It's a tradition on TheKnot for month boards to pass on tips and advice to next year's brides. The May 2011 ladies did it for us, and now we would like to share our advice with you in the hope that it will make your wedding planning experience a little easier
Before you know it, it will be your turn to pass on advice to the May 2014 knotties...
My advice would be to NOT look at the weather. Who cares, you are tying the knot with your best friend!
Eat! and Drink lots of water!
If you are a little late, don't panic, they can't exactly start without you.
Finally- Vodka removes most stains from satin dresses
-Wear comfortable shoes to the reception
-Make lists (now and especially closer to the wedding). Keep them near you so you can add to them before you forget something. I made a To-Do list for each month leading up to the wedding and it helped space out everything I needed to do and kept me from getting overwhelmed
-Don't let others talk you into having the wedding of THEIR dreams. Listen to opinions and advice but stand your ground if it's something you really want.
-Get in as many date nights before the wedding as you can so that you remember what the day is really about when you get stressed and things get hectic. Definitely go on a date the week before the wedding!
-Don't worry about the small stuff. Little things that I thought were so important during planning ended up meaning nothing at all on the actual day! Your day will be beautiful regardless because you'll be marrying the man you love and sharing it with great people. And if one small thing isn't right, no one wil notice but you.
On the big day:
Eat before the ceremony! I had no appetite at all but forced myself to eat a decent amount so I wouldn't pass out or anything later!
Focus on your FI when you walk down the aisle.
Peeing backwards really works! I only had to go once but I'm glad I knew this trick since I had a big dress.
Delegate on the day of. You shouldn't have to do anything but get ready and show up
Pack a small snack in case you get hungry before the reception. Once my nerves went away, I was really hungry even though I ate in the morning. I had a granola bar to hold me over until cocktail hour.
Get alone time with your HUSBAND! I'm happy to say that my husband and I spent the majority of the day/night together and it made it that much better. People will try to get their own time with you, but do your best to keep your husband by your side.
-If you can, I would walk into your reception room and take it all in before anyone else gets there.
My advice would be just: enjoy the day! I laughed a lot on our wedding day, coz my hubby was making jokes and was just silly... we totally enjoyed our wedding day. No stress at all.
We also didnt have a bridal party and that was awesome! My hubby and I had so much time for ourselves... we got so many pictures of each other and we had alone time to eat in peace at our sweetheart table. We really enjoyed our wedding day with each other.
Another advice: have someone keep track of what pictures we needed. By the end of the night, i forgot to take a family picture with the combination of me + parents + my brothers. We took a picture like that after the ceremony, but didnt have a picture of me in my white dress with my family members. That's the only regret I have from my wedding day.
Set up a separate email account for wedding related things. Give that email address to vendors, and use it to enter free giveaways. That way you can just stop checking that email after the wedding (and save your real email account from having to deal with all the SPAM!)
When you send out your invitations, number the back of the Response Cards. You can put a very small number in the corner on the back, and no one will notice. It will be a huge help when you get back those cards that say 4 people are attending, but with no name!
Make sure to enjoy your day it passes by so quickly!
Dance like no one is watching!
Prior to wedding:
1. Set a Budget and be realistic with it. Best advice I can give. Stick to your budget and make sure to put a "cushion" in it because there are things that WILL come up that you were not expecting.
2. Take in everyone's thoughts and opinions, but be sure to have the wedding of your and your FI's dreams. This day is for the two of you to SHARE with your family and friends.
3. Do ask for your FI's thoughts/ideas. It's is his day too and he deserves to have some say in what happens.
4. Do consider a wedding planner, but most definately consider a DOC. It was the best gift we could have given ourselves. I thought it was foolish when we were first told we needed to, but she turned out to be our angel for the day!
1. EAT, SLEEP and RELAX. Try to stay cool calm and collected. This is the day you marry your best friend. Have fun!
2. Make sure you give someone a list of all the photos you want, because you will forget about some pictures. I was so glad to have my mom there, because she reminded me of a couple of shots I would have totally spaced out.
3. Rely on the people that you have paid to help you through the day and let them do their job. They know what they are doing, let them. Your job is to just be in the moment at every second.
4. Focus on what is truly important that day. Our reverend told us prior to the wedding to just stop and take eveything in. He was completely right. We periodically took a break from everything and just focused on the two of us and/or just watched our family and friends enjoying themselves. Those are some of the best memories I have of our day.
5. If you can....write your own vows. My husband and I are so glad that we did this. It made that portion of the ceremony all for us and about us.
Here is my advice leading up to the event:
1. Hire a DOC. Totally worth it, and I didn't even love mine.
2. Involve your FI. We had so much fun touring different venues, going to the food tastings, picking out things. I love it that he didn't just show up at his wedding, but was very much involved.
1. Be in the moment as much as you can, especially during your vows.
2. Be really gracious to your friends and family. They probably traveled a long way and made sacrifices to be there on your day, and letting them know how much you appreciate it goes a long way. Greg and I spent a lot of time together, but we also made sure to go out of our way to spend a little extra time with our OOT guests.
3. Make a plan for the clean-up. Even with a DOC, some of who-was-taking-what got messed up and created some unnecessary tension.
