Trial and Error: 5 tips to prep for your wedding day

wedding day prep

It’s been a summer chock full of weddings and now that I am almost two years removed from my own, I’ve had ample time to reflect. I believe that many things in life are best learned the hard way and my preferred method of learning is through trial and error. While I will not get a do-over of  the “big day” I do have some takeaways that I’d  like to share with future brides.

[highlight color=’#81caea’ text-color=’#ffffff’] 1) Learn how to do your own makeup…just in case. [/highlight]

It’s one of the most highly anticipated and photographed days of your life. You spend a year of your time researching the perfect everything. The biggest question is, how do you decorate the most important accessory of all – your face? The answer: NOT LIKE THIS.

wedding makeup trial fail


There are certain industries in which the term professional is unregulated and ambiguous. The examples to your left are a result of a “professional” “makeup artist”… I can not put enough quotes around those terms to express how shocked I am that a person can charge money for this and sleep at night. Black eyeshadow should never – under any circumstances – be applied with a fan brush UNDER the eye. I spend endless amounts of money looking for products to do exactly the opposite of accentuating under eye circles, so using my wedding day to experiment with this new “technique” raised an alarm. Creating a “dewey” look on your wedding day should be reserved for skilled professionals and best accomplished with an air brush. Otherwise, “Dewey” looks shiny and like you’re on your way to a gymnasium for a high school dance. Lashes, ladies. Be careful. Lashes are essential but bigger is not better. Go for a natural pair that does not wing out like a Vegas showgirl.

[highlight color=’#81caea’ text-color=’#ffffff’] 2. Do NOT try a new hair salon right before you leave for the wedding. [/highlight]

Where there are humans, there are human errors. Even though your new salon has shining reviews on Yelp and the name of the salon features the word Blond, if the hair stylist puts “Ice Princess” in your hair instead of “Glazed Sand” then all reviews are thrown to the wind. And you have become Christina Aguilara. In an effort to avoid sounding obnoxious, I tend to keep quiet and trust the hairstylist but expect her to know what I’m going for. Even if you’ve been going to the same place for years, don’t assume everyone is on the same page. If I would have been more vocal (and obnoxious) about how important my color was during that visit, I probably wouldn’t have days of pre-wedding panic and white hair on my wedding day.

Wedding hair salon fail  bleach blond

[highlight color=’#81caea’ text-color=’#ffffff’] 3. Yes, photography is worth the investment. [/highlight]

toast cake dance (106) Unless you are looking to create your own Buzzfeed list of wedding day photo fails (think double chins, lens flares, armpit fat, blurred everything), then invest in a photographer that someone YOU KNOW has used and loved. Do not rely on a digital portfolio: talk to someone who has used the person before. This person will be intimately involved in your day… all day. It is important that this person is likeable in your opinion and the opinion of your wedding parties. I would not shy away with using someone who is a friend or a friend of a friend. A key to great looking photos is a clear sense of comfort coming from both sides of the camera.

[highlight color=’#81caea’ text-color=’#ffffff’] 4. The ceremony doesn’t HAVE to be boring. [/highlight]

So much planning, detail and money go toward the reception that I often feel the ceremony gets the short end. Even if you arrange to prance down the aisle on a white horse (something I actually pressed for at one point) it will always be true that no one in the audience will care as much about the ceremony as you and your family do. Regardless, many people neglect the opportunity to make the ceremony as unique as the reception. Make this just as much about you, the couple, as you can. Note: this does not necessarily mean you should write and read your own vows. If you choose to read your own vows, consider brushing up on public speaking – it is an art and unfortunately, the delivery becomes just as important as (but never more than) the actual content.

ceremony (55) ceremony (58)

The god of marriage or who/whatever spiritual figure guides you will not be offended if they have to share air time with personal details or new traditions. To stay true to who we were as a couple, we opted to eliminate overt references to religion but we are both spiritual and wanted to honor history as well as family members who do invest in their faith – those present or those who are no longer with us but just as much present. We wanted to contradict the sometimes exclusionary nature of traditions and give the audience an opportunity to participate as a united front. Beneath each chair was a small glass in a little satin satchel. As it came time to be announced a couple the officiant instructed everybody to reach under their chair and pull out the glass so that we could all stomp on it together uniting everybody at the wedding for a single moment in time. [Cue cliche wedding adjectives] the result was magical.


[highlight color=’#81caea’ text-color=’#ffffff’] 5. Do not freak out. [/highlight]

Things will go wrong. Your wedding planner will bitch out your groom, the heaters won’t be turned on in time forcing your guests to enjoy their cocktail hour in their winter coats, and the kitchen might even serve the wrong entree (luckily, I like Mahi Mahi AND Salmon…), but nothing says disaster more than a public bridal melt-down. On paper, many many things went “wrong” on my wedding day and the days leading up to it, but none of it really matters or has any impact on the day’s outcome. Perhaps it was those slip ups that allowed me not to take the whole thing too seriously and enjoy it for what is was: an AWESOME party, a celebration of an 8 year  legacy, and a future with my my favorite person on the planet. Figure out what the most important aspects are to you – the things that will make you feel warm and fuzzy in ten years – put your energy there and remove it from somewhere else.

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    […] Updates to come… In the meantime you can read my other wedding tips and retrospectives. […]

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