The big day is fast approaching! What is the countdown to? Two weeks? Two days? Two hours? It’s go time, baby!
You want everything to run as smoothly as possible. Feel like you might be forgetting something? No worries. We’ve got you covered.
One to Two Weeks Out:
In no particular order…
1. Confirm your arrangements with vendors. You have those contracts taken care of, but it doesn’t hurt to double check the details. Verify date, places, times, setup, take-down, etc. Make sure your venue’s closing time corresponds with your vendors’.
2. Finalize the payments. The last thing you want to worry about on your big day is the bills that you have to pay. Take care of this ahead of time so you don’t have to carry the checkbook around. Odds are it doesn’t accessorize well with your dress anyway.
3. On the topic of money… Create tip envelopes. Having these organized beforehand will make it easy to pay out the DJ, catering staff, etc. without having to dig through your purse for cash. This is a great job for a personal attendant.
4. The marriage license! In some states you can walk in and get your license, in others you have to make an appointment. Do you know what yours is? And do you know how many days in advance you can get it/how long it’s valid without signatures? Find out what documents you need and when you can get them before your nuptials.
5. Having a signature drink? A cucumber-lemonade chiller, you say? Yum! Get that recipe written down (probably multiple times.) Have note cards ready for your bartenders so you don’t need to rack your brain for the concoction or go on a treasure hunt for the ingredients.
6. You and your soon-to-be-mister definitely have those songs you love and those songs you hate. Sit down together, pull up YouTube, and craft a “Do/Do Not Play” list for your DJ. Send this over early so that they can get a playlist queued up and ready to go for your night of dancing.
7. Time to chat with your photographer now, too! By giving them a list of must-have pics, you can enjoy the night knowing they got shots of relatives, friends, and snapped plenty of reception candids.
8. Craft a morning of itinerary. Having a schedule for you and your attendants will make you feel less like a chicken with its head cut off. Know what you want done and by what time, and it should be smooth sailing. (Always pencil in a few extra minutes for safe measure.)
9. Review your printed materials. Wouldn’t it be awful if it came time to walk down the aisle and you saw that your name was spelled wrong on the program? I’d cry (dramatic, but probably true). Save yourself the fear and check your table numbers, place cards, menus, and programs as soon as you get them, just in case you need to rush-order a new batch.
10. Line up gifts for loved ones. This might be something that slips off your radar, but it is such a thoughtful touch. I attended a destination wedding earlier this summer and the bride hand-delivered little goodie bags to each room with all sorts of treats and beach necessities. It was so sweet! It doesn’t have to be something huge, but the intention behind it goes a long way. Let your guests know you’re thankful for them!
11. Arrange transportation home for your bridal party. You want your guys and gals to enjoy themselves throughout the night. Give them the leisure of knowing that they can have a few drinks, relax, boogie down, and still get back to the hotel or their homes safe and sound.
12. Plan meals! You need to eat breakfast and get at least one snack in before the ceremony. Depending on how many mouths you plan to feed, call ahead and order some grub for the gang. Depending on what you order, you may be able to complete this task the day before as well.
13. Do a little outfit run-through with your entire wedding party. Make sure everything is the color and size it should be. This may be challenging if your party is spread out, but a quick phone call, picture, or FaceTime session will give you some peace of mind. Don’t forget to ask about accessories if you gave them free reign!
14. Your ‘maids and men aren’t the only ones who should do an outfit check. It doesn’t hurt to slip on your gown(maybe with a little help from one of the girls) just to make sure things look right. Also, try on your accessories with the dress to verify that everything is as perfect as you pictured. Suggest this little pre-check to your man as well.
15. Make sure a bridesmaid knows how to bustle your dress, then practice! They can be really tricky, so I recommend bringing her along to the final fitting for a lesson.
16. Make sure your hair, makeup, nails, etc. are scheduled with plenty of time. Hopefully these appointments have been made, but call and confirm times and dates a week out just to be sure.
17. Schedule some alone time or girl time—no wedding agenda allowed. Give yourself a day to read a book, lay at the beach, lie in your bed, grab happy hour with the girls, whatever relaxing activities you have in mind. This will be good for your sanity.
