Ten Tips to help your day and the lead up be stress free
As much as you think you won't stress or worry on your wedding day, it happens. Even the most chilled out couples come to points where they feel overwhelmed.
This is TOTALLY normal, so don't feel bad.
We try to minimize these stresses as much as possible for you, but of course, some things are out of our control.
There are however, some things you can do in the lead up as well as on the big day that will make things flow smoother and ensure that things run to as close as perfect as possible!
Know what’s included and what’s not.
When at the start of your planning journey, make an effort to know from the get go of what your venue and vendors include, and what they don’t. If you’re not a details person, this is probably the one time you’ll need to try to be, as it’ll only save you worry and unexpected costs when it comes time to pay your balances.
Some caterers include tables and chairs in their menu packages, others don’t so you’ll need to hire some.
Some venues charge corkage for bringing in cake or alcohol, while others don’t mind at all.
It’s these kinds of things I’m talking about.
Knowing what you’ll have to hire extra, what you’ll need to pay extra, is going to help you in the long run, not just with deciding which venue and vendors to go with based on inclusions, but no one wants to start their wedding day wondering why tables and chairs haven’t been set up yet only to find out that they’re an extra cost to have them!
If you have a planner, they’ll make sure this doesn’t happen, but if you’re planning things yourself, this is something you may forget to check.
Keep a healthy relationship with Facebook bridal groups and be wary of social media. Facebook groups can be super helpful if you’re looking for reviews or advice from other brides on your venue, planner or vendors. They are also a great place to pick up things for a discount if another bride didn’t end up using all their wedding favors and are selling them at a cheaper cost. Or if a couple had to unfortunately cancel their wedding, you may be able to pick up a discount on a vendor or venue they’re willing to sell.
But Facebook groups can also be a source of stress.
There’s nothing worse than comparing your wedding with someone else’s. Just because one bride sent out their ‘save the dates’ 18 months in advance, it does not mean you have to too. Remember that everyone’s guest list is different, they may have people from far ends of the earth who need extra time to make travel plans, or you may be inviting a smaller group close to home so need less time to arrange things.
The styling, vendors and venues that other couples choose are what they found was best for their vision, so don’t get FOMO. Trust that what you’ve chosen is right for your needs and your budget.
Also be wary of who is the admin of these Facebook groups. Do they stand to gain something from you? Do they only allow certain vendors/venues/planners to post their work? How do you know advice on there from admin or other brides isn’t skewed? It’s definitely worth doing your research on this.
Following on from this, make sure you do your proper research on the social media accounts you follow. Unfortunately, there are many who buy their followers and buy their "likes". I've seen so many of these, both planners and vendors included, and it's really misleading to potential clients who think they may be engaging a company that trying to come across as more revered or trusted than they actually are. You'll notice their "likes" will hover around a low number, then suddenly spike into the 100s. You'll see this is pretty consistent over all their posts. Not saying these companies are not legitimate, I'm saying they're projecting a false image and when you're planning your wedding overseas, you need 100% transparency.
Stop scrolling once you’re settled on your vendors.
Once you’ve settled on the Who What Where When and Why of your wedding details, put down your phone and take a breather.
Remember how long it took you to get to the point of deciding who you wanted for your special day. So why torture yourself with second guessing everything just to relive the whole choosing process again.
Sure, scrolling and finding cute inspo to add to your wedding is great. Or you may find ideas that steer your initial ideas in another direction which is also okay.
But going through every vendor and every venue all over again is just a waste of time and brain space.
Move around in your wedding dress.
When it comes to the dress fitting, keep in mind everything you’ll be doing in that dress, as you’ll be in it all night long!
The last fitting and alterations should be when you give the dress it’s final check through. Don’t just stand and twirl in it in front of the mirror.
Walk around, sit, move your hips, dance, jump. Not asking you to try a triathlon here, but definitely make sure the dress has enough movement in it, knowing you’ll be moving a LOT on your big day and spending a good portion of it sitting too. If you’re choosing to get married in a hotter or more humid climate, make sure it has some give in it too as we all expand just a little in the heat.
