Best thing I did: I had a party with my friends 2 days before the wedding. Since most people didn’t know each other, I think it was a great ice breaker and helped them enjoy it more.
I also had a separate get together with my family before and after the wedding. Again it just helped me not feel so pressured to catch-up with EVERYONE.
What people liked the most: People loved all the prersonalization. For our program, we did a whole playbill with everyone’s photos and bios. People LOVED it. We had little cards with message opposed to just a table card. WE also had custom fortune cookies, and engraged chopsticks.
High expense I don’t regret: Make-up and hair, showed how much I cared when looking at rehearsal vs wedding photos. I didn’t like my make-up at rehearsal. I also paid for my bridesmaids hair as part of their present. I’m glad I did because they looked really good.
Could have saved on: Photo guest book. Guests didn’t always get it, we really needed to have a full time attendant. I would have been equally happy to tell the photographer to make sure s/he gets a table photo or take lots of photos of our guests. and just put the photos in after the signature pages.
Possible other savings? the dress. I loved my dress, but I realize I could have save $600 on alterations, cleaning etc and just gotten a long dress and had the bridemaids wear shorter dresses. I really wanted a big dress at the time, but I realize now that it probably wan’t a major issue.
Save the Date magnets. I seriously don’t think we needed them. Most people don’t even remember them, or threw them out. Cute souveni, but, if needed, a cool designed postcard would have sufficed and been half the price.
Things I wish I thought of:
I found out that most our vendors need explicit directions to do things, they’re not necessariliy proactive or good organizers.
1) I assumed our day of coordinator would MANAGE the event. She was absolutely awful at actaully coordinating. I gave her a checklist of stuff she needed to do 2 days before, but she didn’t look at it and wasn’t proactive, so a lot of things were missed. For example, one item was "we need bubbles for the kids" We should have said give kids bubbles at reception. I heard the bubbles were somewhere at the wedding, but we nor the kids ever got them. I think being overly controling might have felt like a bridezilla, but it would have completely decreased stress levels, and made sure things things we planned happened.
2) Given a list to our photographer of photos we want with clear instructions to remind us that we wanted these photos, if we didn’t think about it. We e-mailed her a list of photos, but we just discussed it. She didn’t bring the list because she assumed we would remember, but we were completely brainless that day.
3) Minor things, but I wish i got the copy of my make-up sheet, it would have been a cute souvenir. I also wish I did more blogging, photos during planning it would have been great to make a photo book out of it.