We are quickly approaching wedding season and many brides are in the last minute phases of planning; here are some helpful tips for anyone planning a wedding:

1. The wedding day can be extremely hectic, so if your caterer does not provide one, hire a coordinator for the day of the wedding. This will take the pressure off of you and keep you, your friends and family from stressing over the details.

2. Use some of the free resources on the web to create your guest list, register for gifts, etc… Martha Stewart’s web-site has a great tool to manage your guest list to track which guests will be in attendance. This type of list will keep you organized and is easily accessible to update last minute RSVPs.

3. Consider incorporating foods that represent you and groom into your menu for a personal touch. We suggest including a family recipe or a meal from the bride and/or groom’s hometown. Other fun ideas are candy bars, themed menus and dessert buffets with miniature sweets.

4. Talk to your caterer before the reception and have them save dinner for you and groom. Frequently the bride and groom spend the dinner greeting guests and miss out on the meal.

5. Create your seating chart as early as possible. A good suggestion is making a poster board chart with numbered tables and Velcro seats that can be moved easily if things change last minute. If you prefer to do your seating chart online, Wedding Wire web-site has a wonderful interactive seating chart application as well.

6. If you are having a destination wedding, it is a good idea to leave goodie bags at the hotel for your guests. Fun items to include in the bags are snacks, personalized bottled waters (visit the Bottle Your Brand web-site for ideas), flip flops for dancing and a map of the area. It is also helpful to create a list of the wedding activities, times and locations along with a list of local attractions to keep the guests occupied during the hours not devoted to the wedding.

7. Make sure to walk in your wedding shoes a few times before the wedding to wear them in. The soles of new shoes can be slick, and the last thing you want to do is slip on the way down the aisle!

8. Check your passports if you are headed out of the country for your honeymoon to make sure they have not expired. It can take four to six weeks to renew a passport, so make sure to give yourself ample time.

9. Make a folder of all documents you will need for the wedding and honeymoon, including the wedding license, passports and flight information. Keeping all of these important documents in one place will save you the stress of searching for them last minute.

10. Create an inventory of the items you need to take with you at the end of the night and give it to one or two responsible family members (or your planner) to help gather everything so that your heirloom cake knife or even your veil, for example, are not left behind.

Although wedding planning can be stressful, the most important thing to remember is to relax and have fun. This is your day!

– Erin Stagmaier

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