Wedding

Wedding Kiss

Alternatives to the Kissing Custom

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If you’ve been to a wedding reception before, odds are you’ve encountered a most annoying tradition during the dinner. You may even have helped perpetuate the tradition, unaware of how tedious it is for the bride and groom. Now that it’s your turn to be married, it’s a tradition you will want to avoid at all costs. We’re talking, of course, about the glass clinking for a kiss. Sure, it starts out innocuously enough. Someone clinks their silverware against a glass and the wedding couple smooches. But soon people are clinking every three minutes, the noise is deafening, and the wedding couple can’t enjoy their dinner. Don’t let this happen to you. Tell your guests before the meal starts that there will be no clinking. If they want to compel you to kiss, your guests will have to:

Sing a Romantic Song

If they’re going to interrupt your dinner, you should get something out of it as well. Have your guests serenade you with at least one verse of their favorite romantic song. Some guests will be too shy to come sing, which will save you a few interruptions, and those who do will be either charming or hilariously awful. It’s pretty much a win-win.

Provide Advice to the Couple

A line of people getting up one after the other to give you a bit of advice on your new marriage is infinitely preferable to the sound of silverware on glass. You might actually learn a thing or two that will help in your married life together, and if not you’re sure to have a few comedians in the crowd whose advice will entertain everyone. You could even have your maid of honor write down the best bits of advice, so you can put them in your wedding album.

Share a Romantic Story

Weddings are celebrations of love, so it makes sense to have your guests tell a romantic story to ‘earn’ their wedding couple kiss. Partners can tell how they met or a memorable date with their significant other. Or you could flip it around and have your guests tell the crowd a memory they have of you as a couple, the more potentially embarrassing, the better.

Kiss Their Partner First

Here’s another good way to reduce the number of times your meal is interrupted, while still keeping the celebration of love going. In order to get the wedding couple to kiss, guests must bring their significant other up in front of everyone and smooch while you applaud. It gives them a taste of their own medicine, in a fun and playful way.

Answer a Question About the Bride and Groom

Here’s a way to turn the kissing ‘game’ into an actual fun game for everyone involved. Have your maid of honor or best man prepare a list of trivia questions about you and your partner. To make you kiss, the guest must answer the question correctly. If they answer right, everyone learns something about the wedding couple and you smooch. If they answer wrong, there will be no smooching and they’ll have to sit back down. Bonus points for having a buzzer for wrong answers.

We all know the glass-clinking custom is annoying. But don’t eliminate it; make it better. Any of the above options will be more fun for you and your guests.

Wedding Budget

Common Wedding Budget Challenges

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There is no question that weddings can be expensive and that most of us have to plan one within a budget. Certain parts of the wedding planning will be more challenging to fit into your budget than others.

The first thing many couples struggle with is exactly who to invite to their wedding. This is a crucial aspect of your planning because you will need to choose a venue that can hold the number of people you expect to invite. Since for most couples, the wedding venue is the most expensive part, these two considerations go hand in hand.

To make it easier to fit your venue into your wedding budget it helps to be flexible when it comes to choosing one. This also goes hand in hand with the date you’d like to get married on. It can be a challenge to keep from blowing your budget if you have a desire to get married over a holiday weekend or you have your heart set on a Saturday wedding. To get around the high cost of any wedding venue, consider having the ceremony on a Friday afternoon/evening or anytime on a Sunday.

So many aspects come into the wedding planning process that it can be easy to spend the budget on the bigger aspects while forgetting about the smaller ones. This becomes challenging when you realize you have left a part of the planning process out of your budget.

While it is easy to think of purchasing wedding invitations you might get thrown for a loop when you realize how much money you’ll have to spend on postage to mail them all out. You may also not realize that it will cost you more for postage if your wedding invitations are square. One way around this is to hand deliver as many of your invitations as you can. If you do need to mail invitations stick to the standard stamps, as fancier stamps will cost you more and the truth is that your guests aren’t likely to take a second glance at the stamp on their invitation. In addition to mailing out the invitations you’ll also have to separately mail out the RSVP and save the date cards, as well as the thank you cards you’ll send after the wedding.

