Your wedding day should be a day of fun and romantic celebration. You want your wedding day to be great and to run smoothly, right? It doesn’t take much for you to begin to feel overwhelmed. Couples who begin planning early and pace themselves should be able to avoid last minute chaos.
First things first. Start planning at least a year in advance – more if possible. Get organized. Buy a wedding organizer. You may not think you need one, but the best way to keep track of potential caterers, DJs, Wedding Officiant, venues and other assorted bridal services. Make a Wedding Checklist. Keep track of every wedding vendor you talk with; name, phone number, Website and e-mail address and bring the list with you to the wedding, just in case you need to contact them.
DO – Set priorities; choose the date, book the wedding venue and hire a professional wedding officiant.
DO – Select “dependable” attendants and give each one a copy of the tentative timeline for the wedding so they can make arrangements in their own life to be at rehearsal, etc. Be sure that they are clear about the duties that come with being the Maid of Honor, Best Man and bridesmaids and groomsmen. If they falter from doing what they are expected to do, let them know that you will not hesitate to appoint someone else. Surround yourself with attendants who cause you the least amount of stress.
DO – Delegate someone to put together a bride’s emergency kit to have on hand the day of the wedding. Be prepared for anything that may happen.
DON’T – Don’t wait until the wedding day to make major changes. Don’t make any spur of the moment decisions. Thank ahead. Once you make a decision, move on.
DO – A wedding is not just for the bride. It takes two! Make sure the groom is involved. Girls: he may say he doesn’t care, but down deep, he does. Give him a list of things to do with deadlines. This event is the mutual responsibility of both of you, so guys, you need to do more than get fitted for a tux and remember to bring the ring. 😉
DON’T – Don’t eat, drink, smoke or apply make-up after you’ve put your wedding dress on for the ceremony. If you do drink, use a straw and be very careful.
DO – Two weeks prior to the wedding, phone all your vendors and verify everything. Verify the date, time, location and exactly what they will be doing. Make sure they know the directions to the wedding venue. Bring a list of phone numbers so someone can call them if they don’t show up on time.
DO – If you plan to have a wedding party of 3 or more standing on each side of the wedding officiant – have a rehearsal! The wedding rehearsal is a run-through of the ceremony with the minister (hitting the highlights of the ceremony and giving everyone their cues for the big day) from beginning to end, allowing everybody involved to feel more confident about what will happen on the wedding day. Walk through the ceremony, establishing the pace and timing, in the order each element will occur, where everyone will be standing and make sure all of the participants know their responsibilities.
HOT TIP: Some couples prefer to have the rehearsal and the rehearsal dinner two days before the wedding to allow a day of rest from the stress of having two busy days in a row. Wrap it up early enough for the bride to tend to any last minute details the next day like doing her nails or packing for her honeymoon, and to allow her the opportunity to wind down, relax, and rest well for the big day ahead. Take that stress-free day before the wedding to really pamper yourself – your hair, a spa visit, a manicure and pedicure. Just relax.
DO – Accept that your wedding may not be perfect! Sometimes things go wrong. Take a deep breath and be okay with whatever happens. Sometimes those things become the memorable moments you can smile about later.
DON’T – Don’t stress out about what other people think about your choices for your wedding, especially the mothers. This is YOUR wedding. They have already had their wedding. You may have to “gently” remind them of this if their ideas get in your way.
DO – Put something in your stomach. Eat something before the wedding. Have someone pick up sandwiches or a veggie tray to share with the bridesmaids. A Pepsi, cheese and crackers are better than nothing.
DON’T – Never let yourself be pressured into buying a wedding dress which you feel is not right or cost more than you can afford. Never be tempted to buy a cheap wedding dress online unless you are sure it is from a reputable company.
DO – Make a budget. Money is such an easy thing to fight about. Make sure you sit down at the beginning of the planning process and agree on how much money you’re going to spend, and stick to it! However, allow room to switch money from one thing to another if the one vendor you really MUST have costs a little more. Cut back on favors. Have a buffet instead of an expensive per plate charge for your guests. Do your best to not charge everything on your credit card. The last thing you need is to be stressed about starting your marriage with enormous credit card bills.
