Haydee D. Lasco
My husband and I have been sponsors in countless weddings. This allowed us to witness problems that could have been avoided with enough preparation and wise planning. I have identified some of these problems and suggested some tips on how to avoid them.
I. Problems Encountered During the Wedding Ceremony
Delays seem to be the norm in most weddings. It is okay if the bride is late because guests give a big allowance for that. But sometimes, other members of the entourage and even the officiating minister also come late.
• Let the bride and the groom give an ample time allowance in every aspect of the wedding. Create a schedule, with appropriate allowance, and stick to it.
• High regard for the occasion and sensitivity to the guests are enough reasons to come on time, whether you are a bride or a guest.
• Advise the officiating minister to come on time or even earlier. Inform the minister regarding all the details of the wedding. If he needs a ride, request someone to pick him up. (In the recent wedding we attended, the minister went to the wrong venue which caused the delay of the wedding ceremony.) This goes for the other members of the entourage. A reminder can be subtly indicated in the invitation: (ex.The ceremony will start exactly at 3:00 pm.).
• Make sure that the sound system and lightings are functioning properly. Fixing a malfunctioning microphone in the middle of the wedding ceremony ruins a momentous event and causes unnecessary delay.
2. Flower girls and Bible bearers who do not want to walk on the aisle.
Overwhelmed by the crowd, these cute ones would not walk the aisle unless accompanied by someone they know.
• Unless a little drama before the procession does not matter to the couple, they can choose whoever they like to be their flower girls or Bible bearer. But they should be aware that these cute little ones may or may not be able to perform their roles best.
• Proper coaching can be a big help. Make them practice at home or in the venue itself. During the procession, a close relative can sit in front and wave to the child to calm him or her.
3. Revealing wedding gowns
Most wedding gowns I observed were often bare backs or have a very low neckline. Others have flimsy fabric that gives a silhouette of the bride’s form.
While this is the norm in the world, wedding gowns for Christians should be modest and God-honoring. Her body should be properly covered because it is reserved for her husband-to-be and not for the eyes of the public.
4. Vows were written in crumpled paper.
The vow is one of the highlights of the wedding ceremony. I have yet to see a couple who have memorized their respective vows.
It will be more meaningful if the bride and the groom can compose their vows ahead of time so they still have time to memorize it. Guests will love to see that their vows to each other are expressed lovingly and sincerely. However, a neat copy should be ready in case they forgot it.
5. Guests were not considered in choosing a venue.
Popular wedding venues these days are farms and garden resorts. But sometimes, these are tucked in the inner barangays with narrow roads, where parking is also a problem. High elevation venues offer a marvelous view of the sunset, but it becomes too cold towards the afternoon. The guests, caught off-guard had to bear the cold.
• For a garden wedding, have a contingency plan. Garden wedding is dependent on the weather. Make sure that there will be a smooth transfer to an alternative venue if the rain comes unexpectedly.
• In high elevation weddings, inform the guests of temperature changes especially towards the afternoon.
• Guests are willing to wait for the reception to begin, but don’t let them get hungry by providing a delicious spread of pica-pica and drinks.
6. Undefined, unexplained roles of the members of the entourage.
Sometimes the bridesmaid and the secondary sponsors are clueless about their respective roles in the wedding ceremony.
• The bridesmaid’s primary role is to ensure that the bride is relaxed and comfortable. She should know when to get the bouquet for the bride and when to give it to her. During the picture-taking, she should make sure that the wedding gown is in place during the entire ceremony and especially during the picture-taking. There should be no folded trail, nor out-of-place fabric. The secondary sponsors should know (and execute) their respective roles as well.
For a detailed discussion of the role of the bridesmaid you may want to read this blog by Annie Cording (https://www.weddingideasmag.com/bridesmaids-duties-jobs-during-your-wedding-day/).