Speaking of, on your wedding day you’re going to need a lot of small items that you might not think of before you leave home. This usually leads to someone from the wedding running out and picking up last minute items, which can result in spending money you didn’t have budgeted to spend. The best way around this is to pack a bag of wedding day necessities at least one week before the big event.

These are some of the most common things we forget when planning the budget for a wedding. When you have an effective game plan you can avoid running into these hurtles at any point during the day of your wedding.

Arnold Palmer

Delicious Non-Alcoholic Summer Wedding Drinks

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So you’re planning your wedding reception, and for any of a number of very good possible reasons, you’ve decided to have a dry reception. It’s certainly an acceptable option for anyone with religious or lifestyle reasons to avoid alcohol. But it does make the reception planning a little more difficult. While there are plenty of articles about cash bar versus open bar, or wine and beer versus cocktails, there are very few resources for tasty non-alcoholic beverages. So we’re creating one right here, right now. Here are a few delicious non-alcoholic drinks that are cool and refreshing for your summer wedding reception.

Minty Arnold Palmer

The Arnold Palmer is the classic mock-tail, which mixes two simple ingredients–lemonade and iced tea–to come up with something that tastes like more than the sum of its parts. But you can take it to the next level by adding a dash of mint simple syrup and some mint sprigs to each glass. It makes the perfect summertime drink even more refreshing, especially when served ice cold.

Shirley Temple

For a 1920’s themed wedding, go for the classic non-alcoholic favorite of adorable curly-haired moppets everywhere. The recipe couldn’t be simpler–just mix a dash of grenadine (cherry-flavored syrup) with a tall glass of lemon-lime soda, and there you have it. The sugar kick will keep your guests dancing well into the evening, and the color will stain everyone’s teeth, making for hilarious pictures.

Moscow Donkey

The Moscow Mule is one of the most delicious summer cocktails known to man. It contains dark (non-alcoholic) ginger beer, lime juice, mint, vodka and plenty of ice, served in a copper cup for maximum chill. The thing is, the vodka doesn’t add any flavor to the drink, since vodka’s not the most flavorful thing out there. So just leave out the vodka and keep the other ingredients and you’ve got a delicious mock-tail.

Safe Sex on the Beach

It’s worth making this your signature cocktail just for the brilliant pun. It’s dead simple to make, too–just mix cranberry juice, grapefruit juice, and peach nectar in equal proportions and top with a maraschino cherry. It’s got a decadently tropical feel to it, almost cloyingly sweet, but still pleasant over ice.

Lemon Blueberry Colada

Not enough mock-tails have that great tiki-room coconut vibe to them, but this one seeks to address that void. To make it, combine 8 parts sparkling lemonade with 2 parts light coconut milk and one part grenadine. Add frozen blueberries as ice cubes and you’ve got a great refreshing drink for that mid-reception slowdown.

Cucumber Agua Fresca

This fun blended drink is about as refreshing as you can get without diving into a pool. Just peel and seed your cucumbers, then blend them with water, ice, sugar, lime juice, and a pinch or two of salt, all to taste. You’ll end up with a fresh-tasting, not overly-sweet slushy that kids and grownups alike can enjoy.

Just because you’re having a dry reception doesn’t mean you have to give up on a signature cocktail. Just make it one of these mock-tails and you’ll provide your guests with a cold, refreshing beverage that’s perfect on a hot summer day.

Wedding Tipping

A Guide to Wedding Tipping

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Wedding expenses really are the gift that keeps on giving. You may think you’re done after you’ve paid the florist, the caterers, the photographer, and everyone else for their services. But as with most jobs in the service industry, many of the people who work your wedding will be expecting a tip. The amounts vary, and there are some people you shouldn’t tip, and some you should tip more than others. It can be confusing to know what the etiquette is, but follow this guide and you won’t stiff or overpay anyone.

