Brides across America this summer are experiencing the joy of their wedding day – as I did almost one year ago. I want to share my experience through 15 must read tips for your wedding day!
After many months of wedding planing, the big day is fast approaching and you think you have everything in place ready for your grand party. That was me as well! However, things sometimes don’t go as planned. Here are a few of my experiences that, looking back I wish I had known. I like to live my life with no regrets, and I had a fabulous wedding day despite the few wedding day hurdles!
Before Your Wedding Day
1. Engagement Party
Tip: Don’t invite everyone and their brother!
Avoid awkward conversations with friends (i.e., that you decided to have a “smaller wedding” and they didn’t make the cut) after your engagement party. Take the time to think about the guest list for both your engagement party and wedding. Even though you may not probably haven’t thought about a wedding guest list or where you are even getting married, it is still important to cover all your bases.
2. Go for the Up-do!
We all want to have Kate Middleton’s thick, luscious & big curly locks for our wedding day. The reality: wind, humidity, and countless hugs from long lost family members equals hair that will look disheveled by the time you are pronounced husband and wife.
If you rarely curl your hair or know that your curls will end up flat as a board anyways, opt for an up-do. It often looks classier, plus with enough hair spray your hair will be as good as when you left the salon!
3. Buy Your Veil and Wedding Accessories
I hear you asking, “What, I am not supposed to order a custom veil 5 days before my wedding in hopes that it will make it on time?” No. I tried that and it didn’t work out so well.
I admit – I own my own online veil store and should have known better than to delay buying my veil at the last minute. Brides have a million things on their to-do list and may not think about the last minute details until too late.
Luckily, my “something borrowed” was my mother’s pair of earrings and necklace. As for my wedding veil: I literally received it the morning of the wedding. One thing I regret is not having much time to play with the placement of the veil. I already had my make up and hair done and didn’t want it ruined, so I just stuck the veil in and went out the door to a waiting limo.
I wore a drop veil, and the comb really should have been higher on my head because I found that the veil was too flat on my face. If the comb had been higher I know it would have remedied this problem.
4. Hire Professionals for Hair & Makeup
If you decide to get your hair and make up done by a professional make sure you hire a hair dresser for your hair and a make up artist for your makeup. There is a reason people choose one area or the other to study. Sometimes you can find a talented artists who went to school for both fields, but most of the time you probably won’t be fully satisfied.
The total cost may be a little more, but hiring a true hair stylist and a make up artist who are good at what they do will pay off. They each have have the correct supplies (no matter what the challenge) along with an array of different techniques and styles at their disposal.
For example, my mom wanted a thick braid down the side of her head with the remainder of her hair curled. The stylist didn’t listen and ended up twisting her hair on both sides, and used black bobby pins in her blond hair. Although my mom looked beautiful, she had a vision of what she wanted for her hair – that wasn’t accomplished.
As an aside, different ethnic groups wear different makeup styles. The women that did my makeup was an expert in South Asian makeup, so when it came to apply makeup to my freckled white face, I had to ask her to tone it down a lot as shimmer and bold colors do not suit me.
5. Do Your Homework & Find A Unique Shot
Pinterest and wedding blogs make it easy to find amazing photography of real weddings at the wedding venue that you choose. A great idea is to look through some of the images and either make note or send the link to your photographer. There might be a certain pose you love or a certain area of the property that you would love to get a photograph taken. Don’t be scared to let them know!
6. Be Wise With Your Pre-Ceremony Downtime
I had an hour to kill before our limo came to whisk my wedding party to the venue and these were my preferred options: fall asleep, melt because my dress was hot, and pace back and forth due to nerves!
If you are fortunate to have free time before you head off to the chapel, consider yourself lucky and use it wisely! The last thing you want is the limo arriving and everyone is in a panic getting last minute items together.
7. Don’t Write Your Vows Last Minute!
I tried writing my vows at the last minute and it didn’t turn out well. My husband and I ended up agreeing to use the pre-written vows from our officiant. If you are like me, you will regret not writing your own vows or you will run out of time and be unable to write them at all.
Aside: We plan to write vows and have a special date night on our first anniversary to make up for it!
8. Entertainment Coordinator
In the US, a lot of times the DJ will act as the MC for a wedding (whereas in Canada you will often find that a family member will take on this role). The importance of this roll is crucial for the success of a wedding. The DJ/MC is somebody that will ensure a good pace for your wedding as well as manage the flow.
If you love to dance, then a professional DJ should be in your wedding budget. They are one key to keeping your guests busy on the dance floor and partying all night long!
Morning of Wedding Day
9. A Good Nights Rest
Sleep is essential before your wedding day. However you can accomplish it, I highly suggest finding a way to ensure a good night’s rest. Warm milk, sleeping pills, or counting sheep were all options for myself.
If you know you will need help to get rest, you might want to find a sleeping solution long before the eve of your wedding. Tossing and turning all night thinking about what you have to get done on your wedding morning is not pleasant.
