With the clock ticking and the heartbeats quickening, the 24 hours leading up to your wedding day can be a whirlwind of nerves and excitement.
It’s the moment when your emotions run wild, and every little issue seems magnified (like, um, your tent rental company forgot to drop off chairs for your guests and your hippie friend’s recommendation for providing loved ones with yoga mats is so not going to fly).
We’ve mapped out pros’ approaches to dealing with unexpected hiccups, managing pre-wedding jitters (or, you know, panic) and everything you didn’t know you needed to know during the final countdown.
Be zen about the small stuff
Even if it seems to be big stuff. And easier said than done, but well worth it.
In my case, a call to the vendor was all it took to learn that said guest chairs were being stored a few miles away since they didn’t want the chairs to sit out on the wet lawn. Crisis averted.
As Renée Dalo, a wedding planner and certified life coach of Moxie Bright Events in Los Angeles, put it: “Try to become and remain unbothered by the small things.”
Plus, she said, at 24 hours to go, everything is a small thing: “The wedding is planned. Your nearest and dearest all know what they’ve got to do, and you are in good hands with your pro vendor team.”
You know what you can count on transpiring?
“Someone will text you and tell you they can no longer make it to your wedding. It literally happens every weekend to our couples. Whether it’s due to COVID-19, an everyday cold, or travel or childcare … something will happen,” she said. “And your only reply should be, ‘So sorry to hear that! We will miss you.’ The End.”
That’s why planners emphasize that you should remain unbothered and not make the issue bigger than it has to be.
“The people who are meant to be at your wedding will be at your wedding,” she said. “And 20 years from now, you probably won’t care about the friend from work whose babysitter canceled on them at the last minute.”
One last check, then let it go
Do a run-through and Q&A the night before, then, don’t think about wedding stuff as much as possible. Truly. Everything that needs to be done is already in place and the things that go wrong, well, they’ll probably be funny memories you’ll cherish years from now.
However, before you go into unplugged mode from your wedding planning vortex, make time on your wedding eve to have a final run of show call with your planner to ease your mind, said event producer Alicia Mae of ILE Events, based in Summit, NJ.
“In this all-important chat, confirm the details of your transportation to and from the venue, finalize the checklist of must-pack personal items (set these aside pre-packed) and ask any last-minute questions,” she said.
If you don’t have a wedding planner, go over the schedule yourself and make sure you have vendor contact details in one place for easy access.
Guzzle some water
“HYDRATE! Seriously. I know it sounds basic, but it’s actually essential,” shouted Dalo. “As you are likely hosting a rehearsal dinner or welcome party, and well-meaning folks are shoving celebratory drinks in your hand, you have to make a concerted effort to drink as much water as possible.”
Even the best makeup artist in the world cannot help your skin look dewy and glowy if you are a dehydrated mess. “It will also help you ward off a hangover. Seriously, please drink at least one glass of water for every alcoholic drink you have in the 24 hours prior to your wedding,” she stressed.
Prep your wedding party attire
“Make sure that your attire is ready beforehand,” advised Kawania Wooten, owner and principal consultant of Howerton+Wooten Events, based in the Washington, DC, suburb of Bowie, MD. “If you or members of your wedding party need to steam a dress or shine a pair of shoes, take care of that the day before the wedding instead of the actual day.”
An even better option is to have a reputable dry cleaner take care of it for you the day before. “Trying to steam, hem or alter your clothing on the day of the wedding can be a little stressful, and it takes up valuable time. Also, you don’t want to be anywhere near a steamer once your hair and makeup has been applied,” she said.
Along these lines, there may be the issue of distributing gifts to your bridesmaids and groomsmen and family.
“If you’re planning to give presents to your wedding party, parents or your soon-to-be spouse, make sure you have them all organized and ready to go well in advance,” said Jamie Wolfer, founder and owner of Wolfer & Co., a wedding industry collective based in Waco, Texas, and Southern California. “The morning of your wedding is not the time to be hunting for gift tags or wrapping paper.”
Another pro tip from Wooten? Make sure breakfast, lunch and/or beverages (like coffee — long day, people) have been arranged to be delivered to the wedding party.
“Don’t wait until the morning of, because some restaurants and delis require you to place an order at least 24 hours in advance,” she said. “You want to ensure that everyone gets fed, so make sure that your ‘morning of’ food orders are taken care of.”
Better yet, ask your wedding planner or a trusted friend to make the decisions for you so you don’t have to think about it.
Make sure your personal transportation is ready
Sure, you booked that shuttle service for guests months ago, but have you figured out transportation for the wedding party?
“If you’re not hiring a professional service, you need to confirm how you’re getting from point A to point B to point C, and so on,” said Wolfer. “You’d be surprised how often this gets overlooked and people end up stranded.”