Don’t tip the owner

The main rule of thumb for not tipping is that the owner of a business does not receive a tip. They’re the direct recipient of every dime you pay in fees, so they don’t need a little extra on the top. That goes for photographers, hair stylists, even florists: if they own the business, you’re not expected to tip.

Photographers: $50-$100

As we mentioned up top, if you have one photographer and their name is on the van they pull up in, you don’t need to tip. But if you’ve hired a few photographers from a studio, it’s customary to tip each one $50-$100.

Hair stylist/makeup artist-20-25%

Unless the hair stylist and makeup artist is the owner of the beauty salon, tip as you would when you get your hair done normally, at 20-25%. If they come to the venue, set up, and do a fantastic job making you and your bridesmaids look fabulous, a little over 25% is perfectly appropriate.

Wedding planner–gift or up to $500

Some sources say not to tip the wedding planner, some say to get a small gift rather than cash, and some say you should tip cash up to $500. We think it comes down to the size of the wedding, your wedding budget, and how much your planner made your life easier. We do tend to come down on the side of a thoughtful gift rather than a cash tip, though.

Caterers – 15-20%

Just like dining out at a restaurant, it’s customary to tip your caterers 10-15%. Unlike a restaurant setting, you don’t need to tip individual wait staff.

Officiant – donation to church

If you’re having a church wedding, there’s a good chance the minister officiating will forgo a fee in exchange for a donation to the church. Most couples donate around $100–after all, it’s for a good cause.

Florist – 10-15% if you want to

Your florist is most likely not expecting a tip, but if the flowers were exceptional and they did great work staging the arrangements, you may want to add 10-15% as a sign of gratitude.

DJ/Band – 10-15% if you want to

Likewise, DJs and bands generally don’t expect to be tipped. You can add 10-15% for exceptional party-starting, or tip individual band members $15-$20 apiece if they had to schlepp their own equipment.

Set-up/tear-down people – $5-$10 apiece

Make sure that the people helping to set up chairs and to take down tables when the dancing starts get a little consideration for their labor. Slip each of them a $5 or $10 bill when you get the chance.

Wedding ceremony musicians – $10-15 apiece

In addition to their fee for playing, it’s customary to tip the musicians who play at your wedding up to $15 apiece for their time and as an appreciation of their art.

When you’re calculating your wedding budget, don’t forget to add in the tips to avoid sticker shock on the day. After all, the people who worked hard to make your wedding as beautiful as it can be deserve a little extra consideration for their labor.

Yellow School Bus

Unconventional Wedding Transportation

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When you and your partner leave the chapel on your wedding day, you could hop into the same faithful Honda Civic that got you to the ceremony. It might lack panache, sure, but transportation is transportation. Or you could upgrade to a limousine, but when you think about it, what’s a limousine but just a nicer version of that same old car? If you really want to leave the wedding and embark on your new life together in style, consider these unconventional modes of transportation

Canoe

Okay, so there’s one major requirement you’ll need if you plan on getting away by boat: water. If you’re getting married by a lake, pond, or slow river, a canoe is a nifty rustic option for your wedding getaway. The experience of paddling together to keep the boat pointed where you want it to go is a good way to start your life as a new couple. And accidentally capsizing the canoe and being able to continue without assigning blame and arguing is good practice, too.

Horseback

If you and your partner are experienced riders, why not ride into the sunset together after the ceremony? The bride on a white horse, the groom on a black horse–you’ll get some great pictures out of your nuptial ride. Just make sure both of you know how to ride so no one gets hurt–if you’ve never been on a horse in your life, you might want a safer option. Maybe a donkey; they’re more docile.

