Congratulations! You’re engaged! Call your mom, call your best friend, and then take that photo for social media! Once you’ve shared your exciting news, take a few hours or a few days to enjoy your newfound life adventure because planning your wedding is about to take over your life (in the best possible way, of course!). Take a deep breath, and don’t panic. We’ve got you covered. We’ve come up with the best, most comprehensive, most helpful wedding planning checklist you can imagine. We’ve left no stone unturned, no detail ignored, and we’ve included little tips, tricks, and hacks to help you tackle your wedding with calm confidence. No bridezillas here (because you won’t need to panic with all the help we’ve got for you).
You can’t decide when, where, or how you’re going to get married without knowing what you can afford to spend. However, there are a few very important things to remember here. The most important thing to remember is that this is one day of your life, so you don’t want to break the bank to get married. Don’t empty your savings. Don’t sacrifice the purchase of a new home. Decide what you can comfortably afford, and start there. If you need more time to save up, plan for a longer engagement. Talk to your parents about their contributions, and if they’re even interested in contributing to your big day. Do nothing else until you choose your budget – and then stick to it.
Some people argue that it’s better to choose a date prior to a venue, but we disagree. We’ve seen far too many couples change their date to accommodate the availability of their favorite venues, so this is the next job on the list. You can’t pick a firm date if you don’t have a firm venue. Check out the places you love, look around, and finalize your options. Sign a contract, and you’re good to go.
Now that you’ve booked your venue and have a date set in stone, make the announcement to your friends and family. It’s so much better to announce a firm date to your loved ones than it is to give them one date, change it, and then give them another. Don’t be those people.
This is the fun part, but it’s also stressful for so many people. Here’s what we think about that: Pick who you want to pick, and don’t pick who you don’t want to pick. Practice saying this with a smile, “Sorry, mom, but as much as I love Third Cousin Sally from Alabama, I can’t have her as a bridesmaid just because Aunt Susan asked you to set her up with a groomsman.” You can change names as needed. This is your wedding, and it’s your day. Anyone expecting an invitation into the party might be a little hurt, but those who truly love you and value your happiness won’t hold it against you. Also, ask your party to be part of your big day in a fun way or just send a quick text if that’s more your style.
We promise you this; you will hear, see, and find so many things you love, but you won’t remember all of them as the days tick by. It’s time to start a wedding board, save the ideas you want, and use it for a point of reference. You might struggle to find a style or a theme for your wedding, and this board can become the most useful tool in deciding what you love. Go back and look at photos, see what you tend to love the most, and go from there.
This might be the most stressful part of your wedding. You want to invite everyone, but you can’t. Or, maybe you can, but you simply don’t want to. If you can invite everyone and you want to invite them all, well, good for you. That’s a beautiful and very rare situation, so pleas enjoy that. Everyone else, write down a list of everyone. Then divide that list into absolutes, maybes, maybe nots, and definitely nots. Look at that list regularly, and change it as needed. It’s not firm – yet.
This is non-negotiable, so go ahead and call your insurance company right now. As a side note, you can also ask about a wedding insurance package. Your insurance agent can discuss this in depth with you.
Your friends and family will appreciate you for this, and they can use it to see your wedding style, to find information, and to leave you supportive messages. This is important because it will significantly cut down on the number of calls, texts, and emails from your mom to remind her about this or that. She can look at the site, refresh her memory, and you can save a little time.
This is not something you must do, and it really does depend on your budget. If you can afford it, now is the time to hire someone to handle the heavy lifting for you.
Or three. Go to some bridal shows. Immerse yourself into the scene. Get cards. Meet people. Talk about your big day. Get ideas, and use them. Now you have an idea of what kind of dress you might love to check out. You have a list of bridal shops in your area, and you have a list of caterers, and bartenders, and DJs, and so much more. These are invaluable, and they are also a lot of fun, so grab your fiancé or your mom or your friends, and go have some fun.
You don’t have to commit to the dress right this second, but do start shopping early. You don’t know what you might want, where you might get it, and how long you might have to wait for it. You might also find you don’t love anything locally, and you might decide something custom is more your style. Give yourself ample time so as not to stress yourself out. Take your girls with you, and let them choose dresses they love, too. Get an idea of what they love, and keep that in mind when they shop for their dresses.
Pro Tip: Do consider what your wedding will look like before you purchase a dress. A princess-style ball gown might be perfect for an indoor church wedding in December, but it not be so comfortable when you’re getting married on the beach in July. Be sure you consider the time of year, the location, and the weather before you choose a dress. It can make or break your big day.
