Yes, Video Chatting Is Allowed During Your Ceremony

What? You think that’s rude? Why on earth would we say you can allow Video Chatting during your ceremony? Because at a recent wedding I performed there was very special out-of-state family who could not attend and video chatting was employed so they could feel like they were a part and the bride and groom could still have them there, even if remotely.

There are many reasons why someone special cannot attend your wedding: surgery, pregnant and unable to travel, lives out of the country and cannot afford to travel, military deployment, etc.  By assigning a family member or special friend on the front row to be in charge of turning on your chosen application and aiming it at the ceremony not only will they be able to see and hear all that is happening the bride and groom can even here them oohing and ahhing from afar.

Making the best of what could be a sad occasion when a special person cannot attend your momentous day is the perfect reason to allow very modern video chatting to be a part of your traditional wedding.



To Stand or Not to Stand, This is the Question

Many wedding traditions are no longer set in stone, allowing the bride and groom to create the wedding that represents them and is thoughtful of all of their guests.  The question of  if and when the guests stand for the bride during the ceremony is another tradition that can be modified.

Traditionally when the bride and her father, or other chosen escort, begin their walk down the aisle the mother of the bride has the honor of leading the rest of the guests in standing for the bride.  Some brides though opt to have everyone remain seated so everyone has a better view of her, but this can seem a bit odd and disrespectful.  Another option that we recently experienced was the officiant announced for the guests to only rise after the bride had passed their row.  This was a great way for those in the front to have a clear view of her and the bride was still honored by their standing as she passed.

I think it would be appropriate for the officiant to announce “With the exception of the mother of the bride, please remain seated until the bride has passed your row.”  This allows the mother to enjoy a clear view of her daughter and enjoy the moment with her.


Outdoor Wedding Venues are Lovely But Have a Backup Plan

I Do Rain It’s wedding day! The chairs are set outside under a beautiful oak tree surrounded by a neatly trimmed lawn and singing birds. The clouds are gray.  Is it going to rain? Is it going to blow over? The wedding planner says “Time to make a call, we should move it indoors.”  The Bride says, “No! It’s going to be fine.” The wedding planner, trying to please the bride says, “Okay, we will keep it set up outdoors.” It’s five minutes before the wedding is to begin and thunder rolls in the distance. The guests are exchanging questioning glances.  The wind is picking up, dresses are blowing up, toupees are standing up straight.  What is the bride thinking!? The heavens open as the guests dash for…where?  What’s the back up plan when the chairs are wet, the dresses are soaking, and the toupees are, well, a bit limp. These are the questions every bride should lie awake contemplating before booking the venue.  As perfect as it may seem to have an outdoor wedding, it is not perfect to be caught unprepared or to be too stubborn to read the skies and admit that nature is more powerful than any bride. Have a back-up plan that includes liking your indoor/covered venue, so that you don’t hesitate to move your wedding under cover when the thunder rolls Your guests will be thankful.

As an Austin wedding officiant I can speak from personal experience that it is very important to have a back-up plan.  While March and October are generally beautiful months for an outdoor wedding we have been known to have one last cold front hit in March bringing very cold drizzly rain.  October has the same challenges, and you just want to be prepared.


Do I Need a Rehearsal Since I Have a Wedding Planner

A frequent question I receive is, “Do we need you at our rehearsal? We have a wedding planner.” This question is not as simple to address as you would think.  Wedding planners have a lot on their plate the day of your wedding and do a fantastic job at seeing the big picture, but I have experienced too many times to like, a wedding planner who has no idea how to organize a ceremony or handle all the people involved.  This is meant as no disrespect to their role in planning the entire wedding celebration, but the ceremony may be best left to an officiant who knows the details involved in a successful ceremony.

Your wedding ceremony is the beautiful moment you agree to love each other for all time, witnessed by those you have requested to attend.  You want this moment to be personal and memorable. To prepare for this momentous moment you need to be prepared. Sometimes those who are a part of your wedding party bring a bit of baggage that you don’t want interfering with your special day. by having a rehearsal, these possibly uncomfortable situations can be addressed.  Not all officiants offer the same level of involvement, or help, so make sure to meet with your officiant to see if they are the right fit for your needs and expectations. What should I expect at my rehearsal?

  • The purpose of a rehearsal is to work out any details and give instructions regarding how the ceremony will be conducted. It should give you a feel for the overall flow of how your ceremony will take place on your wedding day and it gives the entire wedding party a chance to practice and ensure everyone is on the same page.   The rehearsal is generally conducted within a few days before the ceremony, based on availability of all parties, but can be the same day.

Some of the basics I assist with, and that you should expect from your officiant during rehearsal, include:

  • When does the first song or music begin?
  • Will you have a DJ or live music?
  • If you have a DJ, where will they be set up during the ceremony?
  • Who enters first to begin the wedding party?
  • Where does the bride’s mom sit?
  • Who walks the bride’s mom down the aisle?
  • When/where do the step-parents enter and sit?
  • When does each member of the wedding party enter?
  • Where does each member stand once they arrive at the front?
  • Where does the ring bearer stand?
  • Where does the flower girl stand?
  • Who is walking the bride down the aisle?
  • Where does the bride stop, to be “given away”?
  • How does the ring ceremony work?
  • How is a unity ceremony handled?
  • Presentation of the couple
  • Instructions for family and friends during final pictures at the end of the ceremony

You and your fiancée will appreciate the peace of mind that comes from having worked through the kinks with the one who will be beside you during your ceremony.


Don’t Imbibe Before the I Do!

Perhaps it’s due to all the media that portrays men as losing their independence once they say I do, but too many have bought into the lie that they need to be “fortified,” aka drunk, to be able to commit to the one they say they love.

Flasks are now given as gifts to all the groomsmen and they all partake throughout the day leading up to what should be meaningful moment with their bride.  But when the groom is too tanked to talk straight or so sloshed he can’t stop crying, the bride is no longer having the day she hoped she would.

Many venues have begun banning hard liquor from their venue before the reception to try to aid the brides in their desire to have a beautiful wedding ceremony, not  an embarrassing one.

A glass of wine to calm the nerves is one thing; but whiskey shots with the boys is not the way to begin your marriage.


Is It Okay to Begin My Wedding Later Than Scheduled

Many brides have begun thinking it is okay to start their wedding ceremony 15-30 minutes later than the scheduled time on their invitation.  They want to allow for late guests or even worse, they think it really is only about them and don’t put their dress on until the venue owner tells them the officiant has to leave for another wedding so you need to begin.  What many brides forget, is this is their debut celebration as a hostess and a good hostess never makes her guests wait in the heat, or cold, or wind, or discomfort of hard chairs. Many guests arrive 30 minutes before the start of the wedding and if it begins 30 minutes late, they have been waiting for an hour! That is not a thoughtful host or hostess. Yes, everyone may not be there that is expected, but that does not justify punishing those who are on time to wait for those who are less respectful.

Brides, it is truly your special day, but don’t forget that all the people who come to your wedding come out of the goodness of their heart and one should never disrespect goodness.