couple seated at reception
Matthew Lim Photography

The rumor you’ve heard that your wedding will pass by in a blink of an eye? Hate to break it to you, but it’s totally true. After all that planning and fussing, you’ll be amazed by how swiftly the daylight dwindles—and the champagne. Don’t get me wrong—it’ll be an amazing day, but so jam-packed with appointments, emotions, chit-chat and happy tears, you might find yourself wondering if you can get a do-over by the end of it. A good way to ensure you maximize every opportunity brought by your wedding day (since do-overs are hard to come by)? Create a mental to-do list for you and your new spouse—stuff you may not have time to fit in, but should absolutely try to make time to fit in, because you just might regret not fitting in.

There are some obvious ones, like: Have a great time, dance like no one’s watching, try your signature cocktails, etc., etc., but here are a few more to consider committing to memory.

Trust us, even if you only have time to cross off a few of them, your wedding day will be that much more amazing. 

Greet every guest

Receiving lines may be passe, but they are an efficient way to make sure you and your new spouse give a warm, personal greeting to each and every guest who came to share your big day with you. Not into the idea of a receiving line? No problem—but the two of you should make an effort to visit each guest table table during dinner. Take care not to spend too much time at some so that you run out of time and can’t visit others—yes, this is a RLWP (Real Life Wedding Problem). Just drop by for a short chat, make sure everyone’s having a great time and has everything they need, soak in the billions of compliments you’re bound to receive, then politely excuse yourself (feel free to be honest: “We’ll have to catch up on the dance floor—so many more wonderful people to visit and thank tonight!”). Everyone—even your closest friends who you’d normally spend hours chatting with at any other party—will understand that it’s your wedding and you’ve got lots of people to say hello to. Even if it feels overwhelming to have to visit with every single person on your guest list, it’s important to take the time to do so, not only because it’s great manners, but because of the sheer once-in-a-lifetime opportunity you have of all your favorite people being in one room at once!

Actually eat your wedding food

That other rumor you always hear about your wedding day—that you won’t have time to eat during it—is also, all too often, true. Don’t let it happen to you! Not only did you carefully curate that menu so that you and your new spouse would like it more than anyone else (as you should have!), but you also are human and need food to survive! If those aren’t the two best reasons to take ten minutes to sit, eat and savor your one and only wedding dinner, I don’t know what are. Additionally, eating is a great way to soak up all the alcohol you may no doubt be nervously sipping all day—because becoming oops-drunk at your wedding is a tough situation to get out of once you’re there. Oh, and? Having a moment of quiet with your new husband or wife over a plate of deliciousness, where you can just hang out and revel in how awesome your day has been so far, will be just the relaxing and rejuvenating moment you need to give you a second wind for whatever your wedding brings next (especially if you have an after party that will creep into the wee hours). Feel like there’s no way you’ll have time to eat dinner when you’re too busy doing Thing #1 (greeting your hundreds of guests)? Get yourself on a grazing schedule—grab a couple bites from your plate before visiting each new table—and you’ll be glad you did!

Thank your vendors personally

You and your guests will be starry-eyed all day, mostly because of all the love going around, but also because of all the great work your vendors did bringing your vision to life. And if you’re anything like me, there will be moments during your wedding when you’ll want to drop everything and kiss your florist/caterers/photographer/hairstylist smack on the lips. Too much? OK, have your incredibly beautiful and perfect wedding and get back to me. Your day will be so full of activity—and lots of other people to thank—that thanking the people who physically made it happen might fall to the wayside, and if it does, don’t freak out—they’re used to it, and they’re not going to judge (but do include each vendor on your thank-you card list, unless, for whatever reason, you’re not truly thankful for their services—and don't forget to write online reviews as wel!). But a little in-person gratitude does go a long way, and you’ll make your vendors’ day (or even wedding season) if you take the time to tell them how pleased and grateful you are for all their great work. After all, they probably became more than acquaintances to you over the past year or so, and they mean a lot to you if you picked them to help product your big day! The perfect time to thank them is when you’re handing over their final payments and/or tips, either right before or after your wedding.

Steal a moment with your spouse and soak it all in

By now you’re probably aware of the theme of this post: Your wedding day is busy, action-packed and will pass by in a (beautiful) blur. In fact, it’s not totally uncommon that couples find themselves plopping into bed at the end of the night, having their first real conversation since the day before! On a day that’s so much about the two of you, it’s kind of nuts how little time together you actually get. Granted—you have your whole lives together, and this day is more about celebrating with your family and friends, but still! There’s nothing like the adrenaline-pumping, electric love you feel for your partner on your wedding day—and it would be a shame to let it go to waste by simply forgetting to spend a moment alone with him or her on that day. So, pencil in some time—maybe a quick rendezvous at sunset with your photog? Or even just a step outside for some fresh air once all the speeches are through?—to just be with one another, away from the party, where you can steal a smooch and quietly be amazed at the fact that you’re married, amazed at the perfect party you pulled off, and amazed at how loved you both are! It just might be the best moment of your wedding, and trust me, the party will still be raging when you make your way back in.

Dancing to a favorite song or two

In the months leading up to my wedding, I’d randomly come across songs I love and think to myself: Mental note! Tell DJ this must be played at my wedding! There are just those special songs (“I Wanna Dance with Somebody” and “Billie Jean” for yours truly) that you simply cannot resist on a dance floor, and there is no time more appropriate than your wedding to get those songs blasting. But, finding the time to even make it to the dance floor, let alone monitor what’s coming out of the speakers, can be a struggle when you’re the most in-demand person at the party! Take it from me, though—someone who did not hear “I Wanna Dance with Somebody” or “Billie Jean” at her wedding—you deserve to get down to at least one of your favorite tunes on the most important day of your life. And I’m not just talking about your first dance, which is sort of nerve wracking and formal. Take the time to request that one song (or two, or three!) from your DJ, grab your new husband or wife (and forever dance partner) and feel free to go wild on the dance floor for those few precious moments. Because, yes, dancing to any song is fun, and dancing to your favorite song at other weddings is fun, but dancing to your favorite song at your wedding, surrounded by people who love you? Literally priceless.