Give yourself enough time to put on your dress.
Speaking of the wedding dress, make sure those who are helping you dress know in advance if there are any tiny buttons, small zippers, or delicate parts they need to be aware of.
At the store, the attendants are well versed in dressing their customers and the fitting rooms are usually at a good temperature with no humidity so dresses slip on and off with ease.
On the day, you may be in a smaller room, have to deal with humidity, or not know exactly how it all ties up as you weren’t the one doing it in the first place.
So make sure you give yourself more time than you think to put on the dress to account for any tricky parts.
Have a definite cut off time for arrivals.
There’s nothing more frustrating – for you, your planner, your guests, the celebrant – when not all your guests have arrived and it’s time for the ceremony to start.
You’ll be sitting (pacing?) in the room you’ve gotten ready in, your fiancé is sweating outside waiting for when he needs to be in position, and all your guests are staring around wondering if there’s some big problem they’re unaware of.
So let the key people know – your planner, celebrant and venue – when your absolute latest time to walk down the aisle will be. Holding everything up for someone’s plus one is not ideal, and it pushes back the whole schedule, or makes you rush through it. Neither is an ideal choice.
Unless that key person is someone in the bridal party, a parent, grandparent or someone else who holds a special role, the show must go on.
Have a breakdown of what to be expected before the ceremony – not everyone reads the order of the day.
Once your guests have arrived, but before the ceremony starts, get your MC to make a general announcement. Not everyone will remember every detail of course, but this announcement will have more details than the order of the day that you may have on a board somewhere or have on the seats of your guests.
Having someone to welcome everyone and know that things are about to get rolling sets the mood, but also allows for people to know where they’re expected to be and what they’re supposed to be doing so when it comes time to get something done such as group photos you don’t have guests off at the bar getting drinks or using the restroom.
Things for your MC to announce, in a friendly but succinct manner should include:
- Location of the restrooms
- Location of insect repellent and sunscreen (if applicable)
- Location for smokers (if any)
- A brief outline of what to expect for the day
In doing this, you don’t waste time looking for people or waiting on others to continue with the assigned schedule.
Place your seating chart in the cocktails area.
Seating charts are typically placed at the entrance of the reception or just before you see the dining tables. Problem with this is though, trying to get everyone seated in an organized fashion and time after an hour or more of solid drinking can be a challenge. Everyone banks up at the seating chart trying to look for their names, holding up seating and catering.
By having your seating chart in the cocktails area, everyone would have had time to read it and know which table they’re sitting at, so that when it comes time for dinner, it’s a much smoother transition.
If you worry about the memory of some of your guests, you can always ask your planner to move the sign to the reception area 10 minutes before dinner is announced, for anyone who may need to double check.
List names in alphabetical order.
Following on from my point on the seating chart, instead of dividing your chart by tables, list everyone’s name by alphabetical order. SO much more efficient.
You’ll find people can find their names and their respective tables in a quarter of the time than the time they’d normally take to have to scroll through every single guests name.
Not sticking to your final numbers deadline is a no-no.
This is an important one. The bar, the catering, by extension the furniture and flatware hire, and your venue need to know final numbers of your guest list by the time they give you. They give you that time for a reason. It takes time to order in produce and prepare for everyone. Things such as cocktail furniture and cutlery are also important because they need to make sure they have enough in stock.
Having guests show up or last minute additions allowed in means there’s nowhere for them to sit, and not enough food or drinks for the guests that RSVP’d on time because extras are now having to spread it thinner.
You want to make sure your bar is properly stocked, all your guests have a seat and a meal prepared for them, and your vendors should be paid for the extra work and time it takes for every extra person.
I have so many more tips on how to ensure your day runs smoothly, and ways to minimize interruptions...but I'd be typing for the rest of my life.
So I'll leave this here for you to read, and I'll post some more tips in the near future!