Be A Nice Guest: Modern Matrimony

Hey there!  I'm so excited for JDE Intern, Lauren to continue with our "Be A Nice Guest' series with some advice on what you can expect at the modern wedding.  Lauren is an experienced wedding guest, bridesmaid, and recent bride as of February 2016!

When you think "wedding traditions," there are usually a few that come to mind - a white dress, unity candle, and almond wedding cake, just to name a few.  I'd say my own wedding was modern, yet fun with some traditional elements thrown in.  I wore a white dress and we had a one-tier almond cake to cut into.  On the flip side, my bridal party featured a "groomswoman" and we provided guests an assortment of {incredible} cupcakes.  Oh, and did I mention I saw my husband before the wedding?  That warranted some surprised remarks from our pastor!

Here are some things you can come to expect from a modern wedding:

1. To see or not to see: Some couples want to maintain the tradition of not seeing one another before the ceremony - they might exchange letters or hold hands on separate sides of a door.  Others want to have a special moment to themselves before the ceremony - a first look - where the photographer captures the groom seeing his bride for the first time.  It helps ease the butterflies and is anything but bad luck {trust me!}.  Not to mention, it can make for some adorable {and emotional} photos!

Elizabeth Henson Photos

2. Hashtags, hashtags everywhere!: With social media as popular as it is, expect to see anywhere from 1-3 hashtags throughout the wedding.  On the program, on the bar - you may even find them on the save the dates!  What does that mean for you?  You've got a social media-savvy couple on your hands!  They want you to take plenty of pictures {after all, they worked really hard on this!} and share them on social media!

David Champagne Photography

3. Unplugged: Even if the bride and groom encourage sharing on social media, they might not want guests tweeting during their ceremony!  You may be asked to turn off your cell phone for an "unplugged ceremony" - it's the couple's way of encouraging you to be truly present with them as they celebrate their special day!  Don't worry - there's plenty of time to tweet after the reception!

4.  An unconventional bridal party: Nowadays, brides and grooms are choosing their closest friends to stand by their side, which means you might see a "groomswoman" or a "man of honor" in the bridal party!  You might also notice uneven numbers - it's okay if the bridesmaid/groomsmen ratio is 5:4.  The modern bridal party is not gender specific, nor does it have to be even!

David Champagne Photography

5.  Color confusion: One of the first questions I was asked while choosing my bridal party attire was, "The bridesmaids are wearing BLACK?"  Yes.  Yes, they are.  You want to know something else?  There is nothing wrong with a chic, black evening gown for a 5:00 wedding.  Nothing says that bridesmaids {or brides} can't don an off-the-wall color like black, white, or floral print!  You may also notice that the maid of honor is in a different color than the rest of the maids - consider it a perk of her role in the big day!  Note: If the bride tells you her maids are wearing white, this does not give you permission to do the same.  Sorry!

6.  But they don't match!: My bridesmaids each wore a different style dress in my wedding and loved it!  Often times, dresses are not "one style fits all," so brides opt to have their maids choose their own gowns.  This not only makes the bride's life easier, but makes sure all her girls are comfortable.  It's okay if the bridesmaids dresses {whether it be the style or color} don't match perfectly!

Shannon Moffit Photography

7.  Unity doesn't need a candle: Have you been to a wedding and felt like something was missing from the ceremony?  It may have been the unity candle!  This tradition is sometimes modified - e.g. sand ceremony - and other times completely cut out.  It's not going to be every couple's cup of tea.

Angie McPherson Photography

8.  Different desserts: What?  No almond wedding cake?!  You might notice a variety of other dessert options at a wedding - cupcakes, donuts, cookies, even ice cream sundaes - that stray from the traditional fare.  Not to mention there are unique cake flavors, from apricot to lavendar, that might make an appearance.  I love cupcakes but my groom prefers ice cream, so we offered guests an assortment of wedding cupcakes and a build-your-own ice cream sundae bar!

David Champagne Photography

These are just a few of the modern twists that today's couples are incorporating into their big day.  No matter whether the wedding is traditional or off-the-wall, it's important to realize that every wedding is going to be unique to the couple!  Embrace and enjoy the various aspects of each wedding - no matter how interesting or mind boggling they might be.  Who knows?  They might even become tradition!

Be a Nice Guest: Wedding Etiquette 101

Elizabeth Henson Photos

Ever wonder what it takes to be the perfect wedding guest?  Check out the first post in our series on how to "Be a Nice Guest" by guest blogger and JDE intern, Lauren Windham.  Lauren is an experienced wedding guest, bridesmaid and recent bride as of February 2016.

 Summertime is filled with so many lovely things - sunbathing, lazy beach days and of course, weddings!  If you're anything like me, it can often seem like every season is wedding season!  To prepare you for your summer soirees, here's a few tips on wedding etiquette 101:

1. Do not, in any way, shape or form, wear white: This should be an obvious one but sometimes, people need a reminder.  No matter how cool it may keep you, keep that LWD/white pant suit on the hanger.  Be a nice {and respectful} guest - blues and corals are perfect alternatives for a summery wedding day!

David Champagne Photography
  2. Do refrain from taking an excessive amount of photos: It seems like many couples {including my husband and I] are opting to have an "unplugged" ceremony free of phones, photos and Facebook updates.  Why?  Because brides and grooms often spend countless hours {and dollars} on choosing the right wedding photographer.  Leave the photos to the professional and save the status updates for the day after.

3. Do not complain to the bride and groom: This comes from personal experience.  Don't complain to the bride that the champagne isn't being poured fast enough.  Take any and all questions, comments and concerns to the wedding planner or coordinator and save the bride/groom/parents from unwarranted stress.

Angie McPherson Photography
 4. Do make a point to say hello to the bride and groom: Make sure you say hello to the newlyweds and join them out on the dance floor!  Count it as one of your "guest duties."

5. Do not get overzealous with the bar: Trust me, the bride and groom want to make sure you are enjoying the reception but secretly, the thought of drunken antics can be anxiety-inducing.  Enjoy a drink {or two}, but make sure you've assigned someone to keep you in check and ensure you get home safely.

David Champagne Photography
 6. Do celebrate: A wedding day is a wonderful celebration of the bride and groom.  Enjoy it!  Take in every little detail {that the bride may or may not have obsessed over} and make a point to do your wedding guest duties - sign the guest book, eat a slice of cake and get down on the dance floor!