Wedding party tips from those who have been in your shoes, and made the mistakes to prove it.
You’ve been chosen to hold your bestie’s hand on their wedding day. Congrats on being so loved! This is a big responsibility and not everybody takes it seriously, but here at OccasionLab we believe this is your time to shine. While standing out may not be something you’ve ever needed help with, learning from past wedding party blunders will ensure you never put a foot wrong in the spotlight. This isn’t the sort of job you can gain much experience in, so to give you a head start we’ve curated real life tips from a collection of wedding party superstars. Learn from their experiences, successes, and hilarious mistakes.
Lead and follow, lead and follow
If your bestie is indecisive, be firm when they need you. There’s no doubt that this is the trickiest tight rope of your role. Essentially you need to confidently advise your friend when they’re overwhelmed with decisions, then take a supportive back seat for every other step. Your friend will need bailing out at some stage because they have their hands full (life doesn’t pause for wedding planning), but that doesn’t mean they can’t manage their own wedding. It just means that dessert leaf choices were too much today. It’s important that you know this is not an invitation to confiscate their binder, delete them off that shared spreadsheet, and start contacting suppliers on their behalf. No matter how much you want to help, such behaviour is considered wildly inappropriate.
Wedding planning should be fun! Combat decision fatigue with champagne-fuelled mood boarding sessions. Cover a wall with wedding inspiration images and play spin the bottle to choose who eliminates an image. The remaining images create mood boards for flowers, hair, décor, lighting; every aspect of a wedding. While vendors may never see these mood board masterpieces, you’ve succeeded in keeping things fun and shaking up ideas.
Yes, everyone’s looking at you
Hold your bouquet or hands as instructed at all times. Wedding photographers are akin to ninjas. They’re everywhere and nowhere, simultaneously. They love capturing wedding parties in transit, or as you're arranging yourselves for champagne. Be ready. Relaxed, but ready. If the decision is to hold bouquets with both hands at stomach height, then hold that bouquet with both hands as often as possible. If you don’t, there’s a risk that you’ll own the dead arm in a row of tidy double-handed bouquet holds when the best photo of the day is snapped. Also keep your shoulders back and hold a consistently slight smile that beams at all the right moments. Sound like a lot? This is no walk in the park people, you’re aiding a monumental occasion here. The couple might never divorce which means that photo of you looking hunched and grim as they kiss could be on their wall for the rest of their lives.
If you’re standing closest at the ceremony, make sure you have tissues handy. It’s your job to pass these around if anyone gets teary and be ready to take them back once the couple have recovered. It turns out this is not the time to make jokes or comment on how this morning everyone swore they wouldn’t cry. This only earns you the filthiest of looks. Your job is to silently support while your friend shares this special moment with their partner. Save your jokes for the post-honeymoon debrief, they’re more than welcome there!
Speak up my dear
If you’re a natural speaker who adlibs with suave candour then skip forward, this is not for you. If you’re top lip broke into a sweat just reading the word adlib, don’t fret! First up, everyone has seen a worse speech than you’re about to give. If there were a study of wedding speeches, there would be statistical proof. We’ll look in to doing a study. To allay your fears and fill you with confidence, follow these three steps to a successful wedding speech:
- Plan the speech in three parts.
Part A: Who you are and how you know the couple. Tell the guests about your shared affinity for bold prints and killer heels, or how you both reached for the same dragon fruit in the grocer and knew it was bestie's forever.
Part B: Share an appropriate memory about the couple. We stress, appropriate. Don’t worry about where to start, launch in with “I’m going to tell you a story.” Followed by “Billy, Jo and I went to Mexico on Spring Break. By midday they were full of tequila and break dancing with a group of kids by the resort pool. That’s when I knew it was true love.” It can be that short, simply speak slowly and pause after each sentence.
Part C: Thank the wedding party for the fun, the couple for the love, their parents for the help, and thank the guests for making it a party. That’s it!
- Write your speech on a tidy piece of paper. Avoid using dirty old receipts, the couple will not be impressed. Most importantly, write your speech well before the morning of the wedding. That’s when you’re needed for finishing touches and being present in that moment.
- Look up every now and again as you speak. If you’re feeling brave enough to eyeball the guests, definitely do not imagine them in their underwear. You’ll end up in a pile of giggles with a confused audience. If people put you off, talk to the back wall. If you can recite the last few words of a sentence, tell them to the back wall. If you have a punchline, tell the back wall. Make so much eye contact with the back wall that it starts inching towards the door.
Dance, magic dance
What if you dodged the wedding planning, smiled awkwardly through the wedding photos, and weren’t asked to speak? Enter, the dance floor. Newlyweds often ask their wedding party to step in after a few bars of their first waltz. If not, use that time to scout for a dance partner who looks up for a challenge. If you have a partner already we strongly recommend a practice at home so you’re both on the same page. Starting a dip when your partner thinks you’re spinning results in a tangled heap on the floor. When the obligatory couple's dance begins grab your partner and swan around that dance floor like you were born to. Carefully dodge everyone’s awkward shuffling as you revel in some spin and dip action, or the lawnmower, or the grocery cart. The other guests will be inspired to let loose with a few moves of their own, while the couple will be eternally grateful that you kick started the party.
Just when you thought it was all over
If you live near the newlyweds, consider stocking the fridge with some essentials before they return from their honeymoon. There’s nothing more jarring than the reality of a grocery shop after a swoony holiday. You could also hide any wedding planning chaos and place their guest book front and centre so they arrive home to special memories of their big day.
Now go forth knowledgeable wedding party tribe. Straighten those cuff links, double-hand that bouquet, and make us proud. Better yet, tag us in photos of your success! @occasionlab
Header Photography: Leonardo Wong