What I Wish I'd Known: Inanity's Top Ten Tips For Brides

For brides it's a bit of a minefield out there. Where do you start? What do you do? What do you need to have and most importantly what should you avoid at all costs.

As most of you know, I got married in April, in Las Vegas, so I've done the distance location wedding, I also planned my reception here in Belfast, I've dealt with the stresses and the strains of wedding planning half way around the world and on my doorstep. 

So I decided I would put together my list of the top ten tips for brides that I was glad of, or that I wish I had known. I had read every magazine article, every website telling me this but here is what it all boiled down to.

Inanity's Top Ten Tips For Brides
  1. 1. Hire a professional to do your hair and make up. 
  2. This is number one, and the biggest tip I can give you. I like to think I'm pretty competent with my own make up, and I think most people do, but wedding make up is a completely different beast. Firstly it has to stay on all day and it has to photograph well. Add to that the fact that the pressure and stress of the wedding morning makes even the most steady hand shake. I have never been more pleased to have hired professionals than when I was sitting back getting my hair and make up done with no stress sipping champagne. That's what you want, you do not need the stress of having to fight over a tiny mirror with your bridesmaids. Hire a professional it makes so much difference!
2. Have a closed door policy. 
If you can (it's not always possible) have someone mind the kids in the party for at least the hour before you have to leave. You do need to relax, you need to have a drink of champagne and take a breath, the day goes pretty quickly and you need to be aware of it. You need quiet and peace to get your make up and hair done, you will be spending a lot of time talking to people, A LOT OF TIME. It is good to have a few quiet moments, especially to absorb the gravity of the day, to get into your dress. Have your bridesmaids deal with any young flower girls or ring bearers and give your maid of honour the task of barring your door the hour before.

3. Eat. 
Eat a good breakfast, eat a snack whilst you're getting ready in the morning. I have friends who at their weddings went round their guests' tables during dinner so they could talk to everyone. Consequently they didn't eat much, and the time they thought they'd gain by mingling during dinner, just didn't materialise. This led to my friend Jenny having a panic attack on her hotel's fire escape from feeling faint. EAT. 

4. Ignore over zealous retailers.
When anyone says to you 'your day won't be perfect without it' you can usually completely ignore them. I lost count of the retailers who told me I needed, x, y or personalised soaps for my day to be perfect. You don't. Work out your priorities, don't let others persuade you they are not enough.

5. Do not be afraid of your wedding photographer. 
I know, it's a bit rich coming from me, as I was dreading it but they will help you, they will show you how to stand and make sure you look great.

6. Accept that you will be stressed.
Even when you think you aren't, you are stressed. I knew I was stressed when my entire skin broke out after an HD Brow treatment and by the time I landed in Vegas I had a rash all over my face, which faded as I relaxed through the week. Also two days after the wedding when I flew to Venice Beach I came down with a horrible cold which floored me for three days. It is not unusual to get sick on your honeymoon, I found this out when I came back and many girls told me how they all fell sick on their honeymoon too. Stress folks. Just stress. Look after yourself and delegate as much as possible. 

7. Prepare yourself to talk.
You will repeat yourself all day long, people will want to talk to you every time you turn around so prepare yourself to not get too much time with your new husband on the night. You will want to talk to your guests and most likely will split up to do so. It is a very strange phenomenon and you don't get a lot of time unless you steal it. So be prepared to talk, but also have a few key ways of getting out of conversations if you do need to get away. 

8. Comfort can't be overrated. 
Yes, your dress is beautiful, your hair and make up is stunning but your feet are bleeding and you're hobbling along. I know because my feet did just that, they got skinned to pieces running along the Vegas Strip in my new, fully bejewelled wedding shoes. So as I timidly made my way through The Venetian to our private dining room I felt every bit of that pain. My bridesmaids jumped to my aid and got me plasters but honestly my feet were so beat up there was no putting those heels back on. I walked through the hotel and to the limo in bare feet. Thankfully the hotel is always spotlessly clean but still, my poor feet were in pieces. When we made it back to my hotel room we had a change into my second lighter dress and my bridesmaid Claire saved the day with blister plasters, on went my lace flats and I was ready to dance again. Don't underestimate the value of comfort. Have a pair of back up shoes at your reception if needs be.

9. Try and work out all potential wardrobe malfunctions before the big day.
Ah this one got me. I thought I'd done this, but no, a few blips still made their way in. Firstly my dress which the bridal shop Perfect Day managed to order 4 sizes too big (go figure) had been taken in and restructured as much as humanly possible by my dressmaker but it couldn't pull in anymore. It fit and it looked well but there was a little gapping that I notice in the pictures. I wish my dress had been ordered in the right size so I could avoid that. Secondly, and I only found this out at my Belfast reception when I nearly landed on my face during the first dance; my shoes have little claws. The little claws on the shoes hold the stones in place which is fine, except that my dress had a net/mesh underskirt which...yeah you've guessed it was perfect to catch on the shoes. So when my new husband spun me around like we have always done, mid spin the clwas start catching and holding the skirt, by the end of the spin my dress is completely wrapped around my legs and I can hardly move. It's funny now but at the time I was so freaked out. I ditched my shoes from then on as it was too dangerous. Try and work these things out before hand!

10. Remember it's only a day.
If one person told me then a million did 'YOUR DAY HAS TO BE PERFECT' well folks I'm here to burst that bubble, there's no such thing as perfect, but you will love it regardless. From rain, to sore feet, misplaced place-cards, venues making mistakes, cars being late, bridesmaids falling over...whatever it is, don't stress about it on the day. The little things that you had never even thought about will be the bits of your day that you remember the most. Hell I walked into another wedding in my full wedding dress by accident when I was making my way to my own ceremony! Now it makes me laugh. My favourite bits from my wedding in Vegas were sitting with my new husband in the back of our limo drinking a cold beer by ourselves cruising down the Strip to our dinner. I didn't plan for that but it totally stayed with me, it was our moment to breath out. Likewise my other favourite moments were the small ones, like me and Himself dancing in the bar, or the morning after the wedding all of my friends and family sitting around at breakfast looking at the wedding photos, it was so lovely.

Honestly, it's only a day, I know many of you won't want to hear that but if you keep it in perspective you will enjoy it so much more. The brides I know who have been the most focused on the minutia have found the experience the most stressful, understandably because they have an awful lot to think about. I was actually quite relieved once I had written the last thank you card and it was all finished, it was like breathing out.

Just remember...there's life after weddings.

Much Love

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