Photo Credit: Micah and Megan Photographers
With all my brides, even the celebrities, I begin by sitting down with them to lay the groundwork for a smooth planning journey. Every couple should take some time, completely by themselves, to envision their perfect day. Ask yourselves the most important question of all: What feeling do I want my guests to have throughout the celebration? What emotions do I want them to take away? The answers to these questions will inform every decision you make. There are so many “I Dos” and “I Don’ts” along the way that keeping them straight can be almost as overwhelming as the planning process itself.
Preparing your own master list of "I Dos" and "I Don’ts" can help you stay focused in the long run. Reflect on the weddings you’ve been to that you liked and also what you promised yourself you would never do. When you feel as though you have a good collection of ideas and inspirations, it’s time to start putting them in order and turning all of these fantasies into realities!
Here are a few tips that I think are among the most important to keep in mind:
Do inject you and your fiancé's personalities into every element of your big day. You want this event to be uniquely yours! Quirky place cards, thoughtful favors and your favorite foods during the cocktail hour are great places to bring in personal touches.
Do practice walking around in your shoes a few times before your wedding day. Even ballet flats can give you a nasty blister if they’re not broken in. Try doing a few chores around the house in your wedding footwear (when your fiancé isn’t home) to ensure you’ll be able to dance the night away!
Do choose a hair and makeup style that is similar to your daily look, with a touch of upgraded glamour. Your fiancé is going to want to see you walking down the aisle, and you’ll be much happier looking back on your pictures in a few years.
Do be upfront with all of your vendors about what you do and don’t want at your wedding. For example, provide a “don’t play” list to your DJ or band and a “must take” list for your photographer so everything is exactly as you envisioned it.
Do remember to send thank-you notes to those who made your special day perfect, but may not have been a guest at your wedding. Loved your officiant? Developed a great relationship with the coordinator at your venue? Let them know. Your kind words will be appreciated.
Don't spend the day on Facebook and Twitter! I know you’ve been waiting a long time to change your relationship status to “married,” but—please—save it for the next day. Turn away from social media and stay present in the moment and spend your wedding reception connecting face to face IRL (not virtually) with your loved ones and new husband.
Don't forget to eat throughout the day and at your reception. It can be easy to neglect to nibble with all the excitement, but a few glasses of champagne can be dangerous on an empty stomach.
Don't be afraid to give your speakers a suggested time limit for their toasts. Five minutes is a good rule of thumb to stick to. Your guests will thank you, and it will keep your reception feeling more like a party and less like a presentation.
Don't feel like you have to stick to either traditional wedding customs or current trends. If wearing a big white dress, tossing your bouquet and distributing tulle bags full of Jordan almonds just doesn’t feel like you, skip it! If you prefer white wine and red velvet cake to a specialty cocktail and candy bar, do it. It’s your day: you get to decide what happens!
Don't sweat the small stuff! Be prepared for some things to go wrong. But remember that it won’t be a big deal when they do. Whatever it is, you’ll look back on it and laugh, so enjoy your day in spite of whatever didn’t go as planned.