1.Do a First Look.
When planning a wedding, one of the biggest questions you might find yourself asking is “should we do a first look?” While many people will gladly lay out the pros and cons for you, it’s ultimately a decision you should make based on your own personalities! After all, you know yourselves better than anyone! If you feel like you are relatively private people who may enjoy taking a moment together, then a first look may be just what you need to bring a little more sentiment to your wedding day! From all of the first looks we’ve taken part in photographing, we’ve definitely seen a lot of incredible moments where our couples were able to be fully present and let the happy tears flow. This is also a time where you get to just simply be together as you take a moment to appreciate what your day is truly about. Also, we’ve found our couples love being able to spend most of their wedding day together!
Fun Fact: We actually did a first look ourselves and Cody still cried when Allison came down the aisle during the ceremony!
2. Read your vows in private.
Over the past few years, we’ve experienced a few couples who have decided to read their vows before or after their ceremony. At first glance, it sounds way out of the scope of tradition and after all, a lot of people tend to read their vows during their wedding ceremony. What we’ve found is that our couples have truly appreciated having a private space to fully express themselves through intentional words that are saved for only each other’s ears. It’s also easy to feel like we are performing our vows in front of all of our friends and family. While we would obviously encourage everyone to write them in their own unique voice, finding a private and beautiful nook to read your vows in can really create that extra special feeling that everyone wants to feel on their wedding day!
Pro Tip: Going straight from a first look right into your vows can be a great way to make thing feel smooth, natural and of course, help your photographers catch some killer moments for the two of you!
3. Do a first look with bridesmaids or family members.
Another unique way to add some feels to your wedding day to is to a first look with someone(s) special to you! We’ve seen this done with bridesmaids all the way to first looks with other family members that you’d like to share a moment with! After all, this is your wedding day and every moment should be filled with joy and excitement! There’s no better way to build just that than having all of the people closest to you sharing their excitement and the overall anticipation with you!
If you really want to go the extra mile, you can keep your attire under wraps (pun intended) until you do your reveal! But no sweat if you don’t or can’t do that! It’s a little hard to not get excited to blast our group texts with tons of photos during our quest to find the perfect wedding get-up!
4. Do a letter reading or gift exchange without seeing each other.
If you’re thinking about saving all that anticipation of seeing each other until the ceremony, here’s another way to share an intimate moment with your future spouse! As we mentioned earlier, there may be some parts of your vows that you might want to save for just each other or maybe you want to go crazy and write a novel! Either way, this allows you to have the best of both worlds. We’ve also seen couples who have decided to do their gift exchanges during this time (with or without letters) and have been able to capture some incredible moments as a result.
Side Story: The groom in the photos above actually sold most of his belongings, including his guitar, to move across the world from New Zealand to start his life with his wife in New Orleans. She actually put a line in her letter that told him to look under the bed only to find she had bought him a guitar to replace the one he had to sell! Now, obviously you don’t have to buy your spouse a guitar, but going the extra mile to be thoughtful and intentional with a gift can bring all the more sentiment to your wedding day!
5. Design your reception in a way that brings people together
A commonly overlooked aspect of a wedding day is the reception. Obviously the entire point of a reception is to celebrate, have a wonderful time and just simply party. But a part from that, it’s also an opportunity to bring everyone together in one space and you can achieve that by making a few small tweaks!
- Set up your tables in a way that brings people closer! Some ways we’ve seen this is by arranging tables in a way that surrounds the two of you and brings your guests around you. Another way that works with smaller or more intimate groups is by setting up one or two long tables! Both options can easily bring people together and encourage conversation!
- Do a family style dinner! While this can sound like an odd one, it can really add an extra flare that makes your day feel a little more intimate. A good way to illustrate this is thinking about the idea of a buffet. While buffets are amazing (because um, food), try keeping your guests in their seats by bringing the buffet to them. This eliminates to have your guests out of their seats waiting in a line for an extended period of time or the need to have servers constantly coming in and out of the reception! Not to mention, it really does give a traditional family dinner vibe!
- Another idea is to do lounging stations! Think of these like a few small living room (minus the TV) setups that are intended for guest to sit, mingle and converse around!
6. Invite your guests to surround you for your first dance
This one might be a personal favorite of ours. With first dances having so much potential to bring all the feels, inviting your guests onto the dance floor to share in the moment with you can really add another level of comfort and intimacy into your day! In fact, when we got married, we actually invited all of our guests outside into the cocktail garden to surround us while we did our first dance under the string lights! We actually ended up doing all of our first dances in the same spot and it really encouraged our guests to be more engaged and take in the moments with us.
7. Live each moment with total presence
Last but certainly not least: fully immerse yourselves in every single moment! It’s no secret that the wedding planning process along with the actual wedding can easily be associated with stress, worry or the unrealistic expectation that everything will be perfect. The truth is, nothing is going to go perfectly. There, we said it. Your mood and perception changes everything that happens on your wedding day so here are a few tips on how to say grounded throughout the day!
- First and foremost, think about why you’re here in the first place. When things inevitably fall behind, remember that you’ll still be married by the end of the day and that you’re only a few short hours from the best party of your life!
- Trust your vendors! In fact, think of these people like your team. At the end of the day, they want you both to have the most incredible day and are literally rooting for just that!
- Every time a little stress or anxiety comes on, start taking big breaths and focus on something that is currently happening in the present or reach for some positive thoughts about the day!
- We’d even go as far to encourage you both to think about how your future children or other family members will remember you on your wedding day when they open your wedding album years from now.
- Remember that no one is judging anything that is happening. Ultimately, your guests are there because they genuinely care about you both and want to share in one of the most incredible day of your lives. They also may want free food and an open bar but just know that’s a close second 😉