10 Things Brides Often Forget to do

I’m getting married this weekend — it feels so strange to type that out! — and now that all of the final arrangements have been confirmed, it’s been a nonstop party. I took a happy hour cruise with my relatives from Italy who flew in for my wedding and I was treated to massages, brunch and cupcakes with my favorite ladies for my “spa-chelorette” party. Up next: My rehearsal dinner and final fitting with my MOHs.

I could get used to this…in fact, I got so carried away with the revelry that I forgot to do a few things. I neglected to include my fiancé, Jason, and myself in the final headcount (our maître d’ couldn’t stop laughing) and finalize our transportation itinerary. Oops.

Since I’m suffering from a bad case of “wedding brain,” I asked Valerie Gernhauser from Sapphire Events to share the most common tasks/items that brides either forget entirely or handle at the last minute before getting hitched. Follow her advice below, and try not to be too hard on yourself; after all, the most important thing is that you both successfully complete your vows. Everything else is just icing on top of the cake, as far as I’m concerned.

contemplative bride

Photo Credit: Larsen’s Photography

1. Bring your marriage license:

“An important part of making it ‘official!’ Check with the jurisdiction where your ceremony will take place about any deadlines for applying for your marriage license well in advance of your wedding date and also whether a blood test or special documentation is required to complete your application. Start gathering your documents early so that when it comes time to get your license, you have everything you need and can make the process as efficient as possible.”

2. Vendor meals:

“Be sure you remember to feed the people that are working nonstop to make your day flawless! You’ll be expected to give your final guest count to your caterer within two weeks of your day, but don’t forget to include the number of vendors you’ll have so that the caterer can prepare simple meals for them, separate from your guests. Most caterers will count your vendor meals as half-price, so be sure to include your band members, photographer, videographer (and any second shooters), as well as your planner and their assistants.”

vendor meals for weddings

Photo Credit: Erica Ferrone

3. Favors:

“By no means are favors required, but they are a fantastic detail that each of your guests will appreciate! So don’t make your favors an afterthought — think about what you’ll present your guests as a ‘thank-you’ for coming at least two months in advance of your wedding date, so that you can place the bulk order of the items in time, and also personalize each one for that finishing touch.”

4. Guestbook and pens:

“Include something for your guests to leave their well-wishes for you upon arriving at your reception…Many brides that leave this to the last minute might make a trip to a local book store for a coffee table book that’s characteristic of the place where they’re getting married or something that is special to the couple. This could be a favorite recipe book for cocktails or a book of historic mansions in the city where your nuptials take place. Also, don’t forget the pens!”

guestbook and pen

Photo Credit: Captured Photography By Jenny on Every Last Detail via Lover.ly

5. Invitation suite:

“This is one of my favorite details to style and have photographed on the day of the wedding! Brides should remember to pack at least one full invitation suite and any other stationery details (rehearsal dinner invites, shower invites, save-the-dates) that were mailed out during the engagement to bring with them in the bridal prep suite the day of the wedding. If you have beautiful calligraphy and/or special envelope liners, bring more than one set — I always recommend two sets — so that your photographer can shoot the front and back of the invitation in the same frame.”

6. Cake knife and toasting flutes:

“You may receive these as a gift at your shower, opt to purchase your special set on your own, or use ones that have been handed down to you by parents or family members. When packing up your items to be placed at the reception, be sure to remember to pack your cake knife and toasting flutes (and keep the original packaging to avoid breakage) so that this detail will not be overlooked. Once this item is off your to-do list, you can focus on other things to pack — like your trousseau for the honeymoon!”

7. Tech chargers:

“When it comes time to get ready in your bridal suite on the day of the wedding, have your electronics charged and ready to go! If you’re planning on using your iPod for any part of the reception music (i.e. your favorite recording of the first dance you and your groom will sway to), make sure you have the right charger and the correct connection to your band’s or DJ’s sound system. Also, keep your phone charged overnight. You’ll want to have it ready to go as soon as you leave for the honeymoon.”

tech chargers for wedding

Photo Credit: Ashley Mauldin Photography

8. Passport and identification:

“Speaking of the honeymoon, be sure your passport and driver’s license are up to date and packed safely in your carry-on luggage. Airport security will not let you get on the plane with expired identification, so be sure you have taken care of this detail one month before your wedding.”

