We are able to advise them as they go through the process of winnowing down to exactly what they want, and – more pertinently – what they can live without.
Obviously, why you are getting married, and to whom are at the core of every wedding celebration. That said, a memorable day is also a priority for everyone. So with that in mind, we have compiled a list of seven things that you might think are expected, but are also things you don’t necessarily need. Knowing which common wedding customs your guests won’t really care about allows you to focus on what they will. With this blog, we aim to give you the benefit of our experience so that you will know what you can skip entirely. We hope that this will save you time, money and worry.
Before we dive straight in, a quick disclaimer: this is your wedding day! Of course you can completely ignore as many of the following suggestions as you like.
The point we’re really making is that you’re not obliged to do anything that doesn’t bring you joy on your day.
If everything on our ‘don’t worry about it’ list is on your ‘must have’ list, of course you should do it. We’re just giving you permission and encouragement to drop the bits that don’t bring you that joy, because honestly nobody will mind (or possibly even notice!).
Who you’re wearing
Whether Alonuke bespoke, Suzanne Neville, or Amanda Wakely, we can’t deny our weakness for a designer gown, but it is by no means important. Unless you are a member of Team Vogue’s fashion elite, your wedding guests will honestly not be too interested in the label attached to your outfit. More important by far is how your dress or suit feels, and whether it suits you. Make sure that your outfit really fits you well, complimenting your body shape and reflecting your unique style. We really can’t overstate the importance of not feeling uncomfortable on your wedding day – whether physically or emotionally. Wearing something that makes you feel great, inside and out is what you should focus on. If your dress costs £8,000 from Vera Wang or £50 from a vintage charity shop, your guests will be looking at how you look, not who you’re wearing.
Centrepieces and other florals
Now, we know that your flowers are important. In fact, florals are a personal weakness of ours, with a preference for real over silk, and a love of roses in particular. Flowers in our opinion are an essential. However, there is a big difference between guests admiring your bouquet and tasteful boutonnières, and minutely examining your centrepieces and aisle arrangements.
Your guests may well not notice the specific flowers in your centrepiece, and they certainly won’t mind whether they’re hydrangeas, lilies, tulips or some exotic find. What they definitely do care about is whether or not they can see the person on the other side of the table, whether they are comfortable, whether there’s enough room for their wine glass, and whether they have foliage drooping over their plate. So be sure to make sure that your centrepieces don’t obstruct the view or take up too much room. If you are having floral arrangements on chairs, then make sure that they don’t snag on (or stain!) clothes or hair. Another good tip for the savvy couple is to use flowers that are in season. They will cost less, smell sweeter, and last much longer – giving you the very best of themselves.
This is one of our least favourite wedding customs. Wedding guests often feel self-conscious or pressured at the sight of a guest book when and if it comes around. Consider this – your wedding guests will have spent time writing you a personal card and a thoughtfully considered message. So by the time that guest book comes, they have nothing really meaningful left to say. It’s also worth considering that by the time the book goes around, some people may well be feeling rather mellow – eating, dancing, chatting – and will see it as a bit of an intrusion. Unless you are going to think outside of the box, completely forget the guest book because nobody will miss it on your wedding day. A good alternative might be making an album of all the cards you receive, allowing you to treasure the genuinely heartfelt messages.
Your guests do not care if your table linens are damask, coloured or flying on the ceiling. If you’ve been agonizing about the types of table linens you should have, then don’t give it another thought. What your guests will notice is whether the table linens are clean and of good quality. Our best advice is to keep them simple. A handy tip when it comes to table linens is to make sure that they reach the floor. This covers a number of bases in one go: the room will have clean lines, and will look elegant, allowing you to direct your guests’ eyes to the area you want them to remember. A long table covering is also extremely useful as a safe haven for bags, purses, gifts and anything else that your guests may be carrying.
If you only take one piece of advice from this post, make it this one.
We personally give you permission not to waste a moment of sleep (not to mention a considerable amount of money) over wedding favours. Although guests may notice them as they admire the pretty packaging or move them out of the way to get to their napkins, 90% of the wedding favours that we see end up in the bin. Your guests are almost certainly not going to take it away with them at the end of the evening, though they may remember en route home and kick themselves for forgetting.
If you feel that thanking your guests on the day with a favour is a must, then consider something unusual, memorable or personal – like a donation to a charity close to you heart.
As an alternative, you might consider a photo booth or designated photographer with a Polaroid camera, allowing your guests to take truly personal memories home with them – whether it’s a photo of them throwing shapes on the dance floor, or posing with the couple, it’s a memory to treasure.
We adore wedding cake (since you ask, our absolute favourite designers are Elizabeth’s Cake Emporium, Unique Cakes by Yevnig, Sugar Plum Bakes and Malarkey Cakes). However a wedding cake is the norm, and no longer really stands out as something that guests particularly note or remember. Yes, most of us love to devour cake, but in order to ‘wow’ your guests you could do something different.
For example, a dessert ‘grazing’ table can allow you to get really creative. They can be understated and elegant (Kalm Kitchen at Millbridge Court create the most beautiful dessert tables, and check out our personal faves Berry and Brie!) or a bright burst of fun and colour, and they always bring a smile to guests’ faces. If you would really love a cake, forego spending the price of your honeymoon on a seven-tiered beauty, and let your cake stand out by paying attention to detail. Think about personalised toppers or figurines, or beautiful fresh florals.
If you remove wedding programmes from your ‘to do’ list, nobody will shed a tear in their absence. In the grand scheme of your day, the order of ceremony – although of huge importance – only makes up a very small percentage of your wedding day. Letting your guests know what to expect is always advised though, so think about using your celebrant, master of ceremonies or a well-placed sign to give the details. Individual programmes won’t be missed and you will reduce your carbon footprint at the same time.
So now you know about all of the things that you can choose to avoid and ignore in order to save time, money and worry when planning your wedding. Just remember that this is your day, and when planning it, you should be focused on what matters to you and your partner, regardless of the cost or relevance or impact this will have on your guests.
Photography Zaki Charles Photography
On the Day Coordination The Wedding Day Coordinators
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