How to Prepare for your Wedding & Anticipate the Unanticipated
This post originally appeared on our old blog Born to be a Bride.
Almost two years after my own wedding, I still wake up in a cold sweat sometimes, having had a nightmare about a shredded gown, missing groom, and so on. Here’s the bad and good news rolled into one: things will go wrong on your wedding day, and it will be totally fine. Whether it’s an element that goes missing at the eleventh hour (um, where is the aisle runner?), a stain on your dress (red wine is not for optimal bridal sipping), or a miscommunication (Josh almost saw my dress (and me!) before our ceremony)… the best thing you can do is breathe through it and keep moving.
As Carrie said to Charlotte during her wedding to Harry, after everything went awry and the bride found herself crying in the bathroom: “You’re missing it.” Don’t miss it. Safeguard yourself with some easy tips to build in success for all present (most importantly, you and your betrothed). But if it starts to pour, the chef calls it quits, the linens don’t match, or you stub a toe, just get on with it. You only get one day. You can soak all the enjoyment out of it that’s possible, or you cannot. Those are the choices! And here are the tips:
Type Up a “Run of Show”: It might seem old-fashioned, but I found it endlessly helpful to have a printed copy of every single planned detail of the weekend from arrival at the rehearsal dinner space to Sunday morning’s brunch. I would update it with new information, take notes, and check off items as they were secured in advance. The satisfaction was so sweet when I printed off the final, clean copy and tucked it into my duffel bag before flying North for the wedding. Sure, I knew that a lot of it would not happen as planned. But having it in head, and hand, made explaining things so much easier as the next few days unfolded.
Buy (or Borrow) Extra: there’s always the need to save money and be on budget. I totally get that. But you might be surprised at how much of your wedding loot can either be returned if unused, repurposed in your home, resold, or donated after the big day. When it comes to flip flops for the beach ceremony, bottles of bubbly, or even Spanx, do more than you need to. You can be thrifty in tons of other ways leading up the big day, and it will pay off in the end.
Fall in Love with Your Rain Plan: I mean it. Just because you don’t want to, doesn’t mean you don’t have to. Before we signed any papers with our favorite venue, we insisted on a full walk-through of the backup area. I walked down the fake aisle. I looked out the windows standing across from my groom and pretended. I took pictures. Only after I felt that yes, this place felt right, did we decide to go for it. We lucked out with weather and had our beautiful ceremony on the beach as planned, but I knew it would have been magical in that reinvented area as well, or I would’ve kept looking.
Designate a Point Person: Naturally, the maid-of-honor is paramount. Your main girl has always had your back, and she definitely will on the big day. But it’s also important to put someone else on on ICE (In Case of Emergency). You might be tempted to make this person your mom. Don’t do that. This is the day her daughter is getting married. She has a lot going on in her mind and has family dynamics, blowout scheduling, and intense, bubbling up emotions to contend with. All of my bridesmaids were amazing, but one of them was at the ready for anything from groomsman wrangling and champagne shortages, to missing lip gloss and unmet music cues. (Go through everything with this person ahead of time, please. The day of is not helpful!)
Ditch Your SmartPhone: No, really. There are plenty of people taking pictures, and if you need to use someone else’s phone for any purpose, I promise you, twenty will be thrust in your face. But if you are texting, scrolling, and otherwise tracking any potential fires that might need to be put out, you are not enjoying your day to the fullest. We all know I am hugely social media obsessed and always texting. It was absolute bliss on my wedding day to say goodbye to my phone as soon as I entered the suite and not look at it again until I crawled into bed at 2 am and snapped a picture of my two rings: #married.
All photos in this post Elisabeth Millay Photography.