Wedding Handy Hints

by Jan Littlejohn

Book Early

There are some days when I’d love to be able to clone myself – so many wonderful people, and only one me. Celebrants and local wedding venues often have bookings up to two years in advance. March and November are the most popular months – and “everything wedding” will be heavily booked around those times. You may like to think about either a Friday evening or Sunday wedding.


A plea from a local dressmaker – when selecting your bridesmaids do take into account how far they will have to travel for fittings. You may like to purchase enough fabric and patterns for all your bridesmaids and have each lady have their own made.  Please too, consider both mothers, they may like to tone in with the bridal party, and each be consulted about what the other is wearing.

Brides “men”

Yes, these days a Bride can have men as her attendants, so too can the Groom have a “Best Woman”.


This is important and may need to be discussed with all contributing parties. Decide who is paying for what. It can be helpful to decide early who is organising which aspects of the wedding. Look under Checklist for a guide. If your budget is really tight, you may like to contemplate a late morning ceremony and a catered picnic lunch (local guests could bring outdoor chairs and tables).


What would you like to share with your guests about your relationship? What does your relationship mean to you? Is the Bride going to be “given away”? Perhaps both of you would like to be “given away” by your families? I really want to help make your day as wonderful as possible, and therefore will create and personalise your Ceremony just for you.


A wonderful addition to any wedding, but they do get tired so you might like to time your ceremony around their sleep patterns. There are many simple ways children can be included, from flower girls and ring bearers to the important job of holding the bouquet. If children are to be included in the Ceremony, it is important to have a rehearsal beforehand so they know what is expected of them.

One of the most important times for children is immediately after the Ceremony. They can tend to feel left out of things, so it’s important to nominate an adult who they are comfortable with, to take charge – of course telling them how well they did.

Some couples hire a nanny or clown for the reception so children can attend the formal part then adjourn to a separate room for fun activities.


A lot of wedding venues forbid the use of confetti because of its environmental impact. Your guests may like to use bubbles, dried rose petals or rosemary (a sign of fertility) instead.


Oh so many of these to be made and often, so many people trying to make them. This can be really tricky sometimes, after all, its your day. You may like to let the major contributors take decisions in turns – sometimes the nest way to nip conflict in the bud before it arrives.

Facials: If you are contemplating a facial, Beauty Therapists suggest three days prior for your skin to look it’s best on the day. And if you don’t already.. a few weeks before the wedding add a lot of fresh fruit to your diet. Your skin will glow health and vitality.


This can be difficult for guests when couples have already set up house. Some stores offer a Wedding Register service whereby you leave a ‘Wish List’ from which guests can select a gift that also suits their budget. Alternatively you may like Guests to donate to your favourite charity. One couple had an early morning wedding , no gifts, and guests paid for their own breakfast. There’s often a family member or friend who would really like to help out. A handy job for them would be to get them to write what gift came from who on the back of the card attached. That way all the cards can be kept separate and you can thank each person for their specific gift.


If your guests are coming from out of town, along with a local map, you may like to include points of interest/restaurants etc in your area. Accommodation: Do you have treasured relatives and/or friends who may need to travel long distances for your special day? If so, accommodation may be heavily booked at certain times of the year. Budgets for guests will also factor into this, as at peak season the rates will rise.

Guest Book

You may like to warn guests prior, so they can bring a special poem or saying, photo or memory for your Guest Book. With their invitation you could also mail them a blank scrapbook page on which they can write their happy memories of you.

An alternative to this, at the reception have a framed canvas, on which guests can write a short message.

Guest Activities

Your photos can take up to two hours. What do you do for your guests? You may like to think about some of the following to keep them amused. Have them taught line dancing/how to work a hula hoop, rent circus side shows (coconut shies etc), hire a magician/ comedian/tarot reader/puppet show, serve high tea, have a wine tasting.

“Hen Party” or Stag Night

Much as these events may be fun for the participants, you may like to think about holding these events 2 or 3 weeks prior to the wedding. Legally a Celebrant cannot perform the wedding ceremony if one of the couple is “under the influence” of anything other than love!

