7 Wedding Mistakes to Avoid

Continued (page 2 of 4)

"If only the rehearsal dinner had been a bit different from the wedding."
Have you been to a weekend wedding where the festivities start out with a fabulous rehearsal celebration? We're talking four-course meal, disc jockey, the works.

The next night is the wedding: a great four-course meal and dancing, along with the cake-cutting and a decked-out bride and groom. But there's something a little bit old about this. We all just did almost the same thing yesterday. It was fun, it was elegant. But it was just yesterday.

Lesson: Vary the style of your events. The purpose of the rehearsal is to put all of the close family and friends of the bride and groom at ease with one another. It should leave them psyched for the wedding the next day and make them all feel sort of like distant relatives. If your wedding will be a formal ballroom affair, have a barbecue rehearsal dinner, for example. It may be a catered barbecue party. But guests should show up in shorts and sandals. They should drink colorful drinks with umbrellas and dance to mariachi music or something equally fun—as long as it's different. And if you are having an evening tent-wedding, then your in-laws should throw you a rehearsal dinner at a funky Mexican restaurant or a dude ranch or a similarly offbeat venue.

Sometimes, what's going on is a subtle desire by the groom's parents to show off just a little bit. They might want to throw the wedding, really. They might wish they were the bride's parents. They mean well, because they want to give you something lovely, even if you already have it. But you need to get the message across that you want only one wedding. Help them think of creative rehearsal-dinner ideas that may inspire them. But don't compete with your own party. Your wedding day deserves to shine on its own.

"If only we hadn't had to re-enact every major event for the photographer."
You know this scene. The bride and groom are about to cut their wedding cake. Their hands are entwined on the knife handle, they're looking at each other and giggling, the guests are standing around grinning. Then, a photographer runs over. "Stop," he says. "Put her hand over yours. Look in this direction. Okay, chin up a bit, shoulders closer. Turn the knife a little to the right. Lower your left eyebrow. Perfect. Now smile!" The moment may look great on film, but the magic of the moment is long gone.

Of course, the photographer will need to occasionally request some help or you won't get any reasonable pictures. For example, when cutting the cake, he might shoot several shots of the two of you giggling with each other, and then call for you to look at him for a moment. But if you ask for candids—as many couples do now—you're telling the photographer that you're not expecting "perfect" pictures. You are asking for images that reflect the reality of that day, confident that reality is really quite picturesque enough without all that adjusting, thanks.

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