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50 Clever Wedding Tricks to Make Your Life Easier

Planning a wedding can be the ultimate exercise in stress management. At times, it may feel as if you're being asked to juggle balls while jumping through flaming hoops of fire — all with a can-do smile on your face. And with unexpected wedding costs, vendor disputes or tricky etiquette dilemmas to contend with, it's no wonder some couples fantasize about eloping (or actually go through with it!).

Although no one can guarantee a bump-free road down the aisle, there are lots of tricks that can help make the process that much smoother so that you can get back to enjoying the true purpose of planning: marrying the person you want to spend the rest of your life with.

By: Stefania Sainato

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  • Get married in an (almost free) space.

    Get married in an (almost free) space.

    Some public sites like parks or gardens allow you to tie the knot there in exchange for a small donation. Shannon Mcnay, a personal finance writer who recently planned her NYC wedding for less than $5,000, opted to wed at a community garden in the East Village. She reveals that "My husband and I are from different religions, so we chose to get married in a neutral place. It was beautiful and it provided exactly the setting we wanted — a small urban oasis."

    Related: 25 of the Most Breathtaking Ceremony Spots in National Parks

    Photo Credit: Birdsong Photography

  • If you

    If you're willing to be flexible on your exact date...

    Wait until four to five months before your desired wedding month to book your venue. Most couples select their date and site at least one year out, but according to Grace Eurglunes, a wedding planner at The Addison, there is major bargaining power to be had for those with a shorter timeline. "You can save up to half the cost of your venue, food, and more, as all wedding professionals are looking to fill upcoming dates where they have nothing booked yet," she advises.

    Related: 7 Steps for Setting a Wedding Date

  • Consider choosing a singular location that offers hotel accommodations, as well as ceremony and reception capabilities.

    Consider choosing a singular location that offers hotel accommodations, as well as ceremony and reception capabilities.

    Mary Bradley, the owner of Mary Bradley Events, recommends selecting one site where all of the festivities can take place, which will help you save money, cut down on time and eliminate transportation logistics.

    Related: 101 Ways to Save Thousands on Your Wedding

  • Ask to see how your ceremony and/or reception site will be set up in the event of inclement weather.

    Ask to see how your ceremony and/or reception site will be set up in the event of inclement weather.

    Couples may fall in love with a venue for its natural beauty, but when the wedding day arrives and rain or snow begins to set in, that can pose a challenge in maintaining what they had originally envisioned. That's why The Woodmark Hotel recommends not only discussing weather alternatives, but actually taking a look at how they would be executed. For example, their tent comes equipped with heating and cooling capabilities and it can be completely closed off from the outdoors.

    Related: What to Do in Case of a Wedding Weather Disaster

  • Attend bridal shows and expos early on in your engagement.

    Attend bridal shows and expos early on in your engagement.

    "There’s no better way to get inspired with new and unique ideas than by seeing them firsthand," says Carole Trulio, the Catering Manager for Four Seasons Hotel in Atlanta. Plus, you'll be entered into raffles where you could score a free honeymoon, gown or more! Just create a wedding-only email address beforehand so that you don't get inundated with messages while you're at work.

    Related: Just Engaged? 5 Things to Do First

    Photo courtesy of The Great Bridal Expo

  • Decipher wedding testimonials to determine if it

    Decipher wedding testimonials to determine if it's worth meeting with a potential vendor.

    It might be tempting to scan online reviews based on ratings alone but wedding photographer G.E. Masana advises filtering through them more carefully. Reviews fall into three different categories: the "exit door" review, where a bride and groom haven't yet experienced the service but are enthused about having contracted that vendor; the "good guy" review, where the vendor delivered perfunctory service and therefore, the couple had nothing special to say (e.g. "Bob showed up on time and was very accommodating"); and lastly, the "exceeded expectations" review, which is the best kind to look for. In this kind of testimonial, the couple isn't just satisfied — they're beyond thrilled and they mention specific details about why this particular professional blew them away.

    Photo Credit: Michael Jung/iStock

  • Book as many services as you can with a single vendor.

    Book as many services as you can with a single vendor.

    For example, if your wedding planner or florist offers lighting, rentals and invitations, you can potentially score a big discount for packaging them together, rather than hiring different vendors to execute each element. You also have more room to negotiate.

    Related: What to Ask Before Booking Your Wedding Vendors

    Photo Credit: iStock

  • Don’t just tell your vendors what you like.

    Don’t just tell your vendors what you like.

