How many people have given you unsolicited wedding advice so far? It's overwhelming right?! There are SO many moving parts that go into producing your dream wedding day, and it's probably the first time you're doing it. All of your married friends (and also friends that have only been in weddings and are obviously now wedding experts) will tell you the things that are right, and the things that are wrong about wedding planning. And your mother's will DEFINITELY tell you how your wedding should go. Which, coincidentally is EXACTLY like they had their wedding.
As a very hands on wedding photographer and stylist, I get to hear all of those opinions. And I also see how much stress it puts on the bride and groom. You don't want to undermine your friends and family's opinions, but you also definitely don't need six different people telling you that you should or shouldn't spend money on the florist. (You should, BTW, but that's a totally dif post)
So my best advice, first and foremost is to talk to your vendors. Make sure you know them, and are confident in their skills. And then lean on them for whatever advice you need in their departments, instead of people outside of the wedding industry. I promise, they all want what is best for you, because that is what's best for them!
Ok, so to get to the point. The following are four things that I CONSTANTLY see my couples struggling over, because their parents or family and friends are pushing them to do. And let me be clear: I am not saying that you shouldn't listen to your parents when they give their wedding advice, that's a sticky situation, especially when they are paying for it. So I am going to explain why you could do without these things so that if you are someone struggling with one of these decisions, you can take this info back to them to help them see your side of it.
1) RECEIVING LINES: This is my favorite thing to cut (sorry)- especially when the couple is trying to consider the length of time that they have with their vendors. A receiving line is a giant time suck. The guests never leave, they always pool into a crowd just outside where you are, so they can see what you are doing and when they should leave. And then the time it takes for you to receive your guests and then proceed with the day. And there is not much the photographer and videographer can do during this time, except take a photo of you hugging every single guest. It's just not a good use of time.
A good alternative, is for the couple to see each other before the ceremony, so that all of your portraits can be done before the wedding and then you can mingle with your guests during cocktail hour. Especially in the summer months when its hot. (Lord knows the bride's hair does not need to be standing around in that heat before portraits. Ya know what I mean?)
2) TABLE PICTURES: You know...from the 80's and 90's where the photographer walked around and intruded on your guest's dinner by taking photos? Please don't ask your photographer to do this. Especially if it's me. It makes the guests think we are annoying, and then they look at us weird the rest of the night, like "Great, here she is again. Do I still have salad in my teeth?"
A good alternative is to seat the elderly guests at tables near each other, so that as soon as everyone is seated, your photographer can grab pictures of JUST those tables, since those guests probably won't be burnin' up the dance floor too much. And this actually leads me into:
3) GREETING EACH TABLE: A bigger time suck than the receiving line. Take my advice and do the first look so you can mingle during cocktail hour. Or else you will spend 2+ hours greeting people. They all want to stand up, hug you, have a full blown convo, and take a selfie. Rightfully so. But you're probably not paying a crap ton of money so you can stand around all night, right? Grouping the elderly people together as per #2, allows you to quickly stop by those tables, and during the toasts, you can thank all of your other guests, and tell then to find you on the dance floor for a selfie and a hug! (So you can enjoy your band/DJ too!)
4) BOUQUET/GARTER TOSS: No one ever wants to do it. So just don't. The more times you ask everyone to leave the dance floor so they can watch something, the less people get BACK onto the dance floor. (Which is why you should also do your first dance, and parent dances back to back!)
So it pretty much sounds like I am telling you not to talk to your guests, but I am trying to make it easier and way more fun for you AND your guests, and those are some of the easiest ways to achieve that!
I hope that was helpful, and as always, I'm here if you have any questions!