-Make sure your bustle is high enough (IE, off the ground!) I know there are a lot of beautiful wedding photos that show the back of the dress still touching/dragging on the ground a little bit, but this is totally impractical. I had my bustle undone twice by people stepping on it before it was finally ripped out when my husband stepped on it a third time. When people asked me how the day was/if anything went wrong, I was surprised at the number of married ladies that said "yeah, that happened to me too".
-On that note: have someone carry safety pins! Can fix any rip/tear in a pinch. My entire bustle was safety pinned for most the reception.
-Peeing backwards in the dress definitely works
-Hiring a DOC was one of the best decisions I made. I'd think early on who is going to set up and take down all those DIY projects you are working so hard on. I wouldn't assume close family members/friends will do it, they'll need to get ready as well. If I didn't have a DOC, I don't know what I would have done! It also took off a lot of stress knowing I didn't have to worry about anything during the day.
-Having a photobooth was probably the 2nd best decision I made. Everyone loved it and the album we got back of all the photos was PRICELESS.
-Don't plan on leaving for your honeymoon the day after. We ended up having to leave the day after (instead of 2 days later as we planned originally). We didn't get to spend much time with all our out of town guests who were leaving that day as we had to go go home, pack, and pretty much leave! We didn't get to open any wedding gifts before we left and I was so exhausted and it just made traveling that much worse.
-Your guests are going to remember 3 things: if the food was good, if the drinks were good, and if the entertainment was good. Splurge on good food, good drink, a good DJ/band, and a good photographer to capture it all. No one is going to care much about anything else (sad but true).
-This isn't advice per se, but I'm surprised that in over a year and a half reading TK, nothing ever prepared me for what it would be like the moment the doors opened for me to walk down the aisle. The music is going, your very soon to be husband is standing at the end of the aisle, and you have a lot of friends and family members all smiling back at you. It's awesome, but it totally caught me off guard - I had no idea where to look!
-I know it's hard....but don't daydream/fantasize about various wedding moments (first look, ceremony, first dance, etc.). While our wedding was indeed the best day of our lives, that doesn't mean that absolutely nothing went wrong or anything didn't stray from "the plan". I think some girls dream & think about the day for so long that when that day comes, they've just built it up so much in their mind that there is no way the real thing can live up to it.
-Either number your RSVP cards or write the name of the person in the return spot on the envelope/postcard (which is what I did). People WILL mail them back without their names.
-A lot of brides say they wish they spent more time with their H. I didn't feel that way - one of the things we did to help was promise each other that every time a slow song came on, we'd stop whatever we were doing and go dance with each other. It was nice!
-We did a receiving line of only H and myself, and I wouldn't have had it any other way. We got to greet, thank & share in the brand new excitement of our guests - we got through all our guests (about 150 people) in 30 mins. We stood about 50 yards from the entrance to the chapel so that people weren't "trapped" inside by the line, so that people who didn't want to wait didn't have to. Don't get me wrong, I still mingled & chatted with nearly everyone at the reception, but that obligation was gone and I felt I could just enjoy the reception the way I wanted to.
-We did a first look, and I am SO glad we did. It did not take away one bit from the walk down the aisle.
And probably most important.....
-Just remember that this is one of the most important (if not THE) day of you and your FI's lives. The key words here are "you" and "FI". Your close friends and family members will do their part to support you & share in your excitement, but at the same time it isn't THEIR day. Try not to take it personally when it seems like someone "doesn't care". You will have someone important to you decline your wedding invitation for X, Y, or Z reason. Just try and focus on all the people who did make your wedding a priority and who are there to celebrate. Which kind of leads to my last point...
-And lastly, life goes on despite you getting married. Our BIL, who was supposed to be a GM in the wedding, was killed in a car accident one month before the wedding - leaving behind his newly pregnant wife (H's sister) and their 1 year old baby. Other ladies on our board also dealt with diagnosis of terminal illness in & unexpected deaths of close family members, so it's not just an isolated event. I know it is easy to get caught up in the "little things"....but focus on the big picture things. When things seem bad just remember all the things in your life that are good, and that things could ALWAYS be worse.
Our engagement was really nothing of what I hoped- stressful, unexpected family strife, horrible church experiences, etc. But through it all we took moments to just be us and take nights off from wedding and life stuff.
Regardless... our wedding was everything I could have ever dreamed of and everything that we had hoped it would be. Our marriage is already stronger for what we dealt with and that is everything.
I would say- pick your fave 3 things you want and don't compromise on those. For us it was what we were wearing, photographer and location.
Trust your gut on vendors. If you're doing planning long distance make sure your vendors communicate in a way that is compatible with you (which for me is email or skype but not phone calls). Regardless of what others say make sure you two are the ones choosing.
Also don't assume your FI doesn't care about details. My H cared about alllll the details and for a boys boy who is only into cars and engines it floored (and entertained) me.
Finally I totally second the wedding email... we created one and we both have access to it and then he could answer a vendor or I could. Kept things easy to manage.
I feel like I'm communicating with the future ;-)
I would have to say that when planning starts to get hectic, trust the professionals. It's natural to be nervous about your own wedding because it is (probably) the first time you have planned such a huge event, but your vendors do this all the time. Your wedding is just like every other wedding they have done their entire career. Be clear about your vision, and make sure everyone is on the same page, but let them work their magic!
P.S. May is an awesome month to get married!