Your entire wedding begins the moment you begin your walk down the aisle (also called the processional). It’s the big reveal, and all eyes (and cameras) will be on you. Want to own the aisle like a supermodel owns the catwalk? For expert advice, we went straight to the top and spoke to Georgia Barclay, the Queensland manager of Vivien’s Model Management.
Georgia’s been on and off the catwalk for more than 20 years, working as a professional fashion model throughout Australia before studying journalism at QUT, and then jumping to the business side of the model industry and becoming a model manager. An expert in the fields of fashion, beauty and modelling, this gorgeous woman knows her stuff.
The big entrance
“Your instinct might be to get it all over and done with as quickly as possible but don’t rush down the aisle – savour this moment. Take a few deep breaths just before you arrive (before anyone can see you), and then when they do see you for the first time, stop for a few seconds, take another deep breath and… smile.”
Supermodel tip: To relax your nerves, have a cheeky ‘backstage’ Champagne before you hit the catwalk – sorry, aisle.
“We’ve all witnessed the slightly stroppy-looking, no-smile model marching down the catwalk. They can come across as unhappy, moody and, quite frankly, scary. Not to mention, hungry. As a bride you do not want to duplicate this style – you want to look ‘fierce’, but not frightening. As soon as you step onto the aisle, make eye contact with your soon-to-be husband and smile. Show the love of your life that you’re thrilled to be there and ready to start married life together.”
Supermodel tip: Forget the models of today – instead, channel an ’80s-era Elle MacPherson, who was famous for her broad smiles on the catwalk.
“Have you ever noticed a model’s posture on a catwalk? You’ll want to copy this. Make sure your shoulders are back and down, and your head is held high, but keep relaxed (breathe!) and show a friendly confidence. Stand up straight, and make sure your arms aren’t rigid – the trick is to keep them as loose and natural as possible.”
Supermodel tip: Yes, catwalk models are super-skinny, but a great posture will help anyone look taller and leaner.
“You’re basically choosing 30 seconds of music to choreograph your walk to, so choose something that you love and that you can walk to in a calm, non-rushed way. Choosing music for a fashion parade is a real art – it needs to suit the designer’s clothing and the theme, and be dramatic so that it’s memorable – just like a bride’s entrance.”
Supermodel tip: The all-time best song to strut your stuff to? George Michael’s Too Funky (the music video even stars supermodels!). It might not be quite right for a wedding but look for something with a similar pace.
The front row
“Once you start walking, try to look at a few of your guests and acknowledge them with a smile. If you just motor down the aisle, staring straight ahead, you’ll run the risk of looking like a robot/zombie.”
Supermodel tip: Act like you’re at New York Fashion Week and the front row is full of all your celeb best mates.
The two things that could easily ruin your big moment (and your whole day) are your shoes. Choose wisely and be sure to wear them in beforehand. They need to look divine, naturally, but you also need to be able to walk in them – and they need to not inflict pain within three steps of trotting down the aisle! Search ‘model catwalk bloopers’ on YouTube and you’ll enjoy a lovely two minutes laughing at the expense of the genetically blessed stacking it in crazy shoes. Avoid. This. Look.”
Supermodel tip: Actually, models wear whatever shoes they’re given, whether they’re three sizes too big or too small. Definitely do not emulate them in this respect!
“Ask yourself these questions. Will my bridal gown hitch up when I’m walking? Is the front so long it will trip me up? Will the train get caught up? Can I see through my veil? Be mindful of your dress choice so that you feel confident when walking down the aisle (and so that a video of you tripping up doesn’t go viral). Models don’t get to choose what to wear on the catwalk, but you can.”
Supermodel tip: Wearing a long dress? Make this your mantra: ‘Kick, walk’ and softly kick your skirt before each step. Just make sure you practice this artful move. Remember Jennifer Lawrence at the Oscars? Her designers told her this tip – but in classic J-Law style, she forgot!
“Whether you decide to walk down the aisle by yourself or with a much-loved family member or friend, carry a bouquet of flowers. They not only look gorgeous, they also give you something to do with your hands (they’re the equivalent of bags on the catwalk). A good tip is to hold your bouquet lower than what probably feels comfortable and natural – a bit lower than your waist, not up by your chest (classic online advice: ‘Think pubes, not boobs’!) – and avoid outstretched arms as they’ll make you look like you can’t stand the smell of your flowers.”
Supermodel tip: For a slimming effect, keep your arms bent to create a diamond shape in front of your body.
Don’t look at the camera
“No matter where your photographer is positioned, don’t look at the camera as you walk down the aisle. Instead, concentrate on your groom, and your family and friends.”
Supermodel tip: Pretend the camera’s Anna Wintour – you definitely don’t want to make eye contact with this terrifying fashion legend (not that you could, given she never removes her signature Chanel glasses).
The practice runway
“Strutting down a catwalk doesn’t come naturally to every model, just like walking down the aisle won’t come naturally to all brides. Models (well, good models) not only get to walk in shows every season, they also regularly practice their catwalk techniques – and you should, too. When you’re at home, blast out your chosen music, grab a bunch of flowers, put on your wedding shoes and start practising your walk – preferably in front of a mirror. Think about the flooring at your ceremony venue and practice on something similar – walking on grass is very different from walking on hardwood or stone floors. And remember: grass will stain silk heels, so think about your location when you go shoe shopping.”
Supermodel tip: Make like Tyra and set up a mock catwalk – sorry, aisle – in your home, just like they do in the America’s Next Top Model house.