DON’T – Money issues can frequently come up and create stressful situations. Not every couple has the luxury of having their parents share in the expenses of their wedding. However, I strongly recommend that instead of putting all the expenses that you are responsible for on a credit card, once you know that wedding bells are in your future begin to work on a budget together and save every penny you can into a special wedding fund.
DO – Make sure all the vendors are paid and everything is taken care of BEFORE the wedding day. You don’t have to worry on that day. Make arrangements for vendor tips to be given after the wedding. This task is often given to the best man.
DO – Designate someone to drop off all the essentials at your venue – the favors, the place cards, the cake cutter, the cake topper, the sand for the sand ceremony, etc., the day BEFORE your wedding.
DO – Make arrangements to get your hair done in plenty of time before the wedding ceremony is scheduled to begin. If you’re having a bad hair day, you will wish you had. This is often the excuse for the delay of the bride being ready on time.
DON’T – Don’t be tempted to jet off on your honeymoon as soon as the wedding is over. The wedding and reception may cause extreme exhaustion. It’s a big day. The honeymoon is very special so give yourself a couple of days (or more) to rest. Open gifts, write “thank you” notes, sleep late, rest and just be together. When you are fully rested, go for it! Don’t worry about not being able to take a big fancy honeymoon. You have the rest of your lives to make money and take big, wonderful, fabulous vacations.
DO – If your intention is to lose a lot of weight before the wedding, you would be wise to start that regimen 6 months to a year before the big day.
Your relationship – between the bride and groom – can be stressful and can become even more stressful prior to the marriage. Focus on the important thing – the relationship! Be certain to take some time to stay connected. Don’t allow your life to be consumed by the planning of your wedding. Spend some relaxing time together as a couple. “Make” time for each other.
DO – Be okay with the butterflies in your tummy! It’s normal to be a little nervous or stressed on the day of your wedding. If you have done the best you can to hire the best wedding vendors, the butterflies should all be flying in formation by now. Allow the professionals to do the work, and sit back and relax.
PLEASE DO – If you are afraid that you will forget something important… don’t freak out… PLEASE hire a Wedding Consultant! The wedding coordinator will work with you on everything from the budget to the flowers, photographer to the DJ, caterer to the cake, and your venue. Your wedding coordinator will handle every aspect of your wedding planning, alerting you to possible problems that may be costly. Wedding coordinators also have relationships with vendors in the industry, possibly encouraging discounts and/or negotiating terms that you would not be able to do on your own. They can keep you on budget, on target and focused. They can help with event décor and design. They can help you with etiquette questions, creating a budget and payment schedule for vendors, creating timelines for your event, researching vendors, scheduling appointments with vendors and attending them with you, reviewing contracts, and much more.
Larry’s TIP: You will actually SAVE money by hiring a Wedding Consultant. Trust me, I know! Call me for referrals.
DO – Get a good nights sleep the night before the wedding. No excuses. Go to bed early. Relax into a deep slumber. You will be glad you did.
DON’T – A brief word about alcohol. Have an exciting ceremony, enjoy the reception – dance like nobody’s watching – but do yourself a favor and don’t over-indulge in social lubricant! You will thank me later.
HOT TIP for the Groom: There is nothing that will excite your bride-to-be more than a dozen roses on her wedding day.
And finally. . . take a deep breath. Relax. When your big day is done, all that matters is that you are married to the love of your life and surrounded by family and friends who love you.
BONUS Articles: “How Much Do You Charge to Perform a Wedding Ceremony?
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Copyright © 2011 – Larry James. This idea is adapted from Larry’s “romantic” Wedding Ceremony. Larry James is an award winning, non-denominational wedding officiant and performs the most “Romantic” wedding ceremony you will find anywhere! Every wedding ceremony is customized to your complete satisfaction. Call to check availability: 480-998-9411 or 800-725-9223. Pre-maritial relationship coaching is available and not required. You will find more than 460 pages of Wedding ideas, tips (90 tips and growing), ceremonies, and more at: http://www.celebrateintimateweddings.com. Something NEW about weddings is posted every 4th day on this Wedding BLOG. Check Larry’s availability.
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