So many of you want to pin me to the wall! But I’ll never tell you what I don’t like about weddings—they should be filled with all things positive. These 25 thoughts have been gleaned from my experience over the last three decades. So here goes—use what you can, and leave the rest.

1. Take advantage of the Internet and its 5 million-plus bridal blogs and message boards.

2. Get the groom involved as much as possible—it’s his special day, too.

3. Plan your day for yourself. You can’t please everyone. 

4. Pamper yourself, and treat mom and the girls to a spa, or whatever makes you happiest.

5. Be realistic about your size, and your weight loss goals for the big day.

6. Wear good shoes. Strappy sandals work for May through September, but no open toes the rest of the year

7. Don’t forget stepparents. In most cases, they love you as their own. Anyone who would be offended by your kindnesses has a big problem, and guess what? It’s their problem, not yours.

8. Really think about your attendant gifts.  Items with the date of your wedding and your monogram aren’t high on their priority list. Get them something personal. This is NOT the place to cheap out. These girls have spent a lot of money, time, and heart to be here.

9. Do a makeup test, a week or two in advance, and solicit everyone’s input. My only advice is to wear bright lipstick—true pinks or red. The pictures turn out stunning!

10. Make sure those invitations are out eight weeks before the wedding—at the latest.

11. Select classic and timeless dresses for your attendants. Cha-cha skirts or strapless dresses are not flattering for everyone. 

12. Don’t invite anyone you don’t want to see on your wedding day. Be firm on this.

13. Do not have a drastically different hairstyle from your everyday look.

14. Have everyone in the wedding party get haircuts a month to three weeks out. You have such a short window when hair is just right.

15. Allow vendors to do their thing. Tell them you’re counting on them, and let it go. Threats and frets produce negative results (trust me on this one).

16. Take time to visit as many guests as possible, and hold their hand when talking to them. They will never forget your warmth and kindness.

17. Never, never, never drink too much at your wedding. Everyone remembers. 

18. Don’t ever consider being upset about a small snag (i.e. a song sung out of the planned order). No one will know but you. Serendipities are sometimes charming. 

19. Personalize your wedding as much as you can, but remember chic and classic. No one enjoys a hillbilly hoedown, and you’ll spend years regretting those JELL-O shots or doing ‘the worm’ on the dance floor.

20. Speaking of dance, why not take a few lessons together? You’ll come off as adults, and not a ‘club girl’ and a ‘guy on the make.’

21. Try to stay within your budget, but have a reserve, just in case.

22. Unless you’re the president’s daughter, don’t invite everyone you’ve ever met. Small and perfects trumps huge and sloppy any day.

23. Give each other a true keepsake gift—something engraved or a family heirloom. 

24. Spend a few private minutes with each of your parents.

25. Enjoy yourself and try to remember each precious moment. Most important, in my book, have an absolutely wonderful life! '

John Sullivan has a fine arts degree from Kansas City Art Institute. He has partnered with Ken Miesner for the past 25 years at Ken Miesner’s Flowers at Plaza Frontenac, where they have done flowers for more than 1,000 weddings!