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Wedding days can be crazy. Between the photos, the ceremony, and making sure your guests are having a great time, it can be hard to make sure you’ve had more than just a couple moments of alone time with your partner. If you’re craving more “just us” time on your wedding day, consider these 10 helpful tips!
This is probably one of the most important pieces of advice I can give you. The rest of these tips don’t really matter if you have a photographer who is giving you push-back on all of them! If you’re new to this whole wedding planning thing, you might be surprised by how much say your photographer has in your wedding timeline. They’re very likely to be the first person to give you a layout of your day, and they’re often the person who will tell you what is and is not doable in your wedding day timeline. Making sure they value the “just us” time as part of your wedding day makes a huge difference in what they will make sure “fits” into your timeline.
Hiring someone who values intimate, “just us” time ensures that there WILL be time for those quiet moments. This person will be willing to be flexible and make sure you don’t feel rushed through the moments that are important to you. This is a person who is less concerned with the details in their portfolio and more concerned with you having the authentic, intimate wedding day experience you want. When you’re looking for a photographer, ask them how flexible they are. If you have specific ideas you want to be built into the timeline, ask if they’re up for it! Some photographers are totally in love with details and centerpieces, and just don’t have the flexibility to change much around, which is totally okay, but it might not be a perfect fit for you!
I know this sounds crazy, but you’re allowed to get ready together! It goes against all the traditions, but this is YOUR wedding day! Don’t you want to spend as much time as possible together? How could enjoying each other’s company possibly be bad luck?
Having coffee and enjoying each other’s company over breakfast is such a peaceful, easy way to start a day that goes by in a whirlwind. Why shouldn’t you two hang out and keep each other calm all morning? How sweet would it be to have your partner zip you into your dress or help you tie your tie? Helping each other get ready starts your day off with ease
A lot of couples look forward to their “first look”, but you can still have one even if you’re getting ready together! If you’d rather not see each other fully ready until that big moment, consider hanging out until hair and makeup is done. Have a quick breakfast together. You only need 15 minutes to get dressed! You can spend the rest of that valuable time with your partner!
If you’re not familiar, a first look is a couple’s first time seeing each other in their full wedding attire. Traditionally, a groom didn’t see his bride until she walked down the aisle. Not only does this happen in front of hundreds of people, (the pressure!!) but by the time the ceremony comes around, it’s likely already 4:00 PM, and the couple only has, like, 6 hours left to spend together before the whole wedding day is over.
I don’t know about you, but that kinda sounds like a bummer to me. When I got married, I absolutely wanted to spend more than 1/4 of my wedding day with my partner! A first look changes everything.
First and foremost, a first look gives you more time together. Your wedding day is so brief, even if you spend all day together. If you cut that down to 6 hours, you’ll feel like you went all day without seeing each other.
Secondly, a first look gives you the chance to have a private, authentic, and safe place to genuinely react to seeing each other for the first time. You don’t need to worry about looking silly in front of guests. You can cry. You can hold each other. You can (gasp!) kiss! A first look gives you the space to react the way your soul wants to– not just the way you feel comfortable in front of all your friends and family.
How many people honestly feel comfortable spilling their hearts out to someone in front of everyone they know? I’m willing to bet the answer is not many.
If the thought of reading your deepest, most heartfelt vows in front of 100 people sends you into a cold sweat, you’re not alone. It’s scary. If given the chance and the right circumstances, I think most of us would be happy to pour our heart out to our partner. People start to hesitate when the “performance” of it all is factored in. You start to wonder: “What if I choke up? Maybe I’ll sound stupid? I don’t want my buddies to tease me. Etc”
There are so many valid reasons to be spooked by reading personal vows in front of a crowd, but that’s shouldn’t stop you from doing them altogether!
You can read your vows privately– no audience or judgement– just your partner. A lot of couples do this during their first look time. We find a totally secluded spot, and they have the freedom to say the things on their heart in total safety. These moments are always some of my favorites to witness. By giving a couple space and making them feel seen and safe, they’re able to have a completely true-to-them exchange of vows.
