Planning a wedding is a lot more stress than anyone would like to admit. There are so many details to put in order and so many bits of etiquette that most people don’t even know about. It can be easy to overlook minor details here and there. But with a few deep breaths, some smart planning, a budget (that you stick to), and a lot of coffee, you’ll be well on your way to creating the perfect wedding you’ve always dreamed of.
1. Before seeking out vendors and searching for a venue, brainstorm what you envision for your wedding. Feel free to let your imagination run wild, this is simply a starting point to help guide you in the right direction.
2. Don’t try to manage all the wedding details yourself; enlist the help of your best friend, a family member, or hire a wedding planner.
3. If you do not already know your wedding date, discuss options with your fiancé. Anniversaries of a first meeting, first date, or first kiss are great dates to consider.
4. Once you’ve set a date for your special celebration, it’s time to find wedding invitations. Online retailers like Storkie provide invites to suit any style and that look as if they were made by hand.
5. Search for an invitation design that incorporates your wedding colors or theme and suits your personality as well as your fiancé’s.
6. Send wedding invites out as soon as you possibly can in order to give guests ample time to plan.
7. Keep your meddling monster-in-law-to-be out of your hair by allowing her to help with those tasks you don’t particularly care for. She will love being included and might keep the rest of her unwanted opinions to herself.
8. It may seem like a no-brainer, but be sure to fulfill all local marriage requirements as soon as possible.
9. Choose at least one store to create a wedding registry so that guests will have ideas about what you’d like to receive. Try to keep the wish list practical.
10. Discuss with your fiancé whether or not you will be changing names. You don’t want to end up in an argument right before the wedding due to assumptions about something you’ve never talked about.
11. If you are writing your own vows, do not wait until the week (or day) before your wedding. They should be thought out well in advance and should come from the heart.
12. Keep the season in mind while deciding wedding details. Tropical colors and short, strapless dresses don’t go so well with below freezing temperatures.
13. Choose foods that are not too out of the ordinary. Stick with tried-and-true options that can be enjoyed by all (or at least most).
14. Look over your guest list and see which guests may require special considerations such as a vegetarian or vegan dinner, sugar free dessert, or sparkling cider instead of champagne for the toast. They will appreciate the extra consideration.
15. Chances are there will be at least a few children at your wedding, so be sure to avoid meltdowns by giving them something to do. Let the kids become little photographers, taking photos with disposable cameras. Who knows, maybe your favorite wedding photo will be snapped by your four-year-old niece or nephew.
16. It might seem easier to allow guests choose their own seats and have one less thing for you to worry about. However, that can lead to hurt feelings and certain people placed in unwanted seats. Take the extra time to create a suitable seating chart that will make all your guests happy.
17. Make sure hard-of-hearing family members are seated relatively close to speakers.
18. Keep feuding family members at separate tables.
19. Avoid seating divorced couples right next to one another.
20. And be sure to keep your alcoholic aunts and uncles a good distance away from the bar.
21. Keep in mind that kids and elderly get cranky when not fed on time. So be sure to get them fed and satisfied as soon as possible after the bridal party has been served.
22. Discuss the cake cutting and eating with your fiancé. While he may be looking forward to smashing the cake all over your face, chances are you will not want to spoil your dress.
23. Do your best to avoid too much time between the ceremony and reception. Guests will get annoyed and will become impatient after more than 20 minutes or so.
24. Create a ‘wedding day emergency kit’ containing items like ibuprofen, antacid, nail polish, nylons, lipstick, toothbrush, breath mints, etc. to keep with you during wedding day preparations.
25. Don’t forget to bring some comfortable shoes for dancing the night away.
26. If you’re a bride who will have no less than a can of hairspray in your hair, avoid sparklers for your sendoff. Highly flammable hairspray plus fire equals disaster.
27. Ask someone to take care of the leftover food from the reception. Some couples choose to have a friend or family member deliver leftovers to a local food pantry or shelter.
28. If you have any pets that will be left at home during your honeymoon, make arrangements for someone to feed, play with, and walk them.
29. Be sure to ask someone to grab your mail for you as well. It would be a nightmare to come home from your fantastic honeymoon only to find someone had stolen your identity, applied for a credit card in your name, or cashed an important check of yours.
30. Once you’re back at home and settled into a normal schedule, send out thank you cards as soon as possible. If you don’t get them done quickly, you’ll likely forget about them.