When it comes to a wedding, even the most laid-back lasses can turn into uber control freaks. And who can blame you? You’ve spent months planning every detail and laying down the dosh for the event – so how does anyone expect you to just let go of the reins as your wedding day approaches?
“How will everything come together on the day itself without me being there?” was the question that appeared on my Facebook page last week. I admit, the answer is a bit of a mystery. But here are some of my favourite tips for brides contemplating wedding day schedules.
I believe it is vital for a bride’s sanity to hand over as much of the responsibility of wedding day events as possible to someone else. Many people recommend a wedding co-ordinator, and this is a service I provide, but it is definitely not necessary.
I didn’t have any kind of wedding coordinator, but I did give a few friends specific jobs, and I did wake up in the morning exactly one week before my wedding and discover I didn’t care anymore. Not that I didn’t care about getting married, but simply that I realized the details would work themselves out and, whatever happened from now onward, I was getting married, centrepieces be damned.
Whether or not you need a wedding co-coordinator will depend on what jobs need to be done on the day. If you have a responsible friend who you feel understands your vision, ask them if they wouldn’t mind co-coordinating on the day. Alternatively, mothers and mothers-in-law can often be great at co-coordinating – especially the no-nonsense kind who don’t take prisoners.
The Vendor Check-Up
The week before your wedding, ring each vendor and confirm the following things:
- The date and time they will be turning up.
- The venue – check they know exactly how to get there.
- Access – where they need to park, what to do if they arrive and the venue is locked, etc.
- The details of your order – go over these again in case anything isn’t clear.
- Final payment details.
Once you’ve gone over all these details, you shouldn’t need to worry about vendors on the day – they’ll show up, do their thing, and bugger off. If not, you’ve got that all-important contract to back you up.
Venue Set Up
If possible, set up decorations at your venue the night before. Get the whole crew – family, friends, and bridal party – involved, and this will be done in no time. You can strut about, directing things, re-arranging streamers and generally being a bossy britches, until it all looks perfect, and then you can go home, get a good night’s sleep, and forget about everything until you’re at the altar.
If you can’t access the venue till the morning of the wedding, you might have to do an early morning decoration run. Gather a team of people who are not part of the wedding party, and let them know you’ll be there for an hour in the morning. Show up when you said you would, and leave after an hour – don’t spend a minute more there even if things aren’t finished. An hour is all the time you need to relay instructions and see the process is being done to your satisfaction. Leave your team to get everything sorted and go off for your pampering.
Whatever you do, resist the urge to pack chores into the morning of your wedding. This includes picking relatives up from the airport, photocopying programs and icing the cake. Keep your wedding day free of these distractions, because every time something little goes wrong it will stress you out. Instead, complete these chores earlier in the week or farm them off to others. Remember that you do not need to be present for every aspect of your wedding – your sister is perfectly capable of working a photocopier and your old school friend will happily pick up your aunty.
Pack a Wedding Survival Kit
With so much pressure on having a picture-perfect day, it’s inevitable that something will go wrong on your wedding. Probably several somethings. You’re going to be so happy you’re not going to worry about most of the things that go wrong; the vehicles are late (oh well, now my entrance will be truly grand!), the cake is the wrong colour (it still tastes yummy) or two relatives aren’t talking to each other (their loss).
But if you want those everything to look “just so” in your wedding photographs, you’re going to need a wedding survival kit. This handy number will save your ass if your heel breaks, your hair droops or a bee stings you right before the big moment. The contents of your wedding survival kit may be quite different, depending on the style and features of your wedding, but might include some of the following:
- A mini-sewing kit
- Scissors – these always come in handy for snipping loose threads, or culling price tags.
- Extra pair of underwear
- Mini first-aid kit
- Stain remover
- Tampons and panty liners. (If you’re getting married on a hot day, a panty liner on the inside of your dress will stop sweat showing through).
- Bobby pins, mini can of hairspray, comb and spare bits and bobs.
- Touch up implements for makeup.
- Duct tape and/or superglue. Handy for mending tears and emergency repairs to broken decorations.
- Earring butterflies – when I had my ears pierced I was forever losing these.
- Bottle of mini mouthwash.
- Comfortable shoes – if you’re wearing something crazy and plan on taking them off after the photographs.
- Flash drive containing all wedding documents – contracts, speeches, copy of the ceremony, the photographer’s list, vows, etc. This comes in amazingly handy if you arrive at the venue and realize the groom has forgotten his speech.
- Healthy snacks like fruit and scroggen.
- A small bottle of water with the lid screwed on tight.
- Lighter – vital if you’re having candles at your wedding. In fact, pack two.
- Liquor – just in case you need it!
Important: Once you’ve put it together, the wedding survival kit is not your responsibility. Hand it over to either a bridesmaid or a trusted friend. They can look after it throughout the day and will be ready should you need to dive into it for any reason.
After you’ve done all the things above, you need to drop the burden of planning and focus instead on the day ahead. You have to trust that the people around you – the people who you’ve picked because you trust their abilities – will pull off the details in your absence. Your only job now is to focus on pampering and prettifying, and enjoying this day with your partner and the people you love.
One of the weirdest aspects of weddings is that, even though you spent months planning, the day of the wedding often goes by in a blur. Your mind is going a mile a minute thinking about all the details and buzzing from the excitement that your brain pushes out the extraneous information – including the memories of your special day, the very memories you’re trying to preserve.
Taking time throughout the day to be still, to breathe, to seek solitude with your partner, allows your brain that time to process what’s happening, and will give you much more clarity in your memories. But with hundreds of guests running around and so much to do, who has time to sit down with their feet up? You do! Here are some ideas for taking moments for yourself on your wedding day:
1. Pre Ceremony Solitude
If you have a traditional ceremony where the bride meets the groom at the end of the aisle, you may find this difficult, as the groom will be in the venue greeting guests, and the bride will probably be with her girls the whole morning, but I think it’s vital before a big, life-changing event like this, that you take a few moments to sit and process by yourself. If you’re the groom, duck out for a few minutes after the guests are seated, sit nearby and take a few deep breaths. If you’re the bride, you can arrive with your girls and then steal some time while you send them to make sure everyone is seated.
Of course, if you’re walking the aisle together, the two of you can spend a few moments calming yourselves before the big event.
2. Silence in the Ceremony
Many religions call for a short bout of silence in a ceremony – this might be for prayer or reflection, or simply to give some solemnity to the occasion or to allow the party to catch their breath. A moment of silence like this, when observed together with your partner and your family and friends, can be an intense and powerful moment.
3. Post ceremony perambulation
One of the things I found so odd at our wedding was that we walked straight out of the ceremony and we immediately swamped by people, before moving into photographs, which we were directing. Some people recommend taking a short stroll with your partner, not talking to anyone for a few minutes, just enjoying each other’s company.
4. First Dance
Many people are not dancers, including my husband and me. But the first dance serves another purpose, it gives the two of you a chance to feel incredibly, blissfully alone while being in a room filled with your loved ones. I loved our first dance because it was one of the first truly private moments of our whole wedding. We talked softly to each other and just enjoyed being together. If you’re not doing a first dance, consider doing something equivalent.
Obviously, my ideas won’t work for everyone, but I hope they help you figure out how you’re going to run your wedding day. If you have any more ideas to share, shout out in the comments!
Want more tips for planning a successful alternative wedding? You need the Gothic Wedding planner guide.