From my sister's wedding, I learned:
- Don't assume your BMs know what's expected of them (dress fixing, hair, dancing with GMs, handing out favours - whatever). Have a chat and ask them to do what you have in mind on the day, then give them a timeline and get someone to check they haven't forgotten.
-Designate a reliable friend not in the wedding party to be your "fixer" on the day and give them a spare key to your house - someone who won't mind, eg, driving to your house to pick up something you've forgotten and dropping it to the hotel. People love to help you, and you don't probably want one of your BMs missing the photos because you forgot your grandmother's brooch for your bouquet or something.
- If you and new hubby are spending the night in the hotel room/apartment where you spent the night before with the BMs, make sure someone tidies it up and that the BMs take their stuff and leave it at reception before you leave for the ceremony, and that they, not you, are picking their bags up the next morning. It took my sis and BIL an hour to load all the wedding prep stuff into the car the morning after - not fun with a hangover!
- When you advise your venue of numbers, tell them approx 5 less people than you have gotten RSVPs for, then (make sure you remember!) update them the day before. They will always be able to find five more portions of beef, but if you tell them 120 people and get 5 last-minute pull outs from guests (like someone gets sick and can't come, someone's relative is in hospital etc) you will still have to pay for 120 people.
-DIYing your invitations can easily be more expensive than getting them made.
-Don't buy things too early. Your ideas change and they get wasted. I'm now looking for shoes #2, for instance, as I've found my original ones don't make me tall enough to dance with my very tall fiance!
-Keep samples of your dress fabric, invitation paper, colour swatches, flower pics etc in a ziplock bag in your handbag in the months leading up to the wedding. When a huge bargain for coloured tablecloths or something appears in a random mall on your interstate holiday, you don't want to be wondering if they actually match or not.
- If you have an iPhone, get a good wedding planner app for your phone. I use iWedding for guestlist, RSVPs, notes, photos, to-do list, and Wedding Caddy Budget for the budget EVERY SINGLE DAY and because my phone is always with me I never forget to put things in. There are lots of different apps, but I've tried a few and like those ones best. There's even an app for doing up the timeline for the day. I don't know how I would manage wedding planning without my iPhone!
Now I'm just waiting to make all of my own mistakes when we get married in October!