It’s supposed to be the most special day of your life, right? Then why is it so stressful?! You can read bridal magazines ad nauseum and Google like a bridezilla on steroids and still not feel prepared! What you need is expert advice from the pros. Caterers, bridal shop owners, invitation studios, registry shops and event space owners have seen wedding after wedding and know exactly how to make your big day run smoothly. It’s what they do! You know what, though? We’ll make it even easier … we reached out to the pros we know and trust to compile a list of their most useful, less known suggestions on all-things-wedding. Here’s what you really need to know:
1. You will have Bridezilla moments. And it’s okay!
“Whether it is because you and your fiancé disagree on your love of fondant, because the carriage company said that they in fact do not have unicorns available on your wedding day or your groom had to nix all of your Dixie Chicks songs from the wedding playlist, there WILL be a moment when you break. It happens to the most calm brides. Take a break from wedding planning, go on a date night with your man, and regroup about why you two are planning this big day in the first place!” —Lindsey at The Bridge Building
2. You need a planner. Yes, you do.
“A beautiful ceremony and reception should be a joyous occasion that doesn’t break the bank and is executed well. Having a great planner is the most important step you can take to ensure those two things happen. The planner should be an organized multi-tasker who can problem solve with excellent communication skills. They should get to know you and help create a plan that will go smoothly, rain or shine, and stay on budget.” —Elizabeth at Green Door Gourmet
3. Make your wedding timeless, not trendy.
“When selecting your colors, pick what you love and will look back on in 30 years and still be happy you chose. Colors of the year and other trends are just that—fads that come and go quickly compared to your favorite color shades and tones. And be sure you’re going to love how those mason jars look 30 years from now. Same with boots and short dresses.” —Amos at AmosEvents
4. Serve the food you want serve, not what you are ‘supposed’ to serve.
“When working with your caterer on a menu, think beyond what you feel you should be serving. Think about food that you would serve if you were having a dinner party or an item that is special to you, maybe from your past. If the meal creates enjoyment and pleasure for you, it will set the tone for the event and your guests will feel the same.” —Kristen at Kristen Winston Catering
5) You and your fiancé will fight at some point in the planning process.
“Fights with your significant other will happen during planning, and you may even question your entire wedding. THIS IS NORMAL! You start to care (possibly obsess) over things like burlap and lace, while your significant other couldn’t care less (how rude!). Trust us when we say you aren’t the first bride who has seriously considered calling off your wedding after your significant other lets it out he doesn’t really care about your table centerpieces. Don’t forget you’re marrying him because you love him, not because he’s a wedding planner.” —Amy at Fabulous Frocks
6. Time is money.
You may be under the assumption that the cost of invitations includes the stuffing and sending. In most cases, you’re wrong. “Invitations do not come assembled, but they can be for an additional fee.” —Kim at paperKuts Studio
7. Tame the guest list.
“Keep your wedding guest list to 150 people or less. That way the bride and groom have an opportunity to meaningfully talk with everyone at their reception. If that means the invite list has to be ruthlessly cut, so be it.” —Brenda and Dan at Ruby
8. Have fun when you’re registering!
“Enjoy the process! Registering for gifts and china can be stressful. Take your time choosing what YOU like! And, when choosing your gifts, know there is no right or wrong. Choose gifts, and china, be it formal or every day, to fit your personality and lifestyle. Your registry will enable your guests to choose the perfect gift for you and your fiancé.” —Jane at The Registry
9. Don’t stress over the snag(s) on the big day, because they will happen.
“No one knows your vision of your wedding but you. Something may go wrong or not exactly as you dreamed it would be, but your family and friends came to celebrate the day with you and will not have any idea that is not the way you intended it to be. Enjoy the day!” —Micki at OZ
10. If you can’t imagine having the wedding in a tent, don’t have an outdoor wedding.
“Tenting is something that can easily save an outdoor wedding ceremony or reception if you’re prepared for it. Before the big day, be sure to talk to your venue about tenting options and get costs based on your wedding needs. Figure out if that’s within your budget, and if you were to have to tent, would you be devastated? If so, then an outdoor venue is probably not ideal for you. But if you feel the potential to tent is an option for you, develop a “plan B” for your wedding. Include the tents, a revised floor plan based on the tents and possible ways to style the tent to make your wedding just as glamourous as not having a tent!” —Kasey at Aerial
11. Think outside the box.
“A trend we are seeing that we think is great is to have the ceremony on a different day than the reception. That way the ceremony can be a smaller, intimate affair and perhaps a little less stressful. The focus on that day is the vows and actually getting married. Then, at the reception, the bride and groom are generally more relaxed and can have more fun! This works well if there are out-of-town guests too, as the ceremony could be on a Friday and the reception on a Saturday. (An added bonus: the bride gets to wear her dress more than once!)” —Brenda and Dan at Ruby
12. Pace yourself!
“Don’t allow yourself to be over-served at or after your rehearsal dinner—your face will show it in the morning. And pace your drinking on the day of the wedding. It is a loooooonnnnnnggggg day.” —Elizabeth at Houston Station
13. Grab a quick bite.
“The bride and groom should sneak away to have dinner just the two of them before the excitement starts!” —Kate at The Rosewall
Find more wedding planning experts and venues in our SB Guide!