You’ve thought of it all—or so you think. We asked local wedding planners to tell us about the little details that even the most organized brides overlook. With these wedding-day-saving tips, they’ve got you covered.
1. Avoid playing the “mystery guest” game.
“Assign each guest or couple a number and write that number on the back of the response card you insert into their invitation envelope. You’d be amazed at the number of guests who forget to write their names on the RSVP line. Tracking RSVPs is hard enough without playing ‘mystery guest.’” —Brigid Horne-Nestor, i-do Weddings & Events
2. Don’t wear just any lingerie on your wedding day.
“Don’t overlook proper undergarments for your wedding dress. It’s the most photographed day of your life and you want to make sure you look your best. The appropriate bridal bra and slip can help ensure your gown fits your body and maintains its shape as the evening goes on. No one wants to see you hiking up your dress at the bust.” —Katie Elfers, general manager, Wendy’s Cincinnati Bride
3. Get more blooms for the groom’s lapel.
“Order two boutonnieres for the groom. They wilt a lot sooner than the other flowers. Lots of hugs also play a role in damaging the first one.” —Joyce C. Smith, Weddings Unlimited
4. Take a bridesmaid to your final dress fitting.
“Have a friend or family member go to the bustle appointment so they will have a better idea of how the bustle works. It can be very time-consuming and frustrating trying to bustle the dress that day if someone else doesn’t know how it works.” —Elisa MacKenzie, Elegant Events by Elisa
5. Designate someone to collect your keepsakes.
“It’s a good idea to have someone make sure you get back all of the items you brought to the reception, including those you may have a deposit on and need to return to your florist, DJ, or bakery.” —Yasmin Albina, event manager, 21c Museum Hotel
6. Designate someone to be in charge of gift logistics.
“This is a fairly physical job. After all, mixers and cookware sets are heavy, especially after a long night of celebrating. Your gift wrangler should have the capacity for that pile of presents in their vehicle, and you should give them access to a delivery destination. Hauling all of that loot to your house doesn’t help anyone if they don’t have a key.” —Dora Manuel, Viva Bella Events
7. Budget for gratuities.
“Once your wedding is around the corner you’ll realize that some or all of your vendors are deserving of a gratuity. The amounts will start adding up. It can be anywhere from hundreds to thousands of dollars, depending on the budget of your wedding. Take some time to research gratuity amounts early so you don’t get sticker shock weeks before your wedding.” —Michelle Kinne, Blue Dahlia Events
8. Triple-check those seating charts.
“Double- and triple-check your seating assignments. Catching seating mistakes before guests arrive eliminates embarrassment for both the guests and the hosts. We had a recent wedding where the bride forgot to assign seats for her boss and his wife. Our bride was so thankful we caught it because she knew she would never hear the end of that at work! —Horne-Nestor
9. Be prepared to make payments that day.
“I recommend having some cash, checkbook, and a few extra envelopes. There might be someone you forgot to include in your tips or someone that you didn’t realize you might want to tip. We always ask our clients to give us the envelopes for any payments and tips at the rehearsal dinner so we can handle it on the day of. One less thing to remember.”—Julie Schmidt, Cincy Event Planning
10. Prep for a wedding crasher.
“You’ll forget to plan for that extra guest you didn’t know was coming but swears they RSVP’d. The best way to handle this is to include a blank place card for each meal option and have it available. Don’t seat them until after you have been introduced into the reception. That is the best time to see if there are any vacancies.” —Kathy Piech-Lukas, Your Dream Day
11. Honor guests’ dietary requests.
“Today, on average, about 7 percent of your guests will have a special request. They demand their food allergies, meat preferences, and religious restrictions be embraced by the bride and caterer. It is customary to ask guests to share any dietary restrictions on your RSVP card. At a recent wedding dinner, the bride and groom took their family and friends’ dietary restrictions seriously and shared them during the menu planning and final tasting with chef Todd Kelly. We custom-designed a menu to accommodate their requests, and we shared vegetarian and gluten-free entrée and dessert options at the tasting.” —Kathy Ray, director of catering, Hilton Cincinnati Netherland Plaza
