Wedding Planning Do's & Don'ts

Local wedding planners share advice for artfully scheduling your wedding day to avoid stressful snafus.

By Ettie Berneking

Dec 2014

Do consider your average guest’s age when deciding when to cut the cake.  If many are older, they will expect to eat cake right away. If many are younger, they would rather have the dances done and open the dance floor first, saving cake for a little later. —Abby Mitchell with Abby Mitchell Events

Don’t schedule the ceremonial activities late in the reception. Schedule them early, so the bride and groom have time to enjoy the party with their friends and family.—Martha Wright with Gracious Occasions

Don’t plan a dinner reception in the middle of the afternoon. If the church requires an early ceremony, plan a cocktail hour and dinner later in the day. This allows time to have photos afterward if the couple doesn’t want to see each other before the ceremony.—Joyce Criswell with The Bride's Maid

Do allow extra time for family photos. A solid 45 minutes for immediate family photos, 20 minutes for extended, 45 minutes for the wedding party as a whole, and an hour for couple photos is a good estimate, but always allow for more time than you think you need.—Abby Mitchell, Abby Mitchell Events

Do try to host the rehearsal and rehearsal dinner celebration early the evening before the wedding. If there is a way to make that evening an earlier one, it makes the wedding day so much more enjoyable. A well-rested bride is a happy bride.— Martha Wright with Gracious Occasions

Don’t forget to make time to greet all of the guests and thank them for coming.—Joyce Criswell with The Bride’s Maid

Do have family members arrive 30 minutes before pictures start to get flowers on. The bride should always be put in hiding at least 30 minutes before the ceremony begins.—Mary Douglas with Bringing It Together Events

Do have the bride’s hair and makeup done first. This is her day and she needs to be ready for photos without the stylist having to hurry to finish.—Joyce Criswell with The Bride’s Maid