Planning a wedding is no easy feat, and there are tons of small things that can happen during the process that you’d never even think of. Fortunately, these real brides already did that part for you.
Your wedding will undoubtedly be one of the most special days of your life, and it’s one that each couple should make their own. From the ceremony to the decor, it’s important for every couple to feel as if their big day is representative of them, down to each and every small detail.
While some people are picking out the type of candy they want to be in their table centerpieces, though, they’re forgetting a lot of important details that can often make the day way easier or way more stressful. Here are some of the most important things you should and shouldn’t do on your wedding day, according to real brides.
DON’T forget to sit during your dress fitting.
Your biggest concern may be whether the dress looks good on you and if it actually fits, but there’s one small test that many brides forget: how the dress fits when you sit down.
Not only could things not look quite the same while you’re sitting, but a tighter dress could even end up ripping if you move the wrong way. You probably don’t need us to tell you how huge of a deal that would be, so make sure you account for it ahead of time.
“Instead of giving my gown a true test-drive (walking around, sitting, maybe even dancing a little bit), I only considered what my dress looked like as I was standing perfectly still. On my wedding day, the ribbon around my waist rumpled, rode up, and frankly, kinda spoiled the look of my dress. If I’d sat down during my fitting, the seamstress would have noticed that the ribbon wasn’t tacked properly—and I wouldn’t be cringing at some of my photos now!” said one bride.
DO delegate things to your wedding party.
The men and women you choose as your bridesmaids and groomsmen are not only your friends, but they’re people who should legitimately be willing to help you out on your big day if you need it.
If you’re feeling stressed or busy but need to make sure that things are going smoothly and being set up as planned, don’t be afraid to ask the people in your wedding party to give you a hand. They will know what your vision has been for the wedding, so they can quickly tell if things don’t seem to be going the way they should.
“I had one stylish friend double check all the table settings and flower arrangements so I didn’t have to, one bossy friend make sure everyone left the hotel in enough time to get to the venue, and one calm friend serve as ‘emotional handler’ for my volatile sister,” another bride remembered.
DON’T forget to communicate with your DJ.
We’ve all been to a wedding where the music sucks—don’t let it be yours! Believe it or not, there’s even more that goes into it than just the songs they’ll play. First of all, make sure the DJ knows how to say the name of anyone they may be announcing during the wedding, especially when it’s for your big entrance with your new spouse.
You should also leave a little room for requests, but give them firm instructions for the songs you don’t want them to play. If someone ends up requesting them, the DJ can just say they don’t have that song at the ready. Also be sure that that they know how much of a role you want them to have. Are they just spinning the tunes or are they acting like an MC of sorts, hyping people up throughout the event?
One bride recalls that the DJ at her wedding “did an amazing job, but in hindsight, there were a few things we just didn’t think of—like how much encouragement our guests would need to stop playing corn hole and make their way to the dance floor.”
DO figure out your dress beforehand.
It’s just a dress, right? How hard could it actually be to get it on? In some cases, much harder than you think. Depending on the type of clasps or buttons your dress might have, it could take quite a bit of effort to fasten it, which could end up costing you a lot of time if you’re not expecting it.
Plan ahead and have a relative or someone in your bridal party do a test run so that no one has to fumble with your dress on the big day.
“I had two friends quickly watch as we did the bustle once, but on the actual day, no one could figure it out! It ate up our entire private cocktail time with our wedding party while everyone was bending down behind me trying to button it up. I’d recommend taking a video with your seamstress or having your friends try multiple times in a row if yours is a little tricky,” cautions one bride.
DON’T throw away your flowers.
Flowers are a huge part of most weddings, and the elaborate arrangements people often select usually aren’t cheap. Instead of just letting them sit at the venue waiting to be thrown out, try to think of a plan for them after the event is over.
You can always decorate your own home with them, but assuming you’re heading off for your honeymoon, you probably won’t be around to enjoy them. You could also let your guests take some of them home to brighten up their spaces, but make sure to save a few for yourself. Try pressing them to create a lasting memory of your day, or use them to dye a piece of clothing as a keepsake.
Here’s an awesome idea: “My mother is a nurse so the Sunday after the wedding, we loaded the extra flower arrangements into the back of her car and drove them to the hospital where she works to be distributed to patients.”
DO plan some pre-wedding fun.
Rehearsal dinners are a standard part of many weddings, but they’re often limited to immediate family and those who are in the wedding party. Now we’re not suggesting you essentially have an entire reception before your actual wedding reception, but it can be a lot of fun to open up your rehearsal dinner and make it a little more casual.
Instead of a sit-down dinner, try having a barbecue, potluck, or buffet and inviting a few more friends who might not be in the wedding so that all of your closest friends and family members can meet.
A bride describes one such event: “We had a casual get-together the night before the wedding at a house we rented and loved the vibe it set for the big day. It gave our guests a chance to meet and get to know each other a bit, which helped our wedding feel much more intimate and relaxed. Even better, since we had time to say hello to almost everyone the night before, there was a lot less pressure to circulate at our actual wedding.”
DON’T make a huge photo list.
If there are certain photos you know you’d like to get during your wedding day, there’s no problem with that—you should be able to remember the day however you want. What you shouldn’t do, though, is make a mile-long list of all the various family shots you want to squeeze in during your session.
Depending on how much time there is between your ceremony and reception, you and your photographer might be in a time crunch to begin with, and it ends up becoming more difficult when there are 30 other people you want to get in certain photos. Ultimately, your photographer will probably get some photos of them anyway, and they’ll likely be more natural shots of those people having fun during your wedding.
“I wish I didn’t give our photographer a list of 50 (literally) photos that I wanted during our two-hour photo session on our wedding day. Between rounding up kids and waiting for people to show up, it took up the whole time and I didn’t get as many candid or unique pics as I would have liked,” recalled one bride.
DO splurge on what matters.
When you begin to plan your wedding, there will be certain things that you tend to care about more than others. Maybe you’re fine with super simple flower arrangements but you want detailed monogrammed napkins for each place setting.
Whatever it is, try to cut down on expenses and fuss when it comes to things that won’t be the focus and splurge on things that feel more important to you.
This bride remembers one expense that was totally worth it for her: “I got married at a historic home and twinkly lights strung up on the dance floor ceiling, on the porch, and bordering the lawn really got the place into party mode. The lights were just so soft, pretty and magical.
“And while they certainly weren’t free (I rented the lights from my florist and paid to have her hang them since she knew the layout of the venue well), they made a far bigger impact than any other craft project or floral arrangement of equal value.”