Tossing the bouquet is a tradition that stems from England. Women used to rip pieces of the bride’s dress and flowers in order to obtain some of her good luck. This must have been the early days of the ‘trash the dress’ movement! To escape from the crowd the bride would toss her bouquet and run away. When Queen Victoria married Prince Albert, the herbs and spices had been replaced by fresh flowers, although edible flowers were still included in the bouquet. The bride would carry her arrangement as she walked down the aisle. The dill from the bride’s bouquet (also known as the herb of lust), was consumed by the bride, the groom, and their wedding guests during the reception, as the herb was meant to increase sexual desire. What a reception! I’ve recently read the book, The Language of Flowers by Vanessa Diffenbaugh, a very good read! This book certainly caught my interest on the language of flowers and their true meanings. What a lost art, I can’t wait to learn more!
I want to talk about the bride’s bouquet. If you’re petite, your bouquet should be petite. If you’re of a medium build, your bouquet should be medium. If you’re a larger bride, your bouquet should be larger. It’s all about proportion. I’ve arrived at weddings and couldn’t see the bride because her bouquet was so LARGE. Your focus has now shifted to this huge bouquet instead of the bride. If you’re a larger bride, you do not want to be carrying a single rose. Brides usually haven’t ordered or carried a bouquet before so they truly aren’t sure what to expect with the it. Sometimes the part of the bouquet you hold onto is so LARGE you can barely wrap your hand around it (seriously), and when it’s that big it is also heavy. Recently at a wedding the bride turned to me and said, “You know, this bouquet is really heavy! I didn’t realize how heavy it was going to be until it was made and in my hands.” Yes, heavy. I know you won’t be carrying it long, but it gets heavier by the second. Then I’ll have a bride with tiny hands trying to wrap them around a 6 inch bouquet base. Look at your hand right now and form your hand as if you are holding a bouquet. See what I mean?
Don’t be afraid to personalize your bouquet. I’ve had one bride put a pendant holding a picture of her father on her bouquet. Her father had passed away and she wanted him holding her hand down the aisle. Another bride had a small portion of her grandmothers veil put onto a hair comb to be placed in her hair. At the last minute she opted for a tiara instead but still wanted her ‘something old and something borrowed’ with her. I said, “Put it in your bouquet.” It fit perfectly and looked like it was meant to be there. Such sentiment makes the wedding. Free advice… don’t buy more than what you need or what will look less than classic and all will be perfect.
Ah, the romance of bug repellent. Not exactly the fun and delightful thing you think of when planning your wedding. But you should, oh, you should. It can be one of the least expensive items that will make you and your guests the happiest. When planning a ceremony or reception involving the beautiful outdoors it is always important to think about the little things that can make a huge difference. I’ve Officiated a couple weddings this year that have taught me a valuable lesson. Not only should I carry in my small arsenal of help items (scissors, extra boutineer pins, mints, black pens, tissues, lint roller) but now bug spray. At one outside wedding reception in Wilmington, there was the most magnificent breeze, but when it died down, at exactly the time of the Bride and Groom’s first dance, the mosquito’s became wedding crashers. We had recently had a lot of rain and the mosquitos were ready to party. I lasted as long as possible, but 23 bites later (I counted), slapping of my face and everyone around me, I was happy I had the luxury of deciding it was time to go. The guests prayed for the wind to pick up QUICK as they slapped the mosquito’s silly. In retrospect if I had stayed I could have witnessed some pretty good mosquito influenced dance moves. My next adventure was far less fun and really to be honest painful for everyone. This time it occurred at a Topsail Island beach wedding, where the family had all spent their day enjoying the same beach spot the ceremony was taking place in the evening. Well, once the tide rolled in and back out again it brought something in with it that conjured up every horsefly East of the Mississippi, I’m certain. Everyone was getting bit and doing a little dance throughout the ceremony. Ferocious as they were (and they WERE) I grinned and carried on. I can honestly say I’ve never seen guests make it from the beach to the reception in such record time.
You can find many different bug repellent options out these days. Find something that works perfect for your personality. Deet, no Deet, ala-natural, spray, pump, pretty smelling, even the kind that conjures up memories of camping as a kid. Just get some, let the guests know it is there for them if they choose, and they will. The Groom and Bride along with their wedding guests will be happier and able to enjoy every minute of the wedding. Celebrating happily during, and ever after.
I always tell my couples that when your wedding starts late, it is time you will never get back at the end. Ideally, your wedding will start on time but most start a little late. 15 minutes late is acceptable but after that you’ll need to remember your guests, are your guests, and it isn’t fair to keep them waiting. And we all know grandma and grandpa arrived 30 minutes early. Again, it will be less party time at the end. And if you start too late it can completely affect the food for the reception. Your cold food gets hot, your hot food gets cold, etc. If your vision has been a sunrise or sunset ceremony timing is everything, neither will wait. Crazy, I know. No matter how much time you think you’ll need, add another 30 minutes. Your worse case scenario is you get to sit back and take in the moment instead of rushing around up until the last second. That really isn’t how you want your wedding ceremony to start. So remember, allow plenty of time and add in another 30 minutes.
Since I had two weddings last week where the brides called four days before their wedding to say, “my officiant has backed out, changed their mind, decided to go surfing, (yes, that’s a true line) sick, etc., I thought this would be a good time to write about the “vanishing officiant” phenomenon. Sadly, I get these calls at least once a week and sometimes more. It’s even happened while the couple is at the venue, and their officiant is a no call… no show. Fortunately, most event coordinators know me, and call to see if I’m available and “how fast can I get there?” I never ask “what happened?” More often than not, I can pretty much guess.
Many of my weddings are destination beach weddings on Topsail Island, Emerald Isle, Wrightsville Beach…well, all the beaches in North Carolina. Two times I have had a frantic call from a bride who was victim to a con artist. Both thought they had everything from their house rental to their cake covered. Always take a few extra moments to check reviews and make sure whomever you are hiring from a distance is not taking your money and running.
Couples often ask a close friend or relative to perform their ceremony. Whether their intentions are to give them this honor or perhaps to save some money, it usually doesn’t work out as planned. Unless the person they are depending on loves public speaking, (and it’s the #1 fear of most people) chances are greater than not, they will get cold feet as they start to realize this is a really big deal and maybe it wasn’t such a good idea. Remember- this is the most important part of your most important day, and it should be given the reverence it deserves. A beautiful ceremony has a rhythm and flow. Unless your officiant understands this, you run the risk of the wheels coming off the wedding bus midway through your ceremony (I’ve witnessed it as a guest). While the intentions may be sincere, most people have never performed a wedding ceremony and haven’t got a clue as to how it all flows together. Your guests should be laughing one minute and crying tears of joy the next. Most important… you should have a connection with your officiant and your ceremony should reflect your love for each other.
The moral to this story… choose early and choose wisely.