In addition, the idea of a giant slumber party with all your girls the night before the wedding sounds like a fun idea, but an even better idea is to sleep alone in your room and make sure that you get a good nights rest. Don’t be a sleep deprived zombie on your wedding day because your long time gal became a snorer and kept you up.
10. Calm Space on Your Wedding Day
Many brides spend the night at their parents house. If your parents have spare bedrooms filled with out of town guests, you may find yourself feeling like Kevin McAllister from Home Alone – wishing everyone would disappear. Okay, you won’t actually hope to be alone on your wedding day, but the reality is that a crowded family house with emotions running high can be quite overwhelming.
Getting your hair and makeup completed can take a few hours, which really should be a relaxed time where you can feel calm and peaceful. A good idea is to set up a quiet area in the house (not the kitchen – everyone always congregates in the kitchen!) where you can choose to have alone time.
11. Food: Who Needs It?!
Hint: You likely won’t be hungry nor have the time to enjoy it
I remember it well: that wedding reception menu that my new hubby and I spent time planning, not to mention pairing with a special wine, all lavished on my wedding guests and not me! Not to worry, I managed to sneak a few M&M favors for later that evening.
Nerves, emotions, and butterflies all culminate in a stomache that says, “No thank you, I have no appetite.” Even if you are not able to eat much on your wedding day, it is important to try and drink lots of water and eat something before and during the wedding. A favorite protein bar could do wonders!
12. Remind Your Maid of Honor
They don’t call her a maid for nothing! (Just kidding).
A wedding pet peeve of mine is seeing a bride up at the altar, wearing a beautiful train that is all bunched up because the maid of honor fell asleep at the wheel and didn’t fluff the dress! Sometimes others think to do this duty, but you don’t want to step on the MOH’s toes. Make sure to remind her that once you arrive at the altar, it is okay to grab your train and pull it out so that it can be on display.
13. Music: You may not hear it!
Do you have your heart set on one piece of music for your wedding ceremony? I didn’t, and I spent countless hours trying to find the right song to walk down the aisle. Now, I know I didn’t really hear or remember the music playing!
Of course, it is a wonderful show for your guests to have a live musician. However, you will most likely be so focused on trying not trip in your new Badgley Mischka shoes, trying to not cry, or consumed with emotion and focused on your partner waiting at the end of the aisle, that you won’t even notice there is a string quartet playing in the background.
14. Making the Rounds
It is important to try and talk with all of your wedding guests at the recepetion. Inevitably you are going to feel guilty that you missed someone or you didn’t talk long enough to your cousin who flew 5 hours just for your wedding. This is natural and your guests will totally understand.
15. Set up and Take Down Crew
If you are doing all your wedding planning yourself, make sure that you have a plan in place for take down. Many DIY wedding planners have a decorating army in place and ready to go for the set up, but by the end of the night everyone is either too tired, inebriated, or has left the party to worry about take down. Depending on your venue, you may be stuck cleaning up the balloons and confetti with your new husband instead of attending your wedding after party!
A Wedding Blogger’s Bonus Tips
Bonus Tip #1: Sort Out Disagreements
This is a biggie and it is an unfortunate reality for many weddings.
Family, friends and even neighbors (pretty much everyone) will have their own expectation and opinion of your wedding day – whether they have been married or not – which could lead to hurt feelings or disagreements.
After reading real wedding advice from hundreds of brides on Love & Lavender, and having experienced this myself, I can’t stress this enough: make sure you and your partner are on the same page regarding each others wants for your wedding day and stick to your guns.
You will never make everyone happy, and nor should you try. It is important to consider family and friend’s feelings to make the process as peaceful as possible. Communication is key, but a lot of time people get caught up in little details that don’t matter when the big day finally arrives.
Each wedding scenario is different and families have different dynamics. I think if there is something that you both feel strongly about for your wedding day, and it really matters to you, communicate that point as best you can.
Bonus Tip #2: Don’t Be Afraid to Ask for Help
Your friends and family are there to help you before, during, and after your wedding day. They want to help! Delegate the appropriate jobs to people who have the skills, and watch them do a good job. All the major planning should be in place the week leading up to your wedding (Easier said than done).
If there are a lot of last minute things to do, ask for help. The week leading up to the wedding should be relaxing and not stressful with tons of outstanding tasks.
Tip: Have a cut off point and stick to it. You can live without last minute DIY. If you don’t get it done, your wedding will still be a smashing success!
Bonus Tip #3: You are not Super Woman
Just because it is the week leading up to your wedding day doesn’t mean you can’t get sick or hurt yourself. Stress can come in many different forms. If you want proof, read my experience here. Make sure you listen to your body and don’t bite off more than you can chew. As the above point says, “Ask for help”. You are not invincible. You can make yourself sick or stressed out.
I hope today’s article with tips for your wedding day helped you in some small way. Thanks for reading and let me know any comments below. Have fun on your wedding day this summer!