Success Story: The Bride is Late!

May 27th, 2013
The groom is ready with is attendants.  Where is the bride?  Photo by Happy Buddy PhotoArt.

The groom is ready with his attendants. Where is the bride? Photo by Happy Buddy PhotoArt.

I think my favorite wedding stories are about disaster averted.  Okay, I’ll be honest:  The stories I like are the ones where I get to save the day.  Here is another one:

The guests were seated in the church.  The bridegroom and groomsmen were all ready.  The officiant was in place.  Where was the bride?

Calling a bride’s cell phone is pretty unlikely to get you anywhere.  Naturally, I gave it a try.  Just as naturally, she did not answer.

Now, I generally ask my clients for contact information for at least two members of the bridal party, because I know that I will need it if this sort of situation arises.  In this case, I had a phone number for the maid of honor, but she, also, did not answer her phone.

The other thing I always ask for is a list of the major players and close family members involved with the wedding.  In this case, that information was invaluable.  I knew that the bride’s brother was standing with the groomsmen.  And I knew that the bride’s sister was with the bride.  I asked the brother for the sister’s phone number, knowing that he would have it.  She did answer her phone and was able to tell me what was going on and hurry the bridal party to the church.

Even with the delay, the processional started on time.  And I think the groom worried a lot less, knowing that I was tracking down the bride!

First Dance

May 20th, 2013
It looks as if they enjoyed their first dance.   Photo by hannahelaine photography (hannahelaine.com).

It looks as if they enjoyed their first dance. Photo by hannahelaine photography (hannahelaine.com).

I have noticed two distinct schools of thought among brides and grooms on the subject of the first dance at the wedding reception.  There are those who say, “Hooray, we get to dance together on our wedding day!”  And then there are those (probably in the majority) who say, “I just don’t want to embarrass myself.”  If you are in the first camp, you probably don’t need to know the rest of what I am going to say.  This is for the non-dancers.

First, let me remind you that the traditional first dance is completely optional.  If you don’t dance in the rest of your life, there is no requirement that you dance at your wedding.  It is the traditional way to let the guests know that the dance floor is open, but if you have a good DJ or dance band, they will find a way to get your guests onto the dance floor.

If you do opt to dance, there are ways you can manage to enjoy it.  Dance lessons are a good start.  At the very least, they will give you some confidence.  A good instructor can also help you with various dance moves and with feeling comfortable on the dance floor.  If you like, you can choreograph the steps to your dance (with the help of a professional, if needed) so you can practice it and feel sure you know what you are doing.

Another thing you can do is make sure that the song you choose for the dance is reasonably short.  Two or three minutes is plenty of first dance.  Actually, this is good advice for almost everyone.  Unless your dance skills are at a professional caliber, the point of the first dance is not to entertain your guests but as a moment for the two of you.  But since all your guests will be watching, keep it short and sweet.  Everyone will enjoy it more that way.

Also, be sure to pick a song that you like and that has a good dancing beat.  Not every song is meant for dancing, so choose carefully.  Your DJ or band leader can help you, as can a dance instructor.

You should be able to enjoy all the elements of your wedding and reception, so if you’re nervous about dancing, find a way to make it fun.

Vendors I Know: Toast & Jam

May 13th, 2013
Toast & Jam, as they appear on their website.

Toast & Jam, as they appear on their website.

I had the great pleasure of working with one of the many talented DJs at Toast & Jam recently.  There are a lot of reasons why this company stands out from the many other DJ services in Chicago.  We’re lucky to have a lot of talented companies and individuals here, so it’s not easy to stand out.

I think the first thing I noticed about T&J is that it is a woman-owned company, and most of the DJs are women.  That is unusual, because most of those talented DJs I mentioned are men.  I don’t know that gender makes a difference in the quality of the talent, but it certainly caught my attention just by being different.

I worked with Toast & Jam on a wedding where the bridal couple were extremely specific about the music they wanted and–more important–the music they didn’t want.  The DJ worked with them patiently and creatively to come up with a playlist that made them happy.  She kept the music flowing and to the taste of the bridal pair.  It all looked easy, but if you knew what went on behind the scenes, it was very impressive.

There are a lot of good companies to choose from when you are looking for a DJ, but I know I am going to be recommending Toast & Jam a lot.

Miss Manners on Bridesmaids

May 6th, 2013
There's a happy wedding party.  Photo courtesy of christytylerphotography.com.

There's a happy wedding party. Photo courtesy of christytylerphotography.com.

I’ve been so delighted by reading Miss Manners on {Painfully Proper} Weddings by Judith Martin that I want to share another tidbit with you.  Miss Manners has a little something to say about bridesmaids:

Bridesmaid abuse has become rampant….  The outrages…result either from tyranny on the part of the bride, or from the observance of an unwieldy accumulation of unauthorized but persistent customs that have made what ought to be a pleasurable duty of friendship into a social and financial burden….

The original point of having bridesmaids was that the bride would wish…to be surrounded by her closest friends.  That a group of young ladies might add a decorative element to the ceremony, and that they might want to fuss over the bride a bit…, were merely delightful but incidental advantages….

Things have come to the point where bridesmaids’ appearance is as strictly mandated and inspected as if they were in boot camp and their kindnesses are no more optional than if they had been conscripted.

Miss Manners puts the case so well that it leaves me very little to add.  I think the most important point to remember is that while there are a lot of customs regarding wedding attendants, it is most important to treat your friends with the courtesy and consideration appropriate to friendship.  After all, you have probably known your bridesmaids longer than you have known your fiance, and it would be nice if they were still your friends after the wedding.