13 Minor Wedding Details Couples Forget, According to Pros
Photograph: Manda Weaver Photography
Planning a wedding is an exercise in juggling all the details. From major elements like booking the perfect venue to smaller aspects like color palettes, there are countless moving pieces for engaged couples to prepare. Amidst the busyness, it’s natural for some minor details to fall through the cracks. But what seems small can ultimately become a larger issue when overlooked. We asked wedding experts for commonly forgotten “minor” details, so you don’t miss them — here’s what they had to say.
With much attention dedicated to the reception, the ceremony often seems as simple as showing up, saying “I do,” and heading off to the party. Yet the ceremony is the most significant part of the day, so don’t overlook the finer details when planning. Loren Petrowski of Marry You in Hawaii cautions against “never seeing the ceremony site or getting a full idea of what it would look like during the time/season you are getting married. For example, is there a lot of outside noise or distractions because of where it’s located? Will the sun be in your or your guests’ eyes? Will it be dark, and will you need to provide your own lighting?”A proper walkthrough before the wedding will help you avoid common ceremony mishaps, ensuring the celebration goes off without a hitch.
Believe it or not, “many couples forget to prioritize writing their wedding vows,” reveals Ashley Thompson of Ashley Creative Events. “More often than I\d like to admit, I've seen the couple writing or fine tuning their vows the morning of the wedding or even down to the minute of heading down the aisle,” Thompson explains. “The vows are the foundation of the ceremony, and so important to prioritize well in advance.” So go ahead and start jotting down meaningful ideas, quotes, and phrases in your phone or a notebook. It’s never too early to start writing your vows!
The Marriage License
A wedding is all fun and games, but you aren’t officially married without a license — and since it can take several days to procure a marriage license, some couples are disappointed to find they won’t get it in time for their big day. “The license must be obtained from your state or county clerk's office, and both parties must be present to sign the documents,” explains Jacqueline Vizcaino of Tinted Events Design & Planning. “It’s also important to note that some states have waiting periods and expiration dates for marriage licenses. So make sure you apply for the license plenty of time before your wedding date!” In the early planning stages, look up the local regulations for marriage licenses to plan accordingly. Set a reminder in your calendar to register in advance so you don’t have to worry about any last-minute surprises!
Photogarph: Amy Kolo Photography
The Getting-Ready Space
The buildup to the wedding is part of the fun, so you’ll likely want to have some fun shots while getting ready with your besties! While some venues have beauty suites on site, some couples might find themselves scrambling to figure out where they’ll get dressed. “If you want pretty getting-ready photos (which many people do), plan for a nice location to get ready,” recommends Sarah Olson of CityLux Studios. “Often, the hotel or getting ready location is an afterthought and doesn't go with the vibe of the rest of the day. So planning on a room that looks great for the photos you want to capture can go a long way in the overall outcome of the photography.” From a cheery mimosa toast to the sweet dress reveal, you will share many memorable moments with your friends while getting ready. Make sure the space is suitable and fits in with your wedding day aesthetic!
Attire and Accessories
Your wedding is your day, so it’s essential for you to feel confident and comfortable! But if you leave behind your magical control-top hosiery or cloud-like shoe inserts, you’ll have a hard time enjoying every moment. “We often see forgotten wardrobe items, most especially with the wedding dress,” shares Julia Wade of Julia Wade Photography. To ensure you have everything you need, she suggests “kicking out your fiancé for a day and trying on your entire wedding outfit from head to toe to ensure you have the proper undergarments and fasteners. ”Wade adds, “Also, ensure you know how to do each button, bow, and zipper. You don't want to find out any of this last minute on the wedding day when you are pressed for time. The same can be said for men. Ensure your ties, cufflinks, socks, etc., are all present and ready to go. ”A trial run is always wise, especially when it’s an occasion as special as your wedding! A photo-worthy hanger. In addition to accessories, you’ll also want to consider how to display your dress on the wedding day. “A nice hanger for the dress immediately elevates getting ready photos,” notes Kiernan Michelle of Kiernan Michelle Photography. “You don’t need to get a custom hanger. A simple wood one will do; just anything but the cheap plastic one that comes with your dress!” So whether you want a hanger engraved with your wedding date or you’re fine with a nice one from your closet, make sure it’ll help your dress shine in photos!
