Let's talk about finding balance on your wedding day, specifically the balance between your guests and YOU, as a bride and groom. Guests are always a delight to have around you on your big day, but they can also come with a little stress and slight frustration. I've been a part of more weddings than I can even count (including my own) and I'll tell you that one of THE biggest frustrations for a couple is trying to make sure they get "everything in" they wanted on their wedding day, but also trying to be considerate of their guests.
"Do we let the guests eat as soon as the ceremony is finished, while we do pictures? Do we have a cocktail hour? Should we have a photo booth and corn-hole boards? Does it mean we HAVE to do a first-look just so guests don't have to wait as long? Should we leave our reception early to make sure there are enough people for the sparkler exit? WHAT DO WE DO?!?!?!"
FREEZE. Stop for just a moment… Your wedding is just that, YOUR wedding. It's not about the guests, it's not about the flowers, and (I hate to say this) but it's not about your photographer either. It's all about you and the one you love. You both need to make sure you enjoy the day, just like you want to!
One of the most frustrating things for a couple on their wedding day is to see guests leaving early. It happens at almost every wedding… We're out shooting the family, or the bridal party and you see that look on the bride's face! She turns to her newly married husband and whispers "John! Why are they leaving already - we haven't even been introduced into the reception?!" Well, I'm here to tell you that it happens all of the time, and regardless of how hard to try, it will continue to happen until time is no more. (That is unless you were to lock all of your guests inside a prison cell for holding… Now THAT might have potential!) Guests leave for a myriad of reasons. Some have kids they need to get back to, some have a long drive, others just don't feel well or really don't like large crowds of people. As a bride and groom you need to remember that regardless of the reason they may be leaving early, they still came for the most important part of your wedding day - the ceremony. They love and care enough about you to get dressed up, clear time in their schedule and come out to be a part of your sweetest moments. THAT'S worth a lot more than we tend to give credit for. Simply try to be thankful that they were able to be there at all, and don't take it personal when they leave early. I promise you they aren't trying to send a message that "your wedding stinks - we're outta here!" There's a good reason they need to slip out a bit early.
The main thought I wanted to share was how to find the balance between YOU, as a couple, and your guests. One of the most important things about your wedding day is that you are able to enjoy it just like you have always dreamed you would be able to. After months and months of planning, thousands of dollars, sleepless nights and details upon details, you have planned THE most important day of your life - you should be able to enjoy it and take it all in. Your wedding guests should be present to celebrate and enjoy the day WITH you, not instead of you. That's SUCH a good statement, and so very true! You have spent more than your fair share of time making sure your guests will be occupied and comfortable for their time at your celebration, so on your wedding day "let it go" and just enjoy all of your hard work!
As a photographer, I know that it can be a frustration of guests to have to wait while the couple is "taking more photos," but that's not something you should be worried with as the bride and groom. A guest that loves you will be fine with waiting a few moments to let someone document this special day for you. After it's all said and done, the photos are one of the only things you will have left to share your special day with each other. The one or two guests that are tired of waiting will not even matter the day after your wedding, but your memories and how well you enjoyed the day most certainly will! Don't' get hung up on little things like that - you'll never please everybody anyway. (Do keep in mind that a good professional will work with you to only pull you away from your guests at the most appropriate times AND work quickly to keep that time with you away down to a minimum!)
With all of that being said, here's my "thesis," if you will: Your wedding day is about YOU, not your guests. Do what you can to make them comfortable and do keep them in mind when planning, but on the actual wedding day turn loose all the feelings of worry and fret and just enjoy being in the moment and enjoy the best day of your life! Trust me, you'll be OH SO GLAD you did...