Anyone who has been there, done that, got the t-shirt knows that the day of your wedding can be one of the most highly stressful of your life. After months, even years, of planning it all comes to a head, and what with the understandable nerves - as thousands of brides will agree, any little alteration from the plan can feel like the biggest deal in the world. So here at And Other Memories, I thought it would be good to share some tips on keeping the day as stress-free as possible.
1. Have a relaxing day and get an early night the night before.
Ok, I'm cheating a bit by starting the day before, but this is important. If you can, it is always good to try and get everything ready a couple of days in advance so that the day before you can concentrate on relaxing. The day before my wedding I booked my Mum and I in for massages and mani-pedis as I knew the nerves would be somewhat frayed and I wanted to try and stay calm. We had a quiet dinner in the evening with 'the girls' and went to bed at a reasonable hour. And guess what? I slept! Something I really didn't think would be possible the night before my wedding!
2. Get ready at home/your parents home/somewhere you feel comfortable.
You don't want to be learning where the loo is, or wondering if you remembered to pack your pants so for simplicity and ease it is always best to ready yourself somewhere where you know where these things are.
3. Designate someone to be in charge of food for the morning.
This includes breakfast and lunch (depending on the time of your wedding). The last thing you want to be worrying about as you are showing your make-up artist where to set-up is what to eat, so have someone lay out food for anyone staying with you and get them to bring you a plate of your favourite breakfast. Eat as much as you can, because if you are anything like me by the time lunch comes round you may be too nervous to try anything. That said, you don't want to be going to the ceremony on an empty stomach so if you are having an afternoon wedding, make sure someone is in charge of lunch. To keep things really simple lay-out a buffet of finger food that people can pick up as they wish. This is great when you are too nervous to eat a big meal, and also for everyone who is getting ready at different times. If bridesmaids are in hair and make-up you won't all be eating at the same time.
4. Aim to be ready 20 minutes before you are due to leave.
This way you can have a glass of champagne, take a breather and chill out without feeling like you are rushing out the door! It also gives you time to deal with any unexpected delays (see Leila McCausland's story in Wedding Memories Made about her bus not turning up!
5. Make sure the Groom is out of the house - and down the pub?!
It is traditional not to see the bride on the wedding day, so not only is it important not to risk this by making sure you haven't spent the night in the same house, but the groom deserves to relax too. So send him down the pub for a big brunch, (with limits on the alcohol intake?!) and delegate any tasks for the day to the groomsmen/ushers.
6. Make a slow entrance.
You'll only be doing this once (hopefully) so make sure you aren't running down the aisle but instead take a moment, walk slowly and take it all in. Your man waiting for you at the end, and all your friends and family who have come together to celebrate the day with you. There is nothing like walking into a room full of the people you love!
7. Allow LOTS of time for reception mingling.
Everyone tells you that the day flies by, and they are right. The reception is the part where you say hello to everyone and everyone wants a word with the bride and groom so make sure you have left plenty of time for this, and for any photos you are having taken (more on that in point 8.) An ideal amount of time is around 2 hours (once at the venue). It sounds like alot of time, but with so many people to say hello too and with photos to squeeze in you will be being called for the wedding breakfast before you know it. Don't forget most places will call you half an hour before they are due to start serving so check with the caterers/venue about this and make sure you know exactly how much time you will have.
8. Plan your photos in advance, and limit group ones where possible.
There's nothing worse than having to wait for Aunt Sally to get back from the loo, or for Cousin Rachel to fight her way through the crowd when taking photos. Make sure you have your photos planned in advance and if you are having family ones or even whole group ones, let people know so that they have time to prepare and aren't keeping you waiting!
9. Speeches before dinner.
Seriously, this is the best way to make sure all the 'scary' parts are over and that everyone can enjoy the meal. There are sure to be some nervous speech givers so get it out of that way so they can relax... and also not too pissed, it' s all too easy to have that one too many when you are trying to calm your nerves! Believe me, I know!
10. Cake cutting before 1st dance.
This way you'll have everyone's attention before the first dance, and then once the music starts and everyone else is invited onto the dance floor you can all relax, knowing that their is nothing else left too do! Also, once the dancing starts it can be tricky to get everyone together to watch the cake cutting so before is always best.
11. Rescue Remedy!!
As well as planning everything in advance as much as possible, remember that if things don't go to plan on the day it won't matter too much. As long as you are getting married nothing else matters. And to help with the nerves (and if you are anything like me you will need as much help as possible!!) I would always recommend Rescue Remedy, a herbal tincture that has done wonders at calming me over the years!!
Hopefully these tips have given you something to think about and you will find them helpful. If you are getting married soon, And Other Memories wishes you a fantastic day, and massive Congratulations!
All wedding photos on this page by Photography by Krishanthi.