Common wedding questions answered

Let’s answer some common questions couples have when planning their weddings.

During my time as a wedding photographer, I have noticed that there are a few questions that come up often for wedding couples. Here are just a few of those questions and my answers to those questions. I hope that it helps make the planning process just a little smoother.

Before I begin, let me just tell you that there is literally NO correct way to do a wedding.

There is just the way ‘most’ people do it. I challenge you to really think about why you are including a tradition in your wedding and try to understand the meaning behind it.

What do I do with my engagement ring?

I think the easiest thing to do is wear it on the right hand, and then once the wedding band goes on, you can just switch it over.

Which side of the church does everyone sit?

Traditionally the bride’s family are on the left (if you are looking from the back) and the groom on the right. But now-a-days people really just sit anywhere.

Does the person walking me down the aisle need to be on the left or right of me?

He would stand on your right side so that he can hand you over to your partner who is standing to the right of the alter. If he is on the left, it doesn’t really matter though, so don’t fret.

Tip: I say ‘he’ because traditionally it would be your Dad who walks you down the aisle, but don’t be afraid to walk down the aisle on your own, or to ask your Mom or a sibling or even your Mom and Dad together. You don’t need to be ‘handed over’ if that’s not your vibe. There are plenty of different ways to begin a wedding ceremony.

Who lifts my veil?

It depends on your reasons for wearing a veil. If you are religious, it would be best to consult someone who is familiar with your faith. If you are just wearing a veil because it’s pretty, then either the person handing you over would lift it before handing you over to your partner, or your partner would lift it. If everyone forgets, please don’t go through your entire ceremony with a piece of fabric over your face. Just lift it yourself!

For the guys, which side of the jacket does the boutonnière (the flowery thing) get pinned?

The left. I’m not sure why.

What happens to the bouquet after I've walked down the aisle?

It depends if you feel like you will be happier holding onto them, or if you would rather have your hands free to take your partner’s hands. So you can give them to a bridesmaid the minute you get to the bottom of the aisle, or you can hand them over before you say your vows. If it were me, I would hand them over straight away and grab my future husbands hands and squeeze them hard!

What happens if I get emotional?

You cry!!! Photographers LOVE a crying couple. If the idea of crying in front of people freaks you out, then look up and sniff those tears back down (I know, so gross, but it works). If the tears do roll out, try not to wipe them away. Ask someone for a tissue and gently dab dab. You don’t want to smudge all that beautiful make up!

Do we leave the chapel before or after our guests?

You could leave first, and then wait around a corner (or in a room) while you guests filter out and get ready for the confetti toss. Then once they are ready, your officiant would announce you as a married couple and you would re-appear and walk through the flying confetti. The other way to do it is to wait inside and sign your register while your guests leave the chapel and get themselves ready. If you are getting married outdoors, the easiest option would be to leave a little packet of confetti on your guests’ seats and then everyone would throw it as you walk back down the aisle.

Tip: When you walk through the confetti, you will want to look down and walk fast. Try do the opposite. Walk slowly and look up!!

Looking for confetti for your wedding day? Check out my brother-in-law’s shop “Dave’s Shop”. He makes and sells his own confetti.

How long should I allocate for the portrait session?

My ideal time is 1 hour. If we have less time, we make it work, if we have more time that’s great as it’ll mean we can add variety to your locations. I will chat to you about your preferences when we work through your time line. It’s important that you spend time with your guests, but that your expectations of the portrait session are met too. If it’s possible, try to schedule your portrait session one hour before Google says the sun will set on that date. That’s when we will get the best light – dramatic, and then suddenly soft and dreamy.

Do I have to wear my garter the whole day?

That could be uncomfortable. You can give it to a bridesmaid to keep in their bag and just slip it on before the garter toss.

When do we throw the garter and bouquet?

Firstly, you don’t have to throw the bouquet and garter. If you are older and most your friends are already married, it can be quite embarrassing for that one lonesome lady standing on the floor on her own. But if you decide to do it, I suggest you do it right before your first dance. It gets everyone on their feet and standing around the dance floor, ready to sway and swoon while you do your first dance.

If I am dancing with my partner and with my Dad, which comes first?

Either. It can really be done either way and makes zero difference to anything.

When do we leave the reception?

Whenever you want!! I didn’t leave my wedding. Our room was on the property, so I danced until no one was left on the dance floor and then walked to my room at 3am and fell asleep. Some people like to end on a high and spend some alone time together so they have a set leaving time. It’s totally up to you!

You may have noticed that I chose to use the word ‘partner’ in place of groom at certain times. It bothers me that the wedding industry assumes that all married couples are man and woman and are referred to as bride and groom. I can’t imagine what same sex couples feel when they are planning their wedding and read all these articles which speak of bride and groom and husband and wife. This is just my way of trying to be a bit more inclusive.


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