One of the comments that we frequently get the first time people watch one of our wedding films is that they love how much of the day we capture. Not just the wedding, but all the things that go on during the day. It’s why we have designed our wedding packages the way we do (ie, we’re with you all day), because that content is such an important part of all of our films. There’s a lot that goes on before a couple says “I Do!” and that wedding day preparation mirrors the life preparation that has already taken place.
It’s not that we need that much time to capture enough footage to make a film; we’ve just found that is when some of the most memorable and precious parts of the day take place whil everyone is getting ready and we want to be there for those moments!
We are so lucky that most of our couples already understand this concept, no explanation needed. While we love the little adventures that so many of our wedding timelines include, we also love the weddings where NOTHING is on the agenda. Everyone is just sitting around, snacking, and having a good time.
Every once in awhile, a groomsmen or family member (who usually hasn’t been in a wedding before) will want to know why they need to be there so early when the wedding isn’t until mid-afternoon and it only takes them 30 minutes to get ready. So let me clue you in in advance:
You were not selected to be a part of the wedding party based on your stunning good looks. You’re there for your presence.
At some point in time, you have become important enough for this couple to want to include you in one of the most special days they will ever experience. You will be in photos that will hand on their wall and in albums that they may show their children. This event will become a concrete moment in time in which you were chosen to be there. So be there.
Because it honestly doesn’t matter if you’re sitting around drinking beers and watching the game, or taking turns getting hair and makeup done, going on an awesome adventure or a quiet walk, spending the day together with your wedding party is one of the best parts of the day.
You get extra special bonus points if you include family (even if they aren’t in the wedding party) in that prep time. I can’t tell you how it warms my heart when a groom’s mom or little sister is hanging out with the bridal party, or the father of the bride has time to enjoy some time with the guys.
If you’ve hired a wedding planner, they will probably work with you to take care of these details. If you haven’t, here are my 3 tips for having a great ‘before the ceremony’ time with your wedding party.
You need a space that will fit everyone, and all their clothing (if you’re all getting dressed in the same area). If hair and makeup are happening, you want some nice natural light (windows) and access to outlets. Resorts and venues often have rooms are that designed just for this (or transformed on wedding days). If that isn’t an option, whoever has the biggest hotel room gets to host! We’ve also done plenty of weddings where all the prep happened at either the couple’s house or one of their parents.
Plenty of water! Water, water, water. Don’t let anyone get dehydrated. Depending on the time of your ceremony, plan to have breakfast and maybe lunch (or at least a heavy snack) for everyone. Know that while you may have a cocktail hour scheduled, you won’t be there for the start of it….so it will be awhile before you get to eat again. Providing snacks will help ward of hangry bridal party during portrait time (or anyone passing out at the ceremony, which is a super rare things that I have never seen happen, but nobody wants that anyway).
One of the added bonuses of having everyone together during prep time is that there’s no awkward “Where is this bridesmaid/groomsman/parent” when it’s time to start walking down the aisle. Everyone is all together, all in the right place.
You need to figure out how to get everyone from the prep spaces, to ceremony, then to reception (often with a stop for photos in between) and back safely to their lodging at the end of the night. Again, if you’re using a venue or a wedding planner, they can help work out all these details for you. If not, there are many functional (and fun) shuttle services and transportation option available almost everywhere. Just be sure if a member of the bridal party is driving, that they aren’t enjoying any of the wedding cocktails!