Organising a wedding can be overwhelming, stressful and time-consuming. It can also be fun, exciting and hugely fulfilling.
When it comes to yours and your partner’s preferences in terms of how you want your wedding to be, communication is key. If you’re lucky you might have exactly the same style and taste, agree on practically everything and use telepathy to communicate successfully! But…this is the real world so that won’t happen!
Have an initial conversation about the absolute must-have’s (the dealbreakers), the nice-to-have’s and most importantly, the budget. If your partner wants to get married in a village hall and you have your heart set on a grand hotel in the countryside there are conversations to be had, and compromises to be discussed.
As a wedding celebrant I have officiated many weddings, and since working in the wedding industry I have gained a pretty good idea of what I did and didn’t want for my own wedding! Here are seven of my favourite wedding tips from my own wedding, June 2023.
Of course I would say that! But really – why would anyone NOT want the fun, laughter and totally personalised ceremony that comes with a celebrant wedding?
Having a celebrant means you won’t be subjected to a list of things that are ‘not allowed’ on your wedding day because basically, anything goes. The legal part is really simple to complete (we did it a week before our wedding) and takes under 10 minutes. Having a celebrant-led ceremony also means that you can get married absolutely anywhere you choose – in woodland, in your own home or garden – the possibilities are endless.
#2: Get married later in the day
One of my most money-saving wedding tips is to think carefully about the timing of your ceremony. If you get married at lunchtime you will end up paying for both a wedding ‘breakfast’ (main meal) plus an evening buffet and quite possibly also a late night snack such as pizza or bacon rolls.
The cost of wedding catering can be staggering and can add a great deal to your overall budget. Having a later ceremony (we got married at 5pm) means that you only need to feed people once and you needn’t skimp on the meal.
Having been to weddings where the meal was served tepid (or worse still, cold) to 80 guests at the table, one of my top wedding tips is to consider a hot buffet for your main meal. We had a great choice of food and chose thai chicken curry, baked salmon with vegetables and a vegan curry for vegan/vegetarian guests. It was a roaring success and everyone loved the food. Many people had at least two helpings! For children we prebooked kids meals in advance.
Another benefit is that a buffet is much less expensive per head than a sit down meal, although each guest probably ends up eating more food and there are three courses. At our wedding the hot buffet option was less than half the price of a sit down meal.
We also found that there was no waiting around – the day and evening flowed seamlessly and everyone remarked on that.
#3: Let people sit where they wish
Ooh! Really? Yes! We didn’t like the idea of telling our guests where to sit and who to sit with and in my experience the table plan is one of the most stressful things to organise. We had round tables, each table was called to serve themselves at the buffet in turn, and people sat wherever they wanted. This created a more more informal vibe, people made new friends and there were no family politics or disagreements.
My husband and I sat at a smaller table apart from the others and we circulated during the meal.
#4: Do photos during the meal
We wanted a photo of us both with all of our guests, without having the stilted group shot (impossible with nearly 80 people anyway) so after chatting with many of my couples I found this was one of the best wedding tips I’d heard and just had to share it. We got our DJ to play a 3 minute song, during which we ran around to each table.
Guests posed with us and we had to get round to all the tables before the music stopped whilst our amazing photographer ran after us! This is one of the best wedding tips for informal and fun photographs and they are some of our favourite photos.
#5: Have a singalong
Our wedding ceremony was like one big party and we wanted to create a really fun, inclusive atmosphere. We chose a song – ‘Can’t take my eyes off you’ and two family members sang it with microphones while everyone else joined in with the chorus. Our guests needed no prompting at all and they raised the roof. Music is an excellent way to involve everyone, especially if it’s a song that people know the words to.
#6: Ditch the speeches
My partner said a VERY brief thank you to our guests, there was clapping, and that was it. We wanted to eat and party, not subject our family and friends to lengthy speeches. Nobody wanted to do a speech, and it’s very likely that nobody wanted to listen to one either so we didn’t bother.
#7: Do it your way
Not only did we eliminate speeches, we didn’t have a wedding cake or a first dance. Instead we had a selection of nice desserts (absolutely nobody noticed or mentioned the lack of wedding cake, by the way) and a fantastic DJ who simply started the party by playing disco music and we all danced.
We didn’t have a top table, best man, bridesmaid, groomsmen or maid of honour. My daughter and my father walked me down the aisle and it was lovely.
We chose not to have wedding gifts, instead we asked for contributions to our honeymoon and most people said they were grateful they didn’t have to think of something suitable to buy, so it made things easier for them.
Our wedding was fun, inclusive and relaxed – exactly what we wanted. So celebrate your way – as wedding tips go, this one’s simple!
Whatever you choose for your wedding I’d love to chat with you about making your ceremony extra special. Do get in touch and let’s talk weddings!