12. Stay together.
“When mingling through cocktails or going from table to table to greet your guests, stay together. It’s so easy to get separated and you could end up spending much of the evening apart.” —Sally Slack, Elegant Events by Elisa
13. Don’t forget to drink—water, that is.
“On your wedding day, remember to stay hydrated. Drink plenty of water throughout the day. If you dehydrate, you will likely feel light-headed, faint, or have a headache. Your face can also look drawn. Liquids keep your skin plumped.” —Smith
14. Do a final check-in with your team.
“It’s always a good idea to follow up with your vendors at least a week prior to your wedding, even if you have met several times before, just to confirm everything.” —Julie Congedo-Fowler, event sales manager, 21c Museum Hotel
15.For that guest who drinks too much:
“Make arrangements to have a shuttle available at the end of the night for guests who didn’t drink responsibly. Some hotels provide complimentary shuttles. You can also have the number of a taxi service ready.”—Piech-Lukas
16. Recognize those who are special to you.
“One of the things that often does not come up until closer to the wedding is if there are any guests for whom you want to provide recognition. For example, it could be your grandmothers, a special aunt, or someone who will be passing out programs for the ceremony. While it may seem like a small detail, it is a nice gesture of appreciation.” —Kristen Sekowski, Yellow Canary Flowers & Event Design
17. Who is cleaning up the mess?
“All of those hours were spent determining how to decorate, but many people forget to arrange cleanup of the ceremony and reception location when it’s not at a standard venue or hotel with cleanup staff. The last thing you want is the mother of the bride packing up napkins and sweeping floors to cap off the big day. Work with your venue and caterer to make sure that everyone knows the plan for cleanup.” —Manuel
18. Tell those who should sit in reserved seating to do so.
“If you plan to reserve seats for extended family at the ceremony, be sure they know to tell the ushers they are allowed to sit in the reserved rows. Ushers will not always recognize your family members, so be proactive to ensure your reserved seating in the front does not look empty; empty seats in front look strange in ceremony photos. I’ve been a guest at weddings where extended family members had to stand up in the back because they did not know to request seating in the reserved family section.” —Horne-Nestor
19. The oh-so-important marriage license.
“Put it on your calendar about a month ahead of time and send auto reminders until you have it. Register online first to make the process super easy. Then plan to bring it to your rehearsal, so if you happen to forget at the rehearsal, you can still bring it the day of the wedding. Entrust Mom, your wedding planner, or your maid of honor with it if you think you might forget.” —Schmidt
20. Don’t miss any meals on your big day.
“Plan ahead to have breakfast or lunch brought in where you are getting ready. You don’t want to have to collect orders that day. Make sure you have plenty of water and fruit to stay hydrated, and keep your lipstick or gloss intact by using straws.” —Schmidt
21. Pack that overnight bag and make sure it’s accessible.
“You’ve planned an amazing wedding, down to the final song before the dance floor closes. But what’s next? Maybe some celebrating with friends, but eventually you’re going to want to head to your wedding-night suite. Uh-oh. What room are we in? What happened to that overnight bag I packed? It’s such an easy detail to overlook. We’ve had it happen. And while it made for a fun final story of the wedding, the couple did ride down the elevator of their hotel the next morning in full wedding regalia.” —Kinne
22. The rings.
“Rings are easy to lose track of. At one of our weddings, after the processional had started, we had a best man who realized the couple’s rings were locked in the groom’s car. He had no idea where the car or his keys were, so we had to improvise. Thankfully the videographer and one of our team members offered up their wedding rings, and we were able to stealthily deliver them to the officiant mid-ceremony.” —Manuel
23. Prepare those travel documents.
“If you’re planning an international honeymoon, the one thing you’ll absolutely need to have is a valid passport. Make sure both of you have them up-to-date and ready to go.” —Kinne
24. When it’s time to walk down the aisle:
“The bride always walks down the aisle on her father’s left. An easy way to remember: A little girl is always close to her daddy’s heart.” —Smith
25. You’ll preserve your dress, but what about your bouquet?
“Many brides think they will not want to preserve their bouquet, or it might not even cross their minds. This is definitely something to plan for. We have gotten frantic calls the Monday after the wedding from brides wondering where they can take the bouquet to be preserved and framed. There are certain steps that can be taken to keep the flowers in good shape prior to dropping them off, so it’s great to have
a plan.” —Sekowski