After the Wedding

9. Thank-you notes:

“It’s easy to let things fall by the wayside in the aftermath of your big day as the dust begins to settle, but your thank-you notes to your guests should be sent out no later than two months after your big day. Carve out fifteen minutes each day to dedicate to writing these notes, so that you don’t get overwhelmed…Also, don’t forget the important people in your life, including your parents, family members, and bridal party that were there with you through the planning from the beginning.

thank you after wedding

Photo Credit: Angel Canary Photography Inc.

10. Online reviews:

“The people that have worked so hard to make your wedding day dreams come to fruition are often forgotten once the big day has passed. The best thank-you you can give your vendors is an honest review online and an email follow up. That is the only way that your vendors can continue to improve the level of service they provide to future brides, so your feedback is very important! Plan to carve out time to review your vendors within six months of the big day.”

Tell us: Newlyweds, what did you forget to do before the wedding? Wish me luck and stay tuned for pics from my big day on September 1st!

10 things no one tells you about being the mother of the bride

A recent mother-of-the-bride reveals the important lessons she learned through the journey.

To say the mother/daughter relationship is complicated would be gross understatement — kind of like calling the moon launch a little plane ride. Oh, it starts out simple enough. Mother with absolute control. Daughter absolutely dependent (ah, the good old days!). But don’t be fooled. The Mother Autocracy is built on shifting sand, and pretty much as soon as that perfect, sweet cherub develops the power of speech, that blissful asymmetrical power structure begins to disintegrate.

She bounds off to nursery school, where she will stand on her own chubby little legs and take those first steps to becoming what you want her to be: Her very own person.

A minute goes by, and your once relatively-obedient little angel becomes a tween who trades in her halo for a cell phone and Twitter account. And the two of you transition from simmering standoff to full scale tug of war.

Blink your eyes, and she is off to college, and that last thread of childhood, strained and stretched thin, is ready to snap.

And then, before you turn around, she is living on her own and making her way in the world, calling you to say hello after a long day at the office.

You know what’s coming next. Your fabulous, accomplished, independent daughter will announce her engagement. From that moment, you and she will also become engaged — in a wedding-planning process that has the potential to become an epic battle. Bridezilla vs. Momzilla. Avoiding the carnage will depend on how well the two of you have evolved into this new and even more complex mother-daughter dynamic.

For starters, forget what you’ve heard, and get ready for a revealing and educational adventure that will, at times, challenge and frustrate but also surprise and amaze as you have an opportunity to see your daughter — and yourself — in  a whole new light. For those who are just now embarking on the mother of the bride (MOB) experience, they say it’s a little like childbirth. No matter how many books you read, you’re never really prepared.

mom and bride on wedding day

My daughter Samantha and me on her wedding daySo, here are a few things you won’t find in the manual:

1. Whose Wedding is it Anyhow?

Newsflash: Brides no longer want to toss the bouquet, wear a garter, or have cute little married people atop the cake. (What???) But, alas, one wedding tradition lives on. Translation: There is a pretty good chance your side is doing the financial heavy lifting. So, of course, there is an expectation that you will have ultimate decision-making power, as you have always had when planning events for which you wrote checks. As you map out your plans and begin organizing your team of vendors, your daughter will remind you that she is the one getting married, not you. It is a rude awakening and the moment when you realize you will be putting your money where her mouth is. It is indeed a different world than the one in which you got married 100 years ago, and if you are smart, you will listen to your daughter and let her show you how it’s done today. (Even those cute little cake topper people. Give it up.) Prepare to be amazed.

2. Three is a Crowd That Takes Some Getting Used To

You fantasize about creating the perfect, magical event for your bride-to-be. Imagine your surprise when an outsider — the groom — is weighing in with his opinions. In your excitement, you may have forgotten that the bride is not the only person getting married. And lo and behold, you cannot just ignore his input, as it is glaringly apparent that your daughter is now part of a team. Because of their mutual respect, she will consider his feelings — maybe ahead of yours. (Case in point: Those mini pigs in blankets that managed to make it into the cocktail hour. Hey, pick your battles.) And though you may be taken aback by this intrusion, you will wonder if you really hate his ideas, or if you just aren’t ready to process this huge — but inevitable and healthy — swing in loyalty.

