When it comes to weddings, while I’m always an advocate for stationery and paying attention to the details, lately I find myself becoming more of an advocate for the couple and their experience. After all, at the end of the day, what should matter most is that you stayed present and enjoyed every single moment together. You don’t want to look back and try to remember when you actually enjoyed your time with your partner on YOUR wedding day. When you focus too much on the details, you’re bound to get upset about something, and dwell on it. I promise you, you will regret it. So here are some tips on how to stay present and enjoy every moment of your day together.
Plan a couple’s photo session
Instead of spending tons of time on the posed photos with your bridal party, set aside more time for a couple’s photo session. Give yourself at least a half hour alone together, but if you can, make it an hour or more. Time flies when you’re taking photos and this is just the right amount of time to enjoy your photo session without your bridal party getting too bored. Take this time to look into each other’s eyes and let the world around you drift away. Don’t focus too much on posed photos. Photographers LOVE candid lovey dovey photos. Laugh, kiss, dance, talk about how excited you are! This will really help you to focus on the present moment as you look into each other’s eyes and say “I can’t believe this is finally happening!”
Try to keep your guest count down (if possible)
If you can, keep your guest count to a minimum. Whether this means you elope, you only invite your immediate family members and best friends, or perhaps you have a larger guest count but don’t allow your guests to have a plus one. Keeping your guest count down will help you to not feel so obligated to spend more time with your guests than with your partner. BUT if you do have a larger guest list, never fear! The following tips will help you to stay present even with hundreds of people surrounding you.
Have a private moment after the ceremony
Directly after the ceremony, celebrate, hug, and scream with your bridal party. Then kick them out ;) Kindly tell them you would like to take a moment alone, and let it all sink in. This is such a special moment together. YOU JUST GOT MARRIED! I will never forget this feeling. You look into your partner’s eyes and see your entire future. You feel safe, happy, overwhelmed and excited for what’s to come. Make sure not to skip this special moment! Maybe during this time you can exchange notes or gifts with each other, instead of doing it separately. Take as much time as your hearts’ desire. Your party can keep themselves entertained!
Talk to your guests during cocktail hour
This is super important for the flow of your night. I’ve witnessed couples walking around to every dinner table at their reception, talking to every guest and thanking them, and at the end of it all, the couple forgets to eat. DON’T DO THIS! Instead, talk to your guests during cocktail hour. It’s the perfect way to keep it casual and keep it moving, since people are usually standing up and mingling about. Keep the conversations short and sweet so you can make your rounds before cocktail hour ends. And make sure to do this TOGETHER. It can be easy to get side tracked in a conversation with an old college friend or a family member, but do not lose each other. Stick together and get the job done. Then you can actually enjoy your reception!
Take the time to eat together
Do not forget to eat. You put so much hard work and planning into picking a caterer and taste testing the food. Sure, a lot of it was to make your guests happy, but I’m assuming you also thought of what you’d want to eat together on your wedding day. At least I hope so! Take a moment to sit at your sweetheart table and enjoy your first meal as husband and wife. If anyone comes up to you, keep the conversation to a minimum and kindly let them know you’ll find them later. People will respect this moment. We all need food!
In the same regard, EAT YOUR CAKE. Or dessert bar...whatever you chose. You did not get a beautiful cake made just for you, or order a special dessert display, for you to NOT try it. Savor this moment of sweet bliss, and sip on some coffee. Have a peaceful moment together and take it all in.
Sneak away for private moments during the reception
Sure, it’s fun to dance and sing with your loved ones and friends, but don’t forget about each other. Sneak away a couple times throughout your reception to enjoy more private moments together and giggle about how much fun you’re having on your wedding day! Maybe even grab your photographer and ask for more candids. That way, you can look back at these photos and remember exactly how you felt in these special moments.
Try to keep traditions to a minimum
Follow this advice to your discretion. Every couple and every family has their own values and traditions they want to keep as part of the reception. But whenever possible, cut any traditions out that aren’t too close to your heart. Why? Because it will give you room to do whatever you want throughout the night. It will allow for a constant flow throughout the reception, and your guests are guaranteed to have a great time. The more you have to stop for silly traditions, the more it breaks the flow, AND the more committed you are to being there at all times, participating in these silly activities instead of enjoying the moment together.
Don’t stress about the details
This is very important. If you have a wedding planner, you will likely not have to worry about the details of your day. But if you are a DIY couple and you have planned everything by yourselves, try NOT to focus on the details. Don’t worry about when the cake cutting should begin, or if Aunt Becky received her proper entree. Don’t stress if your first dance song cuts out, or if it rains, or if the flower arrangements don’t look according to plan. Every single detail is just background noise in retrospect, and you do not want to regret obsessing over any mishaps. They’re bound to happen with such a big event. Just shrug it off and know that you will be laughing about it for years to come.
Dance together. All night long.
Last thing: do not go more than one song on the dance floor without each other! We all know we have that one ridiculous song we sang and danced to with our college friends, that we MUST reenact. You are bound to break away from each other during these moments. That’s okay! As soon as it’s over, find each other again and make sure you dance together all night long! Any time my husband and I go to weddings, we’re glued to each other’s side and we have a blast on the dance floor all night. I’m sure you’re all the same exact way when you attend weddings. But when it’s YOUR wedding, it can be hard not to get pulled away by other people, since you are the center of attention. So make it a rule and stick to it, and dance yourselves into newlywed oblivion!