Helpful relatives and friends

There are many areas where those wishing to help can be a great asset. From someone with great handwriting doing the place-cards to that very organised friend writing/typing out envelopes for the thank you cards, there are a myriad of jobs available.


Book your honeymoon early – you may need to get Visas, etc.


Invitations are generally sent out two months prior to the day, earlier if the wedding is to be held during a popular holiday time. Please include your “Plan B” option in case of rain, with a couple of mobile numbers (helpful friends) guests can contact on the day.


Not fun for the Groom nor the Guests. The number of times I’ve heard someone say “Oh its the Bride’s prerogative to be late”…this in 38 degree heat with a lot of the men sweltering in their suits. Often this is not the fault of the Bride/Groom/ etc. Emergencies (hairdresser’s power going out, photographer’s car not starting etc) can sure happen on the day so book your appointments early.


Food for thought, so many couples say after the wedding “If only we’d stressed less about the wedding and focused more on our marriage”. A pre marriage class or counselling can be invaluable and a great distraction to the myriad of details needing attention for the wedding.


Please – if you’re having a live band or singer for your Processional/ walking in music, let your guests and Celebrant know if they are going to play the entire song.


Ah, that wonderful creative photographer! All too often they get carried away with taking that perfect shot….meanwhile, back at the venue your groom, guests and Celebrant are melting. Being over 10 minutes late is not fair and not an option.

Some couples create a website on which they will put photos for their guests to view. There are also sites like where you can post your photos so families and friends can also view them.


If having an afternoon wedding, you may like to think about getting some of your photos taken before the Ceremony. This can save a lot of waiting time for your guests, and allow time before daylight disappears. Do check with your photographer before scheduling.

Plan B

Important, important ..and did I mention important! No-one wants you and your guests to get drenched. As mentioned under “Invitations” helpful friends with mobiles can be invaluable to redirect guests to an alternative venue if you get rained out. If the weather looks doubtful and you are having chairs for your guests, a supply of old towels can also be handy to wipe the rain off the seating.

Seating Plan for the reception

Ask me to email you information on this. It was too large a file to put in here but contains some handy information.


Would you both like a formal or relaxed style of wedding? What reflects your personalities? Your guests will appreciate knowing the style, formal or casual.

Thank You to your Guests

Australia Post offer a service whereby they will do a special (legal) postage stamp featuring one of your wedding photos. Ph 131318


Some couples have theme weddings, i.e. Star Trek, Rock and Roll, or everyone wearing the same colour. Another different idea is to hold the wedding at a place of special significance, e.g. the school where you met, the park where the proposal took place.

You could even have a “This is your Life” theme, where guests bring something significant representing their connection with you. Alternatively, if you are like a lot of couples who want a casual event, you may like to have a Barbeque reception.


To contemplate – Do you have many older guests or children in your bridal party or as guests? If so, you may like to opt for an earlier ceremony so they won’t get too tired. Many couples are now opting for Friday or Sunday weddings. Another alternative is to split your day. Have a special breakfast (or lunch) with older family members then hold your ceremony late morning (or afternoon). Lunch (or dinner) can then be held with friends and work colleagues.


If your wedding is outdoors, you may like to actually go there at the same time of the day that the wedding is scheduled. Are your guests going to be in full sun or shade? How much passing traffic noise is there? Are there any local churches which may have bell ringing practise? Bookings can be heavy at popular wedding venues – check out the availability early if you have a favourite.

Should you wish to marry in a public place you will need both the permission of Council, (or other Government department), and often a booking. If outdoors, you will need a contingency plan in case of bad weather.

Once a venue is booked, it can help save arguments later if you get quotes and confirmations in writing. Use the expertise of the Venue Staff – they have years of experience.


(From a legal eagle). Marriage revokes existing wills, unless they were made specifically in contemplations of the marriage. If either of the couple should die suddenly without having made a new will, the estate would go according to the laws of intestacy, which is not always what the person would have wanted. With so many second marriages and split families these days, new wills are essential.

It was the accepted practice in Babylon 4,000 years ago that for a month after the wedding, the bride’s father would supply his son-in-law with all the mead he could drink. Mead is a honey beer and because their calendar was lunar based, this period was called the honey month .. which we know today as the honeymoon.