Brautstrauss 2Last week, I came across some pictures of our wedding and spent some time reminiscing. It’s probably the best that can be said about any wedding that groom and bride are firmly convinced it’s the best wedding they ever attended. That’s what we do, and rose-tinted glasses aside, I also think that, objectively, our wedding went very well indeed. Partly this was because my husband and I were veterans of many other weddings, and were thus able to avoid a number of pitfalls. Because spring is coming, and with it loads of weddings (and thinking about weddings is far preferable to contemplating the stubborn snow that is still lying outside), here are some of my tips for a perfect wedding. Please add your own tips below!

  • Stay in complete control of the whole procedure. With that I mean venue, guest list, food, entertainment etc. A friend of mine was forced by her mom to invite hoards of second cousins, for example, but as a result she could only invite one personal friend, and she is still upset about that fifteen years later. Of course, it’s much easier to block off parental interference if you are older, and even easier if you pay for everything yourself.
  • When you delegate – as I did to a very old friend who served as ringmaster throughout the day, arranging who was to hold a speech when and what games were played in what order – do so to a person in whose excellent good sense and taste you can trust implicitly. An example: Here, it is traditional to kidnap the bride and hold her ransom until the groom has performed some funny tasks. Some couples like this tradition, but I did not intend to spend the better half of the evening in some room away from the party, and so we vetoed this early on. As a result, we got to enjoy the day without ever wondering how we’d be embarrassed next.
  • Don’t ever let your guests go hungry. You’d think this one was self-evident. Think again! I went hungry – badly  hungry – at two weddings I attended. At the first, after one very small entrée of melon and bacon, we had to listen to speeches for about 45 minutes, and by the end of that my stomach made the most alarming and embarrassing noises. It was worse some years later, when the whole party was made to wait for the guest of honor – a favorite aunt whose plane from the United States was several hours late. Dinner was held back for almost two hours, and there we sat with champagne in our blood and a single piece of bread for each person as part of the table decorations. That was ghastly. So never underestimate the importance of spacing out meals evenly.
  • If your fiancé has a decided taste in fashion, take him along when you buy the wedding dress. My husband and I have very different tastes when it comes to women’s clothes, and we both knew that if I chose the dress on my own, or with a friend, chances were high he’d dislike it, while this was the one day I wanted him to be struck speechless with my beauty. So I took him along to the wedding boutique, and we had a lovely day choosing the dress. Really! We were relaxed, we had fun, and it was a most romantic experience.
  • Either do your makeup the way you always to it, or get a really good makeup artist with a light touch to do it for you. You want to recognise yourself in the wedding pictures.
  • Mix the entertainment so that there’s something for each age group. We had a puppeteer in the afternoon, later we had both waltzes and disco music, there was a short break after tea so that whoever wanted or needed this could either lie down for a minute or go for a short walk.
  • Strike a balance between what each of you – bride and groom – want at your wedding, and what will keep the guests happy and entertained. For me, a wedding is only delightful if neither side is bored, or stressed, or feels marginalized.

So what are your tips for a wonderful wedding celebration?

Rike