I am a newlywed, and I am relieved that the wedding planning is over and that I get to spend the rest of the summer relaxing with my new husband! For anyone who is planning a wedding, here are some words of wisdom.
Everyone has an opinion, but you don't have to listen to anyone. Lots of people told us not to go to Greece for our honeymoon because they thought it would be dangerous. It was totally safe, and some things were less expensive because fewer people are traveling there. We also felt like we got excellent service at every hotel and restaurant because Greek tourism as declined.
Having a photographer that you like as a person makes everything so much more fun! Your wedding photographer will be by your side most of your wedding day, so make sure you like them! I totally lucked out with the lovely Meredith Perdue!
Be smart about tanning leading up to your wedding. You don't want tan lines! I wore strapless dresses leading up to the wedding date to avoid any tan line issues. Also, don't be that bride that gets a spray tan and is 10 shades darker than anyone else at the wedding. A former co-worker of time got spray tanned before her September wedding in Chicago and it looked ridiculous since she was the only one with a tan.
Bring appropriate footwear on your honeymoon. I brought heels but not sneakers. The roads in Greece are not high heel friendly, and there were lots of hiking opportunities so I ended up buying sneakers in Greece.
Have a pair of flats at your wedding. I was very glad that I did this!
If you are planning a summer wedding, or a wedding somewhere warm, consider a second dress for dancing. What people do not realize is that there is a lot of fabric in a wedding dress and you get really hot wearing one! I was so glad that I had a short dress to change into!
Some people are difficult. Before you bend over backwards to
accommodate the most difficult guests - think twice. In my case, my
most difficult guests said they were coming - but were no shows. Some
people are just going to be difficult, my advice would be to stand your
ground whatever their issue is, and don't waste your time trying to
accommodate them, instead weed them out, if they are difficult from the get go - they will be
difficult until the end.
If you aren't doing photos until after the ceremony, have a cocktail hour and a half instead of a cocktail hour. Our photos took about 45 minutes or so. When we got to the cocktail hour and a half we were able to say hi to almost every guest. It was a huge relief to have 90% of the hellos out of the way before dinner. After dinner we said hi to the few people we had missed and then we just got to have fun!
Have someone with experience help to bustle your dress. Five of my girl friends were involved in trying to bustle my dress - I can't wait to see photos of this because I am sure they are hilarious. My girl friends said that dress bustling should be a Girl Scout Badge - they are absolutely right. Also - before you put your dress on, explain how your dress bustles to your bridesmaids. It is easier to show them when you aren't wearing the dress.
Get a joint bank account before the wedding. Cashing checks written to Mr. and Mrs. can be a huge hassle. It is easier if you have a joint bank account because they aren't as strict about your last name on the check matching the last name on the account. Changing your name takes a little while - and you are probably going to want to cash checks right away. Fortunately my bank let me deposit the checks to Mr. and Mrs. - but it did require bringing my husband and our marriage certificate with me to the bank. Note to wedding guests: always write the check to the groom - the couple will have no problems cashing the check if you do this!
Gather the documents you will need to change your name before the wedding. Make sure you have your birth certificate, driver's license, passport, and social security card!
Make sure your birth certificate is accurate. It sounds silly, but my mother's maiden name was spelled wrong. Make sure your marriage license is correct as soon as you receive it, filling out the form correctly does not necessarily translate to a marriage license with accurate information. They also spelled my mother's maiden name wrong. It is super annoying requested corrected vital records, but probably best that we found the mistakes and can correct them before we file the immigration paperwork for my husband.
Some people have asked me if I would do anything differently. The one thing I would do differently is that I would have given myself another hour to get ready. By the time I was ready, it was time to walk out the door for the ceremony. I wish I had a little more time to let everything sink in before I walked down the aisle.