18. Grooms: If you plan on getting your haircut, do not wait until 24-hours before. We all know that haircuts don’t always turn out like the pictures in magazines. Get this done with a week or so to spare, so you don’t look fresh out of the barber chair.
19. Sometimes shoes hurt. Practice walking in yours.
20. Are you saying your own vows? Start writing AND practicing. Weddings are emotional events (for me at least.) With practice and preparation, you will have an easier time saying exactly what’s on your mind.
The same goes for any speeches. It is customary that the couple says a quick thank you to the guests at some point in the reception. Have an idea of what you want to say ahead of time, so you don’t accidentally choke on your words.
It’s also important to check in with your fiancé about these things. You don’t have to read each other your vows ahead of time (although this may help with nerves), but make sure they carry a similar tone. Are you going for sweet and sentimental or light-hearted and a little humorous? Get a vibe and be on the same page.
21. Practice your kiss! Seems odd doesn’t it? But you’re about to kiss in front of a lot of people, including parents, grandparents, and now in-laws. Enough said.
22. Following tradition? Don’t forget to have your “something old, something new, something borrowed, something blue” ready for your big day.
23. Delegate tasks to your VIP’s. This might be challenging for you if you are a DIY kind of girl, but it is in your best interest to pass some tasks along. Ask people to help ahead of time, and you’ll save everyone involved from a headache.
24. Leaving for your honeymoon shortly after the reception? Pack now! Even if you have a day or two in between your flight and the ceremony, this tip will allow you to get a jump on thank-you cards, spend more time with family while they’re in-town, or even just rest your feet a bit after all that reception dancing.
The Day Before:
25. Don’t tote your overnight bags around on matrimony morning. Drop your bags off the night before or ask a friend/family member to bring them the morning of. Same goes for any supplies you want at the reception. Drop them off early and save yourself the hassle.
26. Do you have pets? Make sure they’ll be taken care of while you’re tying the knot!
27. Gown transportation: How is your gown getting to the site? Who is going to bring it? See if you can bring it a day early so you can get it out of the bag and breathing for tomorrow.
28. Get the limo/party bus driver’s number and share it with the bridal party. Likewise, give your driver the maid of honor and best man’s numbers (or possibly a list of the entire party.) Supply printed directions as well. Taking these extra precautions should get you to the right places on time—assuming you keep to the schedule as well.
29. Designate gift caretakers. Whether it be a bridesmaid, groomsman, personal attendant, or just another good friend, ask nicely to have someone pick up your presents. Lots of guests are sending gifts straight to the couple’s home now, but for the few that do make their way to the reception, have someone ready to load them up for you at the end of the night.
30. Find a responsible friend and put them in charge of legal documents. You’ll be all over the place throughout the day, and things tend to have a way of going missing in chaos.
31. Prep your “Big Day Emergency Kit.” By putting one of these together you’re saving yourself from the scary “what if’s” of wedding prep. Odds are you won’t need everything in it, but extra preparation can’t hurt.
32. Are you and your fiancé writing each other sweet notes to read as you get ready? You totally should. It’s precious. Opinion aside—this is not something you want to leave until the last minute. Sure, you don’t need days to write a note, but give yourself a reasonable amount of time to write something from the heart that your soon-to-be Mr. or Mrs. can cherish forever.
33. Plan a moment for just the two of you amidst the chaos and excitement of the big day. You will be constantly surrounded—seriously, I mean it—even when you go to the bathroom… So setting aside time, even just a few minutes, to be with your husband away from family, friends, and photographers, may be good for you both.
34. I don’t know if you’re like me, but I do not function well on just a few Z’s. You will absolutely have adrenaline kicking in, but it is important feel well-rested. And who wants bags under their eyes in pictures they have to look at forever, am I right? Start winding down early the night before, so you can calm your body and mind enough to get some good sleep on your last unmarried night.
You’re finally ready for the big day!
There you have it. You are ready to tie the knot! Breathe easy and enjoy the time leading up to the event. Soak in every second of the day itself. Happy happily ever after, my friends!
Written by Wedding Shoppe Blogger, Molly S.