20 Do’s and Don’ts for Your Wedding

Getting married is a very exciting time in your life. But, while weddings are exciting, they can also be very stressful. There will be countless decisions that have to be made before the big day. The bad thing about planning your wedding is that you probably have little experience in it. You might have been a bridesmaid before, but it’s so different than being responsible for every decision. Weddings, in a perfect world, are something we only plan once. This can make it even more stressful to get every detail perfect. Not only are there dresses to buy and flowers to pick, there are also traditions and points of etiquette one must follow. With so many rules to follow and things to include, it can be hard to remember every single detail of the day. Don’t fret: We’ve put together 20 dos and don’ts for your wedding that will help you plan the wedding of your dreams.

ONE Don’t vent on social media.

This might seem like common sense, but you don’t want to vent on social mediaabout every single dilemma and problem you encounter. There will be a lot of them along the way, but your Facebook friends don’t need to know about how your caterer won’t email you back or how mean your bridesmaids are being. It’s not their problem, and they don’t need to know about it. You don’t want to come off as a bridezilla to everyone you know.

TWO Do ask guests to use your hashtag.

This is a really fun way to include your friends and family in your wedding. Come up with a few clever hashtags that aren’t being used on social media (you can check on Instagram how many posts there are for any hashtag you can think of). Add them to your invitations and programs, and ask your guests to use them whenever they post on social media. This is a great way for you to quickly find all the posts and pictures of your wedding so you can relive it later.

Don’t crowdsource your wedding planning

Similar to venting on social media, don’t crowdsource your wedding planning, either. People don’t need to know what song you are dancing to and exactly what your programs are going to look like. There should be some feeling of mystery around your wedding.

Do prepare your speech in advance.

You can go ahead and think that you will remember every single person you want to thank or mention, but, when it comes down to it, if you don’t have something prepared beforehand, you are going to forget something. Regardless of how much you plan and obsess over your wedding, it’s going to be a crazy day. Something will go wrong. Someone will upset you, and it’s going to be a whirlwind for you. In order to make sure you can think clearly when it comes to your speech, prepare something in advance. You don’t have to write down every word you want to say. In fact, you shouldn’t. You are surrounded by your closest family and friends, and it’s one of the most magical days of your life, so it should come from the heart and not a piece of paper. Make some bullet points of topics you want to discuss and people you want to mention, just so you don’t forget. Oh, and make sure you give it to someone trustworthy, before the wedding, so you don’t misplace it. That doesn’t mean the maid of honor, necessarily, if she’s already had a mimosa or two.

FIVE Do get to know your officiant ahead of time.

Your officiant may be the most important person at your wedding, other than you and your groom. Face it: without him or her, you’re not getting married. He or she is going to be the person who unites you and your significant other together for all time. That’s a very special bond that they are presiding over. It won’t hurt if you know them in advance. It will make it more personal for you, and it won’t hurt if they tell a joke or two for your guests.

Do have a backup plan if the wedding is outside.

All your planning and prepping can decide the colors and the flowers and the seating chart, but there is no way you can plan what the weather is going to be like. If your wedding is going to be outside, you should definitely have a back-up plan just in case the weather isn’t perfect. It could be a beautiful sunny day, but it could also start pouring two hours before your ceremony is scheduled to start. You don’t want to be standing out in the rain, and your guests sure don’t want to be out there in it. So, make a back-up plan that can accommodate all your wedding guests, just in case. It never hurts to have a plan B.

Your vendors can’t read your mind. They don’t know the specifics of your wedding and, unless you tell them, they don’t know everything you want from them. That’s why it is important to include everything you expect from them, and to be upfront from the beginning. If there are songs that you absolutely don’t want played at the reception, make a “don’t play list” and send it to your DJ. You also might want to consider creating a “must-have shot list” for your photographer, so that you make sure you get every photo you want of the big day.

EIGHT Don’t forget to eat.

Your officiant may be the most important person at your wedding, other than you and your groom. Face it: without him or her, you’re not getting married. He or she is going to be the person who unites you and your significant other together for all time. That’s a very special bond that they are presiding over. It won’t hurt if you know them in advance. It will make it more personal for you, and it won’t hurt if they tell a joke or two for your guests.

Don’t have a cash bar.

This is a highly debated topic, when it comes to weddings. It seems much simpler and cheaper to have a cash bar than an open bar. People can get exactly what they want, and you don’t have to pay for it. Still, it’s not really the best idea. Don’t ask people to come to your wedding, and then ask them to pay for their own drinks. This is a time for you to give them something for coming to your wedding and for being such an important part of your lives. If you can’t work an open bar into the budget, just don’t have alcohol. It’s better to not have it at all, then to ask your guests to pay for it. People might complain at first, but, at the end of the day, they won’t really care you didn’t have alcohol.

