Snip the stamen and 12 other tiny, unexpected ways to minimize chaos on your wedding day

Guest post by Angie Gaul
 | Photography by Milestone Images
All photos by Milestone Images.
All photos and tips by Milestone Images.

As a professional wedding photographer, I'm chock full of random, practical wisdom that you wouldn't think of if you hadn't been to hundreds of weddings. Here are my top 13 wedding-pro secrets…

1. Have multiple pairs of scissors around while you're getting ready.

Everyone has to cut tag, or those hangar pseudo-strap thingies out of their dresses. Scissors also come in handy for tips two and three…

2. Get a clear plastic “over the door” shoe organizer and fill it with things everyone will need while getting ready.

[related-post align=”right”]Hotel rooms with lots of women getting ready are hectic places. One person uses the scissors and leaves them on the bed. A garment bag gets thrown on top of them; no one can find them. “Have you seen the scissors? Where are the scissors?” Another bridesmaid finds them and leaves them in the bathroom. Aaaand they're gone again. It's enough to make any woman stuck in a chair with eyelash glue on her face lose her fucking mind.

Use the scissors and return them to the shoe organizer. Same with the double-sided fashion tape, the safety pins, sewing kit, bobby pins and extra can of spray deodorant. If you're getting to the point where you're about to declare it “Do Not Ask Me Questions” Time, kindly and gently ask everyone to please check the shoe organizer of All The Things they might be looking for before they ask.

Look closely, these lilies are stamen-free.
Look closely: these lilies are stamen-free.

3. Flower pollen is the one kind of stain that is 100% permanent.

If you or anyone near you will be carrying lilies of any kind, appoint a Keeper of the Scissors to snip off the pollen-laden stamen before you go near anywhere near the flowers in your wedding finery.

4. Have a can of clear, “little black dress”-friendly spray deodorant.

I recommend PURAX Antiperspirant Spray. But whatever you use, go for a spray since the spray can part makes sharing with other bridesmaids less icky.

5. Have someone else pick up your bouquet from out of the water.

You see flowers staying fresh in a vase. I see water about to drip down the front of your dress.
You see flowers staying fresh in a vase. I see water about to drip down the front of your dress.
Then make sure to “tap tap tap, dab dab dab” the bottom on a paper towel before handing it to you. Ribbon and fabric will soak up water, which then drips down the front of dresses and makes watermarks, especially on satin. Given that bouquets are often grabbed in a hurry right before pictures, water dripping on dresses is often the tiny, proverbial flapping of a butterfly's wing that blows up into a hurricane of stress.

6. Plan for lots of buffer time during major transitions in the day.

Everything on a wedding day takes longer and is infinitely more complicated than you ever imagined. People mean well, but they really and truly lose the ability to follow simple directions, like, “Please go here and do this at this time.” I don't know why. It's hard. It shouldn't be hard. It's hard anyway. Forewarned is forearmed.

7. Wedding trolleys are fun and photogenic, but they are also not permitted to drive on highways.

If you plan to rent one, be sure to plan for extra travel time on side streets with lots of traffic lights to get to the reception. This goes double if you're traveling in rush-hour traffic on the Friday of a three-day holiday weekend like Memorial Day or Columbus Day.


8. Have someone carry a plastic straw.

That way you can pop it into a bottle of water for quick sips during pictures without messing up your lipstick or having backwash drip on your boobs.

9. If someone is giving an extremely long or offensive speech, to the point where you're considering signaling the DJ to kill the mic, here's what you do:

Wait until the person finishes a thought or anecdote, then start an enthusiastic round of applause. Quietly let the people closest to you like the bridal party or your parents know you're going to do this so you aren't the rude guy doing the loud, slow clap, alone. Other people will join in. The newlyweds should then jump up and hug the speech-giver, quietly moving them out of the limelight as they do.

10. If you have a lot of buttons up the back of your dress, have a crochet hook on hand.

This would be a lot easier with a crochet hook.
This would be a lot easier with a crochet hook.
Someone can then close all the buttons quickly and efficiently when you're getting ready. Before you leave at the end of the night, have someone nimble-fingered undo those dozens of little buttons. In addition to killing the mood, you're going to want to divest yourself of your “foundation undergarments” as quickly as possible. Spanx: love 'em 'til you hate 'em. Discuss.

