Lesson One: Don't drink too much— it's not ladylike
Although it's okay to beam like a drunken sailor, it's slightly inappropriate to act like one on such a formal occasion. Alcohol works as a relaxation aid (sure, a flute or two of Champagne can knock out those pre-wedding jitters), but it has many evil faces as well. It has the power to make you feel bloated, tired, generally out of control, and…forgetful (and wouldn't you prefer to remember your reception?). After all, no one wants to wake up and realize with a shudder that she cleared the ballroom with her rendition of "Sexual Healing."
Lesson Two: Don't be so overdramatic
You'll feel like an emotional live wire on your special day, and things can get tense. So when you find out that Aunt Mary's place card has disappeared, you may feel a slight urge to kick some decorative holes into the reception-site walls. Don't. Every family member, friend, and vendor is there for you, so stay cool, calm, collected, and as nice as possible. You'll be surprised at how helpful everyone will be.
Lesson Three: Stand up straight, dear
No, this doesn't mean you have to balance a book on your head, but good posture has the power to make any stylish number, like your gorgeous gown, look even more beautiful—that's why models are so darned tall. And besides making you seem longer and leaner, a straight spine can make you feel more alert and look more confident—two crucial things on your big day.
Lesson Four: Eat something, please—you need your energy
You spent all of that time choosing either the roasted or scalloped potatoes, and you're not even going to stop to grab a bite? Don't expect to last very long on sheer excitement—a bride cannot live on adrenaline alone. Your body needs some sort of food to sustain itself—even if it's only a piece of cake. And don't forget, alcohol + empty stomach = ugly mess.
Lesson Five: Stop playing with your hair
Chances are you spent two hours in a stylist's chair getting your locks to curl the right way, your updo to actually stay up, or your headpiece centered correctly. So why would you want to mess with perfection?
We understand your nerves might be tempting you to do so, but keep your hands off! You're probably wearing enough bobby pins to attract lightning, so that style is going to last a while. If you're sure it's giving up, have a bridesmaid check it from all angles and stick a few more pins in at strategic locations. That should hold it for another century.
Lesson Six: For heaven's sake, take that gum out of your mouth
The last thing you want to look like is a cow chewing her cud (what exactly is cud, anyway?) when there is a camera in your face. It's even worse when there's videotape rolling—at least with photos, there's a chance you'll be snapped during a closed-mouth moment. If gum helps you deal with nerves, try picking up a new habit for the day—tapping your feet or twiddling your thumbs, for instance—but not biting your nails!
Lesson Seven: Turn that music down!
Yes—there's almost nothing better than being alone in your bedroom so you can turn up Ricky Martin and shake your booty in your underwear. At your reception, however, your guests (around 30 percent of whom are probably elderly) are there not only to enjoy the atmosphere, but also the company.
Don't get us wrong; we like to pump up the volume as much as the next gal, but try to keep it to a dull roar. Save that disco-inferno atmosphere for your bachelorette party and let your guests practice their lip-reading skills at your cousin's Sweet Sixteen.
Lesson Eight: Slow down! There's no need to rush, rush, rush
Sigh. Mom's right again. Let us suggest a wedding-day extension tip: Every hour or so, STOP whatever you're doing. Savor that moment. Notice the looks on people's faces, the aroma in the air, the song that is playing. Then, look at your husband and, if he's not already doing so, make him smile. If you take a few time-outs, you'll never have to say, "It went so fast, it was all a blur." And while you're at it, give Mom a hug.