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12 Things to Know Before Your Wedding Day

Ah, your wedding day. One of the most special and important days in someone’s life. If you know anything about my wedding day, you know it wasn’t your typical wedding day due to paternal grandmother passing away the morning of. I’ve already shared that aspect of my big day, so today I wanted to share some other things I learned on my wedding day in hopes that what I share will help another bride-to-be on her special day.

12 things to know before your wedding day

1. Don’t wear heels for your rehearsal, unless you’re a frequent heel wearer.

I’m not a big heel wearer because I’m tall enough sans shoes. But I wore 3 inch wedges for our wedding rehearsal and rehearsal dinner. HUGE mistake. I was struggling to walk in my 2 inch heels 3 hours into my wedding day. If you do wear heels for your rehearsal pop on some flats for the rest of the evening, especially if your feet aren’t conditioned to walk in heels. Also, bring a separate pair of comfortable shoes to wear on your wedding day– just in case. I bought some circa 1998 platform flip flops (so my dress wouldn’t drag on the floor and so I wouldn’t trip on my dress) to wear on the dance floor at our reception.

ivory wedding shoes

2. Baby wipes are your best friend.

We did First Look photos outside before our ceremony, which meant that the bottom hem of my dress was dirty even though I picked it up when I walked around. When my bridal party and I got to our ceremony venue, my Maid of Honor busted out some baby wipes and went to town cleaning the hem of my dress. The baby wipes were magical– taking all the dirt off my dress. When I walked down the aisle no one could tell how dirty it was 30 minutes earlier. The baby wipes also came in handy when our caterers spilled barbecue sauce on a food station tablecloth. And instead of removing the tablecloth they flipped it over. So when I went to get my food I got barbecue sauce ALL OVER the front of my wedding dress. Thank goodness for those baby wipes– they got the sauce off in no time. Note: My dress was satin. Make sure you can use baby wipes on your dress material.

3. Take your dress off to use the restroom.

Yep. When I needed to go to the bathroom I took my Maid of Honor with me. She unzipped my dress, I stepped out of the dress, she held the dress up like I was still in it, I did my business, washed my hands, jumped back into the dress, she zipped me up, and we were on our way. SO much easier than having 3-5 bridesmaids hold up your dress while you pee. Granted this tip works best if you have a dress you can easily get in and out of. If all else fails pull a Bethenny Frankel and pee in a trashcan. I won’t judge you.

wedding dress photo

4. Hair and makeup trials are a must.

I 100% believe in getting your makeup and hair professionally done for your wedding day. When else will you get the chance to have your makeup professionally airbrushed? Splurge a little. Things are stressful enough to be doing your own makeup and hair. I also strongly believe in having at least one makeup and one hair trial. This is so important. Take photo examples to show how you want your hair and makeup to look. When you get home from your trials, have someone take photos of you from every angle. I decided I didn’t want my hair pinned up to the side based on how I looked in photos I took after my hair trial.

bridal makeup 1

5. Give yourself more than enough time on your wedding day.

Things will run behind schedule. I was an hour late getting to my First Look because my hair took longer than expected. And I was a frazzled mess. (I hate being late.)  In my opinion, the bride should be the first to get her hair or makeup done. If she’s getting her hair done someone else can be getting their makeup done, but the bride is the number one priority. If you think it’ll take you 3 hours to get ready plan for 4-5 hours. Trust me. If you’re ahead of schedule your photographer can get more bridal shots of you or photos of you and your bridesmaid in your bridal suite. It’s always best to be ahead of schedule rather than behind schedule. But remember, if you are running late don’t freak out too much– they can’t start without you.