    It's important to actually show them! For example, there are hundreds of variations of blue, so rather than leave any room for interpretation, Krystal Tien of Couture Events recommends giving a Pantone color swatch to vendors so that you're all on the same page about what "dusty teal" looks like.

    Related: 200+ Color Combinations for Your Wedding

    Photo Credit: Ashley Maxwell

  • If you don

    If you don't have a wedding planner, consider hiring a day-of coordinator.

    "Not only will she/he guide you through the day, but they will be the liaison between you and everyone else involved in the wedding. Dealing with one person alleviates a ton stress on the big day," says Andrea Correale, an entertaining expert and the founder of Elegant Affairs. Learn more about what day-of planning entails (and costs) here ►

    Photo Credit: Photo Credit: Michael Segal

  • Can

    Can't afford a professional wedding video? Hire a shooter just to capture raw footage.

    That way, you can capture all of the memories and have them edited into a video at a later point in time (say, after you're received any monetary wedding gifts).

    If that's still completely out of your budget, Martine Boursiquot-LaConte, the owner and founder of This Modern Love Events, suggests flipping the script by renting mini video cameras from WeddingMix. For a fraction of the cost of professional videography, you can assign a specific number of cameras to relatives or friends. After the wedding, you mail them back to the company and they'll edit your footage into a full-length video for you.

  • Buckle down and make an alphabetized Google doc with your guests

    Buckle down and make an alphabetized Google doc with your guests' names and addresses after you get engaged.

    Although it might seem daunting, "If you keep organized from the beginning, this will make your life much easier during the crunch time of figuring out your final guest count," says Sunny Ravanbach, the president and founder for White Lilac Events. Hosting your doc in the cloud allows you to easily share info with your fiancé, your parents, or any other VIPs who may need to access it and make revisions. Always store a hard copy for back-up, just in case.

    Related: 10 Not-So-Fun Wedding Tasks You Should Do Early On

    Photo Credit: iStock

  • If you can

    If you can't afford calligraphy, invest in a personalized return stamp so that you don't have to hand-write your address 100 times.

    Ink stamps are more formal than labels and lend a beautiful look to save-the-dates, bridal shower invites and more. You have to apply the right amount of pressure to make the ink dark enough to read, but not so dark that it smudges. We recommend testing this out on scrap paper first and leaving all of the finished papers out for at least a day to dry.

    Related: 25+ Creative Save-the-Date Ideas

    Photo Credit: Studio G Designs on Etsy

  •  Number the back of your RSVP cards to correspond with your address document.

    Number the back of your RSVP cards to correspond with your address document.

    Davia Montoya, a real bride and the owner of Davia Lee Weddings & Events, explains that this will not only help you figure out which cards might be missing, but will also help you decipher difficult-to-read responses. Whether you choose to use cool invisible ink is totally up to you — odds are that most of your guests aren't observant enough to notice a tiny number on the backhand corner!

    Related: 10 Ways to Keep Your Sanity While Planning a Wedding

  • Address thank-you notes ahead of time for guests who send a gift prior to the big day.

    Address thank-you notes ahead of time for guests who send a gift prior to the big day.

    Jodi R.R. Smith, a national wedding etiquette expert, clued us in to this genius time-saver, which will give you one less thing to do post-wedding. Acquaintances or friends of relatives may want to give you a present even if they weren't invited to your big day, so thanking them now ensures that you won't be scrambling to keep track of rogue thank-yous that you forgot to add to your address doc. If you're super ambitious, you could also address the thank-you envelopes for all of your guests ahead of time.

    Related: The 10 Biggest Post-Wedding Mistakes Newlyweds Make

    Photo Credit: K&K Photography

  •  Repurpose your ceremony blooms for the reception.

    Repurpose your ceremony blooms for the reception.

    Lynn Jawitz, the owner of Florisan Wedding and Event Design, suggests asking your florist to create a wide horizontal flower piece on the arch or chuppah, if you're having one. After the nuptials, he or she can cut it down and tuck the wires under (or remove them completely), transforming it into an instant sweetheart table arrangement.

  • If your venue hosts multiple weddings in a weekend, ask what rentals the other brides are using.

    If your venue hosts multiple weddings in a weekend, ask what rentals the other brides are using.

    If you're flexible, some sites will allow you to leave up the decorations from the previous wedding or they'll bring the rentals from the next wedding in early. Crystal Chu from Bloominous— a website that helps couples put together their own DIY centerpieces — reveals that "The wedding after us rented the party string lights from the site, so they just put them up early and we got to use them as well."

    Photo Credit: JQ Image

  • Use one flower en masse throughout your big day.

    Use one flower en masse throughout your big day.

