When you're getting married, the to-do lists can feel endless. But one of the most important to-dos is keeping yourself in the right frame of mind so you can actually appreciate one of the biggest days of your life. With so much going on—the ceremony, photos, making sure guests are having fun—it's easy to let everything go by in a flash, and many couples forget to step back and take in the little moments that will turn into lifelong memories. Here are some tips to help you do just that. Remember, you can't stop the clock; instead, try to savor every minute of your wedding day as it happens.
Plan ahead, plan ahead, plan ahead.
Do as much in advance as you possibly can. If something can be signed, sealed, or delivered a few weeks before the wedding date, do it. Buy gifts for your bridal party, wrap them, and add personal notes. Write your toasts if you plan to make them (it's so easy to procrastinate with this one—don't!). Some things have to be done at the last minute, like the rehearsal and hair and makeup, and a few 11th-hour hiccups are inevitable. Giving yourself a cushion of time will mean that you can handle all that with ease.
Make friend time a priority.
Don't wait until the wedding itself to get together with your nearest and dearest. These are people you want to share special moments with, so schedule them. Go for a yoga class or a spa treatment the day before, or even the morning of the wedding. The night before I was married, my sister slept over, and we took a walk in Central Park before everything began. A bonus: those last-minute hiccups I mentioned above? If something unexpected pops up, like a seating-chart change, your maid of honor or besties will be there to help.
Work with vendors as smoothly as possible.
The wedding industry is filled with talented people, so when you're putting together your dream team, think about not only their work but your chemistry as well. You want to enjoy the process of planning with these experts, and you especially want to feel comfortable with the ones who will be up close with you the day of—such as your planner and photographer. When you're interviewing candidates, ask them tons of questions. Discuss the look and style of their work, and also inquire about their process. If you find someone whose work you love and it turns out you "click" when chatting, that's the one you hire!
Go to cocktail hour.
You've worked hard to arrange fun events for your guests—make sure you are there for them. After the ceremony and a quick photo session, leave some time to relax and bask in the feeling of celebration. Taste some hors d'oeuvres, have a cocktail (or a mocktail), and try out the photo booth with your friends! Look around and take it all in.
Be strategic about your plans to document your day. Obviously it's important to capture moments from the ceremony and reception and everyone who was there, but you also don't want to feel as if you're stuck posing for pictures all night long. Talk to your photographer ahead of time about his or her strategy for getting candids versus posed portraits, and make an organized list of folks you want photographed (parents, best friends, grandparents, etc.). Inform the people on the list, too! Communication is key. Ask your planner or another point person to help wrangle everyone for their shots. The more posed photos you want, the more help the photographer will need in coordinating it all. But delegate that job so you don't miss out on this very special party.