Having watched / participated in weddings I find that there are some wedding day planning guidelines to follow to help the whole event work as desired. It is a special day for the BRIDE and GROOM. Everyone else's ideas and wishes should be placed on a second, third or lower priority.
Wedding planning books (similar to my specific wedding photo checklist on suggestions on what photos to take) lists the steps, items needed, people to contact and the order to contact them so as to organize a complete complicated wedding. The sole object to to eliminate the memorization of what needs to be done then ensure that it is done. Each book varies as to what it contains so really look at them before purchasing one.
These books all have checklists but every wedding is slightly different. Start your own checklist. As soon as you think of some task, item to get, person to call, or idea write it down wherever you are at and add it into the master checklist.
Here is a set of Microsoft Word® docs or Excel® spreadsheets that you can use before or after the wedding to help with some of the wedding management.
Many people will be meeting each other for the first time and therefore have no idea who is who. Having to remember 10 to 15 different people all at once is difficult for many people. This way, as each person is introduced, wearing a name tag, the others can easily learn their names during the rehearsal. It also makes it easier on the wedding coordinator, minister and, of course, on the photographer!
If at all possible have a rehearsal. This forces people in the wedding to learn what they are to do, where they are to stand, how long it will take them to get there and so on. Going through a rehearsal will point out sequencing problems for those in the wedding as well as the photographer / videographer.
Don't rush the rehearsal. Go through it at least three times.
A rehearsal can even be done on the day of the wedding itself. If the wedding is at a rented location, or just not practical to have a rehearsal the night before, do a quick run though before everyone goes off to get dressed.
Have the bride put on her makeup like she will have it during the wedding. This will not only give you a good estimate of time needed to put on make up but it will also help her decide if it needs to be altered due to the lighting in the church / location.
If there are lots of out of town guests talk to a local hotel and see if you can get a group discount so that all of the guests can stay in the same place.
When there are a lot of people in the wedding party, and there is going to be a rehearsal party, it would be good to rent a bus so that after the rehearsal everyone just gets onto the bus and goes to the party. No worry about driving, giving directions etc. This is especially useful for people from out of town and they are all staying in the same hotel since after the party all can be taken right back to the hotel. Eliminates getting lost and also any fears about having a drink at the party.
Create a sheet showing the timelines for the rehearsal / wedding that you can give to all those in the wedding party so they will know the exact sequence of events. This would include all the times at which to arrive at rehearsal and on the wedding day itself. It would include precise sequence of events that are used by the wedding party not the summarized version is included on the event brochure itself that is given on the wedding day itself.
Create a simple list showing all the people involved in the wedding party and their relationship / function is. Putting this information on the name tags for people helps all identify who is doing what.
In the wedding invitation include a map to both the church and reception location.
Place balloons or signs with very large lettering (like 8 to 12 inches in size) at key intersections to help direct guests as they drive. This is especially true if holding the wedding at a house or at a church in rural areas. Put the Bride/Groom's name at top and then the word "Wedding" below with an arrow showing direction.
There are always tradeoffs when having a wedding. You must, up front, decide which is more important: saving money by doing it yourselves - - using your time to perform a task - - or paying someone else to do that task for you. The main criteria is that you have to ask yourself do you have the time before and during and after the wedding to do all these tasks.
If you get friends to do tasks for you - - they donate their time - - then you must be cognizant of what "they" see their task is and cannot expect more of them than that single task. Also, you cannot hold them up to the same standards as a hired person. They could be just as good as a hired firm, however, since they are donating their time for you, mistakes must be overlooked and forgiven.