The wedding has reached the stage where it's no longer a tiny dot, far into the future. Instead, it's a very real, very near event that is only one (gulp) week away! There's plenty that goes through one's head when facing the last week before the wedding. Sure, some of it involves breathing into a brown paper bag, but by-and-large, it's full of a mix of anxious nerves, excitement and anticipation. When I think about the fact that we've been planning (and sure, stressing) over one day for nearly a year, it's a bit overwhelming. What other life event would require so much time and energy put into essentially eight hours of one day? Still, as most people tell me, I'm sure I'll look back and think—it was all worth it, every second, every bit of planning. And while I'm by no means an expert having gone through this, I do feel there are a few things I have learned that could be passed on to the next bride-to-be. 1. Stay organized and make lists. Lists are your friend—they force you to think of every possible scenario and anything you might forget. I'll be the first to admit, I'm a bit of a control freak but I can't tell you how calming it's been knowing I have everything down on paper. I already created (probably much-too-detailed) schedules of the big day—and printed off individual copies for our wedding party with portions of the day highlighted to ensure they know what they have to be ready for. (See? Control freak.) And I've already created my lists—lists for wedding photos we want to get, lists for what to bring to the rehearsal, to the wedding and to the hotel and of course, the lovely week-of checklist. 2. Take time out to enjoy each other before you get swept up in the last-week stress and chaos. Tom and I scheduled massage appointments for a week before the wedding and it was probably the best decision ever. It was a bit hard to budget time for it but so so worth it in the end. I know this next week will be utter craziness so it's best to go into it with a level head and a relaxed (and somewhat de-knotted) body. 3. Start a wedding gifts spreadsheet early. If you're anything like us, you will be delighted to find new packages and wedding gifts at your door nearly every day. It's incredibly exciting but don't forget to mark them down or there's no chance you'll remember later. (Oh, this tip is under the assumption that you're like us and had no prayer of waiting til the day after the wedding to open them. Eee, too fun!) 4. Have fun with your guest list. Since we went a bit more simplistic with our invites (and had a few leftover) we decided to have a little fun and send them off to some big names. Yes, The Honorable President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama received an invite to our wedding—as did Mickey and Minnie Mouse. I had read a blog a while ago that if you send your invites to Disneyland and the White House, they'll actually mail you something back. A few weeks ago, we got this from Disneyland:
Then on Friday, we got this from the White House:
5. Keep an eye on your registries—not to peek at what you might be getting but more so to ensure everything's current and nothing went out of stock or has been discontinued. As the wedding approaches, and bridal showers check off a number of items, make sure you still have plenty of options for your guests so they're not scrambling and taking more time then they want to find you a gift. 6. Don't forget to work in those bridal shoes! No, it's not the most attractive look but I highly suggest putting on a pair of thick, wool socks and walking around your house in the shoes you'll wear on your wedding day. It will help stretch those heels out and give you some good practice in wearing them for a couple of hours. I recently vacuumed the house while wearing my winter socks and ivory wedges -- it wasn't pretty and I looked like a crazy lady, but boy, it got the job done. 7. Practice, practice, practice. Practice your hair updo and ensure it looks just how you want it. Practice your make-up for that day to make sure it's the look you want and then do it again if you want. No one makes the rules on these kinds of things and the more you can test things out, the less stressed you'll be for the big day. This also goes for any speeches you plan on making or your vows, if you choose to write your own. Get a good mental image of what the day will be like and you'll eliminate the dreaded element of surprise.
8. Confirm everything you can. This also goes back to the staying organized point but if you can do a final email exchange or phone call with the people involved in your wedding to ensure you're on the same page it'll make you less stressed and keep everyone in harmony. This goes for day-before nail appointments, rehearsal dinner reservations, photographers, videographers, etc. 9. Prepare yourself now that things may go wrong. This one was particularly difficult for me but I forced myself to expect that not everything will be perfect—and most importantly, be OK with that. Whatever happens, happens—and hey, it's sometimes the moments that didn't go right that become some of the funniest and most memorable . . . eventually. 10. Stop, breathe and take it all in. This whole process has gone by so fast and the day of the wedding will go by even faster so whenever I can, I try to sit back, take a nice, deep breath and reflect on everything we've accomplished and everything that's up ahead. Even if it's receiving another gift in the mail or checking off a big wedding task, it helps to not rush it but enjoy it. Make it it's own little event and promise remember every moment. Well, that's about all the tips I can think of for now—just remember the big ones: breathe, stay calm and enjoy every second. I'm sure as we enter the final week we'll have a few more tips pop up. Until then, happy (last week) planning and I'll see you when I'm Mrs. Pelissero!