I had previously written a very wordy, drawn out explanation of what the two weeks leading up to my wedding day was like. In short, it read like a "Stress-fest" of all the things that didn't go to plan, and wasn't very enjoyable to write or to read. Therefore I have decided to take a different approach. You will already know how you handle stress, and yes, no matter how organised you THINK you are, there will probably be something to contend with in the last few days of your non-married life.
We spend so much time planning for that one special day, so much that it's easy to neglect thinking about the days prior.
So from my experience, some which helped me, others which I wish I had known, here are 10 EXTRA things to remember.
Write a ListInclude EVERYTHING that is left to do before the wedding, but this time categorize what is IMPORTANT or UNIMPORTANT. Be brutal. What can you live without seeing or happening on your big day? This doesn't necessarily mean it wont eventuate if things work well, but it will give you a clearer vision and will help you and your helpers prioritise.
Schedule your calenderYes, your calender is probably full with appointments with your vendors, family arrival dates and all the other everyday reminders. Make or find another calender that you can compile your "List of to-dos" and break it down into a day by day, week by week schedule. Allow more time than you will expect, because life gets in the way and things may take longer than expected. I recommend making this a digital calendar, because as the days tick by, the list may change slightly, but you will know well in advance if you are well in the clear, or need to do some catching up.
DelegateThis is not the time to be a hero, you don't have the carry the load on your own. As much as the wedding is about the bride and the groom's love for one another, it is also about the love you share with your friends and family. Friends and family who want to be part of your lives and help when and where they can. If there are tasks on the lists above that are not difficult or suit their particular skill sets, there is no harm in asking if they would like to lend a hand. It doesn't need to be a full time commitment but a car ride here or a phone call there can really add up to a lot of time saved for you and your partner.
Double and Triple ChecksThis should make it onto your "Important list" but is not something you have to undertake yourself. Sometimes when organising large events and dealing with many people, mistakes are made. If you can give yourself extra time to react to any mistakes before things are due, the better. Our mistake was not fully checking the suits. We hired the boys suits, and yes, they did all try them on for size. Good thing too, as there were some major adjustments needed (make sure a professional measures them when ordering). This was an easy fix as it was found in the days before, however not everything was included in the suit bags. Jackets, pants, waistcoats; check, check, check.... grooms specially ordered ivory tie? Missing. This wasn't discovered until they were dressing themselves on the day. Luckily Ben had a spare (normal) ivory tie, but that won't always be the case. When delegating (which you should do AS MUCH AS POSSIBLE) this is an easy task for a helper to tick off your list. Most of the times things will flow smoothly, and in those few instances where you need to step up and take charge, you'll have the time to do so.
On the day "Run sheet"This little piece of golden (metaphorically) paper will help in so many situations. Not everyone has been planning this wedding for all the months that you have, therefore they may have a hard time remembering all the finer details of what the day entails. It will be a god-send if something goes wrong. Take the time in the weeks before to put it ALL out on paper, email it to anyone involved and print a few spares for the day itself. This "Run sheet" will include a:
- Time schedule. How the day is expected to flow, and as usual, allow more time than you expect, just in case. A time for wake up, make-up, relaxing, eating, driving, greeting and arriving. This information can be kept private between organizing members. If you chose to make it public knowledge, be prepared for some foot-tapping, and watch checkers to make themselves known. It is much easier to distract the unaware!
- Delegate. This is the place to have your helpers on their A-game. Put someone in charge of washing and dressing the bridal cars, someone who is in charge of getting the rings to the ceremony, picking up the flowers, setting up the ceremony, taking phone calls, pick-ups/drop-offs and run betweens etc. Have it written so that everyone knows exactly what THEY need to remember.
- Important phone numbers for each vendor included in the day (and the name of the person you were dealing with if you cannot get their personal number), the entire bridal party, important guests such as the Mother of the Bride/Groom, and the flower girls mother. Taxi, hotel Emergency services information and contact details.
