Wedding Dos and Don’ts

Now that you’re engaged, you might be feeling like life has been taken over with talk of wedding venues, cake flavors and seating charts. To help you cut through all that noise, we’ve turned to the experts – real Alaska brides – to share their best advice for your wedding. Here are some of their top dos and don’ts to help you stay sane during all that wedding planning…and help you enjoy the big day.

DO make time to plan your wedding. “I only had three months to plan everything,” says Amanda. “If I had more time, I'm sure it wouldn't have been as stressful.”

DO set a budget. “At the very beginning, take time with your fiancée and rank the things that are most important to you in a wedding,” advises Kim. “Set a budget and spend your money on those things. Let the others go.”

DON’T rule out a wedding planner or day of coordinator. “It is easy to think, ‘I can do it all myself’ or ‘I can’t afford one,’ but keep an open mind about hiring one of these pros – they will help keep things running smooth so you can enjoy a stress-free day,” says Cheri.

DO choose your bridesmaids wisely. “You think you know people – you're probably wrong,” says Katrina. Make sure to pick yours for the right reasons and not out of some kind of obligation, which could cause regrets down the road.

DO touch base with all your vendors before the big day. Confirm times, locations and package details to make sure everyone is on the same page. “This could help prevent mishaps and mix-ups on your big day!” says Elise.

DON’T forget to leave a little wiggle room in your budget. “Hidden costs and last-minute things are very likely to sneak up on you,” advises Ashley. “Include a column in your budget for some of those miscellaneous details.”

DO make sure “the dress is PERFECT before you buy it!” says Lisa. “Two weeks before the wedding, I put my dress on and realized the left side was shorter than the right.”

DON’T have a closed mind when dress shopping. Try on as many styles as you can. “I was surprised by the styles that fit my body type best,” notes Kaitlyn.

DON’T choose the venue before considering your guest list, says Rachel. Your venue has to be a good fit for the number of friends and family that will be celebrating with you.

DO keep your bridal party and parents filled in on exactly where they need to be, when they need to be there and what important jobs you’ve assigned them. They are going to play a big part in how smoothly or how chaotic your wedding goes, recommends Erin.

DON’T spend time stressing over “who's going to sit where (such as single people with other single people, divorced parents at opposite ends, etc.),” says Sandy. “Even if you place someone at a certain spot, they will move if they want.”

DO plan enough time to get plenty of bride and groom photos taken. “The time limit prevented us from going anywhere to do more couple shots,” says Ana.

DO plan out your wedding photos and give your the photographer a list of must-have shots. “For example, I wanted more photos of our family, our guests and the decorations that I had handmade,” says Ashley.

DON’T forget your wedding timeline. “We were so caught up in trying to visit with everyone that we were trailing away from the timeline of things such as cutting the cake, bouquet/garter toss, etc.” notes Rachel. “By the time we remembered the cake, most of our guests were gone. So we took about 10 lbs of cake home.”

DO try to soak in the moments of the day, recommends Erin. “I was so nervous/excited that I really didn't ‘hear’ the special readings by my family members until about 10 minutes into the ceremony when I finally calmed down.”

DON’T rely on a friend or family member to take an amateur video of your wedding. “Our friend forgot the camera!” recalls Jana. “We don't have any video at all.”

DO schedule time to visit with guests on your wedding day. “Even a short visit will mean a lot to your guests,” says Rachel. “After all, they did come to celebrate with you!”

DON’T forget to eat. With all the excitement, food and water are likely to be the last things on your mind. Make sure to have a few light snacks throughout the morning so you’re not light-headed or nauseous, says Crystal. The day will be much more enjoyable if you’re well-fed and happy.

DON’T spend your wedding day dealing with all the details. “The early morning of our wedding I was cooking turkeys,” recalls Ashley. “I wish I had designated that task to someone who had time to do that. I felt much more rushed and even slightly stressed over the food as I had played a big part in the preparation of it.”

DON’T sweat the small stuff. “Don’t worry about the little imperfections that you have no control over. When you're throwing a party for 200 people, something is bound to go wrong!” says Crystal. “Sure there will be snafus, but those will add to the richness of your memories.”

DO steal some moments away from everyone to be with your new spouse. “Don’t get so busy that you don’t connect with one another. Take time to live in the moment as a couple,” says Ana. “Those are memories you’ll always cherish.”

DON’T spend time worrying about what other people want for your wedding day. “This day is about you and your soon-to-be husband,” says Angela. “Make it a day you will love, cherish and always look back knowing you didn't cheat yourselves out of anything.”