If you’ve ever been in a bridal party, you know how quickly the big day can pass. You think “Oh I have to be there at 7 a.m. to get hair and makeup done. That is SO EARLY.” and then, before you know it, you’re panicking because it’s time for the ceremony and you still have to touch up your lipstick!
When you are the bride or groom, the day will pass even more quickly, and so many couples say that they wish they could have had a little more time together to really soak it all in. You may have a first look scheduled, but we want to give you a few tips for how to be intentional about creating some private time to celebrate with your new husband, wife or bridal party!
1.Set up a pre-reception toast with your new spouse or bridal party. Your planner can really help to make this one perfect. Pick a secluded spot at your ceremony or reception venue and ask your planner or coordinator to sit out a chilled bottle of champagne and glasses, so that it’s ready to go post-ceremony. Take 20 minutes to toast and just celebrate with the people you are closest to! This will certainly make for some great photos, too! If you elect to do a pre-reception toast, I would definitely make sure it coincides with cocktail hour so that your guests aren’t just sitting and waiting for you to arrive. We want to keep everyone happy, so never underestimate the power of passed hors d’oeuvres.
2.Have a secluded dinner. Instead of taking a bite here and there as people keep coming over to shower you with affection, set up a private sweetheart table in another room so you can actually eat dinner and enjoy each other’s company for a bit before rejoining your guests. This can also be a really nice surprise for your spouse, if you are looking for another way to make the day even more magical. Let your planner know and he or she can take care of everything and make sure that your spouse never suspects a thing! You can even let your photographers know that you don’t want this time to be photographed, if you really want to have the time entirely to yourselves. Just plan for this to happen right after the ceremony while your guests are enjoying cocktail hour. Then you can rejoin your guests – ready to party! This also frees you up to take beautiful sunset photos while your guests are eating dinner!
3.Schedule a private last dance at your venue. While your coordinator is ushering your guests to the exit location, take a moment to have one last dance (or two) with your new spouse, while they get set up outside. Discuss this with your coordinator, in advance, so he or she can coordinate with the musicians/DJ. It always takes a few minutes to get guests ready for the exit, so this is the perfect time to steal a few private moments!
4.Plan a fake exit and a late-night snack. If your time at the venue allows it, do a fake exit for your guests and then circle back to your reception venue for a late-night snack with your bridal party! Have pizza delivered or something else easy and fun (or festive, like the gingerbread cookies in the above photo!), so your caterers can start loading up while you are enjoying a little time together. If your reception venue has a smaller room you can use, set up there so all of your vendors can start breaking down. Then it’s much easier to make sure everyone is out of the venue on time! Depending on your agreement with your venue, this could be easier to accomplish for some than others. But if you really want to have a little after-party at your venue, chat with your planner or coordinator about how to accomplish this. So often our best friends travel in for our wedding and we hardly get to spend any time with them. This might be the solution that you are looking for, so be sure to let your planner know that this is important to you and he or she will help you find a way!
Just remember, this is YOUR day and you should celebrate it exactly the way you want. As long as you keep your guests happy and fed, no one is going to mind if you take a little extra time with your closest friends and loved ones. Happy Planning! 🥂