You might not know precisely what you want to eat just yet, but caterers are in high demand, and you need to book one as soon as possible.
This is another job that can only be done by someone with expertise and experience, so hire now. The best photographers are snapped right up when people plan their weddings, and you don’t want to be left trying to choose who to use from a list of photographers who don’t take beautiful photos.
If you’re getting married in your church, this is easy. If you’re getting married elsewhere, but you regularly attend church, this is also easy. If you don’t know anyone who does this, you can find someone online, by using word of mouth, or by attending some bridal shows. Either way, hire someone to marry you right away.
Now is the best time to do this, and we recommend you do it with everyone. Get all contracts, prices, terms, and conditions in writing, with signatures, and never pay anyone without a receipt. This is going to be the number one rule throughout the wedding planning process.
And, don’t raise your eyebrows at the word “theme” because no one is asking you to decorate your wedding with Star Wars or Unicorns. A theme is a very loose term for the overall look and feel of your wedding. Do you want something very formal and black-tie, or is your theme more of a casual southern theme in an old barn with a beautiful outdoor reception? It might be a beach wedding, a very formal Catholic wedding, a roaring 20s event. It might be anything you want, but the point is to make that decision right now. Your theme might not even be anything more than just a couple of colors you love. All black and white with hints of silver, for example, makes a beautiful wedding theme. Now is the time to choose this, though, so you can start pulling things together.
You might not think this is something you need to do this far in advance, but you do need to speak with your florist and get that contract signed right now. One, prices might go up later in the year. Two, you need to know what you can expect from the florist in advance. Finally, it’s wise to book this lovely vendor right away so that your dreams of having beautiful pink peonies on your wedding day aren’t crushed the month before when you finally get around to hiring a florist only to find out it’s not peony season and you’re going to pay ten times the original budget to fly them in from somewhere special. Your florist does beautiful work, but they can crush your soul if you assume they can make magic happen without double checking first. Now you have a florist, and now you know if your flower dreams can come true or if you need a new dream or a bigger flower budget.
This is not a package deal with the photographer, but the ‘ographer’ part of their names is tricky. Your videographer is a separate entity than your photographer, and you might want one. Not everyone cares to video their wedding formally, but many people do. Now is the time to book this person.
Okay, so this is not a total requirement at this point, but do hear us out. One, you can use these photos for your save the date. You need these to send out around now because you want to make sure people don’t make plans and miss your wedding. Two, you can test drive your photographer. You’ve already booked them, but you have time to find a new one if you work with them and decide you don’t work well together or you dislike their work. This is the most important test drive you’ll ever take, by the way.
We love these because there are so many fun options you can use. You can send an engagement photo card. You can send a fun card you order online. You can deliver little gifts to everyone. You can do anything you want, and that’s what makes this fun. Just send them, though, because some people need the notice to take time off work, to arrange for care for their children if you’re not inviting them or they simply want to have a fun adult’s night out. And, if people live far from you or you’re having a destination wedding, you may need to give your guests this time to make your wedding possible in their finances.
Pro Tip: Only send save the dates to those you know you want to invite to your wedding. Anyone on the maybe list can wait for a save the date until you have the time and the desire to finalize that list in the best way possible. Don’t feel bad about leaving people off the list, either.
It is possible to put this off, but why? You need to do this now so you have time to order it, it can arrive, it can be altered, and you can fit yourself for accessories you love.
If you’re looking to get fit for your wedding, now is the best time to join the gym. Don’t wait until you have a month or two to go. Make that lifestyle change now. You’re going to find yourself far more energized, happier, and sleeping better when you start working out and changing your lifestyle now. Additionally, all that extra water you’ll start drinking when you work out is going to become a godsend for your skin.
If you’ve been thinking of working on your skin, try it now. This way, if something isn’t working out, you have ample time to adjust your routine. For example, if you’re considering Botox for the first time, do it now so that you don’t end up with results you don’t love closer to your wedding.
If you are like so many brides with dreams of a glam updo or long, soft waves on your big day, now is the time to start growing. Keep up with your regularly scheduled hair appointments, and keep your hair trimmed. The healthier it is, the faster it will grow.
