Top 10 wedding tips

  1. Venue - If you choose an outdoor venue beware the unpredictable British climate. Brides in sleeveless dresses easily turn blue when it’s cold! Have a back-up option nearby in case of rain.

  2. Atmosphere - Consider the mood you want for your ceremony (serious, joyful, relaxed, sacred, formal). This will influence the style and content of your ceremony.

  3. Wedding celebrant - Get an experienced celebrant. It’s tempting to cut costs and try and do everything yourself. This is one area where it really pays to have an experienced celebrant to guide and support you. Choose someone who makes you feel comfortable, is open to your ideas and has a successful track record.

  4. Music and songs - Do you want live music, CD, a soloist or a choir? If you want people to join in a song or hymn, choose something that is easy to sing and which most people will know. Include the words in your Order of Service. If using a CD player, ask someone who is familiar with your system to take charge of it. I recommend you hire a professional sound engineer (see point 9).

  5. Readings - Choose ones that have special significance for you. They can be secular or from different spiritual traditions.

  6. Message - What message do you want to convey to your guests about your ceremony, your values, your relationship, your faiths?

  7. Participants - Do you want members of your family or friends to take part with readings, rituals, blessings?

  8. Rituals - What rituals from your traditions do you want to include? Always present them in a way that is meaningful and respectful.  Explain any words people may not be familiar with. Be sensitive to other faiths.

  9. Equipment - For an outdoor ceremony or if the guest numbers exceed 30, you need microphones (a clip-on lapel microphone for the celebrant and a microphone on an upright stand for the readers). Book a sound engineer for the entire ceremony.

  10. Rehearsal - Ideally this takes place at the venue the day before the ceremony. If not at the venue, then somewhere where you have enough space to walk through the ceremony. Make sure that the people with specific roles are present so they know exactly what they will be doing on the day.

The pitfalls to avoid

  1. Letting others dictate your ceremony
    Family members may have their own ideas about how your wedding should be. You may feel under pressure to go along with what they want. Do remember this is your wedding not theirs. Listen to their ideas but don’t feel you have to accept everything they say simply to please them.

  2. Making guests uncomfortable
    In a non traditional wedding or unfamiliar setting, guests may feel uncomfortable because they don’t know what to expect. A few brief explanations about your ceremony in your service booklet will ensure that everyone present feels relaxed and at ease.

  3. Choosing unfamiliar songs
    If you want your guests to join in a song or hymn, choose something that most people will know and one that is easy to sing otherwise you might be the only two singing!

  4. Winging it on the day 
    You may have 101 things to think about during the build up to your Big Day but just as actors need a dress rehearsal before a show, you too need a rehearsal along with the other key people who are taking part. Ideally this is done the day before the ceremony.

  5. Doing it all yourself
    When you are looking for a different kind of ceremony, it is tempting to try and do it all yourself. But regardless of whether you want to say “I do” in a barn, the end of a pier or  a 5-star hotel, it pays to find an experienced wedding celebrant who will guide you as you prepare for one of the most important days of your life.

  6. Having no structure
    Every ceremony, however unconventional, will have a basic structure.  Without one your guests will be left in the dark wondering what you are doing and why.