Tandem Bicycle

If you’re not into the unpredictable element of giant live animals at your wedding, you can do a different kind of ride into the sunset on a tandem bicycle. We recommend practice with this one too, though–they’re harder to ride than it looks. Still, if you can master it in time for the ceremony, it’ll be absolutely adorable. Just prepare for guests to sing “Daisy, daisy, tell me your answer, do” as you ride off.

Yellow School Bus

No one really wants to ride the school bus when they’re in school. Once you’ve been out of school for a while, nostalgia starts to set in. Take you and your wedding party back in time by renting a school bus to shuttle you from the ceremony to the reception. Spitballs and back-of-the-bus make out sessions are optional.

Hay ride

If you’re having a fall wedding or a rustic wedding, or both; then a hay ride is a no-brainer for transportation between the wedding and the reception. Then you can arrange for a ride with just you and your new partner, snuggling up in the hay with a blanket wrapped around you, looking up at the stars. Unless you have seasonal allergies, it’s pretty romantic.

Helicopter

Of course, if you have the means and the inclination to go large on your post-wedding transportation, you can go all out and rent a helicopter to deliver you to the start of your honeymoon. Just don’t take a helicopter to the ceremony itself–the prop wash will totally wreck the bride’s hair.

Name Change

Four Pieces of Wedding Advice to Ignore

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There’s something about a wedding that brings out people’s inner guidance counselor. The minute you announce you’re planning a wedding, you’re going to hear a lot more opinions than you’d rather have to consider. On this blog, we talk a lot about doing what you want for your wedding and not feeling beholden to tradition. The same goes for these bits of advice. If someone insists on any of these bits of “wisdom,” just smile graciously and nod, then ignore the advice completely.

“You have to take your husband’s name.”

You see, someone has to change their name when you get married, because married couples always have the same last name. So why would you keep the name of a man you didn’t choose instead of the one you chose yourself? If you don’t change your name, that means you’re not committed to the relationship. And think of the children!  But also,

“You have to keep your own name.”

Changing your name to your husband’s is a disgusting relic of the patriarchal past. It’s just erasing your identity and establishing yourself as your husband’s property. If he really loves you, he won’t want to subjugate you like that. You can’t be a feminist/modern woman/empowered individual if you take your husband’s name.

Let’s get one thing straight: regardless of the history of taking names or not taking names, this one comes down to a decision between you and your husband. It has nothing to do with feminism or property or who loves whom. We know several couples where the husband has taken the wife’s last name, and several who have created a new name for their new family. It’s your decision, and don’t let anyone tell you otherwise.

“You can’t wear a white dress unless you ‘deserve’ to.”

You’re bound to hear this from some of your older relatives, and we suggest you laugh it off. It’s bad enough to suddenly have Grandma and Aunt Gertie develop an interest in your sex life, without having them suggest that your wedding dress is subject to arcane purity rules. They’re just colors; wear that blindingly white dress if you’d like, or make it yellow or red or violet or whatever makes you happy.

“The father of the bride should pay for everything.”

It used to be that the bride’s parents picked up the whole tab for the wedding. But now that people are getting married later in life, after they’ve had a chance to get out in the world and get established, that old chestnut makes less and less sense. If your parents are broke and you’re doing okay, definitely pick up the tab. Split it between you and your partner and ignore everyone else and you won’t have to feel beholden to take other people’s advice about what your wedding should be.

We get it; a lot of people have really strong feelings about how a wedding should go. But it’s your turn now, and you get to decide how you feel about these old chestnuts and how you’d like to proceed. Aunt Gertie and Grandma will get over it if you ignore their advice, and you’ll have the wedding you want to have.

A Guide to Having Kids at Your Wedding

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Kids at a WeddingThere’s no denying that when it comes to adorable photos, children and weddings are a potent combination. The sight of a toddler dressed in a tiny three-piece suit, or a kindergartener in a frilly pink dress, can melt even the most child-averse heart. But when the little tykes are screaming while they wait for their dinner, or finger-painting on the walls with the ganache from the wedding cake, they become considerably less adorable. Here are some things to consider when you think about having children at your wedding:

To Invite or Not to Invite?

