May 27, 2013

Throwing a Wedding: The Dos and Don’ts

I’m Jessica and I’m a money expert, speaker, Accredited Financial Counsellor Canada®, host of the More Money Podcast, and am currently writing my first book with HarperCollins Canada (2025).
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All in all, my wedding went off without a hitch. It’s crazy for me to even write that because weddings never happen like that. I was preparing myself for something to go wrong as I’d seen on too many wedding reality shows, but nothing ever did. Well, nothing major anyway (which I get to in more detail below).

Savour Every Moment Because It’ll Go By in a Flash

Just like we’d planned, my husband and his groomsmen set up our DIY photobooth and decorations at the reception hall before heading back to his parent’s house to get ready. At the same time, my bridesmaids and I were at my parents’ house popping champagne, getting our hair and makeup done, and trying not to freak out (okay fine, I was the only one trying not to freak out). The cake, flowers, and chair rentals all arrived on time and just as we ordered them. The limo came on time to pick us all up to take us to the church, and before I knew it, the priest was saying “And you are now husband and wife.”

When people tell you your wedding will go by in a flash, they’re not lying. It was as if I blinked at it all over. This is insane because that one day took a whole year to plan! Whatever you do, try your hardest to savour every moment, because I guarantee you it’ll go by faster than you’d like.

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Take a Day or Two Off Before Your Big Day

Now, even though everything went according to plan, there were a few hiccups along the way that were completely beyond my control.

I didn’t think to take a few days off before my wedding because I didn’t think it was necessary, to be honest. Everything was organized to a T, I didn’t think there’d be a point in using up some of my vacation days to chill out before my big day.

Big mistake.

What I didn’t plan for was feeling intense nausea a few days before my wedding. I guess it was wedding nerves, but it made it almost impossible to focus at work. Apparently, this is normal (or that’s what a bunch of other brides said on the wedding forums), but it was not pleasant, to say the least. I had to force myself to calm down and eat for fear of losing any weight and not fitting into my wedding gown.

Pack an Emergency Bridal Kit

Looking back, I can’t believe I didn’t think to pack a bridal emergency kit! It would have taken me only a few minutes to put together and less than $20 to make.

What a bridal emergency kit should include is any extra makeup for touch-ups, blotting sheets, Advil, water, and a fan to cool you down.

A water bottle is probably the most important element too. After the ceremony, when we were taking family photos I almost died! It was hotter than I expected out, my feet were killing me in my sky-high heels, and my dress was starting to suffocate me. The combination of three of these things led me to almost faint right in front of all of my guests. Not a story I would have liked to recall for years after my wedding, let me tell you!

Luckily, my photographer had a bottle of water on-hand which she gave to me, and thankfully I was able to loosen the back of my dress so I could breathe better.

That was my one diva moment on my wedding day, but I honestly can’t believe I almost fainted right after getting married! So bring a bottle of water, even if you don’t think you’ll need it!

Bring Flats or Wedges to Switch into

Once I felt better, I kicked off my heels and wore the emergency flats I brought for the rest of the day. I brought them more to dance in later in the evening, but I just couldn’t bear to take one more step in my heels.

The only downside of wearing flats instead of heels is I look way shorter than I should in our wedding photos. What I wish I would have done was bring some comfortable wedges to slip into for photos, then have the flats to wear during the reception. Lesson learned!

Get a Second, More Comfortable Dress to Dance in

Another thing I’m so glad I brought with me was a second dress for the reception. It was a looser, shorter dress that was way more comfortable to wear than my big poofy ball gown, and I think I would have been so uncomfortable the whole night if I didn’t have that to change into.

And just an FYI, you don’t need to spend that much money on a second dress. I bought mine for $150 at EverNew and it was totally fine. Just make sure you don’t change into it until all the important photos have been taken.

Don’t Overdo it on the Booze

I tried my best not to overdo it on the booze because it was definitely flowing at our reception. But after the speeches and dinner were done, I wanted to loosen up a bit — and apparently, I decided that doing shots at the bar was a good idea.

