1. Hire a day-of-coordinator. This is number one on the list because it is most important. Hire someone whose entire job will be to make your day run smoothly. If you don't have the money for a pro (depending on where you live, a pro can be anywhere from $500-$1200 for day of work), hire someone you know who is organized and likes to be in control. My day of coordinator was my mom's assistant from work. She didn't have a ton of wedding experience, but she was organized and followed my directions, which was important. This is the most essential step in having a relaxing day!
2. Delegate jobs and responsibilities to people you trust to get them done. My sister was our designated cake pop picker upper. When she arrived to pick them up, half of them were smashed. She demanded they be replaced and pronto and there was nary a broken cake pop to be found on our dessert table. My friend Brianna was designated with the task of checking us into our hotel room. Despite the fact that I put her name on the reservation for the sole purpose of checking us in, the hotel wasn't going to let her check in for us. She put up a fight, got us into our room, dropped off our stuff, and even left champagne chilling in our fridge (thanks B!). I didn't hear about either of these problems until days after the wedding. They handled the problem so I didn't have to think about it. On that note, create a list like the one below of people to call that are not you. That way if there are problems, someone else can deal with it.
3. Organize any items you are going to have someone else set up. The best thing to do is do a mock set up before the wedding and take a picture of it how you want it. Then put all the items for that set up (so everything you need for your guest book/gift table) in one box and attach the picture to the top of the box, like this:
When I was coordinating, I asked all my brides to fill out a sheet like the one below with detailed instructions on what goes where. This, along with the pictures, made set up easy and made sure the bride's wishes were followed to the T.
4. Make a schedule you can stick to. If you are someone who is perpetually late, make sure you build in more prep time than you think you will need. It is much better to be ready early than late. Once you have a schedule, distribute it to your bridal party, family members and anyone else who is helping out on the big day.
5. Have a hair and make up trial. One of the most upsetting things that can happen to a bride on her wedding day is not liking how she looks. Have a trial and take pictures! Here is my pic from my own hair and make up trial (both done by the fabulous Sophia Pickle):
Bonus of having a hair and make up trial? You look fabulous on a random day before your wedding! If you can, schedule it for the morning of your shower or bachelorette party!
6. One of the most important keys in having a stress free wedding day is no procrastination. Try to have everything done the week before your wedding so you are not rushing to get stuff done last minute. If you have stuff done early, and you follow the five steps above, you should be on your way to a relaxing and amazing wedding day!