When you’ve spent the last few (or many) months planning a beautiful wedding day, pouring over picturesque Pinterest moments and imagining your own fairytale photos, it can be easy to forget that not everyone understands how a wedding day works. Lots of guests will only have attended a handful of weddings, and some of them possibly will have never been to a wedding before, so we have to forgive them for not always knowing what to expect – especially when no two weddings are the same. There are four key moments I’ve noticed guests are often clueless about – but if you help your guests prepare you can keep things from getting awkward, and get the joyous vibe and in-the-moment photos you’re dreaming of.
1. Nobody will sit.
If you’re having a church or chapel wedding this won’t be such an issue, but if your ceremony is taking place outside, none of your guests will want to fill those seats your styling company (or family and friends) so painstakingly set out. Everyone assumes they are for the ‘VIPs’ – and everyone assumes they aren’t one of them. Empty seats with a crowd of onlookers behind them can make for awkward photos – as though nobody showed up on the day – and when you look out from the end of the aisle, would you rather see empty seats or the smiling faces of your favourite people?
The first row is traditionally reserved for immediate family, so tell them they’ll be seated up front and they’ll know where to go. Task a friend, sibling or groomsman with making sure the rest of the seats are filled before you walk down the aisle and you’ll be met with the scene you envisioned when you arrive.
2. Nobody will know when to throw the flower petals/rice/blow the bubbles.
They’ll either be too caught up in the moment to remember, or they’ll have no idea you want them thrown (or blown) around you as you walk back down the aisle as a newlywed. Pop a note in with the petals with gentle instructions, leave an informative sign with your table of bubbles or ask your celebrant to advise your guests – even just a little ‘ladies and gentlemen, please stand and ready your rice’ right before they announce you will make all the difference.
PRO TIP: Rice will get all up in your hair – if you’re a brunette and ESPECIALLY if you’re rocking an updo, you’ll probably want to opt for the bubbles or the flowers instead.
3. Nobody will come forward to greet you when you reach the end of the aisle
Except maybe your parents or bridal party. They’ll hang back, unsure of what to do, unless someone starts the trend. Tell your folks to follow the bridal party back down the aisle and be the first to give you hugs and kisses, and the rest of your guests will get the hint and follow suit. If you’re having a rehearsal, test it out! And if all else fails and your guests don’t come to you – don’t wait, go to them!
PRO TIP: stay close to your new husband or wife to make greeting photos easier on me – I want to capture those warm wishes but if you’re on opposite sides of a sea of chairs I won’t be able to get as many as we’d like!
4. Nobody will play with the lawn games you set out to keep guests occupied while we nip off for bridal photos
Unless someone starts the trend, again. Your guests will feel that they need permission – and some might flat out not even notice the games are there. Pick a friend who’s not in the bridal party to get the games started and let them show the rest of your guests how it’s done.
They’re only small details, but a little bit of preparation and delegation goes a long way to helping your guests enjoy your day to the fullest – and to helping you get those real, spectacular and once-in-a-lifetime photos you’ve been dreaming of.