Here are 10 things I learned—not necessarily directly—from planning my own wedding that don’t seem to get addressed much in the bridezillasphere.
- If you really want cash, don’t register for gifts. Enlist your parents and siblings to help spread the word in a low-key way.
Don’t spend more than you can afford; do spend on things you really, really want.
- You really, really want an open bar.
- If you’re not buying the bridesmaid dresses, let your attendants pick their own. Children in matching dresses are adorable. Adult women in matching dresses are uncomfortable and resentful. Think of it as your opportunity to be the most awesome friend in the world.
You know better than to get trashed the night before your wedding, right?
- Conversely, a shot of vodka has helped many a bride down the aisle. But just one, and not on an empty stomach.
Try to look like yourself on your wedding day. Lose weight and get in shape if you want to, but don’t hit the tanning booth, or do anything drastic with your hair or makeup.
- Exception: If you never wear makeup, do this: Get your eyebrows professionally waxed. Wear powder (the color should match the inside of your wrist), two coats of brown-black mascara on both upper and lower lashes, and a slightly shimmery lip gloss. You’ll look totally natural in your photos.
- Three things you need: Spanx, Band-Aid blister bandages, and, if you’re going to be outdoors, Neutrogena Ultra Sheer sunscreen. (I was not paid to recommend these products; go for the generic versions if you like.)
- The afternoon party is underrated. We had a lovely champagne brunch reception and then had an after-party at a bar with our friends. It was about the same price as an evening party at a hotel, and it was probably more fun.
If you’re using a DJ, make your own playlist for the reception.
- Unless you really, really, really love “Twist and Shout.”
- Odds are you will be drunk, exhausted, and starving on your wedding night. It probably won’t be the best sex of your life. Just relax, enjoy each other, and save the bells and whistles for the honeymoon.
Use your RSVP list to keep track of gifts. That way you can mention in your thank-you notes—which you will write, by hand—how happy you were to see them/how much you missed them but look forward to seeing them soon.
- Thank them for the gift AFTER thanking them for coming. So many weddings are soaked in rank materialism, it’s nice to lead with what really counts.
- Get small thank-you cards so a two-sentence note won’t look stingy.
That’s about it. Now go get married.