    Not only will this cut down on costs, but it also makes for a dramatic look. Bradley recommends using different types of vessels to add visual interest, such as wood crates or colored milk glasses. You can also kick your centerpieces up a notch by using paint! "If you love antique pink hydrangeas but you don't love the price, basic white hydrangeas can be tinted with a special floral spray," says Bradley. The trick to making them look realistic is to make sure the leaves stay green.

    Photo Credit: Colin Miller

  • Love peonies, which are the most requested flower at weddings? Try using garden or cabbage roses, instead.

    Love peonies, which are the most requested flower at weddings? Try using garden or cabbage roses, instead.

    "Most people could never tell the difference. Best of all, they are way less expensive and available all year long," says Tracie Domino, the founder and creative director for Tracie Domino EventsUse this handy chart to see which flowers are in season for your wedding ►

    Photo Credit: Andrea Lynn Taylor / Flowers: EightTreeStreet

  • Use sugar instead of white sand as a centerpiece filler.

    Use sugar instead of white sand as a centerpiece filler.

    Kia Martinson, a planner for ESTOccasions, swears that it's cheaper than anything you can pick up in the craft store and it adds a great dose of sparkle to your table setting!

  • Mix up your table linens.

    Mix up your table linens.

    Specialty linens with sequins, embroidery or appliqués pop in photos, but their cost can be prohibitive. Domino suggests renting them just for your head table and your cake table, since those are the most prominent. If you absolutely need to have colored/patterned linens on all of your tables, event designer Shandra Ward suggests adding table toppers to your venue's standard white, black, or ivory coverings. (They cost half the price of full-length tablecloths.)

  • Consider having a trial for your wedding décor, just like you would for your hair and makeup.

    Consider having a trial for your wedding décor, just like you would for your hair and makeup.

    Celebrity event planner Colin Cowie explains that a creative presentation is a scaled-back version of how your reception tables will look and feel on the big day. "It serves as a great visual, allowing you to see how different textures and colors you've chosen do (or don’t) fit together," he says. After all, no one wants to spend a small fortune on centerpieces only to walk into their reception room and be disappointed with the way they were executed (which could have easily been avoided).

    Related: How to Plan the Wedding of Your Dreams

    Photo Credit: Renee Hollingshead Photography / Event Coordination and Design: Howerton + Wooten Events

  • "Never buy your wedding gown at full price," says Emily Duke, who managed the client relations department for a very famous bridal salon.

    "Never buy your wedding gown at full price," says Emily Duke, who managed the client relations department for a very famous bridal salon.

    She tells us that brides' best bet is to attend designer trunk shows. "A rep or the designer will be there and can offer a better sale price or gift you custom changes (hollow to hem, neckline, straps, etc.) additional items (belt, bolero, etc.) and so forth," Emily says.

    Plus, check out The Dos and Don'ts of Shopping for a Wedding Dress.

  • Have your seamstress sew undergarments into your dress.

    Have your seamstress sew undergarments into your dress.

    Celebrity event planner David Tutera reveals that "You'll feel much more comfortable and secure — this will avoid the need to tug and pull on your gown while you dance the night away!"

  • Bring three pairs of shoes with you on the big day: heels, wedges and flats.

    Bring three pairs of shoes with you on the big day: heels, wedges and flats.

    It might seem excessive but you'll be grateful for the backup plan in case your heels break or you need a rest halfway through the day!

    If you'll be taking lots of photos outdoors, we recommend using Solemates' heel protector caps, which help you balance your weight when walking on uneven surfaces like grass or cobblestone streets. Worried about getting painful blisters by the end of the night? Ashley Lloyd, an event planner for Attention 2 Detail Events, advises rubbing Band-Aid's Friction Block Stick on your toes or wherever your feet are sticking: "It's like wearing a sock under your shoes!" she says.

  • Tuck a single knee-high pantyhose sock into your bag.

    Tuck a single knee-high pantyhose sock into your bag.

    Taryn Blake, an event planner for Taryn Blake Events, reveals that it work wonders on those pesky deodorant marks and is tiny enough to conceal in a clutch.

  •  Keep your gown and veil in place during a windy outdoor ceremony or photo session.

    Keep your gown and veil in place during a windy outdoor ceremony or photo session.

    Tutera and Trulio recommend sewing small weights disguised as gem or pearl accents to the edge of your veil or the hemline of your dress to prevent it from flying up.

    Photo Credit: BTW Photography

  • Ask your makeup artist to stay at least through the first dance for some quick touch-ups.

    Ask your makeup artist to stay at least through the first dance for some quick touch-ups.