The first question, naturally, is whether you’re going to invite your guests’ children in the first place. It may seem easier add a line on the invitation that says, “though we love children, we would like our special day to be adults-only, please,” and then skip reading the rest of this article. If your circle of friends is largely child-free, or you absolutely can’t stand the thought of a baby crying or a kid coughing during your vows, you can stop here.

But if your social circle includes a lot of friends with kids, it can be quite the hardship to have to find child care for a ceremony and reception. In addition to buying you a wedding gift and giving their time for the ceremony, you’re asking them to shell out for child care for most of the day. Most babysitters get paid by the hour, and a wedding ceremony and reception can go for three or four at least. Is the extra hassle and expense to the guests really worth it?

If you decide to include children in your invitation, here are ways to make sure they have a good time (which means you’ll have a better time).

The Ceremony

To minimize the impact of fidgety kids during the ceremony, make a kids version of your wedding program. Think of a restaurant’s kids menu, with little activities and pictures to color, and add a little box of crayons for coloring. Those 4-crayon boxes can be had for as little as 20 cents apiece, and that investment will help keep the kids quiet during your vows.

The Meal

The hardest part of eating at a restaurant for kids is the interval between when the food is ordered and when it arrives. They’re hungry; they’re impatient; time seems to stretch endlessly while they look forward to eating. If your reception meal is buffet-style, you can skip some of that difficult time if you let families with kids go right after the bridal party. If the kids will be waiting for a waiter, a cheap, simple activity or two will help smooth it over. Crayons, bubbles, and little tubs of play-doh are all fun with minimal cost and mess. You could also go all-out and have a kids’ table with a simple craft for the kids to complete while the meals are being brought out, after which they can join their parents for the meal.

The Reception

Most kids won’t need additional stimulation once the reception kicks into gear. They’ll love dancing with the grown-ups and with each other, and after a day of sitting and being quiet, they can finally run around and make noise with impunity. Some glowsticks and necklaces will add to the fun for small kids, and a few kid-friendly dances (chicken dance, Hokey-Pokey) will help them feel a part of things.

If your reception runs past 7 p.m. or so, you’ll have to deal with some cranky, tired kids. One great strategy is to give the kids their own place to chill out. Rope off a corner of the reception hall, make a little blanket fort, and fill it with pillows and sleeping bags for weary youngsters. Add a little TV with Disney movies on a loop, and you’ve got a relaxing space for over-stimulated kids to grab a nap while their parents party down.

The Nuclear Option: Provide Childcare

If your budget allows for some extra expense to provide an amazing experience for your guests, consider providing childcare at the reception. You’ll have to secure an extra room at your reception venue and hire a few babysitters (generally a max of five children per sitter), but your wedding guests with kids will love having an evening “out” while the kids are still close by, and you’ll have the peace of mind knowing a tantrum won’t ruin the groom’s toast.

With a little bit of planning and consideration, having kids at your wedding doesn’t have to be a trial. A few nods at keeping the tykes entertained will go a long way toward making it a pleasant experience for everyone involved.

How to Have a Beautiful Wedding on a Budget

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Wedding MusicWith the current state of the economy, the idea of spending thousands of dollars on a wedding ceremony might seem daunting. This is especially true now that the tradition of the bride’s family footing the bill is giving way to the couple financing the ceremony themselves. With a little creative thinking, a little bit of planning, and some elbow grease, it’s possible to have the perfect day you’ve always dreamed of without breaking the bank. Here are ways to save money with a frugal (but not cheap-feeling) wedding, enabling you to keep some money in your savings account for that first year of marriage.

