For those that missed her appearance on the Hitched Wedding Planning Platform, Kelly Mortimer offers some practical, essential & cost-free advice for all brides and grooms in the run up to their wedding day.

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Image credit: De Vere Horsley Estate

You can have beautiful flowers and an incredible theme, but if your day doesn’t flow well the overall ease and feel of the day can be compromised.

Break your day up into 3 sections:
1.  Ceremony
2. Pre dinner reception
3. Dinner & After Dinner

Carefully walk the steps of each section, ensuring timings have been carefully calculated and consider the logistics of each section, don’t leave any decisions to the big day. Here I have started with the ceremony for you and listed some general questions you should be asking.

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Image credit: The Principal Manchester

Before we start, delete phrase “I presume” from your vocabulary. If you’re not 100% sure, find out or add it to your to do list!

The Ceremony

VIP & “readers” seating: Have reserved seating for the ceremony for VIPs and readers. This ensures all the key people end up in the correct place, helps the ushers and saves embarrassment of guests unsure of how close to the front they can be!

Parking & Entrance: Is there parking nearby and how are guests informed (eg. via a wedding website or the additional info paper that goes with your invites)?  Ushers need to be positioned to assist guests finding the entrance.

Music: If not live, who has the music (USB stick? CD?) and who presses play?

Buttonholes: Who will attach? Boys really struggle with this, have 1 person dedicated to attaching all, so they are consistent across all the groomsmen – much better in your photos!

Unplugged ceremony: Consider having a “no photo” policy to avoid your photographer taking pictures of guest’s screens instead of their faces.

Where will the procession line up prior to the ceremony (out of view of guests)? What order will everyone walk in? Where will everyone stand/sit after they enter?

Once at the top of the aisle who will do the final “fluff”? It is likely your dress or veil has moved as you walk down the aisle, to ensure perfect photos ensure someone is responsible to fluff before the registrar begins.

After the ceremony: have fabulous exit music ready, this can be something quite fun and upbeat! Who directs the guests out and to where?

Confetti shot: This needs coordinating! Most venues/churches etc. won’t allow confetti on the aisle, so this may happen outside your ceremony room or even later in the day on pretty steps for example… Have the groomsman arrange guests at your chosen location and THEN hand out the confetti to the guests and get ready for that perfect photo!

Image credit: De Vere Wotton House

Now it’s your turn to look at the logistics for the next 2 sections, the Pre-Dinner Reception and Dinner & After Dinner Party!

And finally… My top two ceremony tips are:

GROOMS: Choose if you will watch her walk down to you or look straight ahead and then turn when your bride is at your side. Looking, then looking away during her entrance looks like you’re terrified! Pick a view and stick with it!

BRIDES & BRIDESMAIDS: Many brides & bridesmaids hold their flowers at chest height, hiding their beautiful dresses and creating hunched shoulders! Flowers should be held at your belly button. Practice holding something at your belly button in front of the mirror and see your shoulders go back and the relaxed appearance it gives. The perfect photo!

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About the writer

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Kelly Mortimer is a seasoned professional when it comes to wedding planning. She oversees wedding coordinators at 45 venues across the UK in her role as Group Wedding Director for the Principal Hotel Company.

Her career started in 2001 where she spent 10 years arranging dream beach weddings on the shores of the Caribbean! Later moving to London working for socialites, celebrities and royals in such venues as Mandarin Oriental, Rosewood and the world famous Claridge’s.

Header image: The Principal York