Don’t include registry info on invites.

Sure, getting wedding presents is nice. That’s why you register, right? And there will be plenty of opportunities for people to buy you presents. Some people will even show up at the wedding with a present, but don’t put your registry info on your invitations. You don’t want people to think that they have to bring you a present. At your wedding, their presence should be enough. Don’t make them feel like they have to do more. If they want to, that’s great, but don’t be pushy for gifts.

Don’t skip on your hair-and-makeup trial.

Most salons or stylists that do wedding hair and makeup are going to offer you a trial run before the wedding. Take it. Just like you wouldn’t pick out your wedding dress on the day of the wedding, don’t pick out your hair and makeup. It doesn’t matter if you have found the perfect hairstyle on Pinterest; it might not look good on you or with your hair. Just like your wedding dress, you might not like the first one you try on, even if you did pine after it in that bridal magazine for weeks. Go through a few hairstyles and decide what works best for what you are wanting. Make sure it looks right with your dress, and consider your venue. You might want to pick something different if you are having it outside in the elements, as opposed to indoors. Have your makeup done in advance, too. Everyone does makeup differently on different faces, and you don’t want to end up hating your makeup on your wedding day and not have time to redo it.

Don’t feel like you have to stick to either traditional customs or current trends.

If you don’t want to get married in a church, then don’t. If you don’t want bridesmaids, don’t have them. The great thing about your wedding is that it is your wedding. You can literally do whatever you want. Don’t feel pressured to follow certain traditions or trends if you don’t feel comfortable with them. Sit down with your fiancé and discuss what aspects of the wedding are important and how you want to handle them. Don’t let other people pressure you, either. Even though she might be your future mother-in-law, it doesn’t mean she gets to decide the details of your wedding.

Do pick a first dance that has a special meaning to both of you.

Your first dance is going to be very special. It’s your first dance as a newly married couple. All eyes are on you and your new spouse. Even though it can be a very public moment, make sure you make it personal as well. Pick a song that means something to both of you. Whether it is “your song,” or a song you both really like, make sure it is something special that you won’t ever forget and which has a special meaning.

FOURTEEN Do wear waterproof mascara.

Even if you swear you aren’t going to cry, chances are there will be some tears at some point during the day. Everyone around you is going to cry at some point. Your best friend, your mom, your spouse. The tears are inevitable. Whether you like it or not, you aren’t immune. The best advice is to practice your cry face ahead of time, and wear waterproof mascara, so you don’t scare everyone away when the dam breaks.

FIFTEEN Do get the groom involved.

When we talk about weddings, and especially wedding planning, all the attention is on the bride. What’s she’s wearing, who’s in the wedding, what song she will walk down the aisle to. It’s easy to forget that it’s not just your wedding day. Your future groom is going to be getting married, too. Whether he will admit it or not, he’s pretty excited. Girls aren’t the only ones who think about weddings. Grooms might not sit around and dream about flower arrangements, but this is a big day in their lives. Make sure to include your groom in as many of the arrangements as he wants, but don’t force him. If he wants to be there as you pick out flowers, and he has an opinion, invite him, and listen to what he has to say. He might not care about every little detail, but this is going to be a day he will remember forever.

Don’t invite guests you really don’t want to see.

If you don’t want to invite your great aunt and uncle you see once every two years, then don’t. It is your wedding, and who you put on the guest list is your decision. Just because your parents want their friends there, it doesn’t mean you and your fiancé do. Make sure you invite the people that you want to spend the day with. Especially if you can only have a set number of people there, don’t invite people just because someone told you to. Put people on the guest list who mean something to you.

Don’t forget a vegetarian option.

A vegetarian option can easily be overlooked. Keep in mind that there might be someone at your wedding who doesn’t eat meat. It is important that you feed this person, so include a vegetarian option on your menu. You also might want to consider a kids’ menu.

Assign someone to collect and return all rented items.

The last thing you need to do after the wedding is try to remember to collect every rented item you used, and return them to their owners. Select someone to do that for you. Maybe ask an aunt who would love to help, or a friend—just as long as they are trustworthy and can make sure you get everything back on time.

Don’t leave your guests too long between the ceremony and reception.

Another thing to keep in mind when planning your wedding is the time between the ceremony and reception. Your guests don’t want to be standing around forever waiting for you to make your entrance. This is especially important if they are having cocktails while they wait. You don’t want to wait two hours in between, and then show up to find all your guests highly intoxicated.

Take time to visit with as many guests as possible.

This is going to be the one day of your life where all your friends and family are together with you. There aren’t many opportunities in life where you can say that. There will probably be people there that you haven’t seen in a long time, and people there you won’t see again any time soon. Make a point to go and talk to as many of them as possible. You won’t regret spending time with them. After all, they did clear their schedules to be there to celebrate with you. Acknowledge that.

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