Wedding advice and tips

Advice - you'll get lots of it. You might even have a wedding planner, however as I've actually been to hundreds of weddings, I can't resist sharing a bit of what I've learnt along the way.

On the day: Timing...

...what time to arrive? Church weddings, civil ceremonies and register offices are all different.

Church weddings

If its a church ceremony, the groom is expected to arrive first, ideally about 30 minutes before the actual time. There's plenty to do, and its an ideal time to spend greeting and talking to guests. Often the minister will want to have a word too. The bride - its actually not a good idea to arrive early or right on time, because often guests will have cut their timing a bit fine, or can't park etc, and so a couple of minutes late is not a bad idea. However, bear in mind that once you arrive, it takes a few minutes to greet the minister, check outfits, strike up the music and surprisingly this can take 5 or 10 minutes. It all adds up, so don't plan on being more than a couple of minutes late to start with.

waiting for the bride

Civil ceremonies.

If your ceremony is at a licensed venue, you will have to meet with the registrar before the ceremony, usually separately. They will usually give a time of about 20-30 minutes before the time of the ceremony, but in reality its usually more like 10 minutes before. If you are getting ready at the venue they will usually come to your room.

Wedding check list

It is very useful to have the following to hand when getting ready: Needle and cotton. Small sharp scissors for cutting tags out of dresses. Surgical gloves (for putting stockings on). Safety pins. Mints.

Music

It makes sense to prepare a compilation CD with your chosen music (for music ideas, see next page) and although most times it works just perfectly, at a recent wedding the compilation CD refused to work in the in house CD player, possibly because new technology has built in anti-piracy codes. So if you are preparing a CD, take it with you to the venue when you go for your final meeting to make sure it works - or take your own CD player.

Ushers...

Extremely important. Sometimes ushers are seen to be there to give a role to the other important men in your life, however having good assertive ushers can help a wedding flow smoothly - important when time can be an issue. You only get one wedding day, you don't want to waste a minute of it.

First Dance.

Its one of those wedding rituals where you can either make it a feature, have dance lessons, choreograph something special, or you can shuffle around the dance floor. If you're the second kind, you might want to enlist the help of your DJ. All DJs have their own "tricks" and if you're looking forward to strutting and smooching your stuff for your first dance, you won't need any help. Alternatively if you'd rather get the party moving you could ask him to time you for about one minute dancing together, then request all the parents to join you, then the rest of the bridal party. It really does seem to get the party moving. Paul Sheffield DJ is highly recommended.

Shoes

Often seen as just as important as the dress. Obviously wear new shoes for an hour or at home, and do remember to check them for sticky labels on the bottom before you have your manicure. Peeling labels can trash perfect nails.