15 Tips for a Stress-Free Wedding Week

Photo Credit: Sonia Tapia - Enchanted Bliss
1. Finalize your wedding itinerary. "Your wedding timeline needs to be realistic and have room for error. If you don't have a planner, ask your photographer and on-site coordinator for guidance; they've done this many times and can help you avoid any red flags," says Gina Jokilehto-Schigel from Shi Shi Events. Complete this task at the beginning of your wedding week so that you can confirm all of your vendors. Then, distribute copies of the timeline to your bridal party and family members at the rehearsal dinner so that everyone is on the same page about who needs to be where and when.
2. Make sure your wedding gown fits properly. "I've had brides put their wedding dress on only to find that their alterations weren't complete, and there were still pins in it," says Joni Scalzo from Your Special Day by Joni. Also, when you take your dress home, be sure to take the garment bag off so that it has time to "breathe" and settle.
3. Break in your wedding shoes. Don't let aching feet put a damper on your big day! Stretch out your heels in advance by wearing a thick pair of socks and aiming a hair dryer at the tighter spots (keep them on while they cool). You could also try placing a bag of water in each heel and freezing them overnight. Better yet, bring a change of shoes that you can slip on while shooting photos outdoors or after the first dance.
4. Drop off necessary ceremony and reception items to your wedding venue. For example, your sign-in book, unity candles, bathroom amenity baskets, menus, table numbers, escort cards, card box, etc. Organize everything into bins and include notes with any special instructions about what goes where. Give your venue coordinator a list of items that need to be returned to you post-celebration like framed photos or your cake topper.
5. If you can avoid it, don't plan your rehearsal dinner the night before your wedding. "Schedule it two days prior, instead, to avoid being over-scheduled before your wedding," says Shannon Dexter from All You Need is Love Events. She tells us that some of her brides and grooms often choose to have dinner alone the night before their wedding so they can spend some quality time together and relax.
6. Create a ceremony diagram. Strategize the order of how the attendants will stand, and list who and in what order the family will sit in the reserved rows. That way, you won't forget to seat your favorite uncle in the right place.
7. Delegate, delegate, delegate. You won't be able to do everything by yourself, no matter how much you are willing to try. "We always encourage our brides to outsource the delivery of the welcome bags to a good friend or family member who has offered to help, or even a courier service. It is a time-consuming project that collides with such a busy period of your wedding weekend," says Augusta Cole from Easton Events. Another huge time-saver is designating someone to meet and greet out-of-town guests at the airport. "You may want to pick up everyone yourself because you are so excited to see them but don't stress yourself out," says Diane Kolanović-Šolaja from Dee Kay Events.
8. Designate a go-to person who knows just as much about the wedding as you do. In most cases, this is a maid of honor or sister. "She knows when you need a sandwich (hold the red onions) and can help calm your mom down. Most importantly, she'll relieve you from being the go-to person for every wedding question," says Lindsey Nickel from Lovely Day Events. For example, she can help your photographer identify missing family members to help move along the portraits portion of the day. You may also want to turn your cell phone over to her for the day. "If you don't, you will find yourself acting as a 'help desk' for your friends and relatives," Cole cautions.
9. Soliciting the help of a wedding coordinator can be a huge relief. They can confirm your vendors, coordinate your welcome dinner, make weather-related decisions, assist with seating assignments and finish crossing off any other last-minute tasks. "Even if nothing were to go wrong, just knowing that they are there as an insurance policy will help you keep any jitteriness to a minimum," says Aviva Samuels from Kiss the Planner.
10. Plan some fun outings with guests who will be in town. The wedding day passes by in a blur — prolong the excitement with activities leading up to the grand finale. That way, you not only get to spend time with everyone you love but also introduce your guests to one another. Just limit yourself to a few activities and avoid over-scheduling.
11. Make your final payments before they're due. "You don't want to be burdened with trying to locate your checkbook on the wedding day," says Lisa Gorjestani from Details Event Planning. Write out a list of gratuities that you plan to give each vendor and put the tip money into separate envelopes with their names, which you'll need to keep in a safe place. Depending on your preference, you could designate a parent to distribute tips, so you don't have to worry about it at the end of the night. (Bring some extra envelopes in case you’d like to adjust accordingly at the end of the event.)
12. Take good care of yourself. Eat healthy, balanced meals and don't skimp; after all, you'll need every ounce of energy you've got. "It's not fun to be a 'hangry' bride or be around one!" Nickel says. Get away from the hustle and bustle of preparations to go for a run, take a yoga class, read a book or another decompressing activity.
13. Indulge in well-deserved pampering with your wedding VIPs. After you've finalized everything, you're officially in relaxation mode and can enjoy getting your nails done! Dexter shares that one of her clients booked a mini spa getaway two weeks before the big day. "It allowed her to be calm and spend some time with her mother, whom she lived with before she married her husband and moved out," she says.
14. Get a good night's sleep. Although it may be tempting to stay up until 2 a.m., getting enough Zzzs will ensure that you're glowing in your wedding photos and have the stamina to dance your wedding night away. If you're throwing a multi-day wedding celebration, Cole tells us it's important to have a graceful exit strategy. "Establish a departure time and rally a friend or family member to ensure you leave the event to get your rest," she advises.
15. Remember why you're celebrating in the first place. Do your best to cherish this once-in-a-lifetime event. "Weddings are a joyous occasion. But with all the meticulous planning, high expectations and umpteen hours that go into them, there are bound to be some stressful moments in the final weeks," Samuels says. "Don't obsess about perfection to the point where you make yourself miserable in the process," she cautions. Take a moment to look around at the people that mean the world to you and your partner. "The dresses, cake, flowers, food, and drinks have little importance to the success of your marriage. Because, let's be honest — in the end, love is all you need," Dexter says.

