Lindy Cooke Celebrant

Building the suspense

Planning a wedding

When planning a wedding, one of the key things I recommend to couples is to keep most of the special details involved “under wraps”. So, the obvious question then is … who actually needs to know your plans? Well, the key players are you, your partner and those suppliers who are actually involved in a specific part of your wedding. If you limit sharing information to these people, you’ll already be building the suspense in the lead up to your celebration. This, of course, is a great way to surprise your family and friends with a variety of elements on your big day.

Keep in mind, too, that some people like to share their opinions, even when uncalled for. For this reason, keeping most of the details close to your chest may well limit any negative feedback, second guessing yourself or, worse, a confrontation with other family members.

Of course, you may want to take your mum, mother-in-law-to-be, a close friend or the girls in your bridal party with you when choosing your wedding dress or deciding other important elements. In saying this, details such as the colour of your bridesmaids’ dresses, your song list, the ceremony your celebrant has designed especially for you etc. are all things to keep to yourself as much as possible.

Yes, I totally get that this is likely to be one of THE best days of your life and you may well be wanting to talk about it but, building the suspense and having it all unfold on your wedding day will help to create those lasting memories for everyone there.

So, what CAN you do?


Providing a Sneak Peek

Once you’ve decided on your colour selection and perhaps, a theme, you can incorporate elements of these in the lead up to your wedding day. Things like your “save the dates” and invitations can all act as hints as to what’s to come.


Choosing a Theme

Other than nominating black tie or smart casual, if there’s a particular theme you’d like to go with, you could add a special message to your invitations so that guests know in advance what they should wear. Some options could be a:

  • “Black & White” theme (ask guests to wear something in either black or white)
  • Boho
  • Goth
  • Masquerade
  • Steampunk
  • etc.

The venue you choose will also give your guests a feel for the vibe you’re going for and, if you ask them to dress in a particular way, that will be another clue.


Surprise First Look

Some couples also choose to have one person waiting at the end of aisle with their back turned until their partner starts to walk down the aisle. The point at which the celebrant asks them to turn round for a “first look” is the perfect opportunity for your photographer to catch this moment in time too. On a day when emotions are running high, this is a very special way to begin a ceremony.


Arriving in Style

When guests are mingling before the ceremony, there is already an air of suspense. You can add to this by having the bridal party arrive at the ceremony location in a particular way. You could choose to arrive on horseback, via helicopter, boat, or horse and carriage. The couple getting married can also arrive together, or the bridesmaids AND groomsmen could walk down the aisle in pairs. However you choose to arrive, my suggestion is to keep these details to yourself as they’re all part of the magic you’re building.


Wearing a Veil

Brides who choose to wear a veil have a unique opportunity for building the suspense a little more too. You can walk down the aisle with your veil covering your face and then have your partner or the person walking you down lift it back carefully when you reach the end of the aisle. The alternative is to keep it down during the ceremony right up to the part where you share your first kiss as a married couple.


Choosing Your Witnesses on the Day

Instead of determining who your witnesses will be ahead of time, you could have a lucky number strategically placed ahead of time on the chairs of all your guests. Then, before the ceremony starts, you would just need to choose two numbers and the people with those numbers (as long as they’re over the age of 18) would take on this special role during the ceremony. This is always exciting and memorable for those involved.


Including Symbolic Rituals

Another very popular option is to include a symbolic ritual in your ceremony. I have over 30 to choose from and am always happy to incorporate new ideas if someone has something special in mind. While each ritual does not take an overly long time to do, it is another way of delaying (slightly) the inevitable announcement that the couple is now officially married. Guests will often come up to me after the ceremony to say they’d never seen something like this done before and how special it was.


~     ~     ~     ~     ~


Here’s a link to an earlier blog post I wrote with a few more ideas:

For me, it’s all about creating a uniquely personal day. The more little surprises you have up your sleeve, the greater the impact. The key, of course, is to be authentic. If it feels like a good fit, I recommend going for it!

I would love to design a beautiful wedding ceremony for you that is unique and memorable. If you’d like further information on this, please feel free to get in touch.




094 ~  ©Lindy Cooke Celebrant

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