1. Create a dedicated "wedding" email address
Vendor emails can get mixed in with personal emails, so separate them from the beginning. A "wedding" email can also be great if you are planning on having a email RSVP or wedding website.
2. Use online guest list managers
Martha Stewart Weddings and The Knot and are great resources for wedding vendors. Also, use The Knot guest list manager. I gave my login into to my parents and in-laws-to-be so everyone could enter the guest information for their side.
3. Hire a wedding Coordinator
A wedding coordinator will save you money, as well as your sanity. Choose one with good reviews on the wedding websites. I found my coordinator, Chic Ambiance Events, on Wedding Wire via Martha Stewart Weddings. Her reviews said it all. My pom and fan "chandelier" sounded like a great idea, until I realized I didn't have anyone to prepare and hang them. These kinds of details are what makes wedding coordinator worth their weight in gold. She also had great money saving ideas and vendor recommendations. Wedding coordinator packages usually have options from "Full Planning" to "Day of" services.
4. Use all-encompassing gift registries
Amazon offers gift registry…. you can register for almost anything! This opens up all kinds of possibilities and doesn't narrow you to just a few stores. This might seem standard now, but it wasn't available a few years ago when we got hitched, so keep your ear to the ground for new registry ideas. Pinterest is also an interesting way to go for registry.
5. Simplify RSVPs and Thank You's
Put a small box by your door to collect RSVPs, as well as a list to track gifts that come in. Add RSVPs to the "master list" when you get time. Be sure to sign up for the "Thank You" tracker in your registry.
6. Choose a color palate, then be flexible
Don't stress too much about matching decor to your colors perfectly. A little variation from "goldenrod yellow" to "sunset yellow" will be refreshing and make your wedding more textured and nuanced. Plus, only you will notice that the ribbons aren't the same Pantone color as the invites.
7. Do a "Dress" rehearsal
Try on your jewelry with your dress, as well as how you will wear your hair, to see if anything pulls or catches. I didn't realize my low up-do would catch on my grandmother's necklace until I was walking down the isle. Bracelets are also likely to catch on beading and fine tulle.
8. Make time to visit with guests
If it's important to you, tell your DJ not to start the "dancing" part of the evening until you have gone around to all of the tables. This does not go without saying, they will stick to the schedule so make sure your wishes are known. But keep in mind, you don't want to put off the dancing too long.
9. Refresh the boutonniere
If your florist gives you any back-up boutonnieres and you don't end up needing them, swap out the groom's boutonniere for the pictures or at the reception. With all the hugs he'll be getting, it will get smushed!
10. Plan for your mail
Put a hold on your mail and arrange for someone to receive your packages while you are on the honeymoon. Otherwise, your front door might end up looking like this. (We did ask our neighbors to take in any packages from outside, but they didn't notice the boxes delivered to our apartment door.)
11. Have stamps, will travel
If you are going on a domestic honeymoon, bring the post card stamps from the Save the Dates/ RSVP cards on the honeymoon. You might want to send postcards to your parents and wedding party. I'm still using up those $0.32 cent stamps!
12. Review vendors and get free stuff!
After your wedding, if you review 6 vendors on WeddingWire, you will receive a coupon for free gift! We got a free Lulu photobook, a great mini-wedding photo album for parents.
And to make it a baker's dozen... a small piece of advice is to be prepared to be overwhelmed. Everyone you know and love has come to support you and your new spouse. I wish I knew how emotional it would be to see everyone in one place. I really wasn't prepared for that part :)
Hope this is helpful! Do other former brides have any sage advice to impart?
Geosans Light by Manfred Klein
CAC Champagne by American Greetings Corporation
photography by Jenny Liu Photography