• If there is a candle ceremony, the candle sponsor should make sure that the candle will light-up, and the match or lighter is perfectly working. At a wedding we attended, the candle sponsor could not light the candle because his lighter would not touch the wick. He had to remove the glass cover but the wind was blowing hard and all the candles were not lighted at all. The problem could have been fixed, had they known the problem ahead of time.
7. A photographer who is stealing the limelight.
Photographers can create a distraction in the wedding ceremony by taking too many photo shoots at every movement of the groom and the bride.
• Memorable moments should be documented but not with too many photo shoots that can spoil the solemnity of the wedding ceremony. Photographers should not be too conspicuous as well.
• For a picture-perfect bride, make sure that the wedding gown is in place before the picture-taking. This is the bridesmaid’s role. The photographer must see to it that everyone looks their best before they take the shot.
• The craze these days on wedding receptions is the showing of the same-day photo edits. This requires an hour-long photoshoot after the wedding ceremony which means additional waiting time for the guest. Make the guests comfortable as they wait by serving them filling and delicious appetizers. Some parts of the reception program can also be performed during this time.
8. Malfunctioning lights and sound system.
Make sure that the sound system is well-modulated and microphones are working properly. The loud music during the reception can hurt the ear and hinder the pleasant conversation among the guest.
II. Tips for an Enjoyable Wedding Reception
• Choose a venue that is easily accessible to most of the guests. Consider also the provision for ample parking space. It will be better to designate or hire someone who can man the parking area.
• Be sensitive to the needs of the guests. Most have traveled far and many are already tired or hungry. If you can help it, avoid the long wait for them and don’t make them hungry by providing a refreshment corner.
• Have a well-planned seating arrangement so guests are seated to people they know so they can enjoy a lively conversation.
• Requests the caterer to set-up at least 2 food stations (depending on the number of the guests) to minimize the waiting time. It may mean additional costs, but the guests will be happier.
• In the menu, make provision for the health-conscious guests.
• Have the reception area near the wedding ceremony venue to avoid the hassle of movement for everyone. Consider the traffic condition as well.
• Expect the unexpected when close relatives are allowed to make a speech. They may say something that the bride or the groom would not want to hear, much more the guests.
• Make sure that the supply of toiletries in the restrooms is sufficient.
- Request or hire someone to assist guests in parking their cars.
For giveaways, it is better to give something that can be useful for the guests and not those that will only attract a cloud of dust in their cabinet. Consumables are getting popular, like chocolates or some special goodies. We have received ground coffee, ube halaya, a herb and ornamental plant.
IV. Tips Before and After the Wedding
- Tips for the Bride before the Wedding
• Good sleep and the right preparation will help avoid tense feelings.
• Let your Christian profession be reflected in your appearance and that includes the wedding dress you are wearing.
• Make your natural beauty shine on your wedding day and not hidden by layers of make-up. Let your make-up be simple and elegant.
• Wear comfortable shoes. Pretty shoes might be hurting your feet. It will add stress and fatigue to an already tiring day.
• Time your monthly period to avoid being pregnant on your wedding night if you are not yet ready to start a family.
- After the Wedding
• Sending out thank you cards for those who gave wedding gifts is right and proper. Personalized cards for primary and secondary sponsors will be greatly appreciated.
• As a newly-married couple, visiting relatives on both sides is a good start in establishing a heart-warming relationship with the in-laws.
V. Importance of prayer.
Man can plan, but it is only the Lord who can bless our plans. Seek God’s wisdom and blessings and commit everything to Him in prayer. This is the most important tip of all.
No matter how detailed our plan is, problems can’t still be avoided. If unpleasant things happened, they don’t really matter much. Be reminded that the wedding is secondary to marriage. It only takes a day to get married, but marriage lasts a lifetime. The most important is how well-prepared we are to take the role of a wife or husband and even as parents. But if God is the center in a marriage relationship, love can only grow and blossom. Congratulations for finding each other by the grace of God!
Haydee D. Lasco
March 4, 2020