Planning your wedding ceremony is a relatively non-complex task, especially for traditional Catholic weddings. Two issues, however, that are often overlooked or not adequately focused on are: ceremony planning and wedding programs.
This is a bit of a tricky area, as you need to select the readings and ceremony music first in order to create your wedding program. This entails a meeting with your pastor and the music director at the church, either of whom will work with you to create an acceptable set list (see Together for Life Online to learn more about liturgical music choices). Also, stick to your pastor’s timeline. It will give you the time you need to prepare and order your wedding programs.
Speaking of the wedding programs, do you really need them? Yes, I am a big proponent of having one! A wedding program helps your guests to follow the order and flow of the ceremony, as well as to have a heads up when those special moments are around the corner.
Also, wedding ceremony programs are a must when having a bilingual Mass; I suggest my couples to add their readings in English and Spanish. For example, if the first reader reads in Spanish, have the English version printed in the ceremony program; the second reading could be printed in Spanish and read in English; you get the idea! This is a wonderful way to incorporate your language and honor your family heritage.
Build into your wedding-day agenda extra time for the unexpected. For example, if your ceremony starts at 1:00 pm, don’t plan to be picked up by the limo at 12:45 just because your hotel suite is “just 7 minutes away.”
Trust me, it is better to build in an extra 10-15 minutes in between events, particularly when it comes to the ceremony (and even more of a buffer if you are heading into the D.C. abyss!). Traffic accidents or delays – particularly in this area – are the cause of many delays. What if you end up having extra time, guess what? Use it! Get a snack, a couple of impromptu photos, or do another hair and make-up check 🙂
Have an ample song list for your DJ or band. This is one detail that I have seen done last minute…or not at all. If you’re having trouble, don’t have time, or just like outside input, then consider asking for song suggestions from your guests in their RSVP card.
Remember also to mix songs that you and your significant other highly dislike or that bring bad memories (you don’t want to be slow dancing with your new spouse to a ballad that you and your ex designated as “your song”). Keep in mind older generation musical tastes as well – this will help them to better feel part of the festivities. And you might be surprised how an “oldie-but-goodie” gets your Uncle Julio and Aunt Maria to hit the dance floor as if they were in their prime!
Often times, brides are simply overwhelmed by the many details of their wedding day – and that is understandable. What to do about it? Well, first and foremost – though I’m biased – hire the right wedding coordinator! At the same time, even if you have a great planner at your side, I think it is a nice touch to delegate some responsibilities to your maid of honor (MOH). After all, she is one of your closest allies! Give her things to do that could avoid you headaches at a later time… she should be more than happy to help you! During the planning process, the MOH can also help you to select flowers, make phone calls, and run errands. You don’t have to do this alone.
Click here for a useful guide of MOH duties.
PHOTO CREDIT: THREE NAILS PHOTOGRAPHY
The bridal suite should be that special place for you and your husband at the end of a long wedding day. While many couples reserve a suite close by or at the reception hotel, this spot generally ends up being full of boxes, leftover food, and other wedding stuff. The bridal suite really becomes the “hang-out” and/or preparation room before the wedding, so at the end of the day, it does not look as glamorous and romantic.
My suggestion is to have a separate room for hanging out and getting ready, and another suite just for you and your husband for when after the wedding is over. Don’t forget to have it prepared with a sparkling bottle of champagne, flowers, and some candlelight. This is a task I suggest you assign to your wedding coordinator or the hotel’s special events coordinator.
Does this sound like a plan? I sure hope so!
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