There’s no doubt 2016 has been a year for the books, full of joys and challenges, highs and lows and a whole lot of roller coaster-ing in between. I so enjoy thinking back through the positive things – the weddings we’ve had the opportunity to celebrate with happy couples, the personal triumphs for friends and family – and turn the negatives into positives by incorporating them into goals and resolutions for the New Year. I’m so excited… big stuff is planned for Laura Naturally in 2017!
I came across this cute photo on Huffington Post this week and could not help but laugh out loud. I may be a musician rather than a wedding photographer, but I totally know how he feels.
Take a look at this beautiful bridal party! They are perfectly coiffed, made up and outfitted for their perfect day. This bride and her trusty bridesmaids have been planning meticulously for months — even years. The photographer is clearly on his A game, bringing together everyone for a well-styled group photo.
And then he slips and falls down, snapping the photo on his way and capturing these priceless, surprised faces. Despite all their planning, life happened in the middle of their life event, and while this may not be the perfect, every-hair-in-its-place photo they thought they’d get, I guarantee you it’s their favorite one. (Oh, and they probably got that “perfect” one for the mantelpiece, too.)
Although I’ve never planned my own wedding (hold your horses, friends — that’s a ways down the road!) I’ve learned that the brides who are most satisfied at their weddings are the ones who embrace the unexpected and have a little fun. Like my mama always says, “make sure your lipstick is on at the beginning of the night, but don’t waste a memorable evening in the bathroom touching up your makeup — live a little!” In other words, plan for the best and then roll with the punches.
On my blog and countless other sources, you’ll find advice on how to plan down to the minute for your dream wedding, and I love the opportunity to help guide brides on the musical aspects of their wedding journey. This photo was just a reminder to me what a memory can be made when the ring bearer drops the rings or crazy Uncle Harold knocks the topper off the cake. You can’t plan for everything.
Good wedding ceremony musicians are not only trained to play the music itself, they are skilled at “timing out” the music so that your processional down the aisle is seamless. Whether you and your wedding party feel like taking a little extra time to savor the moment or one of your bridesmaids loses a shoe, you shouldn’t have to worry about whether your musician gets the memo in the heat of battle.
And you won’t – if you take one simple step during your planning process to ensure proper wedding day communication.
It is important to tell your wedding planner or same-day venue coordinator to allow each song selection to gracefully end and a new one to begin before sending out the next wedding party group. Don’t worry, we won’t keep you waiting there forever! Many times, wedding planners feel rushed to get everyone down the aisle. But, if a little time is taken by the coordinator, the musician is able to avoid any abrupt stops in the music. This creates a much smoother and more pleasant experience for you, your groom, and your guests.
Even better, you can encourage the planner and musician to communicate one-on-one by phone prior to the big day so that they are on the same page!
Several times a month, a bride-to-be asks me for recommendations for music to incorporate into her wedding ceremony.
“What do people usually do?” she asks, typically with a touch of panic in her voice. (As you may have heard, wedding planning can be a stressful undertaking.)
My answer, most often, is that it’s all about what YOU like. A few questions I might ask the bride and groom usually include:
If you had to choose, would you describe yourselves as traditional or contemporary?
What is the tone of your ceremony venue?
Are there any songs or artists that are especially meaningful to you and/or your families?
People never seem to have trouble conceptualizing what their dream wedding will be — visions of color palettes, bouquets, event venues, fondant-laden cakes and merengue-laden white dresses dance in their heads from before the groom-to-be drops to one knee. But music is part of what makes your wedding, your wedding!
My humble advice is to throw out the rules of “what people usually do” and select music for your ceremony that (1) fits your venue and (2) fits the couple up at the altar. If the words you would use to describe your wedding include “elegant” and “stately,” then by all means ask your musicians to play Pachelbel’s Canon in D. But, if you don’t know Mozart from Madonna, pick something that is meaningful to you, and you can’t go wrong!