As I started writing my tips, my husband kept popping in with more tips. So with that, I decided he would contribute half of the tips. Hello, he helped with the planning (Ha!) and has an opinion on our wedding as well.
1. Remember that your wedding is just one day of your life. 24 hours. Then it's all over.
2. Also remember that this is your wedding. It (hopefully) will only happen once in your life.
3. Be very aware of your budget and make sure everyone else (who's helping you plan) is too.
4. Be open with your budget but not everyone needs to know what you're spending.
5. Don't fall in love with anything that is out of your budget.
6. Don't buy or commit to anything you'd be embarrassed to share the price of. That is, don't buy your flower-dog a $300 outfit.
7. Stay calm. Please don't waste your time stressing. One day you'll look back at this time and smile.
8. If you want/don't want something at your wedding, get it (or don't get it). Even if it breaks tradition. I did not want to do a bouquet toss. Guess what? We didn't do a bouquet toss. Even after people said "but that's what you do at weddings!" Do you think I cared?
9. Wear comfortable shoes. Honestly, no one sees your shoes.
I loved my sparkly Toms and they were perfectly comfortable.
10. Be honest and comfortable with your photographer. You'll be with him/her all day on the biggest day of your life. I got out of my dress bra-less in front of my photographer. Enough said.
11. Programs are not necessary. Unless you really want to spend $1/program, then go for it.
12. Have a ton of deodorant on hand.
13. You ceremony must start on time.
14. Keep a journal starting with the wedding planning process, through the wedding day/night, and ending with the honeymoon.
15. Make sure your shower(s) are a good amount of time before your wedding (6-12 weeks beforehand).
16. Unless you don't have a budget, a theme is not necessary.
17. Get gifts for each other. Have the Best Man and Maid of Honor deliver them to you. My MOH loved getting to peek on the guys and see how they were doing. I loved being able to see our Best Man for a few minutes and he told me my groom was doing just peachy!
What a sweetie! He was raised right. :)
18. Make sure someone is wearing a watch.
19. If the bridesmaids have long dresses, you can't see their shoes at all. Don't dictate their shoes, it's not worth the time or effort. Promise.
20. Don't have too many songs or readings during your ceremony. Remember, you and your spouse have to stand during all of it.
21. Don't spend a lot of time on the seating for the ceremony. Put your family at the first few rows and be done with it. It's not worth the time and you won't be there to tell them where to sit.
22. You don't need a ring bearer.
23. Make sure your bouquets aren't huge. Remember, you have to hold it! Mine was so big that I rarely carried it. I pawned it off on everyone-- even a flowergirl!
24. If you have gifts for your parents or close friends, don't give it to them the day/morning of your wedding.
25. Best bridesmaid gift? Jewelry.
26. Don't spend a lot of time/money/energy on something that isn't important to you. For example, the place cards meant nothing to me (I wanted place cards, but nothing fancy). We went with the card stock tent kind. I'm so glad we didn't waste time/energy/money on fancy ones because that time/energy/money went to things we really wanted-- DJ, photographer, open bar, etc.
27. All your guests want to do is drink, eat, and (maybe) dance. They aren't there to make friends, so don't think they will. They don't want to fill out things at your table, either. Sorry.
28. There probably won't be enough room on your tables for anything but the place settings, table number, and a centerpiece. Don't get wide centerpieces.
The reception people will put a ton of stuff on your tables.
29. Remember your guests. They flew/drove here, bought you a gift, and sat through your ceremony.
30. If you want to have a "night club reception" (like we did), don't do things that will take the guests off the dance floor (Ex: bouquet/garter toss, money dance, etc).
No one left the dance floor until we were pretty much kicked out.
31. You don't need to practice dancing unless you've never been to a high school dance.
32. Eat dinner while everyone else is eating dinner.
33. While you're eating dinner, grab your freshly-new spouse's hand and sit back-- take it all in for just a moment. You will never be at that moment again and you want to look at the stuff you spent months planning.
34. Say hi to people you don't see as often. You can try your best to go around to each table, but you won't get to everyone.
35. The parent dances aren't necessary.
36. The reception will be the fastest four hours of your life. Spend the 4 hours wisely!
37. People are literally going to pull you off the dance floor to take a photo with them.
38. You won't remember anything. If you drink, you really won't remember anything. I cannot for the life of me remember what my dad's tux looked like, my MIL's dress (she spent months finding one).
39. Something is going to go wrong. Accept it now. Long story short, my bouquet did not make it to the reception.
40. Make sure you tell your photographer what photographs you want.
41. Don't forget to feed your DJ, photographer, and anyone else you've hired.
42. Delegate, delegate, DELEGATE. Unless you don't have a job and have all day everyday to plan this thing, you need to delegate tasks. My dad and stepmom were in charge of the cake. As long as it tasted good and looked nice, I was thrilled to give them that job.
43. Tell your DJ what kind of music you want. Is it OK for some songs to have curse words? No chicken dance?
44. Make sure you & your husband have your stuff for the evening and day after. Guess I should have packed my husband's bag.. We went out to a bar after our reception and my husband came back with no toothbrush or clothes for the next day. Really?
