So many brides I talk to have got this wedding planning jig down. They have vendors booked, flowers picked, cake tasted, etc. And then the day of the wedding arrives and it is utter chaos! Stressed to the max, the bride is already ready for the day to be over before she even walks down the aisle. This is not the way your big day is supposed to go!!
With a little bit of planning, a lot of delegating, and some awesome tunes, you can have the most awesome, stress-free wedding day ever. Here are 15 tips to help you awesome ladies out:
1. Hire a wedding planner or day-of coordinator.
I am telling you right now, this is the absolute best advice I can give you. Your sanity will thank you. And your mom and bridesmaids will thank you for not making them do it. If you cannot afford to hire a wedding planner, or if you are super organized and great at planning, hire someone or ask a super organized friend to be a day-of coordinator. They are in charge and will run interference with all vendors and crazy relatives. I made mine a binder to hold all of the special documents and lists that would be their guide throughout the day. This way, all you have to do on the big day is enjoy yourself.
2. Have a schedule down to the minute and give everyone in the wedding party a copy.
In this instance, Excel is your best friend. You should schedule this day literally to the minute. Think of every single thing you will do on this day - from driving to where you get ready, all the way to post-reception clean-up. Make sure that the master timeline stays with your planner/coordinator, but also give a copy to everyone involved in the wedding party. I recommend either emailing it to everyone a couple of days before or giving everyone a hard copy at the rehearsal. This way, no one can claim that they didn't know where they were supposed to be or when. Giant weight off your back.
3. Overestimate how long things will take.
While making said day-of schedule, give yourself some built in extra time. Inevitably, no matter how well you plan, something will take longer than you originally expected it to. In my case, getting my dress on took much longer than I had anticipated. However, I had built in a cushion to my schedule, so we still had some downtime before the ceremony started. You don't want to be running around like a crazy lady before you walk down that aisle. So, build in a time cushion, trust me.
4. Have a master list of all the items needed for the day.
This is another list that should remain with your planner/coordinator for the day. Make a list of all of those little odds and ends that need to be in the right place at the right time: ring bearer pillow, flower girl basket and petals, unity candle/sand/etc, wedding programs, extra directions to the reception, candle lighters, favors for reception, guest book, and any other items that you either made or bought especially for this day.
Also, make sure that someone is in charge of gathering all of these items up at the end of the ceremony and reception. You don't want to leave these precious mementos behind!
5. Have a contact list of all wedding party members and vendors.
This is another document for the planner/coordinator binder. The contact list for the wedding party should also be distributed to all members of said wedding party as well. This way, if someone is running late, gets lost, can't find their shoes...you get the picture, they can call someone. And that someone must. not. be. you!! The planner/coordinator should have a contact list for all vendors as well so that they can call if something goes awry. Make sure someone can contact everyone involved in your wedding. It will make everything so much smoother.
6. Delegate tasks to people you trust...seriously.
Repeat after me: I will not try to do things myself. Seriously, give your wedding party members specific jobs for the day-of. That is part of their job! They love you and want to help you out! They don't want you to be bridezilla! So, you can either type it out in a list, like I did, or you can just tell them verbally if you trust yourself and them to remember.
7. Have a day-of emergency kit.
This is key. So many things can randomly go wrong, and you don't want to have to send someone running to the store to grab nail clippers for the person who accidentally broke their fingernail. Put this together in a small bag or basket a few days beforehand and stick it in the car you are taking to your getting ready location. Here is a good list of items you should have on hand:
Safety pins, bobby pins, double-stick tape, bandaids, deodorant, floss, breath mints, wet wipes, q-tips, nail file, clear nail polish, a small sewing kit, tweezers, nail clippers, hairspray, hairbrush, pads/tampons, tissues, stain stick or wipe, lint roller, matches, scissors, an umbrella, a trash bag, a curling iron/straightener, face powder/oil absorbing sheets, ibuprofen...
The list could go on. Just think of anything that might be needed and toss it in the bag. The more, the better!
8. Make sure to provide food for everyone and stay hydrated.
This is easy to forget, but very important. What we did was order coffee and pastries the day before from a local breakfast place and our coordinator picked them up and brought them to where all of the girls were getting ready. We also ordered sandwich trays and bottled water for both the boys and the girls to have in their "holding rooms" before the ceremony from a local sub sandwich shop, also picked up and delivered by our coordinator. This way no one went hungry, and no one had to leave to scavenge out some food. Make sure that you eat something before the ceremony, and drink plenty of fluids. The last thing you want is to faint as you are walking down the aisle. Just be sure you have someone to go with you to the restroom to hold up your dress ;)
9. Give your cell phone to someone else.
I know, your cell phone is practically an extra limb of yours, and you cannot bear to part with it. You will thank me later, I promise. Give your cell phone to your most responsible bridesmaid. She can field any errant callers and either give them information or refer them to the planner/coordinator. The last thing you need on your wedding day is a frantic phone call from your Great Aunt Fannie because she cannot find the church parking lot. Let your bridesmaids do your communication for you and enjoy yourself.
10. Have a fun playlist for getting ready with your girls.
Sit down with your iTunes and make a fun getting ready playlist. It will make your morning much more festive, and maybe a little dance party might break out. It is important to have some time to let loose.
11. Wear a button down shirt to get ready in.
Don't make the mistake of wearing a shirt you have to pull off over your head after your hairstylist has spent two hours on your perfect 'do. Wear a cute, pretty, button down shirt. Remember, there will be pictures taken when you are getting ready too.
12. Make sure someone gives all final payments and tips to the wedding planner beforehand.
This is one of those tasks you can either do beforehand, or you can delegate it to a bridesmaid. Any tips or final payments should be put in sealed, marked envelopes. You can either put them in the binder you give to your planner/coordinator, or you can have a bridesmaid make sure that the planner/coordinator gets them if you have to wait until the day of to get the checks written. Do not try to do this yourself. You will forget and you will stress about it for your entire honeymoon. Not worth it, my friend.
13. Pack your wedding night bag in advance, and make sure it gets in the getaway car or to the hotel.
If you have access to your getaway car before the wedding starts, stick your wedding night bag in the trunk. If you do not have access to the getaway car, you can do one of two things. Put a bridesmaid in charge of getting it into the getaway car, or have said bridesmaid or the coordinator drop it off at your wedding night hotel.
14. Make sure someone else will gather up all of your wedding gifts for you.
This is an easy thing to put your parents in charge of. The last thing they want is for you to lose or have stolen all of those pretty wedding gifts you so painstakingly registered for. Give them a key to your house/apartment and have them drop off your gifts after the reception. One less thing for you to worry about, and you will get a fun post-honeymoon surprise!
15. Bring comfy shoes for the reception.
Do not make the same mistake I made: bring flats for the reception!! Yes, your heels are beautiful and you picked them out special, but your feet will hate you if you wear them all day. Bring a cute pair of ballet flats or sandals for the reception and you can mingle and dance the night away with comfortable toes. :)
I hope that these tips are helpful! I want each one of you to have the time of your life on your wedding day. After all, it is the start to one of the most awesome adventures of your life - marriage!!
What helpful tips do you have for a stress-free wedding day? Leave them in the comments below!
**All photographs are the beautiful handiwork of
Kristin Sweeting Photography**