If you’re reading this, then you’re most likely approaching or just entering the ONE MONTH COUNTDOWN ‘TIL THE WEDDING! Congrats on making it this far, but also wishing you Godspeed as you embark on these next chaotic 30 days ahead. It’s funny how like pregnancy expectations, the ugly truth about this moment in the wedding planning experience isn’t disclosed nor shared as honestly as it appears in its true nature. I’ll be the first to tell you that it’s STRESSFUL AF and it won’t be because you’re unprepared. Believe me, all the big decision making will be far behind you at this point (I hope for you at least.) Instead, it’s all the little details that feed into that overall expectation you not only have for yourself but also for every single person you’ve invited to this momentous event. Feeling overwhelmed is about to be your new normal, but just remember it’s ok to be in this glass case of emotion. It’s only temporary and everything causing you to lose sleep and turning strands of your hair grey will be worth enduring once the Rehearsal Dinner night comes around.
Sorry for being brutally blunt ^^ but as someone who’s been going through it currently, it’s only fair I say it as it is/has been for myself. But that’s why I’m writing this post for your benefit. I’m sharing all the ways you can manage your stress levels in these next 30 days (to the best of your ability) as well as tips on how to feel the most prepared you can possibly be (within your personal power.) Everything disclosed below has helped me & Thomas A LOT during this exciting, chaotic time in our lives; and I truly hope it’ll do the same or give you peace of mind as you embark on this journey yourself.
DO’S & DON’TS – FOR THE BRIDE
Don’t try new things this month/weeks/days before wedding day
This should be obvious to most, but sometimes that Groupon for half off Botox alerts you a week or two before the big day and you feel like it’s a “sign” to go for it. DON’T! Especially if it’s something invasive-enough like this or can superficially react negatively with your appearance. Even the best makeup artists can’t successfully cover a rogue chemical peel on your face from that facial treatment you last minute booked a few days before the wedding. Overall, just avoid doing or trying anything new this month leading up to it. It’s not worth it, no matter how deep those lines are looking in the mirror. That’s what Photoshop touch ups are for!
Do try on your planned Bridal Outfits in full
By “in full” I mean try on your intended looks for the Rehearsal Dinner, After Party, & Brunch as you would wear them the day of. I’m talking hair/makeup done, the shoes you’ll wear with each, bridal jewelry, any accessories & handbags to pair, even the Spanx you may or may not sport underneath – TRY ON ALL OF IT. There’s nothing that will stress you out more than improvising last minute and hoping it all works to meet your envisioned expectation(s). What I recommend doing is taking a mirror photo of each look to jog your memory when packing up your outfits in preparation for the big day. To keep everything clean & easily transportable, place all these looks into a durable garment bag that will travel with you to your venue/bridal suite. I’ve also gotten myself these custom hangers to help organize what each outfit will be worn for, so my Wedding Planner or one of my Bridesmaids can easily find/steam/prepare for me if necessary. I purposely ordered 4 of them for each of my outfits, including my wedding dress, that read “Rehearsal – Wedding – After Party – Brunch” – opting to avoid having any customization added (i.e. my new last name or the wedding date) so I may be able to pass them down to my sister or sisters-in-law / can sell them to someone in the future.
In case you’re still looking for related outfit inspo, I’ve shared several wedding weekend options for the bride-to-be in this post
Don’t waste energy on the things you can’t control
No matter how much you pray to the Lord above, there’s absolutely no way you can control what the weather will be like leading up to your big day. We all know predicted forecasts are as wishy-washy as they come, so losing sleep over a 25-50% chance of rain is just not worth it. Easier said than done but really try not to let it bother you. Remember that your hired photographer is not only a professional at his/her craft, but is also someone who has seen & dealt with all sorts of insanity, especially when it comes to weather. Maybe if the forecast calls for a borderline hurricane/snowstorm level of a prediction for your wedding day, discuss with your photographer about backup, indoor places to capture those family formals & bridal party photographs that will be better suited than your previous (outdoor) location.
