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There are many ways to ensure success (or disaster) at your wedding.
After almost two decades of working as a wedding DJ and minister, with hundreds of weddings under my belt, I have seen them all.

Perhaps I’ll write a book about it someday. Oh the stories that I could tell…

Last night’s wedding was an enormous success and a great deal of fun, and so I thought I’d share three rules that the bride and groom followed to ensure that their day went off without a hitch.
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1.  Give yourself enough time to enjoy your wedding. For yesterday’s couple, this meant a 2:00 PM ceremony and a 5:00 PM reception, giving them plenty of time for a relaxed, stress-free photo session in between ceremony and reception. It also allowed them the unusual pleasure of joining their guests for the cocktail hour, which every bride and groom secretly craves but rarely gets.

Yes, this means that your guests will have to find a way to fill two unscheduled hours in the afternoon.

And yes, it will probably put some parent’s knickers in a bunch, as they tend to be more concerned about the opinions of friends and family when it comes to the wedding than that of their children (What will Aunt Myrtle think?).

Too bad.

Most people can fill the unscheduled time without much trouble, and it’s a small price to pay to ensure that one of the most important days of your life is relaxing and fun.

Last night’s couple also booked a six hour reception, which I think is always a good idea. Though the five hour reception is considerably more common, it can often feel rushed, especially if there has been an unexpected delay somewhere in the day (which is not uncommon). It’s always easier to end a wedding 30 minutes early if the bride and groom are getting tired rather than scrambling to extend a wedding an extra hour when you are supposed to be focused on celebrating.

You’ve spent a year or more and untold amounts of money on the wedding.  Give yourself an extra hour to enjoy it.
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2.  Spend time together. I know this seems obvious, but I have seen many, many couples spend the majority of their weddings apart from one another. The most common scenario places the bride on the dance floor, dancing the night away, while the groom is hanging out on the patio or leaning against the bar, chatting with friends, but the variations and blame for these situations are unending. I advise couples to spend as much time together as possible during their reception, and at some point, step away from the celebration and spend a few moments alone, watching friends and family celebrate from afar. Elysha and I did this at our wedding, and it remains one of our favorite moments from the day.

Last night’s couple understood this rule well.  They spent almost every moment of their wedding side by side, holding hands, kissing and laughing together.
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3.  Smile. Some couples smile their way through their wedding and others worry their way through. I like to tell couples to do all the worrying before the wedding day, and then trust the professionals who you have hired to execute your plan.

If you spend your wedding day following-up on your vendors and worrying about what happens next, your will have spent your wedding day working and not celebrating.

Hire people you trust, and then trust them to do their jobs so you can smile your day away.

Last night’s couple never stopped smiling.