There’s nothing quite like the excitement, stress, and utter chaos that comes with planning a wedding.
And while weddings may have changed drastically over the last three decades, the fundamentals of what you should and shouldn’t stress about on the big day still ring true.
To get a little insight from people who’ve been there and done that a long-ass time ago, we asked couples with more than 30 years of marital experience to spill the beans on what matters the most on your wedding day.
These are definitely worth adding to your to-do list.
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“It’s tempting to share all the prenuptial festivities on social media, but this day is meant for you to be present in the moment. No Snapchatting down the aisle! Your guests and your photographer can capture those memories for you.” —Danica K., married 35 years
“My sisters teased me mercilessly the day of my wedding. I was the first of us to get married even though I was the youngest. I guess they were jealous. My eldest sister told me my veil was crooked just before the photographer arrived and after he took the photos she said, ‘You’re right. It was fine before,’ and straightened it back the way it had been before she messed with it. All the photos show me in that crooked veil. Thirty seven years later, I would tell my younger self that their teasing wasn’t about me and to just remember to enjoy the day.” —Varda E., married for 38 years
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“Admire your dress, the ceremony venue, the faces of the guests—all of it. It’s only one day, it will whizz by. I was never the little girl who dreamed of a fairy tale wedding, so we opted for elopement. It was noon on a cold Valentine’s Day in Portland, Maine. The sun shined through the City Hall’s atrium windows. Just as we're about to speak our vows, the steeple bell began to ring. We smiled, held hands, and counted all 12 chimes. Thirty-seven years later it’s the moment of our wedding day we still remember. —Stephanie D., married 37 years
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“Focus on the forever moments, like walking down the aisle, the vows, and your first dance, and remember that this day is about a lifetime promise you are making to another person. We created these moments and shared them together over our lifetime. Everything and everyone else is icing on the wedding cake!” —Donna N., married 36 years
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“Don’t worry about things that don’t go according to plan. But, in reality, those are just things and no one (even you, trust me) will remember any of that.” —Gail P., married 35 years (Speed up your progress towards your weight-loss goals with Women's Health's Look Better Naked DVD.)
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“I believe that you shouldn’t see your partner before the ceremony because seeing each other for the first time at the ceremony makes the moment sweeter. The tradition may seem outdated, but trust me. It’s one you’ll want to keep!” —June B., married 63 years
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“Take a moment to really let this day sink in. In a private room, grab a bite to eat, exchange a special gift or note, have a real first kiss, a meaningful embrace, or a moment to just be with each other. Don’t allow anyone in the room with you, not even the photographer. Then head to the party and celebrate!” —Heidi H., married 34 years
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“It’s easy to get caught up in the excitement and chaos of the day, so allow yourself some alone time with your thoughts. Take time to feel it, enjoy it, and most of all be grateful for it. On my wedding day, I was stressed and edgy, feeling the need to control everything and everyone. My husband, on the other hand, took time to reflect and relax the morning of our wedding by going fishing. Thankfully, my dad pulled me aside before we left for the church. He told me he loved me and gave me a shot of peppermint schnapps, saying it would calm me (and keep my breath fresh).” —Jeanne Ann D., married 34 years
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“On our wedding day 30 years ago, my husband spent the day with his groomsmen and best man at a Red Sox game, while I spent time with my bridesmaids. It’s these devoted friends that have stood by us through our 30 years of marriage and have filled our life with joy. Make a vow on your wedding day to make friendships a priority in your marriage and you will be rewarded with a rich and meaningful life with treasured friends.” —Barbara F., married 30 years
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“Days before our wedding, my mother and I kept checking our list to be sure that we had every detail covered: table decorations, flowers, food, cake. After hearing us go over our list, my dad said, 'There will still be a Sunday.' Mom and I realized that no matter what happened on my wedding day, the sun would still rise the next day. Don’t let the little things ruin your beautiful day. Our guests were having a good time and that in itself was a gift we cherished.” —Marla S., married 40 years
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“It’s helpful to think about the things that need to get done and write them down in order of priority for the day’s schedule. That way you’re not running around, and you can take in every moment. Delegate a task to a bridesmaid, a family member, or someone you can depend on to take care of it. Then you won’t be overwhelmed.” —Melissa O., married 30 years
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“On my wedding day, my sister helped fix my slip that was peeking out from under my wedding suit. As I went to use the bathroom (right before I was supposed to walk down the aisle), I realized she had accidentally sewed my slip to my underpants and I couldn’t get it off! At the time, I was panicking and upset, though now it’s a funny story to look back on. Embrace these moments, and know that everything will fall into place.” —Pat S., married 70 years