Wedding first impressions are important. First impressions are tricky; even after you’ve known someone for years, you never forget what you initially thought of them. Even places, movies, or experiences are all subject to the first impression phenomena; I still think of Seattle, WA, as a warm, sunny city, even though common knowledge tells me otherwise. The first time I visited, it was sunny for the entire two-week trip (something my friend still swears has never, ever happened), and now, Seattle is a beautiful, clear-skied, and sunny hotspot. First impressions matter.

So when it comes to first impressions at your wedding, there are actually a few different ones you need to be aware of. Don’t worry. A list has been made:

1.) Your Save-The-Dates. Many people believe the invitations are where the first impression is made, but I beg to differ. People put the save-the-dates on their refrigerator for the next eight months before their wedding. The invitations bring the necessary information, but that’s about it. Plus, if you send out magnet save-the-dates, those things will likely stay on the refrigerator for many years. Think about it; you probably have a few old save-the-dates on your refrigerator right now, even when the wedding has already come and gone. People keep these things, and they look at them a lot. Guests that come over to their house look at them. Put some time and effort into them.

2.) The walk down the aisle. There are two essential parts to making a great impression during your walk down the aisle: great music and a gorgeous dress. For the music, choose something personal to you, not something that has been played for countless other weddings. And as for the dress, all you need to ensure is that it makes you feel like a million bucks. So even if everyone in your family says otherwise if you want to go with the orange feathered concoction, do it, but just one word of advice; make sure it fits like a glove. Even the most beautiful girl in the world can look like a sad sack if wearing an ill-fitting dress.

3.) Your first dance. While the walk down the aisle sets the stage for the ceremony, your first dance with your new spouse sets the stage for the entire reception. To make the impression you’re looking for, do the same as with your walk down the aisle; choose deeply personal music. You don’t have to do the generic slow dance many couples feel locked into. Surprise everyone by performing a lively swing dance or turn up the hip hop and get down wit’ yo bad self. Does your fiancé break dance? Have you studied ballet for years and years? Show it off! No one is going to forget a performance like that anytime soon.

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