As wedding planners we know just how stressful a long wedding day can be. From talking a mother-in-law off the ledge at the last minute to covering up a cake mishap with a butter knife, wedding days are full of the unexpected and overwhelming. And, even with a seasoned wedding planner by your side, the stress of it all can be enough to send even the most prepared couples into a tailspin. Today, then, we’re breaking down 8 pro tips for surviving a long wedding day with your sanity still intact.
1. Be well rested.
This one is a no-brainer. Do your best to get a good night's sleep the evening before your wedding. Limiting screen time before bed does wonders for falling asleep fast. Rather than watching television to fall asleep, try reading a good book—it’s easier on your eyes and will lull you to sleep faster than anything on a screen can. Limit caffeine and sugar for at least three hours prior to bedtime, and invest in some natural sleep aids (like sleepy-time teas and essential oils) to help ensure you’re getting those well-deserved zzz’s in before the big day. And, as much you want to imbibe at your rehearsal dinner, we recommend skipping it if you can. The human body processes alcohol just like it does sugar, so you're likely to wake up in the middle of the night (or start to toss and turn) as your body converts all of that booze into sleep-stealing sugar.
2. Get healthy.
When you're focused on planning a wedding, it can be easy to put your health on the back burner. We recommend doing your best to stay healthy in the week leading up to your wedding. This isn't about calorie-burning or looking a certain way in your dress or suit—instead, it's about prepping your body to survive a long night of celebration without crashing early. Pencil in whatever it is you prefer as a release—a long walk or run, a yin yoga class, pilates, a hike with your significant other, etc. in the days leading up to your wedding. And, if you're feeling extra ambitious and have the time, a quick workout session the night before or morning of can also be a great way to set the stage for a long wedding night.
3. Use technology to minimize extra work.
Using cloud-based wedding planning tools like Aisle Planner ensures everyone involved in the planning process has access to everything they need from all of their devices. This helps alleviate any stress about forgotten seating charts or guest lists. Plus, it eliminates the need to run a timeline across a five-acre venue at the last minute.
4. Don’t underestimate the power of comfortable shoes.
Listen, we get it: beauty is pain. We totally understand the desire to choose fashion over function, but be smart about the footwear you choose for your big day. If you're walking down the aisle in uncomfortable heels, consider changing into a pair of comfortable flats or wedges for cocktail hour and the reception. We also recommend in investing in some good sole inserts for you and your boo—they’ll help ensure the two of you can dance the night away, sans foot pain.
5. Stay hydrated.
This is one that most couples forget about—yet allowing yourself to get dehydrated is one of the quickest ways to guarantee your energy tanks. Challenge yourself to drink at least three glasses of water while you're getting ready. Then, as your cocktail-ing it up throughout the night, appoint a bridesmaid or groomsmen to make sure you and your spouse drink one bottle of water for every two cocktails or so. This will help ensure you stay hydrated and energized throughout the night (and will help alleviate the promised pain of a hangover).
6. Eat a good breakfast.
We all know how crazy it can be to find the time to eat on wedding days, so be sure to schedule in time to eat a hearty breakfast before you get ready. You want natural sugars of fruit for a quick energy boost and complex carbs for extended energy throughout the day—so something like hearty oatmeal with lots of berries is a great choice. Your planner might also have some high-energy snacks in her emergency bag—don't hesitate to ask for one before you walk down the aisle or during your wedding-party photos.
7. Hire a pro to manage logistics.
Nothing replaces the power of someone who can manage your venue staff, wedding vendors, caterers, and unruly wedding party all at once. As much as you may be tempted to do it all when it comes to your wedding, we always recommend hiring at least a month-of coordinator (if not a full-service planner and designer). She'll ensure your vendors are where they're supposed to be (and are on time!), will help the venue staff with setup if need be, and will put out any last-minute fires that arise (like pinning on groomsmen boutonnieres or accounting for unexpected guests who forgot to RSVP). From straightening chairs and linens to running to grab extra ice for the bars at the last minute, there's no replacement for all of the behind-the-scenes work a great wedding planner does. Plus, having an A-Team on your side means you don't have to show up early for setup or stay late for teardown (psst...read more about the woes of wedding setup and teardown here). If your goal is to relax and celebrate—rather than worry and work—hiring a pro to manage the details of your big day is an absolute must.
8. Treat yourself to anti-stress remedies.
Gear up for a long wedding day by treating yourself to some anti-stress remedies in the days leading up to your affair. Everything from essential oils to a nice massage to good ol' fashioned stress balls will do the trick. Choose whatever it is that helps you calm down, and use it as a tool to consciously unwind before your big day.
Photo courtesy Meredith Ryncarz Photography