Whilst Mark and I were celebrating our three year anniversary over champagne last night (as you do) I started reminiscing about our wedding day. Whenever my friends ask me if there’s anything I’d do differently about my wedding I often joke that I’d elope (if only to escape the crazy wedding costs!) and escape to a remote island in Fiji.
The truth is though that even if I were given the chance I probably wouldn’t change much about our wedding day. Sure it wasn’t the easiest day to organize and it did take us a long time to pay it off but it was pretty damn fantastic all the same. When I look back at our wedding photos all I see are two happy people with a silly smile on their face the whole time which I think says a lot.
I did learn a few things along the way though so today I thought I’d share my top 10 tips for staying sane and happy on your wedding day.
1. Don’t attempt to do everything yourself
When we started planning the wedding I had all these crazy ideas on how I would decorate the whole venue myself and DIY the crap out of this event. In the real world though, most venues won’t give you that much time to set up before your big day. Most of them will only allow you to come in the morning or the night before and trust me by that time decorating will be the last thing on your mind! On the morning of my wedding I had to run to the markets to buy fresh flowers for our table decorations (which I had planned to happily put into pretty bouquets with my bridesmaids) and by the time I got back and started decorating I was running so late that I had to call one of my friends to finish the job for me (which she thankfully did – thank you again Sheana!). Of course, I’m not saying you shouldn’t DIY your wedding but make sure you’re organized and get everything done in advance. And maybe pay someone to do the flowers…
2. Let go of the ‘perfect day’ fantasy
When you’re planning a wedding it’s really easy to forget all common sense and get caught up in the idea that the day should be PERFECT. After all everyone (and by everyone I mean wedding vendors and people who aren’t married) is constantly telling you that it’s the biggest day of your life! But really, the quickest way to ruin your good mood and everyone else’s at your wedding is to act like a crazy control freak.
Nothing is perfect in life and not to jinx you or anything but chances are that not everything will go absolutely smoothly on your wedding day either. It may be that it rains (it did on my wedding day), that the best man fumbles his speech or that the flowers don’t perfectly match your dress, but at the end of the day remember that it’s only a party. As long as you get to marry the man of your dreams then I’d say you’ve got the perfect wedding already. Everything else is a bonus.
3. Make sure you get enough sleep the night before
I know, I know – it’s easier said than done. But if you can go to sleep at 8pm the night before then please do so. Wedding days are tiring! Mark and I were both exhausted when we got back to our hotel on our wedding night and I think it took us like a week to recuperate (yeah – we’re old).
4. Enjoy your time with your bridesmaids
Enjoy the time you have getting ready with your bridesmaids (and your parents) because realistically it’s probably the most downtime you’ll get that day. Also, take the time to thank them for sharing this moment with you and for anything they may have done to support you and help you plan this day. In hindsight, I really wish I had bought my bridesmaids a present as they were awesome all throughout my wedding process and I couldn’t have made it through without them!
5. Take it easy on the champagne
No one wants to see a drunk bride tumbling down the aisle. Except maybe ‘America’s funniest videos’.
6. Make sure you eat something
This kind of goes hand in hand with #5 really.
Instead of buying flowers on the morning of your wedding day (like a certain silly someone) treat your bridesmaids to a healthy breakfast. It’s probably the only food you’ll eat until dinner time so make it count!
7. Have some entertainment
Post-wedding photo sessions often take longer than planned (everything does at a wedding) so it’s always a good idea to have some form of entertainment to keep your guests happy while you’re gone. We had a photo booth at ours which was really popular but there are tons of other great options out there. We also provided extra entertainment in the form of a burlesque show (because I love burlesque and didn’t care about tradition) so don’t be afraid to put your stamp on it and do something original!
8. Trust someone to co-ordinate things for you
If you can afford a wedding coordinator then that’s great but otherwise appoint someone you trust to take care of business for you. We asked our friend Grant (who was also our MC) to deal with ‘any crisis that may arise’ for us and he must have done a great job because we didn’t have to deal with any issues on the day! He also had a copy of the schedule and a contact list (as did our wedding party) so that he could answer any potential questions and call people if necessary.
9. Make a date with your husband/wife
I’m not even joking. Weddings can be pretty cra-zy; everyone wants to talk to you and congratulate you and from the moment you’re back from taking your photos to the end of the night you’ll be caught in a whirlwind of relatives and friends. To make sure you actually get to see your new husband that night make a plan to meet at a certain time somewhere in the venue (you could even make it a secret place, how romantic!). Then take the time to enjoy this moment together. You just got married, woohoo! Look around you and take it all in – all those people are here to celebrate your love! It’s pretty magical, isn’t it?
10. Pack some dancing shoes
Yes those designer heels are gor-geous but by the time the DJ starts belting out your favorite tunes you’ll be wanting to throw them in the closest rubbish bin and swap them for your grandma’s loafers (well maybe not, but you get the gist). To make sure you don’t end up with really sore feet, pack a pair of comfy, stylish shoes to discretely change into once the party starts going. After all, you don’t want to miss out on dancing the night away with your friends (it’s the best part!).
Finally if you’re really feeling stressed out and the idea of a big wedding just makes you feel sick to your stomach then truly – elope! Or make it a really small wedding. The point is – you should never let the form (the wedding) take over the content (the marriage).
Besides, you can always have a big party when you get back from Fiji!
All photos by: Emily Raftery Photography ltd.
And just because I feel like over sharing the love today here are a few more pics of our big day!