    If this isn't feasible due to cost or schedule, Tutera suggests purchasing all of the key makeup items that she or he used on you so that you can do your own touch-ups after kissing all of your relatives, inevitably crying through the maid of honor speech and enjoying some of that delicious wedding cake.

    Plus, check out the 25 Biggest Makeup Mistakes That Brides Make.

  • Or DIY your makeup like a pro.

    Or DIY your makeup like a pro.

    Celebrity hairstylist/makeup artist Amanda Shackleton of NY Bridal Beauty let us take a peek at the must-have products inside her bridal beauty arsenal. She starts by applying a silicone-based foundation, which is naturally waterproof. "Buffing in circular motions blends out the foundation to an undetectable finish and it's super light reflective, so your skin glows!" she reveals.

    Using waterproof mascara is a given, but did you know that pros coat the back of brides' eyelashes with it as well? ("It's a great trick to make lashes look thicker," she says.) No cry-proof look is complete without Make Up Forever's Aqua Seal: It intensifies the pigment of any eye shadow and makes it completely water resistant.

  • Don

    Don't forget to coat your ears, neck and chest with a light layer of foundation.

    "When brides get nervous, these areas can turn very red," says Shackleton. She uses a green color corrector mixed with a bit of foundation to counteract any redness.

  • Degrease a shiny face in a pinch.

    Degrease a shiny face in a pinch.

    Annie Lee, the principal planner for Daughter of Design, uses toilet seat covers to blot when oil blotting papers such as Boscia Green Tea Blotting Linens aren't available. "Gross? No! I prefer to think of it as being resourceful," she says. Check out beauty secrets from around the world ►

     

  • Give your updo extra staying power.

    Give your updo extra staying power.

    If you have long and/or silky, fine hair, spray your locks with some dry shampoo before pinning your hair up, which will give it extra grip. When you're finished pinning, set the style with a light mist of spray shine — we recommend Rusk's Deep Shine Oil Spray.

    Photo Credit: Lovesome Photography / Hair: Bridal Artistry

  • Pre-empt frantic wedding-morning phone calls.

    Pre-empt frantic wedding-morning phone calls.

    While you’re trying to get your massage or hairstyle done in peace — by providing a detailed printout of whom vendors should call in case of an emergency or last-minute question.

  • Tuck a few pregnancy nausea lozenges into your getting-ready bag.

    Tuck a few pregnancy nausea lozenges into your getting-ready bag.

    Believe it or not, "They taste good, they work quickly, and are a great fix to use in a pinch when the groom gets nauseous right before the music starts!" Blake says.

    Photo Credit: Mommy on the Money

  • Use the "balloon trick" to keep little people in line during the ceremony.

    Use the "balloon trick" to keep little people in line during the ceremony.

    We recommend doing a trial run with your flower girl and ring bearer before the big day so that they can become acquainted with the space. Claire Baxter, a wedding planner at The Wedding Company, also shared this fun trick with us: tie a pretty helium balloon on a string around their wrist! "They will be awestruck watching it, they will 'follow' it up the aisle and it will keep them entertained for just the right amount of time," she says.

    Photo Credit: Morrissey Photography on Engaged & Inspired via Lover.ly

  • Pack a bag of goodies and have them distributed to all of the children in attendance (before the ceremony begins).

    Pack a bag of goodies and have them distributed to all of the children in attendance (before the ceremony begins).

    Trulio and Tutera suggest including items like crayons and a coloring pad, a container of bubbles, and a yo-yo or toy car — anything that's small and quiet — to keep them entertained and out of adults' hair.

  •  Get someone you trust to listen to the speeches in advance.

    Get someone you trust to listen to the speeches in advance.

    "You want them to be 'new' to you on the big day, but knowing that they aren't inappropriate/boring/long will give you one less thing to worry about," Baxter says. Share this toasting cheat sheet with your maid of honor ►

  • Make it easy for the servers to see your entrée choice.

    Make it easy for the servers to see your entrée choice.

    "Meal choice place cards that depict the actual choice (i.e. a fish, cow, etc.) save you time and energy letting the wait staff know which meal choice each guest selected," says Tiffany Burks of Tiff Zippy. That way, you won't need to waste time coming up with a color system or a sticker solution.

    Photo Credit: LAlitaDoodles on Etsy

  • If the cake gets smudged in transit...

    If the cake gets smudged in transit...

    ...snap a few flowers out of the bridesmaids' bouquets and fill it in so it looks like it came that way. "Using these flowers ensures everything still matches, and just taking one or two from each bouquet won't diminish the look of them, either," Blake says.

