7 Wedding Mistakes to Avoid

A completely flawless wedding may be unattainable, but here's how you can make the day almost ideal

You've been to more than a few weddings in your lifetime, and you've probably heard far more than your fair share of advice about the obvious wedding pitfalls. But there are a few more subtle wedding miscalculations—we can't really call them disasters—that even the most well-organized, well-meaning brides and grooms can fall prey to.

These are not the kinds of things that ruin a wedding day forever, but they are things that you may find yourself mulling over a few days after the nuptials. It was great, you may find yourself thinking, and it would have been just perfect, if only…

"If only we hadn't stayed until the last guests were climbing into their cars."
Yes, it's true. Even the bride and groom can overstay their welcome. Most polite guests will feel as though they should wait for the two of you to leave before they take off themselves. So to keep them from feeling weird about departing before you do—and to avoid seeing the sad image of the vacant, post-party reception site—leave the boozy dancing, the doling out of floral centerpieces, and the collecting of stray purses to your mother, your friends, or your wedding consultant. Go to your hotel room and relive every moment of the day with each other. Or whatever. Just be sure to leave with a group of your biggest fans cheering in the distance.

"If only we hadn't spent the cocktail hour having our portraits taken."
Yup, you have to have those posed photos. However, there is something disappointing about wasting that post-ceremony joy standing in front of a camera for an hour while your guests are waiting eagerly for the VIPs to arrive.

You have a couple of options. One is to keep the number of portraits very small. Ask your photographer what can be accomplished in half an hour. Be sure that he or she has the portrait site set up before the ceremony, that the backdrop and the lighting are all set. Then, keep things quick. If you have a wedding consultant, she or he can usher the immediate family and wedding party right into the portrait area after the ceremony.

The other, and usually the more efficient, option is to take all or most of the posed photos before the ceremony. Definitely do all the shots that involve only one of you (like the groom with his parents and wedding party, and the bride with hers) before the ceremony. That leaves fewer shots for the photographer to take after the wedding. It also means that you must be ready at least an hour before the ceremony.

It is becoming much more common these days, however, for the bride and groom to drop tradition and do all of their wedding portraits before the wedding ceremony. Brides and grooms who have done this do not report that their wedding ceremony was a letdown in any way. No groom has ever stood at the bottom of the aisle, watching the bride walk toward him, thinking, Oh, that old dress again.

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