Before you do anything else (well apart from tell your family and friends you got engaged) find your venue. You might have to change the date of your wedding to get the venue you want. This has to be the first step in your planning process!
When you pick your dress and go to order it they will ask you the date of the big day. This is the date they will generally use as when the dress needs to be delivered by… lie! The last thing you want is for it to come in 4 days before the wedding and need alterations or something. When they ask you the date just say, “I need the dress by [insert date]” I recommend around a month before. It is amazing how much more relaxed you will be if you know that dress is in your hands. I got my dress 3 weeks before and it did need alterations so I am SO glad I told them an earlier date!!!
Hair and Makeup
I had four Bridemaids; one had natural ringlets, one has very thin hair with extensions, one has hair that is dead flat and one has thick hair with a lot of body. This did not make for easy styling, to me it didn’t make sense to put the girls through hours of work to make their hair uniform so in the end I told one to bring out her ringlets how she normally would to go out, the one with extensions I told to blow out her hair straight, the one with flat hair I asked to blow up a bit to get a little more volume in and the one with a lot of body I GHD’d so it was all pretty. I then pulled and twisted a section of hair from one side of their hair back and secured it with a purple flower the same colour as their dresses. They looked amazing. I learned to pick things that suit the girls, not what you think should happen. It makes for happier Bridesmaids, seriously who wants to be uncomfortable for hours. 🙂
Wedding Party Gifts
Depending on your background you may have traditions around this. I did not have anything I was “supposed” to gift them with, also I had told my girls that I would cover any cost over $100. So what I did was purchase their matching jewellery and that along with the bouquet was my gift to them. I also put them in cocktail dresses that I would wear myself and black shoes so there was more chance they would get additional use out of them.
My wedding bouquets were high quality “real touch” flowers (also known as “fake” lol), one of my Bridesmaids is allergic to pollen and I didn’t want to inconvenience her for the day. It was so worth it the flowers I got were perfect and not prone to wilting and they can be kept forever.
You always have the best intentions for thank yous after the event, but you also forget that once you come back from honeymoon your crazy life takes up again and you have very little time because you are catching up on everything you put aside to organise the BIG day. A great way to do thank yous is to get a picture from the BIG day of you and your partner (If you manage to get someone to take one of you cheers-ing the camera all the better) then add the words “Thank you for sharing our special day with us” (or something like it) with a simple editing program then print them all off.
Bonus tip – when you have the envelopes printed for the invites get them to print double of the ones you are almost positive will come, then come time to post thank yous you will only have to get printed the couple of extras. OR you could get them to print double of all the envelopes and for those who could not make it send them the same photo with the words, “Wish you were here”. 🙂
On the day
On the day you will have very little time to think, re-think or organise anything. BELIEVE me! I have been involved in the wedding party of a number of weddings as well as my own and I learned from my experiences.
Your bridal party and helpers need to eat (so many people forget this!). I tasked my Dad with going and grabbing some rolls, BBQ chickens and pre-made salads for our lunch. I didn’t actually get to eat it as I was in hair and make-up at the time, but my girls were very grateful.
Bridesmaids – Have a back-up plan, one of my girls almost didn’t make it due to plane issues and then flooding between the airport and my house. In my mind I had the plan of putting my sister in law in my maid of honours dress and telling my maid of honour to run home and grab the dress she had worn as Bridesmaid for another wedding a couple of months earlier. Better safe than sorry. 🙂
– One of my Bridesmaids had recently had a baby, on the day we couldn’t get her into her Bridesmaid dress. We were freaking out until she had a lightbulb moment, it had been a few hours since she fed the baby so she expressed milk and then the dress fit perfectly. You have to prepare for anything hahaha.
Don’t stress – things will never be absolutely perfect, things will happen, don’t stress that is someone else’s job. As long as both of you and the celebrant/priest etc. turn up it will be perfect for you because you will get to marry the person of your dreams.
Take a moment
For me it was when my girls were all in the room chattering away and it got a bit too much for me. I walked into the kitchen/dining room to see my Dad madly trying to soothe my 6 month old nephew who had been screaming for an hour (his parents had gone to get haircuts/hair done). I took him and went to a quiet room and sang him to sleep, it only took 10 minutes and everyone kept saying, “you don’t have to do that”, “you should be getting ready”, but I ignored them and that time was awesome and peaceful and mine.
– The whole day will pretty much pass in a blur, you will not get to talk to everyone you want to and the night will be over before you know it. So make sure during the day you take time to just stop (even for 30 seconds) and really be in the moment.