Hello! #WeddingWednesday is a space created for education and exchange of ideas on topics related to Puerto Rico, wedding photography, and weddings in Puerto Rico. Here you'll find a very broad range of information on stuff I think will help you plan a better wedding in Puerto Rico, and have proper expectations for it.
Weddings are filled with details. That, and a couple stressed out, usually adds up to just a small amount of totally-preventable chaos. I'm a problem solver by nature. That means that on the wedding day I do far more than just take photos. I've sewn bridal dresses, fixed bouquets, and I'm the one who puts the boutonnieres 90% of the time. Some friends even say that I should start a Wedding Planning business, but I enjoy capturing the memories too much for that.
Being in the spotlight of the action, I'm always the first who notices or experiences most of those little mishaps throughout the day. So I decided to compile a list of the things that are most likely to never make it to the ceremony, needed essentials that are seldom packed in the day-of bag, and things that everyone should have at their event. Feel free to bookmark this post, since I'll probably be updating it Saturday after Saturday, as my anecdotes continue to pile up.
Versión en español aquí.
WEDDING DAY TRANSPORTATION
It sounds like common sense, but it's one of the most forgotten details on a wedding date, and more than once I've ended up carrying a couple of bridesmaids in my car, which is full of photo equipment. If you have separate venues for your wedding, remember to do the car seat count beforehand your bridesmaids come to your getting ready session. Also, some couples go to the airport directly from the reception venue. Making luggage transportation arrangements is essential, so there's no lost luggage nor unnecessary wedding drama.
THE BRIDAL VEIL
The bridal veil is the most forgotten bridal accessory on many weddings! About 10% of these items never make it to the ceremony venue, because the bride leaves it at home. Remember to pack the veil, or put it alongside the dress, so they remain together! Also, let your hair and makeup artist know you have a veil so they can help you put it on before they leave.
A RAIN BACKUP PLAN
If you're planning a wedding in the Caribbean, having a rain backup plan is a must have! I know this makes us feel queasy, specially when planning an outdoors wedding. This is like having insurance: you'll be happy you did it if you need it!
A MASTER TIMELINE
A wedding day timeline consists of so many details, Ceremony, Cocktail and Dinner isn't enough of a timeline for you or your vendors. If you have a professional wedding planner, the timeline should include a rundown of everything happening from the moment you wake up to the moment the event ends. Start/setup times for every vendor, transit times from point A to point B, and more importantly for photographers like me: enough time for portraits before and after the ceremony.
Failure to create and share a master timeline with your wedding team might mean vendors don't know when/where to provide services, delays in hair and makeup that eat up photography times, and food and drink mishaps, such as, champagne flutes being empty during toasts. I've seen it all, trust me!
A NICER WEDDING DRESS HANGER
Most wedding dresses come packed in the ugliest, least-photogenic hangers ever. Make sure you bring a decorative hanger for the dress, it will do wonders!
Groom and Groomsmen accessories
- Boutonnieres. If professionally made, boutonnieres are usually handed on the wedding day along with the bouquets or other florals. If the couple is staying at the same venue for their preparation, have someone assigned to carry and place the boutonnieres right away.
- Cufflinks and ties. Don't wait until the wedding day to learn how to tie a bowtie. Bring a backup clip-on bowtie if you think your nerves will get the best of you.
- Undershirt. If you're spending any amount of time outdoors on your wedding day, even if only for the portraits, your shirt will get transparent as soon as you start sweating. Caribbean weddings need undershirts. Bring two.
- Socks. Most rentals won't include socks on their package. Make sure you and any groomsmen have them.
Bonus points for trying on your entire outfit before the wedding day.
AN EMERGENCY KIT AND ESSENTIALS
Here's a list of necessary stuff you should have in your "wedding emergency kit"! You can find some online, but make sure these are among the items in the kit:
- Nail clippers and file
- Stain remover
- Extra pair of shoes
- Feminine hygiene: pads, tampons, etc.
- Sewing kit, with sewing thread on the wedding party colors
- Medication for upset stomach, diarrhea, and pain
WRITING YOUR WEDDING VOWS IN PAPER
Picture this: It's your wedding day, and, along with all the last-minute troubleshooting calls and text messages, EVERYBODY is excited and sending their congratulations on Facebook, Instagram, and whatnot. Those are a lot of notifications. Even the newest cellphone might have its battery drained before the ceremony.
Definitely have a backup of your vows on your cellphone, but have them written on paper, or a cute vow book, along with any details you may need to retrieve from your smartphone throughout the day (example: vendor phone numbers, wedding itinerary, etc.).
WEDDING CAKE KNIFE AND SPATULA
Oops! Always check with your cake vendor, venue, or caterer to check if they bring their cake cutlery. Believe it or not, most times you need to bring it!
REFRESHMENTS FOR GUESTS
Puerto Rico is beautiful. It is the perfect destination for a wedding all year round. However, being awesomely close to the equator means we have high temperatures for most of the year. Most of my weddings are held outdoors, which means that along with a backup plan in case it rains, you need to make your guests feel comfortable and fresh during the event.
Paper fans and water/lemonade booths are quite welcome by guests and should be on your list.
What other stuff have you seen/heard that should make it into this list? Help a fellow bride by commenting below! I hope this has been helpful!