With Pinterest and your mother in law teeming with Wedding Day Checklists and input, planning for the big day has never been more straightforward! In fact, everyone has something to say about planning a wedding: what not to do, what they wish they had done differently, what they loved about one in particular, etc. However, even with the safety of those checklists holding the insanity in place, there are some surprisingly common detriments that can put quite the dent in your dream day. As people who make their living observing weddings, we know what we’re talking about, and because we love you, dear readers, we want to do everything we can to make your wedding memories as light and blissful as possible!
These thoughts are shared both from our own repeat experiences and first-hand from our brides after the dust settled. Let’s have a little chat in list form, since the Internet is all about lists these days:
1. Choose bridesmaids/groomsmen that will add joy to your day. (Be cautious of BFF rivalries.)
When it comes down to it, this day belongs to you and your future spouse, not your friends. Consider those who have supported you, been an integral part of your relationship, and will truly celebrate each step with you. This is not the time for fulfilling obligations or easing tension between awkward relationships.
2. Bridesmaids dresses should be tried on and tweaks made BEFORE the wedding day. Bring a sewing kit with the bridesmaids and groomsmen’s thread colors.
Ain’t nobody got time for wedding party drama on the big day!
3. Plan an extra hour for hair and makeup, and deliveries.
Something or someone will always be late. Everything will take longer than you think, and there will be unexpected changes. Plan accordingly, then add an extra hour. Always. Better to have extra time than not enough!
4. Insure the ring.
We love you, Best Man! You’re adorable, ring-bearer! But, life happens, and that’s what insurance is for.
5. Bring your veil to your hair trial.
6. Include Bride & Groom alone time in the itinerary.
The day can get hectic! Recharge with an uninterrupted 5 minutes together after the I Do’s.
7. Make sure the photographer knows that the 3rd candle on the left has emotional value (and that you really want a photo of said candle!)
Is there something unique or emotionally significant in your setup or ceremony? The photographer might snap a candle cluster photo that focuses on the 2nd candle instead of the one you are hoping for. Be sure to inform them of the 3rd candle’s significance (Or whatever your “candle” may be)!
8. Photograph your invitations & Save-the-Dates!
These items are part of the memory. Put a copy of each piece with your jewelry so they can be captured as important details.
9. Your first dance does not have to be a full 3.5-minute song.
If you’re not comfortable on the dance floor, don’t torture yourself (or those watching…!) Have your DJ fade the song out at an appropriate spot, or ask your musicians to shorten your special song.
10. Talk to the family ahead of time to prepare them for the family photos. This will save so much time!
Example: “Uncle Melvin, after the ceremony, please join us for the family photos. We promise you won’t miss cocktail hour.”
Example 2: “Mom, instead of 20 small groupings, we’d really love a large group shot of the entire family. We’ve asked the photographer to snap photos of you with Auntie Kelly during the reception.”
11. Seat older guests away from the DJ speakers.
Consider sound-distribution in your reception space. Some guests can have a very different (and possibly frustrating) experience from the rest, depending on where they are seated.
12. Send out a sweet little email the week-of, telling everyone how excited you are to share your big day with them. Remind them that you have arranged for a special meal for each of them and if something came up, to please let you know so their meal doesn’t go to waste.
Translation: We are paying per head, and no-shows are still included in the bill. Don’t make us pay for yours! (Best of luck in finding a kind, pretty way of saying this.) 😉
13. If planning a facial, schedule it at least a week before the wedding day to allow time for the breakouts to pass.
Wedding week is not the time to venture out and change things up where skincare is concerned. For the week-of, only schedule your mani-pedi, and drink plenty of water for glowing skin in those photos! Stick to what works and who/what you trust.
14. Consider an indoor table for the cake if it’s going to be 90 degrees outside.
In fact, consider covering or shading your ceremony if it’s going to be 90 degrees outside. You want your guests to remember what the ceremony was all about, not the sweat that poured under their suit jackets and dresses!
15. Consider parking. Is there enough? Is it close enough for easy access? Will it be in the pictures?
Will Aunt Vivian’s blue Astro van make a debut in your coffee table album or above the fireplace?
16. Ask the DJ to save the light show for open dance only.
Unless you want green spots on your face in your first-dance photos…
17. Confirm the correct pronunciation of all announced names with the DJ ahead of time.
18. Communicate with the DJ about whether or not an open-mic is going to be allowed.
Consider the risks of your drunk cousin grabbing the mic from the toast-giver after opening the floor. If this is ok with you, carry on!
19. Posture is key to your dress fitting/laying right, and a flattering photo!
Practice rolling those shoulders back!
20. Feed the Bride!
Be it butterflies, anxiety, or the swirl of hair, makeup and getting dressed, the bride often ends up walking down the aisle without much more than a Starbucks and a granola bar in her stomach. Have more snacks available than you think you will need! Standing at the altar dizzy or light-headed is a fast track to starring on America’s Funniest Home Videos.
21. Who will run the show at the rehearsal? The officiant? You? Your coordinator? Your mom?
Whoever it is, do they know the traditional ways? If you won’t be doing it the traditional way, have they been made aware?
22. Break in your shoes EARLY.
Walk around in the glass slippers for a day or two. No one wants Cinderella rolling an ankle at the altar or limping on the dance floor.
23. Tell the DJ to work the crowd, or stick to the playlist.
Not knowing if he/she has the freedom to mix things up can either turn out completely boring or catastrophically annoying.
24. Just trying to choose the actual date?
Tight Budget? Consider less expensive times of the year to book your wedding. Example 1: August is vacation month. I don’t care if you live in Arizona or New Jersey, August is THE month to leave town.
Not only does this mean travel rates will skyrocket, but it means getting those “Save the Dates” out earlier than you’d think, so your guests can plan their vacations around your wedding date (fingers crossed).
Example 2: Around holidays like Mother’s Day and Valentines Day, the cost of things like florals jumps 30% and orders run out like Julia Roberts in Runaway Bride. Everywhere.
Example 3: Any holiday in which there might be family obligations that would compete for first place in your guests’ priorities.
Example 4: You will be planning anniversary celebrations on this date every year for the rest of your life, if all goes according to plan. Keep that in mind!
And that’s a wrap!