10 Things to Know Before You Start Planning Your Own Wedding

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It can be a lot of fun to plan your entire wedding, or even just parts and pieces. But DIY-ing your entire celebration also has some potential pitfalls that every bride and groom should be aware of so they don't end up with problems.

If you plan ahead, and if you assign every task that needs to be accomplished on your wedding day to somebody reliable, things are going to go much more smoothly. Here, 10 things you need to know:

1. Plan to have everything you need to create completed at least a month before the wedding. That's when all the chaos will hit and you won't be able to handle the time-sucking crafting projects.

2. Don't plan to do anything yourself on your wedding day. You'll be busy getting beautiful. Make sure you've assigned everything to your friends and family (or hired staff) who are assisting you. And confirm it again a week ahead and the day before the wedding.

3. Have a bossy friend assigned to handle everything on your wedding day. You can't be the one sending the bridesmaids down the aisle.

4. Don't take on the responsibility of picking up out-of-town guests at the airport. You'll end up spending the days before your wedding playing chauffer.

5. Write your wedding schedule and confirm it with your vendors a month before your wedding so you have plenty of time to iron out the bugs before the big day.

6. Find out ahead of time what you need to do to fulfill the marriage license requirements where you're getting married so you're not in a panic to track down divorce decrees at the last minute. That just puts a damper on the whole experience.

7. Make your own transportation arrangements for the wedding day. Don't count on anybody else to get you to your hair appointments — and the church — on time. If a friend is driving, make sure it's someone incredibly reliable.

8. If you're doing your own centerpieces, finish them as far ahead as possible. Flowers can be done up to two days ahead if they're fresh and kept in a refrigerated environment. You don't need to pull an all-nighter making bouquets after your rehearsal dinner.

9. Order lunch to be delivered for your bridal party in advance — you won't think about it on your wedding day because you'll likely be too nervous to be hungry. But bridesmaids get grumpy (and intoxicated) if you forget to provide food for them when you're together all day getting ready.

10. Make sure you have a cleanup/teardown crew pre-assigned to handle whatever your venue requires. You'll also need help taking the gifts home — possibly the space of several cars. Don't wait til the last minute to deal with this or the bride and groom may end up spending their wedding night dealing with trash rather than romance.

Owner of Weddings in Vieques, a destination-wedding planning company off the coast of Puerto Rico, Sandy Malone has helped countless couples plan their big day since 2007.

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