Hindsight is a wonderful, if not mildly frustrating, thing. It’s all very well and good learning a lesson from an experience but most people don’t ever go back to have a second wedding! So here are 13 things from my own experience that I recommend prioritising on your wedding day.
1. Start the DIY early
We didn’t have a lot of DIY in our wedding (we did the stationery ourselves but that was about it) but even then I wish we’d started it much earlier than we did! These things always take longer than you anticipate so give yourself a fighting chance and get those craft supplies out sooner rather than later! I can’t think of anything worse than still having DIY to do the night before your wedding. That is so not fun!
2. Have your hair and make up done by a pro
I did my own make up, but looking back I really wish I’d had a professional make up artist to do it. I hadn’t yet discovered just how amazing make up done by someone who knows how to contour and properly blend eye shadow can be. I had a few trials in the run up to our wedding but I must have been going to the wrong people because I left each one thinking “Meh, I can do this myself, what’s the point?”
While, in the end, my make up was okaaaay, I would have looked, and felt, a million times more beautiful if I’d had it done by someone else.
I strongly advise having at least one trial before the wedding day (of both hair and make up) to make sure the person you book understands exactly what you want. Bring photographic examples with you to show how you want it to look, and afterwards have someone take photos of you from every angle. It might look great in person but you’ll want to know how it photographs too.
By the way, if you’re in the UK I love and recommend Elbie Van Eeden and Lipstick and Curls for hair and make up, and Allison Cameron for make up. Other artists that I’ve worked with and loved around the world are Regan Rabanal (make up), Kristen Jackson (hair) and Eryk Datura (make up) in New York, Your Beauty Call in Vegas (both), Lauren aka Queen of Blending in LA (make up) and Bernice in Melbourne (make up).
A lot of couples don’t seem to like asking for help, but believe me, most of your friends and family will be happy – thrilled in fact – to lend a hand. You can not do everything yourself, especially on the day, and especially if you are having a DIY wedding!
Its also a really good idea to have a specific person in charge of certain things, for example the playlist (if you’re not having a DJ or band), keeping the photo booth ticking over and riot-free, and for rounding up wayward family members for the group photos!
4. Have a ceremony rehearsal
We had a rehearsal the day before our wedding and at first I thought it was going to be weird, “Who needs to practice?? I thought, “surely I just walk down the aisle and say ‘I do’?”.
But there’s a lot that goes into some ceremonies (particularly religious ones) so it’s a really good idea to have a run through. In ours, we actually had to respond with “I will”, not “I do” so I would have got that wrong for starters..!
It’s also good to find out in advance things like what to do with your bouquet, who’s going to pass you your vows and when, and where you have to go to sign the marriage certificate.
You’ll also probably be really surprised just how poignant the ceremony is. I’m not a teary, emotional person but I burst into (happy!) tears when we were practising our vows. I’m glad I didn’t do it in front of a church packed with every single person I know!
Oh and practice your walk down the aisle. I practically sprinted down the thing I was so nervous and excited. I was at the bottom before the song had really even begun. Take your time!
5. Have a back up copy
…Of everything! The music, the group shot list, the seating plan… you just never know. Give one of each to a responsible bridesmaid or groomsman.