Looking back on the many weddings I had a chance to be a part of this summer, a unique aspect of being a wedding planner is the moments I get to share with the bride. There are specifically three times during the wedding day that I try to make special and private for the bride, and a couple that the groom is part of as well, and in each of those moments, I usually end up telling her--deep breath, take it all in, and enjoy this moment.
The first is when the bride is putting on her dress. This is a time I try to keep a little less cluttered if possible. If the bride wants the bridesmaids there then I make sure they are there, otherwise keeping it just the bride and her mom, and if she has a sister we make sure she is there as well. The moment before she looks in the mirror, if I'm there and not setting up somewhere else, I like to remind the bride to take a deep breath, and to take it all in. Don't rush, just enjoy this moment.
Some couples choose to have a quiet moment together without seeing each other before the wedding. They might hold hands around a corner, say a prayer together, and hear each other for the last time before being at the alter. It only lasts for minutes, but for that time it is just the bride and groom, the photographer, videographer, and myself. The excitement and encouragement in those minutes is always a beautiful thing to witness!
The alternative to that is a first look! First looks are always amazing to witness because the couple has decided to have this private moment rather than seeing each other for the first time in front of all their guests. This makes sense for a lot of couples because it is a very overwhelming feeling, and it definitely helps myself and the photographer when you want to take those pictures before the wedding;) I'm often with the bride going into this, making sure no one else is going to interrupt this moment that they specifically want to be between the two of them. The nerves of a bride before she goes to her groom is a precious thing. But also when I tell the groom, "I'm going to go get your bride," I usually have to remind him to take a deep breath, and to enjoy this moment with your bride. Throughout the wedding day the groom is always being told to go here or there, smile now, say hi to this person, and so on. I want to make the moment when he first sees his bride to be as slow and uninterrupted as possible. Then when I go get the bride I tell her the same, deep breath, and enjoy this moment with your groom.
The look of a groom the first time he sees his bride, if that's during a first look or when he sees her at the end of the aisle, it's priceless either way. And if there is or isn't a first look, the moment right before the bride walks down the aisle is always a moment I cherish and am honored to be part of. There are a lot of expectations for a woman on her wedding day that she has setup for herself. Disney Princess movies have shown us how the peek of our existence is the end of the movie when all of the sudden it is a first kiss at a wedding scene or the first dance after being married. It could seem like a lot of pressure for a bride to walk down in front of all of her friends and family, with everyone looking at her, living this moment that has been played in her head many times before. However, she is always the most nervous about the man looking down at her from the other end of the aisle. But her smile as soon as she sees him is always the most real and honest. There is nothing that a photographer or wedding planner can say to get that kind of smile from a bride or happiness from a groom. But right before the bride turns that corner, or right before that door opens, she often looks at me with tears in her eyes, for one last word, and I get to once again tell her, deep breath, this is it, enjoy this moment.
The last moment that is always special and an honor to witness is right before the bride and groom leave at the end. I have the guests lined up with sparklers or bubbles or making a tunnel to send off the bride and groom, and then I get to go tell the newlyweds that this amazing day they have been dreaming of is coming to an end. It's time to leave as Mr. and Mrs. It's the last opportunity I have to give the bride and groom a minute alone to soak it all in, and then I tell them to take a deep breath, and to enjoy this last moment with their guests as they cheer them on. They blissfully head out, and they don't need to worry about a thing, because I stay and clean it up after they go! I love to be part of those moments where we try to make the minutes pass slow, and make memories that they will never forget. I hope that everything I do that day gives the bride and groom so many moments to enjoy the day and not worry about the details!