6. Something will go wrong.

Face it. Something will go wrong. I haven’t met anyone who said everything went perfectly on their wedding day. (That they knew of.)  If you’re me, your DJ will fail to fully plug in a cable, causing your music to cut out while your wedding party is processing down the aisle. Your caterer will spill barbecue sauce on a food station table cloth, and you’ll get barbecue all over the front of your wedding dress. Someone will die on your wedding day. Not kidding. True story. Happened to me. But don’t live in fear of what could go wrong on your special day. Just be prepared to roll with the punches, although nothing can really prepare a person for what I experienced. So here’s some perspective: when you’re flipping out because your florist used roses instead of peonies for your bouquet, just know that things could be worse. Way worse.


7. Have buffers.

This was such a hard lesson I had learn on my wedding day. You need buffers.  People who will intercept information so you aren’t made aware. One of your buffers is on phone duty. It’s their responsibility to intercept all messages and phone calls and relay the information they deem pertinent. If something catastrophic should arise, they are to discuss the situation with your other buffers and important people (your family, wedding coordinator, etc.) to decide whether or not you should be made aware of the situation. Read more about why I think brides (and grooms) need buffers here.

8. Have a wedding day survival kit.

My Maid of Honor had one and so did my Day of Wedding Coordinator. Google “wedding day survival kit”. Some things I think you should definitely have in your kit: water, deodorant, mints, aspirin/ibuprofen, antacid, lipgloss/lipstick, dental floss, sewing kit, first aid kit, touch-up powder, bobby pins, mirror, band-aids, baby wipes, white chalk, stain remover, safety pins, smelling salts, hand sanitizer, scissors, Q tips, lint roller.

9. Hold your bouquet low.

For the love, hold your bouquet low. I cringe when I see brides holding their bouquets up by their faces. It may feel weird to hold it low, but trust me, it looks so much better in person and in photos. Before walking down the aisle with my dad and stepdad, I held my bouquet where I wanted it and told them to hook my arms. Do the same with whoever walks you down the aisle. This also goes for your bridesmaids.

bride with two dads walking down aisle


10. Walk slowly down the aisle.

It’s not the 50 meter dash. Think about it, you get one time (hopefully) to walk down the aisle. One time. Savor it. I told my dad and stepdad to follow my lead. Do the same with the person or persons who walk you down the aisle– don’t let them speed you up. So, walk slowly. Smile. Lock eyes with your groom. And carry that bouquet low, sister. This goes for bridesmaids, too.

11. Have your Maid of Honor practice bustling your dress before the wedding day.

Having your Maid of Honor (or whoever will be bustling your dress) practice bustling your dress before your big day will save time. If possible, have her accompany you to your last fitting so your seamstress can show her how to do it. Note: I had a one-point bustle and it held strong all night, never breaking. I credit my seamstress using Ric-Rac ribbon.


12. Have a receiving line.

I know some people hate receiving lines. I don’t really understand their hatred because I love them. We had our receiving line as guests came from cocktail hour to pick up their escort cards and head into the reception hall. I’m a receiving line fan because I was able to see and greet everyone who came to our wedding. That way, later down the road, I didn’t say with regret, “Oh no, I never said hello and thank you for coming to so-and-so or so-and-so.” Brad and I covered all 120 of our wedding guests in 15-20 minutes. It went quickly because people wanted to sit down and eat. Plus, I think having a line of people behind you kind of puts the pressure on to keep it short and sweet.

receiving line 1

I hope you found at least one of these things to know before your wedding day helpful.

Do you have any tips you’d like to share? What’s something that happened on your wedding day that you weren’t prepared for?

Check out all my wedding-related posts below!

More about our wedding:
Before the Ceremony
The Details

Similar Posts


  1. All very good advice! Three things to add…
    1. Order a second boutineer (sp? It’s early) for the groom…replace the first one after the receiving line
    2. Take 5 minutes, just the two,of you, and take in the party from a corner.
    3. Leave before the party is over…trust me. There is nothing romantic about watching eager to get home waitstaff rip tables down.

