1. Look to hire a day-of wedding coordinator. It doesn’t have to be a professional, it can be a friend of a friend or a trusted student you know who’s looking to make some extra money. But basically it’s super helpful to have someone who can run errands for you the day of and help with the little things. For instance, I needed someone to clean up the church after the ceremony, make sure the reception space was set up how we wanted, and pick up some cider and donuts. My MOH’s roommate used to coordinate weddings and while she volunteered to help, we still paid her like $120 to help with those little things. We also gave her all of our vendor’s phone numbers so that if something went wrong, she could be our POC. This way you don’t have to worry about a lot of stuff and you don’t have to burden any of your guests (friend, mom, aunt) with extra responsibilities.
I also have some good friends who left the check for the photographer back at the hotel room – 20 minutes away. Lukcily they had a coordinator who ran back and got the check for them.
2. Don’t stress about the little things. The vast majority of guests won’t remember your flowers, your centerpieces, escort cards, card box, napkin colors, or uplighting. But they will remember the food, drinks, music (a DJ can really make or break your wedding), and your attitude. So if your escort cards aren’t perfect or you don’t have the EXACT flowers you want, don’t worry about it! Your wedding doesn’t have to look perfect and blog-worthy, but you should make sure you properly host your guests.
3. Add buffer to your timeline. As PPs have said, everything always takes WAY longer than you expect. It’s better to wake up earlier and have some extra time later then to be rushing.
4. The wedding isn’t all about you. Yes, it is your wedding day, but it’s an important day for your parents, grandparetns, etc. and many families treat them as family events. So try and be a little flexible and don’t get too caught up in making everything about you and what you want. Maybe you allow kids when you’d prefer a kid-free wedding or you go with the invitations your Mother-In-Law really likes or you let your dad buy glow sticks or you go with Bridesmaid or Best Man dress option C because it’s what your BMs prefer. Don’t ruin relationships over stupid things.
5. Along with #2 and #4, make sure you do your best to make your guests comfrotable. An outdoor wedding in Florida in July is probably not a good idea. Don’t have a 3 hour long cocktail hour with only alcohol to drink and no food. And yeah, it’d be super awesome to have your ceremony on top of a mountain, but if your guests have to walk there and there’s no seating, best find somewhere else or have a super private ceremony. Guests also won’t be happy if you brag about spending $5000 on your dress but have a cash bar (applies mostly to US). Anyway, you get the idea. Happy guests = fun wedding.
6. Late night snack! If you have a longer reception, late night snacks are always awesome.
7. DELEGATE! You don’t have to do everything yourself so don’t be afraid to ask for help or take up people’s offers to help.
8. Set aside a few minutes right after your ceremony so that you and your new Darling Husband can spend some time alone.
9. As PPs have said, the day goes by ridiculously fast so remember to stop and enjoy yourself. Dance, grab a drink, kiss your Darling Husband, hug your grandmother, laugh at your friends’ terrible dancing.
10. Remember, at the end of the day, as long as you are married, your wedding was a success!
11. Don’t go into debt. Yes, that $5000 dress is PERFECT, but that $1500 that looks similar and is actually within budget will be great too, I promise.
Anyway, good luck! Weddings are so fun, weeee!!!!!