There is no way around it, weddings are a stressful time.
Planning any big event has a certain level of stress. But put
everyone you care about in a room and fill it with lifelong
expectations and future hopes and dreams and families who often
don't get along and you have a recipe for the most difficult day
of your life.
There are ways to reduce the stress for the couple that doesn't involve hiring a wedding planner or running away to Las Vegas. Good planning before the day will really help to minimise any last minute surprises.
Call me a party-pooper but do not have your bucks/ hen's night the night before the ceremony. Maybe it is tradition and it may seem hilarious when the groom's mates are drawing on his face in permanent marker or shaving off his eyebrows but it won't be so funny when someone has to be sent in to explain to the bride why in all her wedding photos her husband is going to look like a twat. Best case scenario, you only turn up to the ceremony hung over. A hang over is not the best state to be in to deal with high stress family dramas. Do yourself a favour and schedule all buck's/hen's festivities for a minimum of two weeks before the wedding (long enough to grow your eyebrows back).
Have a Plan B: the show must go on, rain, hail or shine so it is best to plan for every possibility. If you are planning to have your ceremony in a garden, on the beach, on a boat, what happens if it rains? Set this plan B in stone, do not wait until you wake up the morning of the wedding and realise there is a cyclone forecast, so an outside marquee isn't going to cut it. Knowing you have a backup could save a lot of tension in the lead up to the wedding and on the wedding day. Check with the caterer, florists, wedding band, etc that all arrangements can be moved to the second location with a minimum of fuss if need be.
Even if you have chosen a safer route and opted for an indoor wedding venue you should check the venue operators have a plan B. There was recently a couple in the news who had to sue to recover their extensive costs after their wedding reception was simply called off by the venue holders when the kitchen caught on fire days before the wedding. Does your venue operator have back up plan if something unforseen arises? Do they guarantee to find another venue if the agreed upon venue is not available? Getting these arrangements in writing is the best way to avoid nasty surprises.
The same should be asked of your wedding band. There isn't much of a wedding party without music, what will happen if one of the musicians gets sick? Does your wedding band have back up members? You will want to have a contract detailing the expected number of musicians, the payment, the times and hours.
Brides should always do a trial of their hair and make up before the wedding. In fact they should do two or three. You need to find a stylist you like and who you trust. If you can feel confident in their skill you will be half way there towards looking your very best. Be sure to schedule enough time to do hair and make up for everyone. You don't want the stylist to feel rushed or for a bridesmaid to have to rush to the ceremony without her hair done.
Sharon Freeman is a professional writer who enjoys writing about weddings, fashion & music.