Unfortunately, wedding planning is not an exact science. There is no magical formula, no official rule book, no fairy godmother. And that’s why there’s Wedding Party. We are here to help! So while there may not be a wedding planning Bible, we’re hoping that this list of the top 10 do’s and don’ts of wedding planning is as close as it gets. This list is a list of everything you should do and, perhaps more importantly, everything NOT to do before your wedding day. We want to help you avoid all of the biggest, most fatal mistakes that brides have made and, ultimately, help you in planning your fairytale wedding day.
- DON’T: HIRE A FRIEND OR FAMILY MEMBER TO BE THE WEDDING PHOTOGRAPHER
Yes, of course it’s okay for friends and family to take pictures. And it should be encouraged–the more photo documentation the better. These photos will ultimately be what you look back on to remember the big day. After the wedding, you will only have your memories and your photos, so you want quality, professional grade photos. Remember, you’re only doing this once. There are no re-dos or do-overs. Trust us when we say hire a professional. They have tons of experience with weddings and know what they’re doing and what needs to be done to get the best shot. And if that’s not enough to convince you, just remember that your friends and family are attending your wedding as guests, not hired labor. And what’s worse, if the photos don’t turn out as well as expected or a big moment isn’t captured, it has the potential to strain your relationships and make them awkward for years to come.
- DON’T: PLAN YOUR OWN SHOWER OR BACHELORETTE PARTY
As the bride it’s your special day. And besides, you’re doing the majority of planning. So let your friends take the reigns this time and do the planning. Of course, your opinions and tastes should be taken into consideration (after all, this is a celebration of you and your wedding day), but stand back and let your friends and family make the decisions. Just be sure to let them know ahead of time if there’s anything you aren’t comfortable with or, on the other hand, if there is a must-have.
- DON’T: ARRANGE YOUR OWN FLOWERS, BAKE YOUR OWN CAKE, ETC.
These things are best left to professionals. You will have enough to worry about in the days leading up your big day. The last thing you need to worry about is kitchen catastrophes and floral arrangement mishaps. You can come prepared with ideas and suggestions, but florist, cake decorators and hair dressers all exist for a reason — so that you don’t have to worry about it. This will be the easiest way to ensure as stress-free a day as possible.
- DON’T: WEAR BRAND NEW SHOES ON YOUR WEDDING DAY.
Odds are, you will be on your feet a lot during the big day, from walking down the aisle to greeting guests at the reception to dancing the night away. The last thing you want is for your feet to be sore, achey and uncomfortable. Wear them around the house for a few days to break them in and get a feel for walking in them. Bring a fair of shoes–flats or sandals–to change into later in the day. Another helpful tip–gently buff the bottom of the soles with sandpaper to prevent you from slipping when walking down the aisle.
- DON’T: WAIT UNTIL AFTER THE WEDDING TO PACK FOR THE HONEYMOON.
Your wedding day will be crazy and wonderful and busy and hectic enough without having to worry about packing. Save yourself some stress by packing a goof 3-4 days before you plan on leaving for your honeymoon. If you wait until the last minute, you’ll be sure to forget something and you won’t want to spend your well-deserved and relaxing honeymoon searching for a toothbrush or underwear.
- DON’T: FEEL OBLIGATED TO CHOOSE YOUR BRIDAL PARTY.
Just because you were someone’s bridesmaid in their wedding two years ago doesn’t mean your obligated to ask them to be a bridesmaid in your wedding day. Likewise, don’t feel obligated to choose your fiancé’s sister or cousin you’ve only met twice. Same goes for the groom and his groomsmen. It’s your day. Your bridal party should consist of people who are meaningful to you and will make your day all the more special.
- DO: MEMORIZE YOUR WEDDING VOWS.
Public speaking is scary for everyone. But this is the one moment that really counts. It will be one of the most important speeches you ever give. Odds are, you will be nervous and excited on your wedding day, meaning it’s easy to be forgetful. So practice, practice, practice. Give a copy of your vows to the wedding officiant so that if you need help, they will be there ready and waiting to give you assistance at a moment’s notice.
- DO: HAVE A HAIR AND MAKEUP TRIAL.
You should plan to have your hair and makeup done about a month before the big day to test out styles. Bring your veil and a camera so you can get the full effect and have photographic documentation that you can look back on. Another tip–check your makeup in multiple different lights so there won’t be any surprises on the day of the ceremony.
- DO: STICK TO YOUR BUDGET.
Not all budgets are created equal, but they are created for a reason. Yes, your wedding is one of the most important days of your life but no, it is not an excuse to blow all of your savings. Plan a budget with your fiancé and stick to it. Just because we can’t all have a Kardashian style extravaganza doesn’t mean that we can’t have a magical AND budget-friendly day. Decide what is most important to you, where you can afford to splurge, and where you must compromise. And don’t ever be pressured into spending more than you can afford. Wedding planners and bridal consultants will likely have a go big or go home mentality (after all, it’s not their money you’re spending), so don’t be seduced. Stay strong and remain firm in your budget beliefs, and will make for a much happier and much less stressful wedding in the long run. The last thing you want is to still be paying off your wedding 10 years later.
- DO: ENJOY YOUR DAY (AND REMEMBER TO SMILE).
Your wedding day is once-in-a-lifetime. So enjoy it. Because it’s your day and you deserve it. Don’t let the stress and the planning and all the little details get to you and ruin your day. Take a deep breath, relax and really enjoy it.