How to prepare for your wedding day

Make sure your big day is organized, stress-free and -- most importantly -- fabulous. Check out our expert tips on how to ensure your wedding day runs smoothly.

How to prepare for your wedding day
Planning your wedding is one thing. Making sure that the day itself is a success requires a whole new level of strategy. There are tasks to delegate, hair and makeup to think about, a schedule to stick to, people to organize and multiple last-minute details to attend to. All of these responsibilities on top of being a bride can seem overwhelming, but making sure everything falls into place with minimal anxiety is easier than you might think.

We turned to Blaithin O'Reilly Murphy, a wedding consultant and author of Distinctive Weddings: Tying the Knot Without the Rope Burns (Vertias, 2009), for her insights into how to avoid wedding day chaos and get down the aisle without incident.

1. Plan out the day
About two months before your wedding, sit down and plan out your wedding day in detail. If your ceremony starts at 3 p.m., create a work-back schedule from then until your morning wakeup call, and then work out the order of events from the ceremony until the end of the night. List every task that you and everyone else involved in the wedding will need to do, and assign a time, a place and a taskmaster for each one.

You now have what Murphy refers to as a "line-by-line for your wedding day." She advises sharing this document with anyone who might be involved in the big day so that everyone is clear on his or her responsibilities (including the when, where and how of the tasks).

"By doing this, you'll instantly relax on the day," says Murphy. "You know that there is a plan and you know that everyone else knows what they should be doing."

2. Allow plenty of time for everything
Be careful to not try to do too much on your wedding day. It's tempting to want to schedule in as much as possible to make the most of a day that will likely fly by, but doing so can create unwanted pressure.

"Your wedding breakfast, having your hair and makeup done, and your post-ceremony photo shoot will all take much longer than you think. Don't cram your day full of activities for every second," says Murphy. "You and your guests will be totally exhausted, and you possibly won't get to everything."

3. Don't keep your wedding guests waiting
Being the bride might mean being the star of the show, but that doesn't mean it's OK to deviate from the schedule to the point of making people wait.

"Ten minutes is the ideal length of time to keep your guests waiting," Murphy says. "Anything beyond 15 minutes is plain rude." The longer people have to wait, the less relaxed they become and the more off-track the whole day can get.

Page 1 of 2 -- Check out four more great tips for preparing for your wedding on page 2

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