- Shot List. No matter how big or small your wedding will be, chances are your photographer won't know everyone by name. Even if they do, it is important to make sure every person is remembered. In the excitement its easy to forget an important guest from a particular family photo! This could lead to regret and guilt for many years to come. Avoid this by spelling it all out in full names of who will be in each photograph, and put someone in charge who ideally would know a number of people but will not be in the main photos. We asked our MC (Laura) to co-ordinate this, as she was going to be announcing other such information as the evening progressed, wasn't afraid to speak up, knew a good number of the guests and wouldn't be required in a number of the family/bridal photos.
Find your own space (Accommodation)As for me, I had all my guests sorted in their hotel rooms, the Wedding Suite booked for our wedding night, but the night prior to our wedding wasn't deemed as important. This was a mistake. My family home is normally a very welcoming and relaxing space for me. In this instance this changed. Spending my pre-wedding night alone was traditional. The sleeping pills (which only made me hallucinate) and earplugs (as my parents were entertaining guests in our lounge) were not. Learn from my mistake, take that extra time and find a hotel room or a friends house (where you know you can have privacy) to collect your thoughts, take time to relax and welcome people when and if you chose to. A few extra dollars will find you much more able to cope with and enjoy the events of the following day, and lessen any under eye bags you might have going on.
Chasing daylightOrganise to have your rehearsal at the same time of day as you scheduled your ceremony. This way you'll see where the sun light hits (a useful too for the photographer) and how much light you will have to play with. This is especially important if your ceremony is in an outdoor garden like ours was. It will also give you an idea of the temperatures you and your guests will be feeling. For your guests to truely enjoy your ceremony they need to be comfortable, this may require extra shade, sunblock, heat or airflow on warm day. Now you have time to make adjustments if necessary.
Overnight bagHave an overnight bag ready before your wedding day. It should include items you will not require in the lead up, because chances are if you do need them, they won't be returned to their rightful place in the bag. Have someone drop this in your bridal suite the morning of the wedding. Some special items to include might be:
- Special lingerie (because the qualities that make underwear comfortable/structured don't necessarily make it sexy, plus you've been in it all day; time for a change)
- A crotchet needle or bobbi-pin. If like me you have a gazillion little satin covered buttons that look amazing on the back of your dress, you'll be happy to have one. Dainty decorations like these are not "man fingers" friendly. Using one of these tools is a much quicker and less painful way for the groom to "unwrap" his bride.
- Protection *wink wink* and all the things that go along with it, do I need to explain? Unless of course you are choosing NOT to use it.
- Hangover kit: paracetamol, sports drink, eye drops, mouth wash, blister pads, sticking plasters, sunglasses, snack bars.
- Bubble bath. Why? because taking the time together enjoying newly married bliss, while soaking in a hot, bubbly jacuzzi feels amazing.
Relax and take care of yourselvesRelaxing is made easier when you try to surround yourself with positive, helpful people. I wouldn't have survived without them in my life. During your planning try to include non-wedding days, enjoy this time with your partner in the present tense by taking part in other activities you enjoy doing together, without worrying about the wedding. Try to keep as healthy as possible, this will equip you with your sharpest self to deal with any challenges thrown your way. This includes keeping active, eating healthy and often (which is sometimes difficult to remember as the stress starts seeping in) and try to look out for your fiancé and make sure they are coping well. The planning process can be stressful on both you and your fiancé and the marriage is more important than the wedding, so take time to enjoy these moments you have together and keep your bond strong. At the end, the wedding is a celebration of your love, make sure you don't lose sight of that.
Be thankfulThis is an incredible experience, on you are very fortunate to have. To find someone whom you love enough to make this commitment to and have them feel the same, is amazing. Be thankful for everyone involved in supporting you to this day, make sure they know how much they mean to you and how much you have appreciate them helping you on this journey. As one journey ends, another will begin.