Venue

Sure, that dedicated wedding venue, towering cathedral, or privately-owned mansion is gorgeous, but that beauty comes with a substantial price tag. What’s more, you may have to find a different location for the reception, meaning you’ll be paying to rent two facilities instead of one.

Instead, try an outdoor venue like a state or city park. You’ll pay a lower facility fee, and you can have your reception outdoors as well. For an indoor wedding, try a local fellowship hall or even a V.F.W. Any space can be decorated for a dream wedding, so those cheaper options can still be gorgeous.

Catering

Instead of using a dedicated wedding catering business, find a local family-owned restaurant you love and ask the owner personally about catering the wedding. You’ll get food you love at a much lower price than a professional catering outfit can provide. There’s also no shame in having family members or friends prepare the meal–provided there are enough volunteers and sufficient kitchen facilities to cook for a large number of people.

Another option most couples don’t even consider is a potluck wedding reception. It’s definitely unconventional, but in this writer’s experience, it makes for a wonderful dining experience. Each guest is encouraged to bring a dish to share and the couple provides a salad or a few main dish options. The end result is a table groaning with lovingly homemade food, with far more variety than a caterer or restaurant could provide. Even your gluten-free vegan cousin can find something to eat at a potluck.

Music

For chamber music during the ceremony, call up your local university’s music department and see if there are students who would be willing to perform at a wedding. The student will get valuable experience, and you’ll pay far less than you might for a professional musician.

For the reception, rather than hiring a DJ, put together a playlist of danceable songs on your MP3 player and hook it into the venue’s sound system (or rent just a couple of speakers for the dance floor).

Your best resource for planning a wedding on a budget may just be your friends and family. If you’ve got a friend who is an amateur photographer, help him or her build a portfolio by hiring them for the day (don’t ask them to donate their time, of course–but they may volunteer). Those friends who are always posting their homemade decoration ideas to Pinterest? Conscript them to help decorate the hall. Your friends and family will be happy to show their love and friendship by helping make your special day special without breaking the bank.

5 Unusual Wedding Traditions in the World

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PolterabendMost weddings in the United States are pretty predictable affairs, with a few traditions that seem to crop up at almost every ceremony. There’s the unity candle, the exchange of rings, the recitation of vows, perhaps a reading from Corinthians 13, and then the couple exchange their first kiss. There are some truly unique (and some quite unpleasant) wedding traditions around the world, however, that go a little stranger than just lighting a candle together. Which of these wild traditions will you add to your wedding day?

Germany: Polterabend

To celebrate the wedding, drive away evil spirits end assure a harmonious marriage, guests to some German weddings bring the couple new dishes as a wedding gift. But the crockery and cookware isn’t to fit out the new couple’s kitchen: the dishes are smashed, beaten, and stomped to bits. The sound is supposed to drive away evil spirits, and perhaps it serves to get any dish-smashing violence out of the new couple’s system before they begin their life together.

Sweden: Kissing Feast

Most wedding-goers are familiar with the tradition of clinking glassware at the reception to compel the new couple to kiss. But in some parts of Sweden, the wedding couple doesn’t get to have all the fun. Whenever the bride or groom leaves the table, the one left seated gets rushed and kissed until his or her spouse returns. It’s a tradition that could lead to a lively reception, but potentially a very short marriage.

Scotland, China, Kenya: Bride Abuse

In the U.S., the bride is treated like a queen in the lead-up to her wedding day. Her every need is catered to, and her bridal party takes great pains to shield her from any additional stress before and during the ceremony.  Not so in Scotland, where the tradition of “blackening the bride” is supposed to toughen up the bride against possible adversity in married life. The bride is doused with all manner of disgusting stuff: tar, spoiled milk, rotten fish, mud, and flour. What could married life offer that could be worse?

In China, the groom doesn’t dump gross-smelling stuff on his bride; he just picks up a bow and shoots her with three arrows (the arrows don’t have heads, so they at most leave a bruise rather than a mortal wound). He then breaks the arrows as a symbol of his eternal love for his new bride. There’s no word on why he couldn’t just break the arrows without shooting them first.

