I was trying to decide exactly what to title this piece, but I kept going back and forth. Mostly because saying something like “Your Guide to a Stress-Free Wedding Day” or “How to Have the Perfect Wedding Day” seemed to defeat the message I wanted to get across. Which is basically that no, your wedding day is not going to be stress free. And no, it most likely won’t be technically perfect. But it WILL be perfect to YOU if you let it. Some of these tips might be obvious and some of them might be a bit more philosophical than others…but the point is these are not intended to add to your list of things that stress you out. Instead, think of this as your wedding zen list.
1. Get Your Beauty Sleep
This might go without saying, but you want to look your absolute best on your wedding day. So that means having your bachelorette party AT LEAST a week before your wedding (I recommend having it a month or two beforehand just to be extra safe. Those hangovers can be crazy!). That also means curtailing the drinking/fun at your rehearsal dinner as well. Trust me, you’ll WANT to go out and celebrate with all the friends and family that will be in town for your wedding the night before, but resist the urge and do your best to be in bed by 11. You’ll most likely be too nervous to go to sleep right away, but use that time to do something by yourself, like read a book or watch a rom-com to relax. Funny side note: Runaway Bride was on the night before my wedding, which seemed hilariously wrong to me at the time.
2. Eat Breakfast AND Lunch!
Depending on the time of your wedding, you’ll want to make sure you have at least two full/balanced meals in you before the wedding starts. So go ahead and make/order a good breakfast and have a lunch that has some carbs in it. You’ll also want to drink plenty of water throughout the day. Save the champagne for 30 minutes or less before the wedding starts if you want to have a toast with your bridesmaids. That way you won’t be tired and/or dehydrated when you say your vows! Also, make sure your groom and wedding party does the same! Nobody wants a drunk/hungry groom or maid of honor.
3. Give Yourself Time
The last thing you want to be doing the morning/afternoon of your wedding is rushing around like a crazy person (and trust me, it will most likely happen regardless). Do yourself a favor and give yourself plenty of time/padding between your hair/makeup appointments, photos, and ceremony start time to allow for anything that might come up. Print out schedules for the wedding party (and your groom) as well as family so everybody knows where they have to be and when. Also, give yourself time in the morning to just be by yourself before the madness begins. Take an extra long shower or bath, and take some time to pamper yourself mentally/physically before it all starts. You’ll thank yourself later!
4. Do As Much as You Can BEFORE the Big Day
Yes, this might sound obvious and stupid, but really take a minute to think about the little things you can do in the days or even night before your wedding that will make your wedding day easier. For example, don’t get your nails done the day of…get them done 1-2 days beforehand. Same goes for any beauty treatments (not only to save you time but to alleviate the risk of any allergic reactions during a facial or massage or scrub). Get your purse ready the night before and make sure you have a bag with all your essentials ready to take with you to your venue (such as comfortable flats for when your shoes are killing you at the end of the night, or toiletry essentials like deodorant and tampons). You’ll also want to make sure you confirm all existing appointments a few days before the wedding, such as any ceremony musicians you’ve hired or your hair/makeup artist. Send them an email/text or friendly voice-message just reminding them of their scheduled arrival time and that you’re looking forward to seeing them, and for them to call you with any questions.
I like to do most things by myself, but this can get overwhelming(especially on your wedding day). Hopefully you’ve gone ahead and hired at least a day-of wedding coordinator (which I HIGHLY recommend), but if you haven’t I would delegate certain things you need done but might not have time to do to your wedding party.
Once your hair/makeup is done and your dress is on and you’re feeling amazing, the most important thing you can do is RELAX. At this point you most likely have very little control over any potential mishaps, and whatever you don’t know won’t hurt you. You know what will? Stressing out and sucking the fun out of your own wedding day. So have a glass of champagne before the ceremony starts, laugh, and just go with it.
Can you tell I like to eat?! Well, I do…and you should too at your wedding. Seriously. You’ve paid for this amazing meal, and you deserve to eat it. Which I why I always tell brides to take their wedding photos BEFORE the ceremony begins (so they can schmooze with guests during cocktail hour and less during dinner). Take the time to sit down, have a drink, laugh, and realize that this is the best dinner party you’ll ever throw.
8. Spend Time With Those You Love
If somebody has been invited to your wedding, chances are you really like them (or someone you love does). They’ve come from far and wide to spend time with you, and spending a few minutes with everybody you can is not only important to the guests, but will most likely be an important memory to you as well. Give your mom’s cousin a hug, and make sure you say hi to your boss’s wife that might not know anybody. Also, be sure to take the time to thank your parents and grandparents for being there and helping you get to this point in your life. A friend once told me her favorite weddings are the ones where she feels like she’s actually spent time with the bride/groom, and I couldn’t agree more!
This is your party and you’re gonna dance, damnit! 🙂 There comes a point in the night where you’ve done #8 to the best of your ability, and now it’s time to seriously let loose. Now, we’re not talking about falling-down-drunk loose (we never recommend that at a wedding), but the bustle-your-wedding-dress-and-DANCE kind of loose. Everybody loves a dancing bride/groom, and there’s no better way to get the party started than by getting out on the dance floor and having the time of your life. Bonus? This might be the only time in your life where you have a personal DJ playing everything you love! And speaking of that…be sure to give your wedding DJ a list of your favorite songs before the wedding. This will not only help shape the musical direction of the night, but will guarantee you a dance to your all-time most danceable song.
10. Above All…Have Fun
This is the start of your new life together, and you’re going to look back at this night as one of the best nights EVER. So look around. Be thankful. Give love. And ENJOY.
For more wedding planning tips, check out our Ultimate Wedding Planning Checklist.