How to make your wedding day run smooth

I can't say this is a 100% complete list because every wedding is different, but these are some tips to at least get you on the road to success.

There's a lot to do!

Step 1: Hire your vendors. This is a HUGE job, there's so much to choose from out there, it's just crazy. So don't underestimate this task! You also have to coordinate them all together to fit with your timeline. Consider hiring a planner for more ease and for vendor recommendations.

Step 2: Plan enough time to get ready. For the bride with hair and makeup, that's normally around 2 hours. Keep in mind also, that's 2 hours that the bride cannot spend helping out getting other things ready! Make sure to delegate tasks appropriately, and if you're a nice bride who doesn't want to put her family and friends to work, hire that planner. Your life will be so much easier, trust me.

Step 3: Prepare all your details for photographers/videographers arrival. That means:
        - Rings
        - Stationary (Invitations/announcements/menu cards, etc)
        - Shoes
        - Florals
        - Jewellery
        - Perfume/cologne
        - Bowtie
        - Suspenders
        - Anything else special

Step 4: Make the decision to have the whole wedding in one place. Yep, that makes everything so much easier, you have no idea. And people can just relax and don't have to worry about transportation as much. You will thank me for this one later.

Step 5: If you're doing it, consider how and where you want your first look at each other to be. Do you want anyone present, or will this be a private moment? Will it be indoors or outdoors?

Step 6: Plan family photos ahead. Make list of which combinations of who you want. Mother + bride, mother + bride + father, bride + father, etc. It can be very hard for your photographer to keep track of every family photo they've taken so it's important to have that list ready for the day, particularly if there are certain people you don't want to miss.

Step 7: Hire experienced vendors, not someone who is doing it for cheap because they've never done this before. Though I am all for hiring those people, especially having been there myself, if you want a smooth day I don't recommend it. If you want to support the newbies then you might expect a bump or two here and there. It's normal, they're learning!

Wedding at a château in France

Step 8: Have a good chat with your photographer and planner how they can blend your ideas with theirs on how the day should go. Those two people know how the full days go better than anyone else, and know what to expect when. It is especially good to get the right times for family and couples photos in.

Step 9: Expanding on the last note: make sure there will be time during sunset for photos! Sunset time during anytime of the year is usually terrible timing for photos. It's right in the middle of dinner, dessert, or dancing. Just the worst. So plan with your photographer when this will happen to make sure that both you and your planner know when to schedule around it. These will be the best photos of the whole day, so don't skip this one!

Step 10: Have a designated organization person who knows your family and friends. This person should have a loud voice and not be afraid to tell people to A) get out of the way or B) get in the way because they are supposed to be in the photos.

Step 11: Just relax and have fun. Whatever happens, happens. Don't let it affect your mood. Weddings are usually late, and usually don't go exactly to plan, so just embrace the day.

Civil ceremony in Gent, Belgium

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