It's no secret that planning a wedding can be stressful (with a capital S). Between tracking deposits and payment due dates to seating chart updates and thank you cards, it's enough to take down even the most organized, most meticulous Type A bride. But with a few all-star products, you might just be able to make it through to marital bliss with your fiancé and sanity in tow. Here are nine random-but-useful things real brides swear by for surviving wedding planning.
9 Random-but-Useful Things Real Brides Swear By to Survive Wedding Planning
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As a recent May bride, Mary R. would have been completely lost without a gift tracker and organizer. "One of my friends gave me a gift journal and it has literally kept me sane, both pre- and post-wedding,” she says. Housing everything in one place, including sections for “gift received,” “given by” and “thank you sent,” all she had to do during the inevitable engagement parties and bridal showers was hand it to a bridesmaid and enjoy the party. Mary mentions it was especially helpful for keeping track of those off-registry gifts (since, ya know, people love to go rogue). At just $7, this paperback book was a gifting godsend that traveled well and didn’t break the bank.
Practical bride Olivia D. couldn’t have planned her September nuptials without the help of a monthly calendar. “Those little planners are great,” she says, “but a desk calendar to view my appointments and deadlines was so much more functional for me since I could see everything in plain sight.” It’s also a great way to keep your partner in the loop for what will inevitably be a busy time. We love this adorable option by Rifle Paper Co. because it can function as a wall calendar or a desk calendar (depending on your space and personal preference) with plenty of room to track your schedule and even record important notes.
They say you only get married once, so why not go all out? To complete the look for my September wedding, I was on the hunt for the perfect statement earring. I spent weeks searching online at every jewelry site I could think of. I ordered, returned and ordered some more, only to be ruefully disappointed by the costume jewelry that fit the budget but not the bill. I wanted that fine jewelry look without the gold-plated cost (or commitment), and that’s when I discovered Verstolo.
Like Rent the Runway for fine jewelry, the NYC-based shop has a jewelry rental section in addition to its regular, buy-once-own-forever offerings. With a slew of rentable designs across earrings, bracelets and necklaces, you’re sure to find a style that fits your dream look. The rental process itself couldn’t be easier. After setting up either a virtual or in-person showroom appointment, simply select your favorite pieces and reserve your weekend (a standard rental is four to five days, but extensions are also available). Once your event rolls around, you can either pick up the jewelry in person or have it shipped directly to your home, and the same goes for returns. With an out-of-town wedding away from the NYC area, I decided to have mine shipped. Though it was a little nerve-wracking dropping the pricey bundle off at my local FedEx, the process was quick and seamless, plus shipping is fully insured.
When I found the perfect piece, I was elated. Rental or not, it’s still an investment, but as I thought about my wedding and all the hard work I had already put into planning, I knew this splurge would be worth it. I felt like a million bucks on my big day without having to settle or deal with the stress of overspending. In the end, I went with ‘Mia,’ a pear and marquis diamond drop earring set in 18K white gold with a retail price tag I could never afford…and she was gorgeous.
No matter what kind of wedding you have, one thing is for certain: There will be photos. And if you’re already stressing about looking your best, we promise you’re not alone. The secret to showing up bright-eyed and bushy-tailed without having to cake on a ton of makeup? LUMIFY’s redness relieving eye drops. “[This product] kept my eyes so sparkly white for my wedding events,” Olivia D. shares. “100/10 recommend using them for a wedding and any other life event.” As one of the only over-the-counter drops to contain brimonidine (the ingredient that targets and relieves eye redness), LUMIFY works almost instantly and lasts for up to eight hours–plenty of time for you to apply once, say “I do” and dance the night away.
Speaking of photos, you better practice your smile leading up to the big day because there will be no shortage of cheesin’. To help brighten my pearly whites without suffering through sensitivity, I turned to SNOW’s at-home teeth whitening kit. As someone with extremely sensitive teeth, both to whitening formulas and temperature, I wanted to test drive a product with proven results, easy upkeep (most professional whitening procedures require you to maintain a short-term “white diet,” aka only white or light-colored foods and drinks…no thank you) and minimal side effects. SNOW’s at-home kit was the first whitener I’ve used that checked all the boxes and left me completely pain-free.
I opted for the original kit with the USB-powered mouthpiece since I was new to the brand and it was the least expensive option, but I love that they also offer a limited edition wireless version as well. To get started, you simply brush as usual, apply the whitening gel to your top and bottom teeth and plug the LED mouthpiece into your phone to power it on. The directions suggest using it anywhere from nine to 30 minutes a day (I typically opted for 30 minutes a few times a week), so after plugging it in I’d answer emails, throw on Netflix or scroll through Instagram to pass the time. I loved how convenient and easy it was to use and felt like my teeth came out looking naturally white, bright and radiant–the exact look I was going for.
Even after the big day comes and goes, the work of a bride doesn’t stop. Enter the dreaded (but necessary) thank you notes. To assuage carpal tunnel and save on time, Mary R. invested in a personalized ink stamp that included her new family’s name and return address. “It saved me a lot of handwriting,” she shares. We love this stamp from TheQuirkyQuillShop on Etsy because it features hand lettering with custom calligraphy and is truly one of kind (plus, you can keep using it long after the wedding for all your snail mail needs). Reviewers rave about the quality and customer service of the seller, noting they were able to make edits and review proofs before the final stamp shipped. Prefer a more modern typeface or a standout select (like this adorable state-inspired option)? With tons of designs on both Etsy and Amazon, you’re sure to find a style that best fits your big day.
Most brides we talked to called this online craft marketplace a wedding day treasure trove. If you’re planning the shindig solo (aka without a wedding planner), most of the décor responsibilities will fall on you and your partner–and maybe your soon-to-be mother-in-law, if you’re lucky. That means table numbers, escort cards, welcome signs, menus, programs and so much more will need to be designed, proofed and ordered. With so many options ranging both style and budget, Etsy helps make this difficult task feel just a little less daunting. “I felt like the vendors I found [on Etsy] were perfect for the vibe I wanted,” August bride Jane L. tells us. October bride Erin S. agrees, “It really is a one-stop shop for all your décor needs.”
The one-two punch of this Tatcha duo is a skincare game-changer, according to November bride Victoria B. After her makeup artist recommended both the Dewy Skin Cream and Kissu Lip Mask to help prep her skin for her bridal beauty look, she saw a major improvement in her overall complexion. “Makeup application looks a billion times better since I’ve been using both of these products,” she says. The face cream is packed with ingredients like Japanese purple rice, hyaluronic acid and botanical extracts to protect, replenish and visibly smooth the skin. Similarly, the lip mask features peach and rose extract to calm irritation and prevent dryness, as well as Japanese camellia oil to help lock in moisture ensuring a smooth wedding day lipstick application free of flakes and dry patches.
We couldn't wrap up this list without input from an industry expert, now could we? As a luxury event planner and founder of Apothesis Events (an NYC-based company that handles everything from lavish weddings to elegant galas), Ryan Hill knows a thing or two about planning a wedding. When asked what made the cut for his bridal survival guide, his answer couldn't have been more practical. "Most brides we work with these days find Zola to be incredibly useful," he shares. "Zola is a place where they can build and host their registries, build and host their website, handle their guest list and so much more." The online wedding platform can also help couples track gifts and thank you notes, create and share photo albums and manage all their paper needs, including save-the-dates and invitations.