On planning and preparation:
“Figure out how [mothers] are going to be involved and set guidelines right away,” wedding planner Amanda Felsman says. “Find something you feel OK tasking them with early on. Then they feel involved, and it gives them something to do.” And make sure to document everything. “Write everything down and take as many pictures as possible, because all those little details and logistics, you won’t think to ask,” says newlywed bride Mel Buchanan.
On what not to leave out:
“Wedding videos used to be the first thing cut from the budget,” says Nathan Stevens, videographer and owner of In Frame Creative Video Solutions. And yet… “The one thing couples regret that we hear a lot is that they didn’t hire a videographer,” says Elizabeth Graves, editor of Martha Stewart Weddings. “You want to watch that video five years, 10 years from now, and your kids, should you choose to have them, love seeing it, too.” Because, notes Stevens, “When you get down to it, this is a film about the couple’s day and their story.”
On wedding-day drinking:
“You have to make sure all the official witnesses, bride and groom are sober,” says wedding officiant Doug Russell. Not that they can’t have a drop of drink, notes Russell, “but they have to be in control of their faculties. There are just some laws you have to follow if you’re a responsible wedding officiant.”
On wedding-day responsibilities:
“Don’t be afraid to delegate. People want to help you,” Graves says. “Even our most DIY brides, we tell them: Do not sign up for doing anything but getting ready on the day of. The couple sets the tone for the wedding, and if you’re tense, nobody’s gonna have fun. This is a happy day. You really want to set it up so that you’re enjoying it, and that comes through careful planning. Not making life incredibly hard on yourself with tons of last-minute details.”