How to Plan the Wedding of Your Dreams

Photo Credit: Yvette Roman
Many brides tell me that they’ve been “dreaming of this day all my life” — yet, whether you’ve already filled a binder with details for every event from the engagement party through the honeymoon or you’re starting with a blank slate, there will be only about 13 months to plan your wedding and reception. Where to begin?
Set the Date
This is a great way to get the planning started as it can help steer you in a particular direction — outdoors vs. indoors, for example. Additionally, popular venues and vendors can book up well in advance, as can photographers, bands and DJs. Working backward from the date to prioritize which things need to be taken care of right away will help keep things progressing and keep you from panicking.
Choose Your Colors
Here’s another decision that sets other important planning wheels in motion, including invites, flowers and bridal-party gowns. The wedding color palettes I’m seeing for spring and summer are beautiful muted pastels — think Caribbean Sea or pale, pale pistachio green. For a fall/winter wedding, think about deep, dark green or my favorite combo: dahlia red paired with slate grey. I’m also loving all the beiges like taupe, mushroom and cream. An easy way to envision your colors is to grab a few paint swatches from your local hardware store.
Hint: Determining both your wedding date and your color palette are two of the best ways to get your planning up and running.
Determine Your Overall Vision
Modern? Traditional? Romantic? Vintage? Just like setting the colors, once you have a clear vision, it will help you design your invitations, choose décor and select personal touches.
Pick the venue that most reflects you and your fiancé. Whether it’s a formal ballroom or outside among nature, in a vineyard or beachside, look to an environment that reflects your personal style.
The Gown
Once your date is set, start shopping. Finding “the one” (and going for follow-up fittings) takes time, so you’ll want to get this important element crossed off your to-do list early. A trend I love is a gown with a dramatically low back — even more gorgeous when adorned with long, back-hanging necklaces.
Create a Beauty Plan
You’ve chosen the gown, now start considering the perfect hair and makeup to complete your look. Get hair and makeup artist recommendations from friends and start exploring: updo or down? For a picture-perfect smile, tooth-whitening is popular with brides. Many of my brides are now taking it to the next level with treatments like Invisalign clear aligners, which discreetly straighten teeth without most people even noticing, letting you smile freely for every event leading up to the big day and beyond. Try a new fitness class or two. A new workout regime can be a great motivator if you’re trying to drop a few pounds.
Go Snail Mail
It’s traditional, classic and classy. No matter how tech savvy or environmentally conscious you are, make an effort to send all your guests a physical invitation. (And as the wedding gifts come in, be sure to follow up with written thank-you notes.)
Photos are Forever
So it’s key to find someone who will be comfortable shooting in the photographic style you seek. A major trend in wedding photography right now is less formal, more journalistic, capturing not only the bridal party, but also unique details such as rings, shoes, buttons or lace on the gown. Up-close shots featuring natural expressions are very popular too. And make sure you and your smile are camera-ready, as “selfies” and instant social-media sharing are sure to be part of your wedding day.
Don’t skimp here. Your guests will appreciate a great DJ, band or other fun activities. Entertainment is one area that brings people together and creates experiences that everyone will remember long after the celebration.
Hire Help
Even if you have planned every detail (whew!), handing off the day-of logistics to a coordinator on the day itself will ensure your vision is carried out and allow you to take in the day and enjoy your guests. Cheers!
Based out of Beverly Hills, Mindy Weiss is a full-service event planner who has planned the weddings of notable brides including Jessica Simpson and Ellen DeGeneres.

The Right Wedding Makeup for Your Personality

Flower Child
Let your beauty blossom with these pretty-in-pink hues.

Photo Credit: Eddie Collins (model); Courtesy of designers (products)
1. Apply Laura Mercier Illuminating Eye Color in Opal Fantasy to your lids to make those eyes pop. 
2. Spring forward and reach for a blush brush, then dab Clinique Cheek Pop in Plum Pop on your cheeks. 
3. Give your lashes some pizzazz with Too Faced Better Than Sex Mascara. 
4. Add Revlon Colorburst Lip Balm Stain in Sweetheart to your lips for a wow-worthy smile. 

Golden Goddess
An ultra-glam big-day look can be yours with a gilded palette.