45. Figure out your car situation. This kind of goes back to #44, but we didn't have cars at the hotel we were staying at and had to taxi home. Memorable, yes, but not ideal.
46. Leave for your honeymoon 2 days after your wedding, not the next day.
47. Pack for your honeymoon long before you leave.
48. Thank your parents, new in-laws, and anyone who really helped you with this wedding at the reception. You'll be glad you did.
49. Say bye to your photographer and DJ when they leave. Don't forget to send them a thank you note and even a small gift later.
We absolutely love our photographer and will definitely use her in the future!
50. Before you go to bed that night, tell your new spouse that your day was just perfect!
51. If your groom has something he wants to do or not do at the wedding, tell the bride. I did not want to see my wife before the ceremony. Everyone kept talking me into a "first look" but I didn't want to. I told my wife and was honest and she was thrilled.
52. If you can, have all out of town friends/family at your rehearsal dinner.
53. Get your groomsmen/bridesmaids gifts a month to 6 weeks ahead of time.
54. Don't have your bachelor/bachelorette party the night before your wedding.
55. Hang out and spend most of your time during your wedding week with your groomsmen/bridesmaids. Many of them have a spent a lot of money and time to be in your wedding, appreciate them.
56. Take your wedding week off work.
57. Don't expect a Pinterest wedding-- it's not realistic. Pinterest is wonderful, but many of those weddings cost a pretty penny.
58. Have music on while you get ready.
59. Carry lots of cash with you for the wedding and honeymoon (Not lots, but $150 each).
60. Don't open any gifts until you have 1-2 hours to take the time to write everything down.
61. Take cash gifts with you on your honeymoon and deposit the checks when you get home. This was our motto and it worked out quite well. We were able to open envelope gifts the day after our wedding and just wrote down who gave money. Easy peasy-- we went to Hawaii with plenty of cash.
62. Pick up your tuxedo as soon as it's ready. The groom's tuxedo will probably be ready much earlier than the groomsmen.
63. The groomsmen should pick up their tuxedos when they get in for the wedding. If they live near you, have them go as soon as it's ready.
64. Don't tell your wife you'll be glad when the wedding is over. Especially don't say it multiple times.
65. Get a picture of you with each of your bridesmaids/groomsmen individually.
66. When your photos are ready, send each of the groomsmen/bridesmaids that photo in a frame and thank them.
67. Easy groomsmen gift? Pay for their tuxes and buy them tie pins.
68. Make sure someone gets your mail, takes your dog out, etc. the day of and the day before the wedding.
69. You won't get to eat any of your cake.
We each had a bite and that was it. Our one bite was tasty, though!
70. If you have readers during your ceremony, tell them what they are reading and tell them early.
71. With that being said, make sure your readings are special to you & your fiancé. Don't just have them there to fill time.
72. If someone in your family plays an instrument or sings, let them do that at your ceremony (If they want to). My dad sang a song during our ceremony and it was very special to us.
73. Try to eat dinner at your reception. Make sure they give you a plate to take home or to your hotel room.
74. Assign someone to check your ceremony and reception site afterwards to pick up lost items.
75. What are you doing with your centerpieces? Try to have people take them home or donate them to a nursing home so someone else can appreciate them!
76. Bring a phone charger.
77. If you've never had alcohol before, your wedding night should not be the place to try it.
78. Have the first half of your reception cater to all your guests (More well known music, etc). The second half (after some people have left) can have more "club like" music.
79. Assign someone to tip the people who need to be tipped (Best Man).
80. Make sure your Best Man and MOH don't drink before their speeches.
Love this one of my sister practicing!
81. Have an idea on what you want to spend on the cake. Some cost $10,000.
82. Have lots of flavors of cake to make all your guests happy.
83. Go to a local company for your flowers and cake. You'll spend less because they want repeat business!
84. Confirm with the limo company the day before the wedding. Make sure they have good directions.
85. Parents don't need limos.
86. Have whoever is paying for the wedding, charge it. That way you get the points to use for flights, rewards, etc.
87. Have an open bar if you have guests who drink.
88. The open bar does not need to be open the whole night. Close it during dinner, toasts, and prayer.
89. Make sure your guests are aware of the attire.
90. If you can afford it, arrange for transportation for guests who've had too much to drink.
91. Make sure your bartender IDs. I'll repeat-- Make sure your bartender IDs.
92. Make sure you give directions (via email or printed out) for your guests who are out of town.
93. Make sure those directions include any construction going on. There was a gay pride parade the afternoon of our wedding so some roads were closed.
94. Your first dance song can be any song you want. I told my wife in high school that our song reminded me of her. It's meaningful to both of us.
95. Don't have your guests throw things at you (Rice, confetti, sprinkles) after your ceremony because someone will have to pick it up.
96. Don't lock your knees during the ceremony. I did this and started to feel light headed.
97. Your hands swell when you're nervous. My wife couldn't get my ring on during the vows. No one noticed but us and the pastor. I just kept it on my finger until after we kissed.
98. You don't need a videographer.
99. Some people really and truly just want to help. Let them.
100. Remember this: At the end of the day if you're married to the love of you life, then your day went absolutely perfect.