Helpful Hints for Your Wedding Day

Jun 10, 2014

As the wedding season swings into gear, it is easy to overlook certain tips that may make your wedding day that bit better.

Obviously, common sense and good manners will guide the vast majority of us very smoothly, but weddings can be a time of stress (we’re dealing with other people, after all!), and behaviour may be altered as a result.

As a civil celebrant myself, I have to point out that the celebrant should be able to play a role in smoothing the way much of the time, but not everything will be within their control!


  • Ensure you don’t get rolling drunk! Apart from anything else, there will be plenty of embarrassing photographic evidence to haunt you later in life. It may also not make the best possible impression on your new relatives!
  • Try and make sure you speak to all your wedding guests (they have come to see and support you).


  • Much of the stress in the run-up to the wedding day is borne by the bride. Do what you can, especially on the day, to share the load.
  • Don’t hide away with your mates; meet and make conversation with your new wife’s friends and even relatives.
  • Don’t get rolling drunk! You have a speech to deliver effectively and the comments I aimed at the bride apply to you just as much.

The bride’s mother

It is good to remember whose big day it actually is – it’s really your daughter’s. So be there early, be willing to help, but don’t criticise either other people or arrangements. This just compounds any stress being experienced.

Be prepared to play second fiddle.

The Groom’s mother

As with the bride’s mother, be supportive rather than domineering or critical. Be helpful and open and say nice things to the bride! Don’t try and get revenge for a perceived slight during the wedding planning.

The Father(s)

Just like the bride and groom, you need to be sober and in control, not least when toasting the couple’s marriage.

Don’t use the opportunity to get even with somebody who you feel has affronted you during the wedding build-up.

The Best Man

You have a huge responsibility (so it’s possibly even more important that you do not get blind drunk).

  • You need to keep the groom on schedule
  • You need to check the groom hasn’t forgotten anything (a check-list is a great idea)
  • You will probably be responsible for the ring
  • Depending on what’s been arranged, you may need to look after logistics (eg helping the photographer organise the photo shoot or liaising with the venue over certain arrangements)
  • As you will presumably be delivering a major speech, remember advice I have already offered elsewhere ( ). As a minimum, ensure your speech is clear, funny, inclusive, reasonably brief and in no way offensive (either personally, politically or religiously).

Maid of Honour

It’s worth having a bridal emergency kit ready on the day (safety pins, wipes, even chocolate). Reassure the bride wherever possible.

Ushers (groomsmen)

Exercise your charm when showing people to their places. At the reception, dance with single ladies (especially older ones). Be on your best behaviour (and that includes controlling your drink intake).


Ensure you are on time and ready on the day. Your job is to look beautiful and support the bride. Button up any negative criticisms you may have. Stay reasonably sober too.


If children are participating, make sure they have been well briefed, that they understand their role and the behaviour that will be expected of them. If their patience is likely to be stretched during the ceremony, have somebody responsible keep an eye on them, and offer them distractions such as a book.

At the reception, there may be a children’s table and activities, but be prepared to occupy a potentially tired, bored and fractious child. And don’t get drunk out of your mind and expect others to look after your offspring!

I hope these tips will prove practical. They are the fruits of observations of potential pitfalls and pratfalls. Most of the latter can be avoided relatively easily with sense and control. Good luck!

Michael Gordon can help prepare and conduct a tailor-made civil ceremony in or around London or, indeed, in Europe.