Week 9: The ceremony and the run sheet

On your wedding day, timing is important.  Wrangling a huge crowd of partially intoxicated, distracted and hyperactive guests away from your ceremony venue, into allocated seating and onto the dance floor is not an easy job – so a good run sheet for your MC and celebrant is absolutely essential.

P-WEDWhere’s the reception? Is the bar open yet?

There are many good examples of running sheets online – such as this one or this one (which is probably too detailed, but you get the idea).  In hindsight, ours was probably a bit over the top with detail but it probably helped settle my nerves to write down exactly how I wanted the day to run.  Here it is – feel free to use it as a template for your own wedding.

Running Sheet

I wrote a little about the ceremony in one of my earlier posts about finding a celebrant – hopefully by now you have found an awesome celebrant and have an idea about who you would like to give a reading, which music you want when you walk down the aisle and how you would like to be announced.  If you are getting married outside, make sure your celebrant has a PA system and a decent set of speakers for music so your thoughtful choice of words and lyrics are heard by your friends and family.

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Rap battle ceremony.  Drop the mic, I’m out

Now is also the time to write down exactly what you want to say in your vows and practice them so you are less nervous on the day.  The same applies for guests giving readings – give a copy of the readings to your guests early so they won’t feel awkward about speaking in public if they have had a month or two to mentally prepare and practice.

Importantly, if you are adamant that you do not want to be introduced as “Mr and Mrs (insert partner’s first and last name here)” make sure you tell your celebrant how you would prefer to be introduced as a couple.  Most civil celebrants should be flexible enough to say whatever you tell them, except for specific requirements to ensure your marriage is legal, which is summarised nicely here.

Some ceremony advice based on experience from my own wedding and as a wedding guest –

1. Make sure you have the option to get married undercover in the event of rain

2. If it looks like it will rain, put someone in charge of bringing a few umbrellas

3. Test your PA system and have enough extension cords or battery power to see you through the ceremony

4. Don’t ask anyone to give a reading that is longer than 3 minutes – your guests will be bored and you will be too

5. Save the french kiss for your wedding night and spare your guests the trauma of witnessing your tongue wrestle

6. Find someone trustworthy to hold on to your wedding certificate!

AP135A pink feather quill pen is optional for LOLs

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Week 8: Transport, accommodation and RSVPs

One month until your wedding, so time to lock in your guest list.  Make time with your partner to chase down outstanding RSVPs together and add them to your guest spreadsheet.

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Lock in the guest list!

It is important to know where everyone from out of town will be staying and to help those who need accommodation to find somewhere close to your venue and reasonably priced.  If you have a group of friends staying close together, offer to share their contact details so they can meet up to share a taxi or transport to the wedding.

Because our wedding was a long way out of town, we organised a charter bus to take everyone home at the end of the night.  It made about 5 stops along the coast which we planned according to where everyone was staying.  The bus was about $500 and had 50 seats which ended up being reasonably cheap to get everyone home for around $10 per person.

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All aboard the drunk bus

Now is the time to plan how you will be traveling to the wedding with your bridal party, along with anyone else who will be at the residence where you are getting ready.  If you have flower girls like we did you will need car seats for the trip as well.

We hired an 11 seat limousine and everyone just piled in.  This made for an entertaining entrance at the ceremony when the limousine did a 15 point turn around so I could get out.

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We hired the limousine for a few hours to transport us to the location for photos and back to the reception venue.

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We also then needed to hire a second sedan limousine to drive Phil and I to our accommodation in Surfer’s Paradise at the end of the night.  This meant we both had to have an overnight bag packed and with us at the reception to take in the car to the hotel. Therefore it is worthwhile considering where you will be staying and what you have planned the next day so you won’t be stuck wearing your wedding dress to breakfast.

Week 7: Photography, hair & makeup

Wedding photographers – love them or hate them, you have to have them.  The sky is the limit on how much you can spend and I was terrified of spending thousands of dollars.

Of course, if beautiful wedding photos are one of your top priorities, go crazy and splurge on someone with a good reputation who will make you look stunning.  However, if you are more inclined to save some money I suggest seeking out a photographer who is starting out in the business who would be happy to give you a discount in return for more wedding experience.

We chose our friends Kristy and Ben from K&B photography to shoot our wedding.  They did a fantastic job and worked for over 10 hours to shoot our ceremony, reception and formal photos.  They hardly stopped and worked like troopers in the humidity!

At our first meeting I learned that it is common to have an engagement shoot before your wedding.  Although we were initially quite hesitant to agree to an engagement shoot, after much persuasion we took the opportunity to use the shoot as a ‘trial’ before the wedding day.

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So awkward.

Our engagement photos make me cringe however, it was a good rehearsal before the main event.  We were able to find a nice location near our wedding venue for photos and were also able to tell Kristy and Ben what we liked and didn’t like.  As a result I knew what to expect on our wedding day and I wasn’t so nervous.

I had my hair and make up trial done the same day as the engagement shoot so I had some idea of what I would look like as well. I ended up going to a local hairdresser which was really convenient on the day – everyone met in the morning at the hair salon and we got our hair done together with four hairdressers.  It saved a lot of time compared to stories I have heard about hair and make up starting at 6am at someone’s house and everyone waiting around all morning for their turn.

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Hair and makeup

A friend of ours did our makeup and did an amazing job.  My bridesmaids and I brought along makeup that we wanted to wear and Sarah applied it – which meant we felt comfortable on the day with products we were used to wearing.

My biggest advice regarding wedding photos is to communicate what you want with your photographer.  Don’t feel pressured into doing stupid poses or any of the standard ‘getting ready’ photographs if you really don’t want them.  Don’t let your photo shoot run too long – I would recommend no longer than 90 minutes tops, including travel from the ceremony and to the reception.  I have been at weddings where the photos run for 2 hours (or longer) and it sucks waiting around for the bride and groom.

I also found having a long photo shoot after all the excitement of getting married was a huge drag. After the first few photos I was totally over it and felt like I was missing all the fun with my friends at the venue!

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Can we drink champagne now?

I could tell our bridal party were also keen to wrap it up quick and get on with the reception.  However, if you love getting photographed and have spent thousands of dollars on your dress, hair and makeup, then please take your time and enjoy looking fabulous.

My one regret is that I wished I had asked for more professional photos with our family and friends at the reception.  We have so many photos of us as a couple (which are fantastic) and our bridal party, but a lot of our reception photos are of people on the dance floor and giving speeches.

Fortunately everyone was taking photos so I have more photos than I need!  After the wedding we made a Dropbox folder and asked everyone to upload their photos to share.  Once we received our professional photos we uploaded them to Dropbox as well.  For our parents and grandparents, we gave them photo books from Snapfish, which was far easier than explaining how to get a Dropbox account.