Have you ever set down to watch a show on Netflix, and the next thing you know you’ve watched 6 episodes and don’t even know what day it is anymore? Wedding days are kinda like that.
Between all of the checkboxes you’re marking off on your day of timeline (finishing hair and makeup, taking photos, actually saying I Do, the toasts, the dancing, the cake cutting, etc., etc., etc.), the overwhelming emotions and excitement of the day, and the sheer number of people you love surrounding you, your wedding day truly flies by. When you sit down with your coordinator and make your 8+ hour timeline before the big day, it seems like you’ll have plenty of time to soak it in, but we hear time and time again that our couples 1. barely remember some parts of their day 2. wish that it would have gone slower and 3. wish they could relive it.
We’ve also asked a bunch of our brides what the most memorable part of their day was, and while the answers themselves are always different, one of the recurring themes we’ve noticed is how many of them have pointed to a moment in their day because of the emotions that were tied to it – whether it was an especially sweet moment during vows or a couple of seconds during portraits where the bride and groom felt like it was only them in the world.
So, when it came time for Haley & Asheton and Landan & Kevin to plan their weddings, we were all very intentional to build in little moments when creating the timeline. They’re a chance to take a breath and soak in the fact that you’re getting married (or just got married!) to your best friend and you get to be together forever. Then you can get back to dancing and have fun for the rest of the night.
When creating intentional moments on your wedding day, there are truly so many options and it’s all about finding what you and your spouse will love. We’re giving you a list of some of our favorite moments – and what we love about them – so you can pick and choose what works for you, but don’t be afraid to come up with your own, too. As always, this is your wedding and it’s all about you.
Share a prayer before the ceremony
Taking a moment for a prayer – or a toast or short story if that’s more fitting for you – is a great way to take out some of the pre-ceremony jitters and just sit for a moment. The only thing you need to focus on in that moment is what’s being said and how you feel about it. We also love this tradition because you can involve whatever mixture of people, from just the bride, groom, and officiant to the entire bridal party to just immediate family members. It makes for great pictures, which lets you relive the moment after the day is over, but more importantly it’s a small way to take 5 minutes and focus on what’s about to take place.
Have a first look or first touch with a letter reading
Landan here. This is, hands down, my strongest emotional memory from our wedding day. Kevin is not one to talk about his emotions much and he complained for weeks that I was making him write a letter and write vows. But, by the time the wedding day came, he wrote a phenomenal letter (that he read out loud to me!) and I was a puddle of tears – both from laughter and pure emotion. We shared our first touch about an hour before our ceremony and I will never forget how I felt during it. It made me so excited to get to marry him soon, and it’s still the moment I tear up at when watching our wedding video 8 months later.
Send each other notes or small gifts throughout the day
This is such a fun thing that some of our couples do. Instead of exchanging one gift or letter with one another, space out little letters or mementos while getting ready before the ceremony. It’s an incredible way to focus on what really matters that day – each other. You can share notes about your relationship leading up to your big day, let your soon-to-be spouse know the things you love the most about them, or fill them in on how you’re feeling as the day progresses. Wedding days are really unique because (by tradition) the one person you want to see the most is the one person you’re not supposed to see. This helps to make it feel like they’re right there all day long.
Sneak away to share appetizers
As soon as you become Mr. and Mrs., all of your guests get to go to cocktail hour, but you often get whisked away to start taking pictures immediately, especially if you didn’t share a first look together. Instead of going straight into pictures, walk from the chapel to the groom’s or bridal suite, or head behind the chapel and have the caterer meet you there. While the photographer and coordinator round up family members for portraits or shoo the rest of the guests out of the chapel and toward the hall, you can take 5 minutes to just be together as a couple. Eat a few of those appetizers you picked out, call each other “husband” and “wife” for the first time, and share a kiss that’s just for you, not for the cameras or anyone else. We promise you’ll have plenty more kisses in front of other people all night, so it’s fun to have one that’s all yours.
Give yourself grace to pause and take a breath before the big moments. Aside from the fact that it lets you soak in the moment, it also lets your photographer snap a picture, which will take you right back to that moment and how you felt when you get your photos back. When the chapel doors open, pause before you take your walk down to the altar. After you’re announced as husband and wife, pause to smile/cheer/look at the people you love before you head to ring the chapel bell. When the barn doors open for your grand entrance, pause before you dance your way into the reception. When you’re about to slice into the cake, pause to look at your sweet new spouse, then eat that tasty cake. Just take pauses.
Practice your first dance together before the actual dance
We’re stealing this idea straight from Haley and Asheton because we love it too much to not share it. After their photos, before they made their grand entrance into the hall, they headed into the bridal suite to catch their breath for a moment. Since they planned their first dance for as soon as they were introduced (which is a great way to flow into the reception), they practiced their first dance spins in front of the mirror in the bridal suite. The photos are the sweetest because you can see that they are totally lost in one another and just enjoying the moment alone.
Have a private dinner
We can’t tell you how many times we’ve seen our couples sit down for dinner, and then take all of 2 bites because they’re so focused on getting up and talking to their guests, or they’re just too busy laughing with their bridal party to eat. Instead of eating during the reception, have your meal in the bridal suite during cocktail hour before the grand entrance. This works especially well if you’re seeing each other before the ceremony and get the majority of your photos done, otherwise it might be tight with your timeline, but talk to your coordinator about how you could incorporate it if you love the idea. It’s a great way to be able to make your way around the room while you’re guests are eating, but you still get actual food and nourishment for the dance floor.
Disappear for a moment to take sunset or night portraits
Every single time we see sunset or night portraits in our inbox, we want to cry for two reasons. 1. They’re absolutely stunning. 2. We know our couple took a few moments just for them. Even though you’re taking photos throughout the day, the other time(s) you do portraits with your spouse are longer chunks and you will have a tendency to just start going through the motions. Sunset or night portraits, on the other hand, happen during the reception, so they’re done in a much shorter time period so you aren’t missing the party you’re throwing. By that point in the night it has started to soak in that you’re actually married, so the short break from being surrounded by people is an awesome way to take an intentional moment for just the two of you.
Share a private last dance
We love private last dances for so many reasons, but all we’ll say for now is that they’re all about you. From the moment you said I Do, you’ve been surrounded by people and have had something else coming next. The last dance lets you steal 3 extra minutes of your reception, talk to your new spouses in the place you just made memories for a lifetime, and take one