Asking a loved one to give a toast at your wedding is a special request, but it’s not one to drop on someone and disappear. Instead, offer your help to ensure they feel confident taking the mic when the time comes! “When planning the toasts, too many couples forget that some, if not all, of their wedding party speakers aren't experienced in public speaking and may not know how to write something that would be enjoyable or appropriate,” says Brian Franklin of Vows & Speeches. “Many also don't know what 3-4 minutes looks like on a page. So it's important to guide them and help to make this important part of the wedding successful.” There’s no need to dictate what they say, but a few guidelines regarding length and timing will keep your reception on track.
Photography: Karena Dixon
A Brief Shot List
Creating a list of desired pictures helps your photographer get the formal portraits you want without holding up the day-of timeline. But Jenna Brisson of Jenna Brisson Photography encourages couples “to make the family photo list as concise as possible.”“The longer your family list, the more time you'll need to block off to take photos,” she notes. “A concise list is key if you hope to be present on your wedding day and enjoy as many moments as possible.” Another great way to save time is to keep your family members in the loop. Oftentimes, time is lost trying to find people because “couples forget to tell the extended family that they want photos taken with or of them,” explains Jeri Solomon of Jeri Solomon Floral Design. “They will communicate with the photographer but not the family.” So be sure grandma knows to stay back for photos instead of hustling off to cocktail hour after the ceremony wraps up!
Tips aren’t expected by vendors, but they are a thoughtful way to show appreciation for the hard work they’ve put into your big day. “While tipping isn’t a have-to, couples tend to forget tips when creating their budget and when the actual time comes to put together tips,” notes Jamie Chang of Mango Muse Events. “Because it happens so close to the wedding day, it’s easy to forget. ”Start setting aside envelopes with cash tips before the wedding so you don’t have to worry about forgetting. Then, on the big day, hand them off to your planner and let them distribute the tips for you.
Wedding Website Updates
Wedding websites have become an excellent way to keep in touch with guests and share updates throughout the planning process. But if left untouched, it can create confusion over missing details or unexpected changes. “Wedding websites are wonderful tools couples can use to share information with their guests,” explains Kelley Nudo of Momental Designs. “However, the purpose of the wedding website will be useless if the information is missing or out of date, so couples must update their site regularly.” Check in with your website every month or two to confirm the information is up-to-date and provides guests with everything they need to book accommodations, plan attire, and browse your registry. Your music selection. Only you and your partner know your most loved (and most hated!) songs, so don’t let your musicians operate off assumptions. Instead, give them direction so you can celebrate with your favorite music!“ Even the best DJs and bands need guidance on what songs are meaningful and enjoyable for you,” confirms Genevieve Mangini of The Treasury on the Plaza. “Take the time to pick your songs for the wedding ceremony and reception. Set a meeting to choose a “must play” to “DO NOT play” song list. Pick songs that you won’t regret hearing later. For example, do you want to hear the Wobble or Cha Cha Slide?” This is your chance to curate the soundtrack of your love, so work with your partner and your DJ or band to ensure every last song is perfect.
Photographer: : : Cody Kurtz Photography
When the wedding day winds down, you might be ready to head straight to your hotel (or a drive-thru restaurant!) to unwind and process the day. But first, you must plan for the decor and details you want to keep after the wedding. “Make sure someone oversees the personal items you want to bring home,” reminds Joan Wyndrum O’Hear of Blooms by the Box. “Several important mementos should be preserved, including
1. Your flower bouquet
3. Cake knife
4. Champagne glasses
5. Cake topper, etc.
By the end of the day, you will be exhausted and don\t want to carry wedding flowers, decor, and personal belongings.” Ask your parents, sibling, friend, or planner to collect everything after the wedding and store it until you can pick it up — whether it’s the next day or after your honeymoon. Otherwise, you might lose track of some special keepsakes! The little moments amid the many details, it’s easy to get caught up in the “doing” and miss out on the “being” part of your wedding experience. From the planning process to the big day itself, cherish the journey with your partner and celebrate your love every step of the way.“I think it's super important for the couple to take time together,” says Nora Sheils of Rock Paper Coin and Bridal Bliss. “Set a date night early in the week before guests arrive to enjoy quiet time together. Throughout the festivities, steal a few quiet moments just to observe your loved ones in one place celebrating you. It's those moments that will be ingrained in your memory!” You only get one chance at your dream wedding, so take note of these oft-missed details to ensure it measures up to your expectations. But don’t lose sight of what really matters — the promising future that lies ahead for you and your partner!
Meghan Ely is the owner of wedding PR and wedding marketing firm OFD Consulting. Ely is a sought-after speaker, adjunct professor in the field of public relations, and a self-professed royal wedding enthusiast.
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