    Photo Credit: Millimeter Photography / Created by: Tantawan Bloom

  • Get some of those awkward introductions out of the way <em>before</em> the big day.

    Get some of those awkward introductions out of the way before the big day.

    This is especially important if you're having a destination wedding or getting married out-of-state. The Woodmark Hotel suggests hosting fun activities like a hike, outdoor picnic, group class, or boat cruise to help get the entire group acquainted. Even if you're getting married nearby, it might be a good idea to spend some bonding time with loved ones who traveled from far away to attend.

  • If you

    If you're stuck with an annoying amount of time between the ceremony and reception, then have a distracting snack station for guests.

    "At one wedding I helped plan, the guests grabbed locally-made chips and drinks, then hopped onto the transportation, which looped them around the city for a quick scenic tour before cocktail hour. No one was the wiser as to the lag in time!" says Laura Ritchie of Events in the City.

  • Feed the band at the same time that guests are eating.

    Feed the band at the same time that guests are eating.

    You don't want to kill the vibe by making your guests wait for them to finish before they can get back on stage to perform!

    Photo courtesy of the Bay Kings Band

  • Surprise guests with hors d

    Surprise guests with hors d'oeuvres at 11:00 p.m.

    Nisa Burns, a bride-to-be, chef, and the author of Kitchenability 101, tells us that late-night munchies are one of the hottest food trends at weddings. "By this time, you may have a few guests who have had one too many drinks and need a little food in their stomach. A few great examples are cookies, soft pretzels and popcorn," she says.

    Photo Credit: Craig Paulson Photography on Craig Paulson Photography via Lover.ly

  • If you

    If you're having a bus pickup at the end of the night, schedule it to come a half-hour after the wedding is over.

    Lee tells us this is enough time for guests to finish their drinks, say their goodbyes, locate their jackets and other discarded items, and make their way out. You don't want to have to pay overtime for the bus as it waits on guests.

    Photo Credit: bobbi + mike on Style Me Pretty

  • Just say "yes."

    Just say "yes."

    According to Terilyn and Koby Brown of Archetype Studio, this relaxes the jaw line, separates your lips and automates a naturally pleasant expression. Check out 75 new must-take photos with your groom ►

    Photo Credit: Browne Photography

  • Never underestimate the power of good posture.

    Never underestimate the power of good posture.

    "Many of us spend so much time hunched over our desks all day that we have developed a sloped shoulder look that is far from elegant. You don't have to be a ballerina to take some tips from them and imagine a string pulling at the top of your head — your body elongates, your shoulders naturally start to fall back and you look ten times better in a matter of a few seconds," says professional wedding photographer Casey Fatchett. Don’t forget to smile!

    Photo Credit: Christina Carroll on Glamour & Grace via Lover.ly

  • Tell guests that the officiant requested no photo-taking during the processional.

    Tell guests that the officiant requested no photo-taking during the processional.

    No one wants 50 camera phones waving around in their face or flashes going off in every direction during such an intimate moment. "If you say that the couple or planner requested this, no one will listen, but guests tend to adhere to rules better if you name someone more official," Lee explains.

  • Remove distractions during the family portraits.

    Remove distractions during the family portraits.

    We've all seen the photos where multiple relatives are looking in wildly different directions, one person is holding a drink, or someone was missing because they walked off to take a phone call. Tell everyone that the process will go a whole lot smoother if they give the photographer their full and undivided attention. "You're paying them for your pictures, so don't let your money get thrown away," says Fatchett.

    Photo Credit: Amy & Jordan 

  • Have the ladies hold their bouquets at a 45 degree angle.

    Have the ladies hold their bouquets at a 45 degree angle.

    This will help show off their beautiful blooms.

    Photo Credit: Anna K Photography on Fab You Bliss via Lover.ly

  • Pin a piece of ribbon to the edge of the ceremony curtain.

    Pin a piece of ribbon to the edge of the ceremony curtain.

    That way, when attendants draw it up every time someone walks down the aisle, you don't see a hand and an arm in every picture.

  • Pack two complete sets of menus, escort cards, ceremony programs, postage, and addressed (but not mailed envelopes).

    Pack two complete sets of menus, escort cards, ceremony programs, postage, and addressed (but not mailed envelopes).

    "Reminding my brides to bring these items together means I have all of their pretty pieces to photograph without having to ask them to gather them on the day of," says Elisa Bricker, a professional photographer. Bonus: Your photog will love you even more if you pack leftover bouquet ribbon or loose flowers for them to play with as well!

50 Clever Wedding Tricks to Make Your Life Easier

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