A perfect wedding isn’t about getting everything right. Instead, it’s about embracing the opportunity to celebrate your love among friends and family without stress or negativity — even if the caterer has a mixup or a surprise guest crashes your big day.
Of course, you don’t have to be engaged to hear your fair share of wedding horror stories. But if you are planning a wedding, you’ve probably taken mental notes of what to do and what not to do on your big day.
Yes to packing an emergency kit.
No to drinking more than you can handle.
Yes to eating throughout the day.
No to forgetting the marriage license at home.
Easy enough, right?
Well, here are a few more! Keep reading for six things to add to your “nope” list so you and your partner can enjoy a stress-free wedding day.
Foregoing seating assignments
Creating a seating plan is arguably one of the least exciting parts of a wedding — and since it’s typically done in the final weeks after confirming your guest list, you may consider skipping it altogether.
But Kelley Nudo of Momental Designs cautions against open seating plans for a wedding, encouraging couples to “carefully consider the seating arrangements for the guests that will yield a pleasant experience for them being grouped with those who enjoy one another’s company (or at least who you think will enjoy one another’s company). It can be tricky, but well worth the trouble!”
In addition to enhancing the guest experience and mitigating unwanted drama, assigned seats also make it easier for caterers to serve guests (and safer for those with food allergies and dietary restrictions).
Caring too much about the details
You’ve worked so hard to bring your wedding vision to life, and the big day is finally here. It’s time to enjoy the experience fully, which you can only do by letting go of the need for everything to be precise and perfect.
“Don’t forget what it is all about,” reminds Nora Sheils of Rock Paper Coin and Bridal Bliss. “You are getting married not because of the wow-factor florals, the amazing band, or the open bar. Instead, you are creating a union with your one-and-only, so do what you must to ensure you don’t lose sight of that.”
This advice bears well for those in the early stages of planning, too! It’s easy to get off-track when surrounded by highly-curated inspirational content online. Try to stay true to your purpose and focus on planning a wedding that’s meaningful to you and your partner. That’s all that matters!
Bossing around your vendors
You have far more important things to do on your wedding day than poke your nose in your vendors’ business, so let them do their job and go have fun! They are at weddings every week, but this is your first — so relish the moment and take a step back.
“Don’t try to micromanage your vendors, especially the catering staff, on your wedding day,” encourages Peter Mitsaelides of Brooklake Country Club and Events. “Instead, have confidence in your choices and let these pros create the magic. This is where a Day of Coordinator is worth their weight in gold.”
As Mitsaelides mentions, a day-of coordinator (or rather, a month-of coordinator) can step in as the main point of contact if you don’t have a full-service planner. That way, you can let them oversee the rest of the team, leaving you to show off on the dance floor.
Dragging on a speech
You put a lot of thought and effort into your guest experience — don’t let it get derailed by yawn-inducing speeches! That goes for you and your VIP toast-givers. Keep it short and let your guests get back to the dance floor!
“Never give a long speech,” warns Brian Franklin of Vows & Speeches. “Besides the fact that you’re boring the other guests, you’re also putting incredible strain on the wedding timeline. You might be limiting dance time – or the food might be held up. Get help editing and say it in 3-4 minutes, not 15-20.”
A short speech doesn’t have to be dry; it can still be filled with thoughtful sentiments and cheeky jokes that inspire laughter and happy tears! If anything, it will lift guests’ energy and hype up all that follows.
Relying on guests for help
Your wedding day should never feel like an “all hands on deck” situation — that’s why your vendor team is there! Everything is covered, so if you notice guests offering to pitch in, kindly step in to guide them back to the party.
“Don’t look at your guests as non-paid help on your wedding day,” says Frank Guertler of Bunn DJ Company – Richmond, VA. “Even if they want to help, graciously remind them that they are guests and should enjoy the celebration.”
And for busybody friends who are committed to helping, you may consider asking them to “help” by talking to other guests and getting people on the dance floor. As your chief partygoer, they’ll feel like a special part of your big day without missing out on the fun!
Spending all day with your wedding party
Your wedding plans have evolved for months and, in many cases, your closest friends were with you every step of the way: helping with DIY projects, collaborating on Pinterest boards, and giving honest opinions about day-of attire. It’s only natural to want to celebrate your face off with the people who’ve had a hand in your wedding’s success!
But as Betsy Scott of Hudson Valley Weddings at the Hill asserts, “Your wedding day (at least until the after-party) is not the time to hang out with your besties. While you and your beloved are the centers of attention, you have a duty to be gracious to your guests, even if it’s just a quick chat. Divide and conquer that guest list, so one of you makes contact with each guest.”
Save the inside jokes for later and dedicate your wedding to putting in face time with friends and family members you don’t see quite as often. Your besties will always be around, so plan to catchup over a sleepover or brunch date after the wedding once the dust settles!
Your wedding day belongs to you and your partner, so don’t feel like you need to do anything that feels unnatural or outside of your comfort zone. Make it your own, but be mindful of your guests’ experience as well. They’re coming to celebrate you, so make sure you show your thanks and appreciation!
Meghan Ely is the owner of wedding PR and wedding marketing firm OFD Consulting. Ely is a sought-after speaker, adjunct professor in the field of public relations, and a self-professed royal wedding enthusiast.
We’ve partnered with OFD Consulting to bring you this great advice from their collective of wedding professionals.