These tips brought to you from our Charter member: Jessica Campbell
the owner of Meant to Bee Wedding Services
So, the long awaited engagement has finally come, and now you’re finding yourself in that state of planning limbo where you’re not yet married, you’re not really dating any longer, and yet the only thing you can do is plan for one big day. While there certainly are endless duties to perform, appointments to set and details to finalize, the last thing you want is for something to pop up at the last minute and ruin your big day. Along with a good pedicure and a glass of wine, the following ten tips will help you to face your big day without worrying about what might go wrong.
10 Steps to a Stress-Free Wedding Day
1. Delegate duties & tasks
You’ve planned all the tiny details leading up to today, including the placement of the rose petals as you process down the aisle, and it’s going to be gorgeous. Remember that this day is all about you and your spouse-to-be, but it doesn’t have to all be done by you. Enlist the help of those eager relatives or friends you just couldn’t find a place for as attendants, and make sure that the guest book, programs, and maps & directions for the reception each have a person willing and ready to take the appropriate action. Have someone call around for pricing on transportation, music, etc. and allow others to take ownership of your wedding by giving them a task to perform. Ask people whom you trust will be responsible, and in the end, you’ll have peace of mind that someone else is accountable for it.
2. Make a budget and stick to it
This is paramount to having a fantastic wedding day. At the beginning of the process, think through things very realistically and determine exactly how much you want to spend on your wedding. Then, during the planning process, try to come in under budget so that you won’t have to worry about those last-minute expenses that always seem to pop up. If you need to, ask someone else who recently got married what expenses occurred that they didn’t foresee, and then try to plan for them. If you go over budget, you’ll start seeing your beautiful decorations as wads of wasted cash. It’s much better to spend what you know you can afford, and then truly enjoy the day you’ve worked on and planned out for so long.
3. Settle the terms in writing
This step is easy, but often forgotten. You’ve found the DJ/florist/caterer, etc. of your dreams, but don’t start daydreaming about how wonderful it’s going to be without first signing a contract. A contract will need to state the final cost to you, payment terms and schedules, and exactly what’s expected of the service provider. Do they need to be at the venue early to set up? Put it in writing. Anything you just assume they’ll do needs to go in the contract because otherwise, what you expect and what you get may be two very different things.
4. Pay for a rehearsal – plan it with the officiant
Some venues and officiants don’t include a rehearsal with their packages, but offer the rehearsal time as a separate expense. Make sure you pay for the rehearsal! It will make your wedding day less stressful for everyone if they know where to stand, when to process, when to recess, and what the service will be like. You wouldn’t take a test without studying, neither should you have a wedding without the rehearsal.
5.Give the wedding party a timeline
About two or three weeks prior to the wedding day, make sure that you send your wedding party a schedule of events. This will not only make your life easier, but it will also make your attendants much happier if they know exactly what is expected of them. Make sure you have extras to hand out to important people as needed.
6. Have someone do a walkthrough of the venue
Here’s where Step #1 comes in again, so delegate a responsible person to walk through your venue the day before or morning of the wedding. This person will check to make sure that all decorations are in place, and that everything is perfect. She will also need to be able to have the ability to fix things that aren’t right, and get them ready for the ceremony/reception. If you are having your ceremony and reception in two different places, consider having one person for each venue. That way, they won’t be overwhelmed, and you’ll rest assured that they were as thorough as they needed to be.
7. Be comfortable with your transportation
A ride with your new spouse in a horse-drawn carriage makes for a spectacular photo op, but if you’re allergic to animals, this is one of the worst choices for you. If you’ve considered renting a car, make sure that you know how to drive it (some antique cars only come in standard 5 speed) or that you’ve appointed a responsible driver. Definitely avoid letting your Uncle Eddie drive you from the church to the reception if he’s been known to consider stop signs as “optional.” Make sure that whatever transportation you use, you’ve set the terms with the company regarding returns, time covered for use of the vehicle, and number of riders.
8. Make sure your professional is professional
When hiring a professional, whether it be a photographer, caterer, florist, or the like, make sure that you meet in person whomever will be at the venue on your wedding day. Maybe the price is great, the flowers look amazing, and the photographs look divine, but there are other factors to consider. Make sure that you and your professional can get along; they should make you feel at ease, not stressed out when you meet. Also, listen for any cues of unprofessionalism, such as complaining about prior events, gossiping about other brides, or comparing themselves to competitors in a tasteless way. All of these clues should tell you that the professional, although talented in their area, may not be right for you. Remember, it’s your big day, and negative people like this simply aren’t needed.
9. Prepare FAQ sheets for guests
A frequent complaint of wedding-goers is that they had no idea what was going on. Help your guests out by providing simple printouts after the ceremony that address some of those more frequent queries. Make sure to have the address and directions to the ceremony site, but then also include your wedding announcement, where you will honeymoon, and any other information you’d like to share with them. This way, even if they don’t get to chat with you for as long as you’d like, they’ll feel more included in your special day.
10. Know that it will be perfect without being perfect
It’s important to remember that nothing will be perfect. However, this is good for two reasons: 1. It will give you something special to remember about your ceremony that you and your spouse can reminisce about fondly over the years to come. 2. It is great practice for dealing with those minor things that happen during a marriage and will make it richer and more interesting.
Remember, it’s your wedding day, and it’s going to be perfect…even if it’s not perfect!