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10 Details to Make Your Wedding Perfect

The average American bride spends $26,501 on her wedding, according to BRIDES magazine’s 2011 American Wedding Study. So for all that money — not to mention the fact that you’ve been waiting your entire life for this — you want your big day to be as close to perfect as possible.

Now, any former bride will tell you that it’s impossible to control everything (at least without becoming a total Bridezilla). And when it comes to weddings, Murphy’s Law does seem to apply. That’s why you should take action NOW. From avoiding toxic guests to taking photos before the wedding, here are 10 wedding details worth checking… and checking twice.

1. Take photos of yourself before the wedding.
You’re going to be looking at these photos for the rest of your life, and — admit it — you want to look more beautiful than any bride who’s ever walked down the aisle. So don’t take a chance: Once you have your hair and makeup done, ask your bridesmaids to snap a few quick shots. You might realize that your hairstyle looks all wrong, or that you’re not wearing enough eye makeup. These things are fixable if you catch them early on.

2. Have a hair and makeup “trial.” Or two. Or three.
We know, we know — you’re already spending a ton of money on your wedding, and most “trials” aren’t free. But it really is worth it to play around with a couple of looks — the headpiece that looked great on Kim Kardashian might look terrible on you (and look how her marriage ended up).

3. Grill your officiant.
This is something no one ever warns you to do. Whether you’re being married by a priest, a minister, a rabbi or a justice of the peace, he (or she) is going to preside over some of the most important moments of your life. You want to know what they’re going to say before they say it! Sometimes they can go way off base or be borderline offensive, offering advice and anecdotes that don’t apply to your particular relationship at all.

4. Don’t gain or lose too much weight after you buy the dress
Most bridal shops will tell you to buy the dress about six months before your wedding date. It may take a while for the gown to come in, and this duration leaves ample time for fittings. But as fittings sometimes start only a month or so before the wedding, you don’t want to have a totally different body than the one you had the day you bought the dress.

5. Don’t invite “toxic” guests (if you can help it).
That obnoxious guy your friend is dating? Or that crazy uncle no one has seen in years? Abrasive people + alcohol often equals disaster. You don’t want to hurt anyone’s feelings, but if possible, keep your guest list short and sweet.

6. Don’t get too drunk.
Open bar — woo! But as tempting as it may be to knock back 12 glasses of champagne — especially after all that stress — you really don’t want to act like a sorority girl on your wedding night. Remember, the photos and videos will be haunting you for years — and may even end up online.

7. Don’t have too many toasts (and choose your toasters well).
We’ve seen many a wedding ruined by tasteless best men and even one well-meaning maid of honor. Sometimes, these friends know you and your groom a little TOO well, and don’t know where to draw the line. Plus, people get bored of toasts very quickly — that precious time could be spent on the dance floor.

8. Have a game plan with your fiancé.
This is another one that nobody talks about. Are you and your newly pronounced husband going to kiss passionately after the ceremony or just peck? Will you have any “alone time” together? Will you travel table to table together to greet your guests? In other words, don’t assume your groom can read your mind –- his “vision” of the wedding might be totally different from yours.

9. Don’t fulfill someone else’s fantasy.
Your mom may be dreaming of a church wedding, but you’ve always wanted something bohemian and outdoors. Or maybe your mother-in-law is looking at the evening as an opportunity to entertain HER friends. Even if your family is chipping in for the cost, try to stay true to your personal vision. If you’re lucky, you’ll never get a chance to do it over again!

10. Keep your expectations (somewhat) reasonable.
A wedding has a lot of moving parts. Somewhere, somehow, something is bound to go wrong (we have a friend whose priest didn’t show up!). Once you set foot down that aisle, the best advice is just to relax, have fun and go with the flow. And don’t spill red wine on your dress.