There are several important details that my clients never seem to think of on their own, and that's okay because they have me as a wedding planner to remind them. But when you're planning your own wedding, you should make sure that you keep the following things in mind to ensure your wedding runs smoothly.
1. Lunch for the bridal party
Too many brides forget to make special arrangements to feed themselves and the bridal party on the wedding day. It's important to pre-arrange more than just nibbles for your entire crew — especially if you aren't primping in your own home. I vividly remember how resentful bridesmaids became at a wedding because the bride ordered only a platter of fruit and cheese for her six 'maids — but she requested a sandwich for herself!
2. Beauty appointments for everyone
While the bride is not required to pick up the tab for hair and makeup for your girlfriends, you should give them the opportunity to have their hair and makeup done. This is especially crucial if you're hosting a destination wedding. Certainly, make it "optional," but it's the bride's obligation to make sure their girls are aware of options.
3. A break with your new husband
After an emotional ceremony followed by a slew of professional photos, having a short planned break with your groom before you make your grand entrance is an absolute necessity. It gives you both a chance to refresh your look and spend a minute alone together saying "OMG, did we really just get married?"
4. A game plan for wedding toasts
Have you ever sat through what seemed like an endless line of guests with well wishes for the bride and groom at a wedding, thinking it would never end? Guests often misinterpret a "toast" to be a "speech" and they talk forever. The best way to make sure you don't lose valuable dance and party time is to pre-plan the toasts with your wedding planner or MC. That will ensure the microphone is somewhat controlled and not just anybody can get up and babble. Also it's an important tool for avoiding "roasts" by inebriated guests who should know better.
5. Alone time
Too many brides plan to have a pack of friends with them from the moment they first open their eyes til they say "I do." While it's a great day to celebrate with the people whom you love the most, it can be emotionally overwhelming. Make sure you have someplace to escape — even just for a moment.
Sandy Malone is the owner of Sandy Malone Weddings & Events and author of "How to Plan Your Own Destination Wedding: Do-It-Yourself Tips from an Experienced Professional." Sandy is the star of TLC's reality show "Wedding Island," about her destination wedding planning company, Weddings in Vieques.