Time traveller’s guide to a smooth- running wedding

Joy Sable asked recently married couples: if you could revisit the Big Day, what would you do differently?


The dress looked perfect, the food was Insta-worthy and the guests danced the night away. It was a wedding to remember, and yet… there were a few things which could have been managed differently. If, through some time-travelling miracle, you had your chance to revisit your wedding day, what would you change? (No jokes please about standing next to someone else under the chupah!)

A few things stick in Sarah Mohr’s mind when she looks back on her wedding, which took place in August 2017. “For me, the problem was the heat,” she says. “You don’t know how hot and tired you are going to get. After the wedding I realised I should have had a powerful fan — one that sits on the table.” Sam, her husband, also suffered from the heat. “Sam didn’t think to bring along another shirt. When you are dancing — especially the Israeli dancing — you get so hot. A change into another shirt is a nice idea, or you end up just soaking!”

Sarah’s sister Caroline also opted for a summer wedding, when she married Ashley Levy last August at the picturesque Sopwell House in St Albans, Hertfordshire. On the day, the weather was good enough to enable the chupah to be held outdoors, in a private walled enclave away from the main hotel. “If you are having a summer wedding and the chupah is outside, it is a good idea to get those little plastic heels for your guests so people don’t sink into the grass,” says Caroline.

She also suggests designating someone to look after the bride’s jewellery, which traditionally is not worn during the ceremony.

“My mum wore my engagement ring under the chupah. It is a good idea if the bride could organise a specific person to look after her jewellery — things can go missing on the day — and just have it ready after the chupah. It takes time to put on jewellery so give yourself five minutes to put it back on.”

Getting ready is part of the excitement of the day, but a little forethought can save a lot of anxiety. “It is more expensive to have separate people doing hair and make-up, but a good idea if one of them can do both, in case one is ill,” says Caroline.

Zoe Shiers, who married in November 2021, says: “Make sure your hairdresser and make-up artist have a contingency plan. Unfortunately, my hairdresser got Covid just before my wedding, but thankfully she had somebody lined up who could take over.”

Food is always an important part of any wedding, and it often begins at the tisch — the all-male reception held for the groom just before the ceremony begins. Zoe says both the tisch drinks and children’s menus are sometimes overlooked.

“If you’re having a tisch, make sure you’ve cleared with the caterer beforehand exactly what will be available for guests. Everyone focuses on the main meal for the adults, but if there are children invited, then make sure that their food is planned too.”

Often the bride and groom will miss out on food because they are busy having photos taken during the reception or circulating among their guests during dinner. “I didn’t ask the caterers to package stuff up and I missed out on the food. I do regret not having a bride and groom doggy bag,” says Sarah.

Caroline recommends getting one of the adult bridesmaids (if you have them) to collect some sweet treats and put them in the bridal suite to enjoy when the evening draws to a close. “It is nice to have that waiting for you in your room, and if you have a destination wedding, it is lovely to have some food waiting for your friends where you can all chill together.”

Weddings can be expensive, but Zoe is adamant about how the budget should be allocated: “The photos are going to be with you forever and you’ll look at them far more often than you will look at anything else wedding-related, so if you’re going to splash out on something, make it the photographer.

“Make sure photos are planned and timed. I was far too stressed about who was in them, where people were and if we had enough time. So make sure your photographer has a clear list about who needs to be in the photos.”

Jessica and Jonathan Barker married in December 2021. “If I had my wedding day again, I would have had an extra wedding dress for after the ceremony so it would have been easier to dance in and would be more comfortable,” says Jessica. She adds what is perhaps the most important point for anyone planning to tie the knot: “I would also have taken some more time together as a couple to really embrace the day. I would advise any bride and groom to soak in every moment, as it really goes by so quickly!”

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