  2. Brides who don’t hold their bouquet low is a huge pet peeve of mine 😉 And all you said about trials, giving yourself more than enough time, and being overall prepared/organized are so true! But I have to disagree about the receiving line. It’s a big time-waster. There are a lot of factors about a wedding (number of guests, location of ceremony/reception, whether you opt to do a first look) that can really influence whether or not it’s a good idea for your particular wedding.

    After my wedding, my number one tip for brides is to invest in quality vendors! There are great vendors in every price point so it doesn’t always mean spending a ton of money. I don’t know of anything that went wrong with our wedding because we researched and hired experienced people to run the show! I was so organized and covered all my bases the week before that I didn’t think about anything except getting married on the big day 🙂

  3. I feel the same way about the bouquets!! I spent my wedding day mentally reminding myself to keep it low. It still ended up higher than I wanted in a few photos but overall I was so happy I wasn’t carrying it too high! I cringe when I see some people’s wedding photos – put the flowers down hun!

  4. All great tips–I used many of these over 6 years ago at our wedding! One of my biggest tips to brides is to eat well the day of. Not stuff-your-face-with-cookies-and-champagne meals, but eat some good, filling meat and veggies to satisfy your stomach, even if you’re not hungry. I actually had a friend almost pass out in her ceremony because all she had had before her wedding was some muffins and pink lemonade.

    Also, eat at your reception (especially if you have booze!). We told our DJ at the reception to announce us when we came in, then to announce the food line. After we were announced, we sat down and our reception coordinator brought us a plate of food. We ate while all of our guests were going through the food line (which took awhile), so by the time we were done eating, our guests were still eating and we could just sit, look around, and relax a little before the other events took place. It was awesome!

  5. Good advice for a soon-to-be bride. 🙂 Googling wedding day survival kit now!

  6. GREAT list and perfect timing! Thanks so much! 🙂

  7. This came at just the right time!! I’m getting married next weekend 🙂

  8. I love all of your wedding tips!! Here are a few I learned from our wedding in 2010.

    I agree with your tip to roll with the punches. Something IS going to go wrong. Just laugh about it and go on. Example, our preacher call my husband, Josh, Adam during the ceremony after talking about Adam and Eve. It was embarrassing but hilarious. And our DJ played the wrong first dance song–so we just danced to both.

    Pre-light your unity candles. One of the side candles for my in-laws to light would not stay lite during the ceremony. It was kind of awkward only having one side of the parents’ candles lite.

    Have someone in charge of your lipstick/lip-gloss to carry around for you.

    And my favorite thing we did was have a videographer. I almost decided not to spend the money on it but I am so glad we did. The videographer pulled several of our family members and our wedding party for interviews and well wishes to put at the end of the video. It is so special especially since my Mom has been so sick and often cannot even remember my wedding day. I wouldn’t take a million dollars for that video!

  9. I’ll be the first person you “meet” then. My wedding went perfectly. Honest to God nothing went wrong. It was amazing 🙂

  10. YES, HAVING A RECEIVING LINEIS SO IMPORTANT! My sister-inlaw didn’t want one, she wanted to be more personal & go around to each table during the reception, I agreed w her too. BIG MISTAKE! It took so long to get around the room she only danced her slow dance and maybe the chicken dance or something silly..before she new it it was time to leave and some oldtimer still was chatting her up 🙁

  11. Love your tips!! My walk down the aisle was so perfect. I locked eyes with my now-husband and smiled taking it all in. One thing I did that I loved was that when my dad and I got to the last row of guests in the back, we stopped for just a few seconds and then started the slow walk to my groom. It helped me take in the moment.

