them tall and thin so everyone will be able to talk to each other.
12. To make sure you are ready for your special first dance, consider practicing your dance before your wedding while wearing a long skirt. You personally may be fine moving in a longer dress, but your fiancée may be very happy for the practice.
13. Be sure to give yourself some extra time! You don’t want to look back on your wedding day and just remember all the rushing around you did. Give yourself some time to stop and reflect on how beautiful everything looks, how handsome your groom is, and all the friends and family who love you.
14. The bride should be the last to get her hair and makeup done.
You are the most important person to get ready. Your hair and makeup team will budget their time when doing the bridesmaids hair and makeup because the bride isn’t done yet. This way, your girls will be done and ready to get into their dresses while you are finishing up your do. Then when they help you into your dress, they look great as well. Your hair and makeup should be done one hour before your photos are scheduled to start.
15. Delegate and trust your team.
You should not be moving tables around getting the reception room ready because no one but you knows exactly how the set up is supposed to look. Hire a planner or at least have a friend who is NOT in the wedding party know what you want and let them run the show. You planned the day, let someone you trust help with the details of execution and you just relax and get married!
16. Have different pair of shoes for your reception. That goes for your husband, too!
17. Delegate someone to hide your card box after the wedding has started. Everyone knows there will be cash and gift cards in there and you and your guests would be heartbroken to have it stolen.
Congratulations and Best Wishes!