Your guests will never know the difference! The ceremony will still include the traditional read and repeat vows everyone knows and loves, and you’ll stand side by side knowing you’ve already made the promises most important to you. Win-win.
This might sound shocking coming from a photographer, but if you’re still feeling like you’d like more alone time, you can kick me out. I have literally built “15 minutes of alone time, no photo/ video” into a timeline, and I’m happy to do it again.
For some people, there are certain moments so precious they need to be spent alone. Some couples have used this time to pray or meditate together. Others have used this time to read vows. Whatever it is, know that this is YOUR day. You are allowed to ask for whatever privacy or alone time you need.
Most likely, you’ll spend the 30-60 minutes following your ceremony taking photos at sunset. This, in and of itself, is an amazing bit of “just us” time, but it also goes so fast! You’re walking around, hanging out with your photographer, and likely enjoying a fabulous view, but once photos are over, I invite you to build an extra 15 minutes into your timeline to sit, relax, have a snack and a drink, and just enjoy the view.
Once you arrive at your reception, or cocktail hour, or whatever you have planned for the evening, you’re going to be swamped with people wanting to talk to you. Before all that happens, enjoy a bit of quiet. Reflect on the day so far, and enjoy each other. Consider those last bits of sunlight to be all yours. You don’t owe anyone else that time. Give it to each other.
Depending on how late you intend your after-party to go, this one can be tricky to execute, but it’s so worth it if it works out! If it’s possible, talk to your DJ or whoever is in charge of your music, and see if you and your partner can have the last dance alone. Your first dance is likely to be surrounded by iPhones, camera flashes, and people oohing and ahhing, but the last dance is just for you. Your photographer has probably gone home, your guests have been corraled elsewhere, (if they haven’t already left), and you have just the two of you to soak up the very last moments of your wedding day.
It’s no secret that large weddings require a lot more emotional energy. The more people you have, the more “hellos” and “thanks for being heres” you have to give. Don’t get me wrong. It’s incredible to be surrounded by a ton of people who love you, but that also means you’ll likely have less time for just the two of you. You’ll feel pulled in a ton of directions, and by the time you’ve said hi to everyone, you may find you’ve spent your entire reception without your partner.
If intimacy is your number one priority, shaving down the guest list will help immensely. Having a small wedding simplifies. Not only can you spend more time with your partner, but you can also spend more time with each guest. You’ll also have a lot more wiggle-room in your timeline to get every bit of “just us” time in.
There are so many “shoulds” that go into planning a wedding. Every next person you meet will tell you what your wedding “should” be. These people are often well-intentioned, but what they think your wedding “should” be has little to do with the wedding day that is best for you and your partner.
You are allowed to do something different. Maybe that means limiting the guest list because you’re an introvert and the thought all those people feels overwhelming. It might mean getting ready together even though your parents think it’s too untraditional. Maybe you need to stand up to a vendor who doesn’t love all the “extra” time you have set aside to spend more “just us” time on your wedding day.
Advocating for yourself might even mean creating an entirely different wedding day experience, even when it’s scary.
You knew I’d be leading up to this one.
Eloping is the absolute best way to have a “just us” wedding experience. From the moment you wake up to the end of your star-side first dance, your day will revolve around just the two of you. You can feel safe, seen, and free to be truly yourselves. Whether you want to read vows at sunrise or end your day with s’mores by the campfire, every single second of your day is uniquely designed to be what you and your partner want. There are no rules.
Eloping can be scary, but if a “just us” wedding experience is what you really value, it is worth more than a second thought. Imagine knowing that you don’t have to perform any part of your day. No one is concerned with timelines or formal portraits. You could spend an entire day doing what you and your partner LOVE doing. Maybe your elopement takes you to a new corner of the world, or maybe to your favorite place on earth. No matter what that day looks like, you can rest easy knowing you spent the entire thing together.
Isn’t that what marriage is about, after all? When you get down to it, your wedding day is just about you two– it’s about joining your lives together for the rest of your life. The pomp and circumstance has nothing to do with the relationship you have at the foundation of this whole thing. At the end of the day, all that matters is your relationship and the memories that form the first day of your marriage. If your gut is telling you to elope, listen a little closer.