  12. I love this advice! I didn’t think about the heels tip or giving myself an extra hour than I was expecting. I did think, though, about taking off my dress to use the restroom!! You should link up this post to my Wedding Wednesday link-up!! 🙂

  13. If you’re like me and you can’t take your dress off to use the restroom and it take 5 of your 7 bridesmaids to help you use the restroom, sit facing the back of the toilet or sideways. It’s easier and your bridesmaids don’t have to be paranoid about dropping part of your train in the toilet. 🙂

  14. Elizabeth says:

    Great list! I wish I had seen this before my wedding. I had lots of little things go wrong and lots of regrets. My favorite of your tips is #10 – to take your time walking down the aisle. My bridesmaids walked way too fast, and then my dad and I did, too. I wish we had taken our time and I liked one one of the other comments suggested about pausing and taking it all in at the last row of guests.

  15. OMG YES! KEEP THE BOUQUETS LOW!!! Thank you!!!

  16. My worries weren’t necessarily wedding day but more wedding week… Spent the 7 days before my wedding in and out of the ER, resulting in emergency surgery 48 hours before the ceremony. I missed my rehearsal dinner because I was in the hospital. But the important was that I made it, and we got married. My only problems of the big day became how to get my dress over my swollen incisions, and the pain I felt every time I sat down or stood up, haha… I do remember the limo ride to the church being the WORST! So bumpy!

  17. These tips are wonderful! Thank you for posting, and thank you to all the comments! You are all so helpful! I’m just in the beginning stages of planning my wedding (May 28, 2016) and these tips are definitely going to be useful! Thank you all again!

  18. margaret kearney says:

    First off, your wedding hair is GORGEOUS. Beautiful job. And the custom wedding topper, with the dog! that was too too perfect.
    My tips:
    One thing that someone told me was to be sure I was looking at the groom, and the groom looking at me during the ceremony — unfortunately, I didn’t tell my groom ahead, so I was certainly looking at him, but he was looking at the priest! SO, tell your groom — “let us lock eyes during the ceremony.”
    Also, be prepared for inclement weather. We decided to marry in June, in MONTANA, with an outdoor (barn) reception. So, of course it was a little rainy/cold, and I bought a mink stole (off of eBay) to keep me warm, and IT DID.
    Also, YES, things will go wrong! My little cousin (she was 21) spilled red wine down my wedding gown at the reception! my friend ran to a nearby bar for soda water — but I didn’t want to spend the reception having someone blot my gown! trying to get wine out of my dress 😉 so I just rolled with it. After 2 minutes, I thanked her and just moved on. Seriously, you can hardly see it in the photos.

  19. This was great as I am planning a wedding and hopefully having my own within the next two years!
    I see that it worked for your dad and step dad to walk you down the isle which I have been worrying about; how did you handle the Dad/Daughter Dance?

  20. Michelle Isabel says:

    You were a gorgeous bride! I am so grateful for this post. I had never heard about bustling the dress. Phew…I am the maid of honor for my sister [to be wed in ONE month]. You are awesome!
    Thank you 🙂

  21. THANK YOU for the bouquet tip! Drives me crazy to see brides holding it high and covering their beautiful dresses. I wish every bride knew this!

  22. All good tips that I haven’t seen before. I also agree with holding the bouquet too low, I have seen that a lot! I noticed you had both your Dad and Step-Dad walk you down the aisle! I love that idea! I have been wondering what to do in this situation and I think I will definitely do this. How did you handle the Father-Daughter dance?

    Thanks for the great tips!

  23. Make someone in charge of the marriage license. We left ours at home on wedding day- spent 30 minutes of photo time figuring a plan to retrieve it.

    Spend the extra on the bridal shoot. I didn’t want to because I wanted the first time in wedding hair makeup and gown to be my wedding day. With the marriage license fiasco and running so late, we missed out on the pictures of just me that I had wanted, and had to cut back on photos of just myself and my groom.

    Write down the list of photos you want with family, siblings, special people, groom, bridesmaids, groomsmen, wedding party, yourself, and bride/groom. Give the copy to both photographer and the maid of honor to ensure you have someone checking off pictures or you will forget some- guaranteed.

    Make sure you spend some time with your groom day of wedding. The reception goes fast and is crazy! Spend some time with the one who is your reason for the party.

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