It wasn’t. I had one too many, and probably didn’t eat as much as I should have, and woke up the next day with a pounding headache. Not the more romantic way to start your new married life. So take it from me, don’t do shots at your wedding. Just don’t.

Don’t Forget to Eat a Slice of Your Wedding Cake

Another regret was not taking some extra time to sit back and eat a piece of my wedding cake. After my husband and I cut the cake for photos, we went off to talk to some of our guests, and when we returned it was all gone! We didn’t even think to save the top tier for yourselves. At least we know our guests enjoyed it.

Don’t Stress, Ask for Help and Have Fun!

Besides those little tidbits of advice, from one bride to another, the single best piece of advice I can give you is to just let everything go on the day of. Enjoy every second of your day and don’t freak out if everything doesn’t go exactly how you planned it. Just roll with it, and don’t be afraid to ask for help when you really need it.

At the end of the day, the getting married part is the most important thing you need to accomplish that day. Everything else is just icing on the cake.

What dos and don’ts of throwing a wedding would you suggest to any future brides and grooms?

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  1. The Norwegian Girl says:

    Yikes, I can imagine waking up with hangover wasn´t much fun… bringing flats is a great idea! And of course the water!! I´ll definitely bring these tips of do´s and dont´s forward to my friend who´s getting married in a month!

  2. Mrs PoP @ PlantingOurPennies says:

    My BF assembled little “emergency Bridesmaid kits” that were meant to be funny, but actually ended up coming in handy a couple of times. Mints, safety pins, flip flogs, bandaids, water, some sugar candies. We ended up using a lot of them for various people throughout the day!

  3. Jordann says:

    Those sounds like excellent do’s and don’ts! I’m going to message my sister and put her in charge of packing me a bridal first aide kit right now!

  4. Emily @ evolvingPF says:

    These are great suggestions! I’m glad you had a hitch-less wedding. We didn’t have most of those “don’ts” (I wore comfortable shoes from the get-go, which was clutch) but we had a few others. The big one was: Don’t assume everything will run on schedule – leave buffer time! We were about 45 minutes late to our reception due to us not accounting for the time needed to pack up our personal items at the church and the TORRENTIAL rainstorm that fell while we were driving over.

    We also moved me into my husband’s apartment the day after our wedding (we had intended to start a few day before but that didn’t work out) and had to leave for our honeymoon the following morning (our first international flight ever), which in addition to getting married, throwing the biggest party of our life with no prior experience, and having sex for the first time made it a pretty big, crazy, emotional weekend! I wouldn’t recommend cramming all those major events together in less than 48 hours, but I also didn’t see a way around it for us.

  5. eemusings (NZMuse) says:

    Kits are a great idea!

    We didn’t set an alarm and because our hotel had the thickest curtains ever, slept way late. Ended up missing the free breakfast cutoff and had to pay for half our own brunch (the equivalent restaurant credit was puny) but they did give us free parking.

  6. Tonya says:

    glad you didn’t pass out but sad you didn’t get to enjoy your wedding cake. 🙁 Glad the rest of the day seemed to go off without a hitch!

  7. Michelle says:

    My friend also had a kit set up for herself and a box for the bridesmaids. She wore her dress the entire night which I think is typical for England. U.S. brides tend to change out of their dresses too (good move!) Sounds like you did a great job planning!

  8. Dear Debt says:

    Congrats on getting hitched! The drinking is a sticky situation….you want to celebrate and have fun, but yes starting married life hungover is no fun! Cheers to you and your husband!

  9. OutlierModel says:

    I like the idea of the bride emergency kit! I hate getting splotchy and water is definitely a must-have in stressful situations. Same with flats. I always regret not having flats with me after a night out.

  10. Cait Flanders says:

    Those shoes… damn!

    I’ll have to keep the emergency kit in mind, when I’m a bridesmaid this summer. Now stop stressing about your move and know it’s all going to workout… 🙂

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