The same goes for people’s expectations leading up to the day/on the day of the wedding. You can’t and won’t please everyone, no matter how much you want to. The best you can do is ensure all guests have the information they need available on your wedding website. Because ultimately, it’s on them if they fail to refer to it for information about the ceremony start time or the address of the reception venue. Remember – you can lead a horse to water but you can’t force it to drink. Same goes for those lazy/ignorant guests that have the nerve to text you the week or day of your wedding about information they can easily find the answer to themselves… that being said, plan to not look at your phone at all on your wedding day. You’ll thank me later I bet.
Do make sure your bridal party is aligned with the Schedule of Events
From Rehearsal to the Morning Of, ensure your entire bridal party knows what time everything begins/ends as well as what to wear & how they’re getting from Points A-B-C throughout the day(s). Remember that they have a unique schedule that caters around practicing for the ceremony & getting hair/makeup done for pictures, and it’s your job as the bride to disclose all those details well in advance so all can prepare & know what to expect. Even if you’ve already done this to a degree, send one more final email one week before the wedding day with each event broken down from times to details so it’s in one place for everyone to access & view it easily.
HELPFUL TIPS – FOR THE GROOM
I asked Thomas what tips he has for fellow Grooms-To-Be, which are few and far between (how lucky of him..) But these are probably the two most important things for a guy in his position to keep in mind during this time.
Make sure the tux/suit fits comfortably & is dry cleaned
Apparently a lot of guys “wing it” when it comes to this – if you’re the groom, PLEASE don’t hope for the best and make sure the pants are hanging under the jacket. You know what happens when you “assume…”
Prepare to be a sounding board for a very stressed bride-to-be
Thomas will be the first to tell anyone that your patience will be tested many times, and pillow talk/date night conversations will only be wedding-focused until the day arrives. Despite the inconvenience, tough it out and let your very stressed out partner vent as the emotions continue to overwhelm. As the groom, you’ll see a side of your partner you might not recognize, might be terrified of or even second guess if this is temporary or permanent behavior your witnessing. But don’t worry, most often it can be diffused quickly if you let them talk/scream/cry it out and be everything but dismissive, even if you’ve heard the same concerns 4 nights in a row. They’ll remember the emotional sacrifice that was made to make it to the altar, and all will be calm again once more.
PREPARATION STRATEGY – FOR THE COUPLE
Touch base with all vendors & have a final, detailed run-through discussing the Wedding Day plan with each
Make sure you discuss all the things necessary with each vendor and ensure all are aligned with the schedule of events planned for that day. If you have a Planner or Day Of Coordinator, then this person will be every vendor’s point-of-contact for all things from delivery times to location & set up, etc. etc. Our DOC put together a shareable google doc of our tentative schedule of events, broken down by the hour starting with hair/makeup to the final reception hours. We shared it with all of our vendors & hired stylists, even if the details weren’t pertinent to their responsibilities, so the majority are aligned with the plan for the bridal party in general. More information you can provide them all about the day, the better!
Discuss/share your expectations of the big day with each other
Will you be spending the night apart the day before? Do you plan to share personal notes for each other to read before the First Look/Ceremony? Is there someone in the family/attending the wedding that one of you would prefer to avoid spending time around? Are either of you worried about something that could easily be remedied if talked aloud about? etc.
If possible, try to carve out time to decompress a week or two before the wedding
We’re planning to spend 4 days in Florida the week before our wedding to get some Vitamin D and enjoy a brief get away from the business that we’ll be returning to. But I can assure all will be more doable in our minds after some much needed R&R. We want to go into our wedding week feeling as calm and tranquil as possible, which for us means going to Florida. Even if you can’t take a true trip away, try to plan an overnight staycation someplace within driving distance or book a spa day for the both of you to enjoy together. By the time you’re at this point in the process, all the big stuff will be done and it also allows for any of the finer details to be put into place prior to your getaway. This is also why you have your chosen Bridesmaids/Groomsmen – they can help you with the things you’re not physically present for but don’t necessarily have to be during that time away.
Lastly, make sure the wedding rings fit!
Could you imagine how embarrassing it would be if the ring(s) didn’t make it past the knuckle!? Luckily many couples have a few weeks to try on their bands and confirm a secure fit prior to exchanging them at the ceremony. If you planned to be surprised with your wedding band, you might want to reconsider for the sake of its wearability the day of. Just because you got it in the same size band as your engagement ring doesn’t mean it’ll fit exactly the same. Better to be safe than sorry when it comes to this tangible symbol of marriage.