11. If the bouquet is caught by a little girl…

And the garter is caught by anyone more than a few years older, have him slip it on her wrist like a bracelet.

12. If you don't want to smash cake in each other's faces and there are particularly obnoxious people all around you screaming for you to do so…

Make eye contact with your newly minted spouse, turn, and smash the cake in the faces of the loudest people instead. Your mileage may vary on this, so you may just wish to entertain the thought while nicely feeding each other cake and ignoring the catcalls.

13. Wedding cakes don't like public transportation.

If you had a friend bake your wedding cake, make sure they do not bring it to the wedding on the subway.

Any other wedding pros out there? What are your tiny, unexpected wedding tips?

photographer: Milestone Images

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Comments on Snip the stamen and 12 other tiny, unexpected ways to minimize chaos on your wedding day

  1. Yes, avoiding chaos on the wedding day is a great idea, best wishes to all those lovely brides preparing, it will all go along great – just remember to breathe!

  2. These are so helpful. Also: I recently went to a wedding where a pre-teen/young teen caught the bouquet and a guy in his late twenties caught the garter. They did not follow your advice and it was the most awkward thing EVER. Reason #523462 we’re not doing a toss of any kind.

  3. One of the clearest memories of my wedding day is Angie and her never-ending supply of straws and water bottles.

    That and the whole getting married/biggest party I’ve ever thrown thing. But mainly — straws and water bottles.

    • XD Aw, Erica, you’re the best! I can’t believe your one year anniversary is coming up in, like, six weeks!

  4. Alternatives to stamen snipping: gather the pollen off the stamens with your fingers and “clean” the stamens. Depending what kind of offbeat you are (And what your allergies/sensitivities might be) You can use the pollen for curious things. I have a thing for making lily-pollen eyeshadow and facepaint, and if you have enough lilies you can put a streak into your hair as if you had applied hair chalk.
    If you really love the look of the stamens, I imagine (though I have not tested this) that you could prevent the pollen from escaping by spraying them with a little hairspray. Aquanet for the win.

  5. am i not the only one who feels just super weird about letting little kids participate in the bouquet/garter toss? like, i know it’s sorta a dumb superstition to begin with, but the 9 yo niece of somebody is really probably NOT going to be the “next one to get married” in a crowd full of 20/30 somethings. and none of those people want to hurt the little kid at the front of the group if the bride/groom doesn’t toss very far.

    • I caught the boquet when I was 10 and the whole thing was super traumatic. I refused to uncross my legs for some strange man and everyone laughed. 🙁

    • When I was in my 20’s my family tried to rig it so that I would catch my sister’s bouquet, but a little girl body checked me and caught it, knocking me to the floor. My boyfriend at the time caught the garter. Everyone yelled at her and she cried. Then they actually had my bf and her go through with the garter thing. The whole thing was humiliating and awful.

  6. Morning of my wedding, I sent a bridesmaid a text that said “do me a bm solid in more ways than one… pick me up some immodium ad on your way here” bc it was the only thing not in the emergency bridal kit I’d convinced myself I’d need (I didn’t, phew). She wrote back “hilarious wording of that request” and now it’s a fun little thing between us!

  7. NO GLITTER HAIRSPRAY – unless you want it to look like you have really bad dandruff in every wedding photo.

    • And it gets everywhere. I did glittery hairspray once and wear contacts. Not a beautiful combination. A lot more screaming and eye clawing than I ever want to do again.

  8. Pollen stains can be removed with sellotape. (Add it to your oh shit kit.) Just don’t rub it!

  9. As an Australian, I’ve never really been able to understand the cake smash thing….why? I’ve threatened the beloved with physical harm if he even thinks about it, let alone does it! (He’s Canadian, so, you never know…. ;p) I’m not paying a small fortune on a make up artist to have it all ruined by, admittedly, very yummy cake!

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