3. Say Yes to Her Dress

One of the most fun and memorable of MOB activities is shopping for the bridal gown. Of course, you have a vision of how you want your daughter to look as she makes her grand entrance. So what do you do when it comes down to two final choices — both within the budget — and one is so gorgeous it moves you to tears, but your daughter is over the moon about the other one? Simple. But not easy. Bite your tongue. Clamp a hand over your mouth if necessary. Allow your daughter to have her moment without your little Mother voice in her head making her doubt her choice. (That was a really tough one!)

4. R-E-S-P-E-C-T

As a mother, you have raised your daughter to respect you. But, as difficult as it is to come to terms with, you have not raised her to be Mini You. So, if you have done your job, your bride will not always agree with you. Oh, the irony. When she makes a list of tasks that she will tackle, try not to pout and assume that as the “adult,” your way is the best way. Show her the respect she deserves, and you will be surprised just how capable this person is — and feel so proud. If you allow yourself to go with the flow, you will learn a lot about this grown-up who used to be your little girl and come through it at the other end with an even stronger bond.

5. She’s Got Style

When you meet the florist with your bride, you are prepared to share the concepts that the two of you have discussed. Before you can open your mouth, your daughter takes complete command, perfectly expressing her desires. It’s a little mind-blowing to be silently sitting there, but clearly, your articulate, confident bride is in control. It is a virtual passing of the torch and, for the MOB, a profoundly moving moment. You have raised a really competent young woman… with great taste! (Allow yourself some credit. She got it from somewhere!)

6. A Closed Door…An Open Window

Planning a wedding with your daughter is a life-changing milestone experience, but not for the reasons you think. What would, on the surface, appear as a veritable mountain of “things to do” is in fact a shared journey of emotional growth and discovery; a chance to really reconnect, shed old patterns, and begin a more adult relationship. As your daughter becomes consumed with embracing the challenges of her new status, it will appear as if you have been fired from your old job as Head Mother in Charge. But in truth, you have a new job as a valuable resource, on standby to help guide your daughter through the maze of married life. It is equally important — just different.

7. The Wedding Day Prep

Wedding prep for a 7 p.m. event begins at 10 a.m.? Yes, these days, the bridal party makes a day of it with hair and makeup and, even more important, bonding with the bride in her final single hours. When your daughter invites you to join that sacred space, grab an MOB bathrobe and dive in. It is a unique opportunity to see her in her natural habitat surrounded by her dearest friends and reveling in the joy of the occasion. So don’t be a party pooper. Let them spray your hair within an inch of its life so that it holds for six hours and enjoy the peek behind the curtain.

8. Memories to Last a Lifetime

Though the wedding album will capture the momentous occasion for posterity, your most personal wedding memories will not be found on those pages. You will remember the moment you and your daughter both spotted the perfect invitation, hanging out over lunch or dinner between appointments, laughing about what her future children will call you (anything but Bubbe!), or dishing about the gritty realities of married life and expectations for the future. If the process is adversarial and argumentative, that is what you will remember. The more relaxed and flexible you can be, the more cherished those memories will be.

9. The Ultimate Surprise

When you are exhausted and wondering if all of your benevolence, tolerance, and willingness to put your own ego aside (how you have matured!) has been appreciated, you are rewarded with a most beautiful and unexpected gift. On her wedding day, your daughter hands you a letter. Reading it, your eyes fill with tears as she expresses her profound gratitude, not only for all that you have done to make her wedding spectacular, but for your years of devotion and love raising her. She says she would be proud to be exactly the mom that you were to her. Bridezilla? Momzilla? I think not. You, Mother of the Bride, can now live happily ever after.

10. It Isn’t About You…But It Is!

Finally, prepare yourself for the mother of all MOB revelations. Everybody, including you initially, is convinced that this day is really all about your daughter. As you stand in the doorway, the enormity of this transformational occasion will wash over you. In that moment, it will be abundantly clear that the journey of the past year has been but the prelude to your new reality, and you must adjust your perspective accordingly. As the music starts, you will look your beautiful bride in the eyes and fervently wish her a wonderful life. She will look back at you quizzically, like you have finally lost your mind, but someday she will get it. And then you adjust the bust of your hideously uncomfortable but awesome gown one last time, put your arm through hers, and proceed down the aisle. One short walk for the bride. One giant leap for MOBs everywhere.

Blog From Bridalguide.com