1. Wake up refreshed.
Get to bed at a decent hour the night before so you can be your best. For this reason it’s wise to plan bachelor and bachelorette parties at least a week ahead of time.
2. Eat a breakfast that is high in protein and complex carbs.
This food will take a while to break down in your body and keep you going, which is important since brides and grooms can go long periods without eating.
3. Give yourself plenty of time to get ready.
You want to be able to relax and have a good time with your bridesmaids, not stress over whether you’ll finish in time.
4. Wear a dress shirt when getting your hair styled.
Brides often wear T-shirts that have to be pulled over their freshly coiffed hair at the end. Dress shirts, however, can be unbuttoned without doing any damage to your beautifully done hair.
5. Grooms should make a list of all the things they need to do on the morning of the wedding.
Bridesmaids are great at helping a bride remember everything. Groomsmen are less helpful in this regard, though they are more likely to bring beer.
6. Speaking of groomsmen, it’s a good idea for the groom to discuss expectations for behavior.
Guys can get pretty crazy at a reception. If you want a level of decorum it’s best to spell that out before someone tries to do a body shot off your grandma.
7. If you bought new shoes for the big day, be sure to break them in ahead of time.
Otherwise you’re liable to feel awkward in them and have sore feet.
8. Don’t overdo the perfume.
Heavy perfume can make you feel nauseous and even attract bugs.
9. This goes for you too, grooms.
Remember, a little cologne goes a long way.
10. Hire a wedding coordinator if possible.
Couples often decide to cut this expense, but coordinators let you enjoy your day by keeping drama at bay.
11. If you can’t hire a wedding coordinator, let your bridesmaids handle some of the day-of logistics.
They’re literally falling over themselves to help.
12. Don’t forget a wedding day survival kit.
A typical one includes a first aid kit, tampons, a Tide To Go stain remover pen, and anything else that might fix a minor emergency.
13. Take a few selfies.
These candid shots make a fun counterpoint to your photographer’s stylized professional shots.
14. But other than that, put your phone away.
Nothing is happening that’s more important than your wedding, OK?
15. Get loose before you walk down the aisle.
Do some light stretching to release tension and get your blood flowing so that you don’t — gasp — pass out. Hey, it happens. Check YouTube.
16. Stop to take it all in during the ceremony.
Ask your officiant to include a “deep breath” moment so you can look over the audience, gaze at your spouse, and burn the memory into your brain.
17. Make a five-minute dinner date.
Taking the time to enjoy a full meal is almost impossible with so many guests clamoring for your attention, but a five-minute dinner date — where you grab a few bites and enjoy your new spouse’s company — is more manageable.
18. If five minutes is too much, get your food to go.
Arrange with the caterers to send a couple to-go boxes of food with you when you leave the venue. They’ll be glad to do it.
19. Be magnanimous.
Greet everyone with a smile even if it’s your second cousin whom you haven’t spoken to in a couple years because she said that thing (you know what I’m talking about). No one likes an angry bride, and you won’t like being one either.
20. Similarly, stay poised during the best man and bridesmaid’s speeches.
If something inappropriate is said it’s best to let it pass without having a big reaction. Many people will have missed it, but they won’t miss you screaming at the best man.
21. Give a thank you speech with your spouse.
It’ll feel good to thank your parents, grandparents, and guests (especially those who traveled great distances) for making such a momentous occasion in your life possible.
22. Arrange for group photos at the reception.
Have the DJ call over college friends, co-workers, and teammates for a few quick group photos. Your photographer may suggest doing these before the reception, but save the more formal, time-consuming shots for the wedding party and family only.
23. Be careful with alcohol.
This is a day you’ll want to remember clearly for the rest of your life, so make sure you don’t drink too much (that’s for doing at your friends’ weddings). One tip is to drink a full glass of water between each alcoholic drink.
24. Pack flats for the reception.
Sophisticated ballet-style slippers look great with a wedding dress, so bring a pair to put on when you want to cut loose.
25. Appoint someone to save you from chatty guests.
Inevitably someone, whether it’s your great aunt from Poughkeepsie or the dad of your old college roommate, will talk your ear off seemingly unaware it’s your wedding day. That’s why having someone to politely pull you away is a must.
26. Have a moment with each of your parents.
Brides dance with their fathers and grooms dance with their mothers, but there’s no moment on the schedule for your other parent. Make one.
27. Don’t do the cake smash.
Brides, you still have people to see and photos to take, so you don’t want to get cake in your hair and on your dress (nor do you want to reapply makeup). Grooms, this is not how you want to start married life. Trust me on this one.
28. Give the DJ a list of songs you want to hear.
This way you’re more likely to hear your jam than “Y.M.C.A.”
29. Make sure you dance.
Your favorite tunes are playing, the dance floor is packed with people you love, and you have reason to celebrate! With conditions like that even grooms who “don’t dance” will regret it if they don’t let their inner Bacon loose.
30. Have a relaxed attitude about the wedding night.
If fireworks explode, awesome. But after a long day many brides and grooms collapse in exhaustion. Don’t worry… there’ll be plenty of time for fireworks later.
31. Remember why you’re there.
Amid all of the fun and celebration be sure to take a moment to look over at the person you’re pledging your life to and reflect on the incredible journey that lies ahead of you both.