Among the Masai tribe in Kenya, it’s not the groom visiting indignities on the bride: it’s the bride’s father. He “blesses” his daughter’s new marriage by spitting on her head and her breasts. She then must leave the village with her new husband without looking back, lest she be turned to stone.

India: Marrying a Tree

Women in India who are born under certain unfortunate astrological conditions are called “Mangliks.” Legend has it that the first person a Manglik marries will die an early death. To get around the curse, Mangliks will have a wedding ceremony in which they marry an inanimate object, most commonly a tree. The tree takes on the Manglik curse, freeing the woman to marry her groom without sending him to the cemetery.

Indonesia: No Bathroom Breaks for Three Days

After the wedding in Indonesia, it is traditional for the couple to go three days and nights without–well, to put it delicately, without moving their bowels. The couple is supervised by friends and family to make sure they don’t break the rule and only allowed a little bit of food and water to make sure things stay where they are. The ordeal is supposed to lead to a happy marriage full of healthy babies, but we’re willing to bet you’ll take your chances without three days of constipation.

Two Weeks to the Wedding Day

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Wedding CountdownWith the clock ticking down and your bid day closing in, it can be very easy to have your stress levels soar. No matter how well you’ve planned your wedding and poured over each detail, you will likely find yourself double and triple checking everything up until you walk down the aisle. Unfortunately, this can lead to a lot of sleepless nights and added stress that won’t make your wedding day any more enjoyable, not to mention that you run the risk of looking tired or stressed out on your big day. The good news is that there are some techniques you can use to alleviate that stress and enter your wedding day with a relaxed attitude, and here are some of those things that you can do with very little effort.

Create a List

One of the simplest ways to stay on top of everything and keep your stress in check is to create a very comprehensive list of tasks that need to be completed leading up to your wedding. As you go down the list and cross things off, make sure you don’t revisit them. Sure, there are things that will need to be done at the last minute; but obsessing over details that are already taken care of can add unwanted stress and take time away from taking care of other tasks.

Assign Jobs

One of the easiest mistakes to make when you are a bride is to try to do everything yourself. Never forget that you have assembled a great team of bridesmaids that can help you with these tasks and make sure you assign jobs to each of them. Additionally, you’re friends and family will likely be more than happy to help out as well, so make sure you tap all the available resources and move as much responsibility as possible off of your own plate and onto others’.

Handle the Formalities

Whether you’re talking about changing your name or filing your marriage certificate, make sure you have your ducks in a row before your big day. There’s nothing worse after scrambling to pull off a great wedding than to move right to the next challenge, so making this stuff easy on you is always a great plan. Personally, I chose to sign the marriage certificate the night before the wedding ceremony to take some of the stress off on my big day, but that choice certainly isn’t for everyone.

Incoming Guests

Most weddings will have several guests that are traveling in from other states. If you wait until the last minute to plan for their arrival, this can create a whole new set of problems and challenges that can detract from other priorities. Make sure you have everything setup in advance such as accommodations and activities so you’re not scrambling to take care of them at the last second.

Final Counts

Make sure you get an accurate tally of all the confirmed guests and give that number to your caterer. The last thing you want to have happen is to run out of food or cake during the reception, so make sure you have a good final head count to give to the caterer.

Guest Seating

Though you would ideally have this done well in advance, chances are there will be some last minute additions and subtractions with your guest list that will require you to change some seating arrangements. If seats open up at the most important tables where parents, grandparents, and other close family will be sitting, make sure you fill them in with the next logical choice and work backwards from there.

The last two weeks before your wedding are always a little hectic and stressful, but that doesn’t mean you need to enter your wedding day exhausted and grumpy. By following some of these pieces of advice and making sure you have everything planned out in advance, you can have a relaxing wedding day that goes off without a hitch.