1. It's not about you.You might think a wedding is for the bride and groom, but you'd be wrong. Just like a funeral isn't for the deceased, it's for the grieving. This is for those celebrating, those uniting because of the two of you. This may be the only time in your life where your entire family is together. In the future it will be about what holiday is spent at what in-law's - enjoy being with everyone you love in one place.
2. Hire a day of planner.I can't recommend this enough. I've been to a lot of weddings of DIY brides, where they plan to do everything themselves and hang their families with to-do lists. There is nothing wrong with this, unless it interferes with their enjoyment of the wedding day itself.
Sure, have your dad build you a dance floor, have your aunt do your alterations, emboss the hell out of those invites, but do not have Cousin Shirley pass out toasting drinks. If she's important enough to be there, she's important enough to toast right along with everyone else. And you know all those decorations you made by hand and put up? Someone has to take those down. The same people who got up at the crack of dawn to help put them up. The people who care about you the most are the ones willing to put in the work. Don't let them. These people deserve to be 100% present on your wedding day, let someone else carry the burden of the details and the schedule.
3. You're not wearing this dress for one dayYou're wearing it for the rest of your life. If you're spending any money on photos, I bet it's because you're going to be printing these off, gifting them to friends and hanging them in your home. This dress will be on your walls, your kids will ask to see them, your aunt will pull them out when her friends come over. These pictures will immortalize your gown and you'll be haunted by it. Pick a damn good one.
4. Take pictures of your dressWhen shopping take photos of you wearing the dress before you decide. You may love the idea of one, but the subtle lace might not show up in pictures and instead be a little blah. I was split between two dresses but when looking at cell phone photos, there was a clear winner. Again, these photos will be around forever, so make sure it photographs just as pretty as you remember it.
5. Photos take longer than you think they willSchedule a ton of time for photos - a ton. Also, write down in detail who you want your photos with, do this for your family photos and everyone else. I got a lot of group bridesmaid shots, but missed out on getting them one-on-one, this was a big bummer when I got them back (in defense, I didn't know I wanted this until after the fact). If you can manage, schedule a day after photo shoot with your husband, it makes it so you can spend all the time you want capturing great shots, with that handsome fella, in that gorgeous dress.
(psst, if you're in the midst of planning your wedding, check Seattle BHLDN's wedding fair this Thursday, April 23, 2015 it's bound to give great ideas and serve as great eye candy!)