Friday, 24 June 2011

How To... Get Hitched Without Glitches

The prospect of wedding day hitches are enough to keep many brides awake at night (and particularly the night before the big day!).  You’ve spent months or years planning everything, you’re going to have all your friends and family around you and you’ve probably spent a reasonable amount of your hard earned money on the day as well so the thought that something could go wrong is unbearable to say the least.  But, unlike some embarrassing dancing by your Dad, hitches don’t have to be a part of your wedding day and, if you follow this guide, you can easily get hitched without the hitches.

Don’t keep secrets – As the old line goes, it’s good to talk and this is certainly true of anything relating to your wedding.  If you’re slightly worried about a guest or there’s a family situation that’s concerning you, speak to someone about it so that they can keep an eye on things during the day.  If you’ve changed the seating plan since you handed a copy to the venue, tell them so there’s no awful moment when your Aunt discovers there’s not a place set for her.  You can’t look at your guest book after the wedding and be upset that only four guests signed if you’ve not asked anyone to circulate it for you.  Remember that although things you’ve spent months working on are obvious to you, they’re not necessarily obvious to everyone else so don’t be shy and get talking about your wedding!

Think through the day – A great way to banish those hitches before they happen is to sit and think through everything that will be happening on the day and you can be sure you’ve got everything covered.  If you’re having a wedding day co-ordinator, your meeting with them is a great prompt for many things but if you’re not, set aside some time to work through the sequence of events.  What time will things be happening?  Who needs to be there at that moment?  What will be needed? How long will it take?  What happens next?  As obsessive as this might sound, it’s unbelievably useful.  You’ll either feel very smug that you’ve got everything covered already or you’ll be able to resolve things that aren’t before they develop into full blown hitches.

Confirm and then confirm again – Everyone’s wedding nightmare is that a supplier won’t turn up on the day.  To reassure you, in almost one hundred weddings that I’ve worked on, that’s never happened.  Wedding suppliers are, on the whole, incredibly proud and professional people who would never dream of letting their clients down - I’ve personally worked when I’ve had tonsillitis!  But, I know that me telling you this might not be enough so don’t feel bad about confirming and re-confirming bookings with suppliers in the weeks before you wedding.  Ask them when they expect to arrive and when they’ll be leaving so you’re not panicking because the photographer isn’t with you at 9am when they’ve always planned to arrive at 10am.  Be sure the florist has the correct address for delivery of bouquets and buttonholes so you don’t have to worry.  It’s a good idea to get mobile phone contact numbers for all suppliers as office numbers aren’t much use on the day, especially if you need to check with someone who’s driving to you.

Who’s your point of contact? – The best thing you can do to avoid wedding day hitches becoming a problem for you is to designate a point of contact.  This should be someone who knows everything that you want from the day and everything that needs to be done to make sure that you’re wedding is everything you want.  For a lot of couples, this is now their wedding day co-ordinator because putting this responsibility onto a family member can be a lot of pressure but there’s no reason why an unflappable friend can’t be this person for you.  They are the person that suppliers and the venue should come to if there are any slight issues.  Do you want to be confirming which tables need highchairs or where the presents should be put when you should be enjoying every moment?  Do you want the band asking about their meals, parking spaces, changing facilities or plug sockets when there’s champagne to sip?  No, I’m sure you don’t so get a point of contact and make sure people go to them.

Paperwork is precious – Keeping your wedding related paperwork is absolutely essential to avoid hitches.  You need to know what’s been said to suppliers or agreed with venues so there can be no ‘discussions’ at a later date.  If something is resolved on the telephone, put it in writing (a quick e-mail will do) so that there’s a written record of the conversation – this is particularly important if you’re making a change to an arrangement or someone is promising to do some extra for you or there’s an alteration to a cost.  Noting everything and retaining everything is a great way to dodge those hitches.

Emergency! – There’s always much talk about a bridal ‘emergency kit’ and it’s a good idea to have a few items with you.  If I had to pick three things for every bride, I would say baby wipes, double sided body tape (more commonly referred to as ‘tit tape’!) and paracetamol.  Baby wipes are great for removing any little marks on dresses or shoes as well as for freshening yourself up if you feel the need.  Body tape can be used to ‘stick’ your dress to you if it starts slipping, shoe straps to feet, bouquet ribbon to flowers or literally anything to anything (I’ve re-fixed diamante to shoes with this tape!) and paracetamol is great if the combination of a long day, lack of sleep/food and too much emotion and alcohol gets to you.  These are also items that it’s unlikely your venue will have – they will have a mini sewing kit, pens, matches and quite a few of the items that you see listed.  Of course, if you’ve booked a wedding day co-ordinator, they will come armed with everything a bride could ever need, from rescue remedy and plasters to spare pens, Kirby grips, blu-tak, chalk and even umbrellas!

Forgetful?  Forget it! – A good list can mean the end of many common wedding day hitches but a list is only of use if you use it!  That may sound incredibly simple but it’s amazing how many brides make endless lists of everything that they need to pack to take with them then don’t check things off when the time comes and realise too late that they don’t have any clothes for the next day!  As you pack things, be it clothes, accessories or decorations, tick them off on your list and read through it before you assume you’ve got everything.  If you’re packing bigger boxes to transport place cards, favours, children’s packs, candles and other decorations to the venue, tape a list to the top of the box noting everything that’s inside so you can see at a glance that you’ve got everything.  A well used list = a hitch free day.

Accepting graciously – Unfortunately, sometimes things do go wrong, however well you’ve planned.  The heavens might open at the exact moment that you were hoping to sip champagne in your venue’s glorious gardens or your three year old flowergirl might protest very vocally against being in the photos.  These things happen and if they do, and there’s really nothing that can be done to remedy hitches that are totally out of your control, just try to accept them.  Being a gracious bride means that your guests are unlikely to even notice a little hitch but ranting or sulking will ruin the day for everyone.

The rather fabulous images in this feature are by the wonderful Dorset Wedding Photographer - Courtenay Photographic. Have a look at his site, it's a bit great -

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