1. Sweep Topshop Eye Duo in Woodland Walk along your lids for a touch of sheen.
2. Dust Mark Touch & Glow Shimmer Cream Cubes Face Palette along your cheekbones — accentuating your gorgeous bone structure.
3. Glide Sephora Rouge Infusion Lip Ink in Beige Extract over lips for a glistening pucker.
4. Smoothing Sonia Kashuk Perfecting Translucent Illuminator on cheeks will create a dewy complexion.
Tip: Blend illuminator on your cheeks and down the bridge of your nose for a slimming effect.

Retro Chic
Vintage beauty touches can look surprisingly au courant.

1. Opt for a rosy hue on the cheeks — we love BECCA Creme Blush in Turkish Rose.
2. Capture that coquettish charm with Urban Decay False Lashes in Sly.
3. Add Sephora Outrageous Volume Waterproof Mascara to blend lashes and elevate this flirty look to new heights. 
4. Opt for a crimson pout with MAC Viva Glam Rihanna Lipstick. 
5. Line the lid with a swipe of Stila Stay All Day Waterproof Pen for a sultry cat eye. 
Tip: When applying false lashes, cut the strip to better fit the length and shape of your eye.

Oh-So Classic
If "less is more" is your makeup mantra, you’ll love this elegant big-day look.

1. A dusty rose blush like Smashbox Blush Rush in Chiffon will create that essential bridal radiance. 
2. Apply Laura Mercier Faux Lash Mascara to your lashes for an alluring gaze. 
3. To create a picture-perfect smile, reach for Bobbi Brown Uber Pink Lipstick in Pink Kiss.
4. Then, go for a soft shimmery finish with Josie Maran Argan Beautiful Eyes in Beautiful Nude. 
Tip: Ensure that your eye shadow will withstand the test of time by first applying a primer to lock in pigment.

10 Ways to Keep Your Sanity While Planning a Wedding

Amid the whirlwind of those seemingly endless last-minute preparations, take time to relax and reflect on what matters most: friends, family, and of course, fun! Whether it’s a moment of Zen by your lonesome or happy hour with the girls, every bride needs a few strategies to step out of the spotlight and enjoy the moment.

Photo Credit: iStockphoto
1. Load up your iPod with a “Wedding Countdown” playlist to keep you energized and positive. Think of this as your emotional pacifier—it’s basically impossible to be in a bad mood while lipsyncing to “Call Me Maybe.” If all else fails, break out the heavy artillery: ABBA and old-school Britney Spears.
2. Set aside five minutes every day for some “lite yoga.” Minneapolis-based yoga instructor Catherine Justice recommends the following visualization exercise: sit cross-legged on the floor with your back against a wall in a cool, quiet room. Send out kind thoughts to someone you love deeply, someone you’re having conflict or emotional difficulty with—and yourself. “Your wedding is exciting, but it’s also stressful,” Catherine says. “While you’re trying to accommodate everyone else’s needs, remember to also take care of yourself.”
3. “Wine down" with your BFFs. Hit the local wine shop and stock up on vino with whimsical labels. Suggestions: True Love Riesling, Bliss Chardonnay, or Princess Moscato. (If you’re feeling feisty, try Wit’s End Shiraz!)
4. Designate a cell phone wrangler for the day of the wedding. Guests who are stuck at the airport or lost en route to the ceremony site should be able to ask someone for assistance—but that someone should not be you. “Guests don’t want to bother the bride while she’s getting her hair done, but they might not have anyone else’s number,” says California-based wedding planner Melody Walker. “Ask your wedding planner or one of your bridesmaids to field last-minute texts and calls.” You need to stay focused and calm (and so does your hairstylist!).
5. Ask your loved ones to share stories of their wedding disasters. Bride tripped halfway down the aisle? Flower girl brawled with the ring bearer? Everyone has a tale to tell, because something tends to go wrong at nearly every wedding. Listening to these anecdotes helps you keep your sense of humor and reminds you that these little mishaps make the memories you’ll share with your grandchildren someday.
6. Agree on a "safe word" for family gatherings. Make a plan with your groom before the guests arrive. Then, if you’re cornered by his crazy Uncle Gus and subjected to a political rant, you can simply turn to your beloved, murmur “licorice,” and wait for his extraction team to come to your rescue.
7. Go back through your e-mails and texts and re-read the messages you and your fiancé sent to each other when you started dating. Remember why you fell in love and dream about the future. And while you’re at it, send him a little love note to remind him that you’re thrilled to be his bride.
8. Don't go nuts — eat them! “Plan to have some protein available in the bridal party’s dressing room,” suggests Walker. She recommends prepping for your walk down the aisle with light snacks that are healthful, filling and nonstaining, such as string cheese and raw almonds or cashews.
9. Make arrangements to spend the night before the wedding at a hotel near your venue. This gives you a chance to have some much-needed alone time on the morning before the ceremony. A little bit of solitude will make the upcoming celebration that much sweeter.
10. Hop into a bubble bath with a book. The warm water will soothe the aches after all those hours in high heels, and a novel offers a mental mini-vacation. Read a few chapters and save the rest for the plane ride to your honeymoon destination.