I was going to do a details post today, but quite honestly, I’m tired of uploading pictures! I’ll finish the week off with them tomorrow, but in the meantime, I thought I’d share the lessons that I learned while planning a wedding, since so many brides had shared their advice with me.

1. Book the big stuff early. True, looking for a venue stressed me out, but booking all the big guys — venue, caterer, photographer, DJ — early on, not only assured me availability, but it allowed me to basically kick back and relax for a few months without worrying about things too much.

2. Friday is an awesome day to get married. When we first booked our date, a few people scoffed at the idea of  Friday wedding. “People won’t come to the ceremony,” they said. “People won’t get off work,” the chastized. Wrong. Almost 100% of our guests came to the ceremony and luckily for us, there was this handy little tool called a save-the-date magnet that not only allowed people to look at our smiling faces for six months (you’re welcome), but clearly reminded them to take off a specific Friday in October. We received zero complaints and know what else? A Friday wedding is cheaper than a Saturday wedding. Way cheaper. It also allowed guests to make an entire weekend out of it!

3. The little things you stress about — the font on the invitiation envelopes, the ribbon on the favors, the centerpieces — will all come together and in the end, the only one who cares if your seating cards are printed or handwritten is YOU.

4. You will fit in your wedding dress. Trust me. All that anxiety before each fitting? Pointless. Unless your bridal diet consists only of pints of ice cream and boxes of donuts for every meal, the dress will fit. And you will feel more beautiful in it than any other day of your life. And when it gets dirty (because it will), it won’t even matter, because the smile on your face will outshine the dress all night.

5. When it comes to vendors, be kind, be gracious, but be firm. Get everything in writing and if you make any changes to even the most basic proposal, be sure you discuss all potential extra costs with them. Read over your contracts five times, then let someone else read over them. Know all the clauses. Make copies of EVERYTHING — including each check you write and piece of paper you sign. Keep it in a binder and have it to reference each time you talk to a vendor. Unexpected $400 thrown at you for a catering tent? Check the contract. Not there? I didn’t think so.

6. If you can afford it, do a hair and makeup trial. The goal of your wedding day is to look like yourself, only slightly more bride-y. If I hadn’t done the hair trial, I wouldn’t have known to tell the stylist on my wedding day that I wanted more height, tighter curls and pieces pinned away from my face. The trial saved me aggravation so when the wedding came, I could just sit back with my mimosa and relax.

7. Fake eyelashes are so worth it. They only feel weird until the glue dries. Promise.

8. Write your significant other a card. Michael and I chose not to give each other gifts, but we each took the time the write down the words we were feeling that very morning. His card was delivered to the house by a bridesmaid, and I was fortunate enough to have the card given to me in the limo just moments before walking down the aisle.

9. After your first kiss, turn around and really look at all the people who came to share in your marriage. I saw no one until that moment I turned and faced the pews and I was suddenly overwhelmed with all the people there who love and support us. That is your last moment of the day where people won’t be coming up to talk to you and congratulate you, so soak it in.

10. Some time before the wedding, thank the people who mean the most to you. We chose to do this at the rehearsal dinner and I’m so glad I took the time to write a speech for each bridesmaid and my family. I forgot to print a copy of each and include it in their gifts, but I will be sending them the words I spoke that day as a reminder of how much I love them.

11. The choice to see each other before the ceremony is a very personal one. We chose not to — partially because we really didn’t have the time and mostly because we both like the tradition of the first look being as I came down the aisle. As I’ve shared with you, our ceremony was beyond emotional. I’m not sure I would have had the same reaction had I seen Michael before, so for us, the decision was perfect.

12. Make the first kiss last as long as you want. It’s your first kiss as husband and wife you will never have that moment again. We kept going in for more!

13. Eat. At. Your. Reception. I SWORE I was going to eat all the delicious appetizers I had been drooling over for months and I couldn’t stop talking about the ginger mashed sweet potatoes. Then we got there and started talking to all of our guests and when all was said and done, I had three appetizers and a bite and a half of my chicken. People kept raving about the food, though, so at least it was good!

14. Take a moment to sit down and look around the room. Look at the decor you worked so hard on. Look at your family and friends joined together in happiness and laughter. Look at your beautiful bridesmaids tearing up the dance floor. Look at your new husband shoving green beans into his mouth as fast as he can before he has to talk to someone else. The night — as everyone always says — will be over in a blink of an eye. Breathe it in.

15. Try not to feel guilty if you don’t get to talk to everyone. Remember, it is your wedding day and you’re supposed to have fun. People won’t hold it against you if you spend the last two hours glued to the dance floor. If they want to talk to you, they’ll find you. I promise. But be sure to at least stop by all the tables (or do a receiving line) to properly thank everyone for coming.

16. Steal a minute away with your new husband. Michael and I had a few minutes alone in the bridal suite (before the videographer found us) where we just sat next to each other holding hands and thinking wow, this is our wedding.

17. Dance. Dance, dance, dance, dance, dance. Then dance some more. And even though you told the DJ no participation songs, make sure he still plays Shout! People love that one.

16. Drink water. I know this seems obvious, but I did not drink enough. It’s not that I was drinking alcohol (I wasn’t), but with all that dancing and the excitement of the day, it’s very easy to get dehydrated. Michael and I were so dehydrated afterwards it seriously took us four days to recover. At one restaurant on our mini-moon the waitress, after filling our water glasses again, was like, thirsty much?

17. Relish in the love. We’re so crazy about each other right now I swear, people are probably getting sick of us. It’s ok. You’re MARRIED!

18. Things will go wrong. Accepting that things will go wrong is the first step. For me, I had no idea if we would have ceremony music, my train was dirty before even leaving the hotel, I dropped the UNITY CANDLE on my dress, and because I didn’t drink enough water, I got massively car sick on the way to the hotel we were spending the night in, made Michael pull over as soon as we got to the parking lot, jumped out and threw up in the bushes — all while still in my wedding dress. How’s that for sexy? Luckily, he is a good man, and rubbed my back saying it was OK. Nothing a little tooth brushing couldn’t fix.

19. After the wedding, recap all the way to New Hampshire, all through the trip and all the way back home with your spanking new shiny husband. It was the best day of your lives and trust me, your friends aren’t going to want to keep talking about it long after it’s over. That’s what he’s for.

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