I got married 3 weeks ago (yay!) and here is my list-I found people's input so helpful in this thread so hopefully mine helps
Most important- It's ONE day in your life. Don't forget that. Marriage is for a lifetime.
* Whatever you chose people will be disapointed- oh no dancing? I love dancing. No wedding cake? Oh I love cake (nevermind there are 3 desserts!) and so on!
* Do your day how you & FH want it, not how your families want it. We wanted a small, destination wedding with those closest to us. We had 30 guests in Port Douglas. It was perfect...for us. If you want a huge wedding with 200 people-go for it! Just don't let your family pressure you into it.
* If it's a destination wedding have at least 1 other (optional) event planned. We had a lovely BBQ the night after the wedding & DH's families huge villa. People bought their kids, swam, ate. It was a great way for me to chat to more people who I didn't get to have a good chat to the day of the wedding.
* Bridesmaids are not maids. I didn't expect anything from my bridesmaids except to plan my hens. My sister ended up having a baby & the other friend couldn't fly over. No big deal, I planned it myself & had a great time. I had very low expectations so was never upset. On the day they were perfect which is what counted to me. But remember this is much more interesting to you than to them!
* Pay for us much as you can for your bridal party. We paid for dresses, suits, ties, jewellry, hair & makeup. They wore any shoes they wanted (if we'd had special shoes I'd have paid for that)
* We emphasised no wedding presents. People already spent money flying to PD, paying for hire cars, accomodation etc. We were so touched people spent so much time and money coming up for our wedding day. So precious to us! So in return we really spoiled them (great food, wine, cocktails, fun activities etc)
* Don't go into debt. It's one day. We stayed within budget.
* Cut out unnecessary (to you) expenses & save where you can. We didn't have cars, only basic decorations, band, DJ, wedding cake etc We splurged on food, wine, cocktails (guests went crazy over the cocktails, such a hit!), photographer.
* Have a timeline & print it out and distribute it to everyone in the wedding party & both families. Couldn't believe how useful it was, especially for my in-laws. I had one for both families (Ie DH's family: 1200: Flowergirls ready; 1230: Photographer arrives) & so on.
* Have a list of all the photos you want taken. I got mine from here then added heaps (ie Bride & Siblings, Bride & Mum)http://weddings.about.com/od/photograph ... cklist.htm
* Go over the day before the wedding (or a few days before) with the venue the menu. We had an error which is lucky we picked up. They had the wrong menu!
Also go over the wedding day plan with them.
* If it's a destination wedding go up & check everything out before you book. We were lucky & just went up after we booked but we had a short (6 month) engagement so had to book before we visted (we visited 3 months before & met photographer, had hair and makeup trial, met celebrant, met wedding organiser at our venue & chose the menu-food tasting is yum!- & chose what area the ceremony & reception would be in. Cocktail tasting was very important too ;D)
* I wish I had emphasised how important it was for a 'perfect' photo of DH and I not kissing. We have heaps of lovely photos of us but very few in which we are not kissing. Oh well-lesson learnt!
Enjjoy the day/ Don't let anything stress you out-make sure your families keep any drama away from you!