It’s YOUR big day (OK, and your partner’s), so there’s no way you’re going to let it be less than perfect, right?
But when you’ve finally set the date, you can go from being excited about planning to wanting it all to be over in a heartbeat. There are many things that can turn a composed bride into a hot mess but you’re going to be cool, calm and collected. Because you have this checklist.
And because stress can increase frown lines and skin irritation and you’ve spent WAY too many days at the spa to risk a stress-related beauty breakout before your big day.
1. Choose a reliable maid of honour
This person will be your right-hand gal, so you don’t want to make the decision lightly. You need to allocate someone who will help reduce your stress levels, is able to meet deadlines and meet you at appointments on time, AND give you constructive feedback. Key word: constructive. You do not want a maid of honour who will become more of a bridezilla than you, take over the planning processes and have you second-guessing all of your wedding day dreams.
2. Decide whether you need a wedding planner
Not all weddings require a wedding planner. But, depending on the size of your wedding, your budget and the time you have to pull it all together, it could just save your sanity. You can also hire a wedding day coordinator, whose sole job is to make sure everything runs smoothly, from when the bridal party starts getting ready right down to when the final guest leaves the wedding function.
I know it can be hard to let others help when you have BIG ideas about how everything should play out but DON’T take on more than you can handle. Everyone wants this day to be a success for you. Giving a few tasks away can help reduce your stress and allow someone else to feel honoured that you trust them to help.
4. Make sure your beautiful location has a weather contingency plan
Rain, hail or shine, you’re getting married. So why would you risk your perfect day being ruined by a little rain or strong wind? In Queensland especially, we can go from bright sunshine to torrential rain in the blink of an eye. If you’re having an outdoor wedding, the use of beautiful marquee tents can be a perfect, practical touch.
5. Find a good photographer
There are a few massive moments on your wedding day and the photos need to be perfect so you want someone who will definitely deliver with the goods. You might try a shoot with a photographer before your big day to gauge their quality. Why not make it your engagement photos? Plus, getting to know them a bit will make you more comfortable around them on the day and could lead to more beautiful candid photos.
6. Break in your shoes to avoid blisters
This might not be on your stress radar before the big day, but boy will you feel it as soon as you start walking down the aisle. Wear your wedding shoes in a little (around the house, to keep them clean) and you won’t have to worry about grinning painfully in photos or having to take your shoes off halfway through the reception.
7. Trial your hair and beauty looks in advance
We’ve all stood in front of the mirror, staring in horror because our last-minute hair or makeup attempt doesn’t look remotely like it should. It doesn’t do your face justice, you look like a moose and you wish you’d known that only models could pull this stuff off. Solution: get your makeup artist to trial your desired makeup before the big day so you can make changes or suggestions where needed. And make sure your hair suits the rest of the outfit, especially if you’re wearing a veil.
8. Have A Rehearsal Dinner
A rehearsal dinner helps calm those nerves and makes the real dinner a whole lot easier. Just don’t schedule it the night before your wedding; you should be getting a few nights of relaxation in before the big day.
9. Always schedule couple and me time
Don’t spend every single lunch hour looking at bridal magazines and your nights in bed watching re-runs of Say Yes To The Dress. Obsessing over your big day 24/7 will only stress you out more and it might make you lose sight of how fun and magical the experience really is. Remember to set some time aside to relax and have fun with your partner along the way.
10. Set a budget and stick with it
Blowing your budget is terrifying and you do NOT want to deal with that so you need to set some strict rules. It will help to have sections of the budget dedicated to certain areas, e.g. the meals, the cake, the dress, the venue hire, etc. And hey, if the thought of eloping becomes more and more tantalising, why not just have a small wedding and save the extra cash?
11. Encourage Pre-Written Toasts/Vows
If you plan on doing unique vows, chances are you’re going to prep and practise them rather than leaving everything to chance up at the altar. You can also ask your guests to pre-write their toasts so you don’t need to worry about them not having anything prepared or going off on a tangent after one drink too many. We wouldn’t suggest micro-managing their speeches though; it’s nice to let them be creative and surprise you with their kind words on the day.
12. Speak Up
If you don’t speak up about certain issues, your pent-up frustration will only get worse. If you don’t think X guest needs a plus one, say no. Let bridesmaid Y know she’s making it difficult to finalise the dress situation and let guest Z know the real reason you didn’t seat them near relative A. Spoiler: that was just going to be a nightmare and they know it.
13. Celebrate early by eating the cake
NOT the REAL cake (duh), but you’ll definitely want to make sure the flavour and design is perfect before you cut into it on the night of your wedding. You wouldn’t want to be stressing about whether you accidentally chose a fruitcake disguised as a white chocolate cake, would you?
14. Book beauty appointments WAY in advance
Want a tan? Need your roots touched up? Want to get those brows and lashes tinted? All beauty appointments should be booked well in advance to avoid major beauty blunders. Also scheduling some R&R with your partner at a spa might be the perfect pre-wedding week date.
15. Get a good night’s sleep!
It can be an exciting (or stressful) night before, but you need to switch off planning mode and get a full eight to 10 hours of sleep. You’ll feel more rested and calm in the morning than you would staying up until midnight going over seating charts, vows and scrolling though Instagram photos of people using the hashtags #weddingday #beautifulbride and #ido.