This is a two part situation. If you’re getting married locally, it’s wise to check out two or three hotels and secure blocks of rooms for your guests. Doing it this far in advance allows you to guarantee you can secure a block of rooms on the same floor so your friends and family from out of town can stay close, and it also helps you give your bridal party time to book their rooms at a discounted rate. If you’re getting married elsewhere, you want to book rooms in the hotel where you are getting married, or in the city where you are getting married. Destination weddings are fun, but they’re a lot easier on your guests when the hard work and guesswork are taken out of the equation by the happy couple.
Helpful Tip: While you certainly don’t need to choose several hotels from which your guests can choose, it is helpful to choose a few in different price points. You’ll have your budget travelers, your happy to pay a little more for a great hotel travelers, and your 5-star travelers. Choosing and booking a block of rooms at all three allows you to successfully accommodate all your guests while also being respectful of their budgets. Bonus: this is helpful for your guests because they will know in advance what to expect in terms of prices.
Now that you have some rooms booked in various hotels, make that information accessible to your guests on your wedding website!
Maybe it’s a bit early for some, but we are firm believers that you can do this well in advance, add to it, remove items from it, and check it off the list in advance. Register at two or three different places.
Pro Tip: Sometimes you’ll find your friends and family will buy you more of what’s on your registry for holidays and other random gifts before the big day. Not everyone will do this, but parents and grandparents will love knowing what you can use, what you want, and how to shop for you come Christmas and your birthday, and you’ll appreciate the gesture.
Pro Tip: Be sure you register for items in every price point. Don’t assume someone will just give you cash if they cannot find something in their budget on your registry. It’s helpful to register for things that cost anywhere from $5 and up to make sure there’s a little something for everyone.
You are not sending these out right now, but you do want to look at them right now. Get samples from various companies and price them. Now you can hold them, touch them, and see up close and personal how well made they are or are not, and you have a better idea of what you want.
We don’t think there is any reason to put this off when you know you’re getting married in a certain place on a certain day at a certain time. You already know your colors and your overall ambiance of the wedding, so let’s do this. Go find some bakers, eat some cake, and try it on for size.
Pro Tip: Cake tasting makes for a very fun date day with your new fiancé. You get to go eat cake in different flavors, with different toppings, and different styles. Take some photos of what you envision, and try everything. Don’t say no to anything until you’ve had a bite. Some things sound better than they taste, and some things taste better than they sound.
Pro Tip: Skip the wedding cake if your budget is tight. What do you love to eat? Your guests might enjoy seeing a wedding with nothing but cupcakes or even a donut tower, a chocolate fountain, or even something different. It’s your wedding, and you’re not required to eat cake.
Pro Tip: Trick your guests to fit the budget. An elaborate wedding cake is expensive, but your baker can make only the top layer out of cake, and the rest can be faux cake covered in fondant and decorated to look like a real wedding cake. The caterer then cuts a regular sheet cake in the back, serves that in pieces to your guests, and no one is the wiser. It’s a huge money saver for many couples.
This is your big day, so you are not required to finalize it right now, but it’s helpful to look at it every few months to see if there is anyone you want to add, anyone you’d like to remove, etc. Take a look. Go over it with your fiancé. Practice telling your parents no about inviting their coworkers from 1973.
Where do you want to go? What’s the budget for this beautiful day? How long can you stay? Do you want to go all out, or do you want to budget your honeymoon fund a bit? Now is the time to start thinking, and it might be the time to book if you know where you want to go and you’re ready to spend that money.
Pro Tip: Do not book an early flight the morning after your wedding. Either book a later flight to give yourself time to wake up, have breakfast in bed, and get yourself together so you’re not rushed, or wait an extra day to depart. This allows you to spend a little bit of unhurried, unrushed, un-wedding planning time with your out of town guests before they go home, before you leave. You might be surprised just how little quality time you actually get with them leading up until the wedding.
Pro Tip: Consider at alternate wedding day plan in case of inclement weather. This may not apply if both your ceremony and reception are indoors, but it might affect your day otherwise. You need an alternative to your outdoor ceremony and/or reception if you plan on being wed outdoors. Talk to your venue and/or wedding planner about your options.
All right, you’re not required to book transportation for your guests, but it is a nice thing to do if your ceremony and reception are not close to their hotel and/or they are not booking a rental car. You do need to book your own transportation to and from the venue – for both you and the groom and your respective bridal parties – and you need to book your driver from the wedding reception to the honeymoon suite if you’re not getting married at the hotel.
Pro Tip: Think outside the box for your wedding guests if you’re booking their transportation. For example, choose a carriage for short drives, a limo for longer drives, or even a trolley or double decker bus or party bus if that’s what you prefer.
Now is the time to finalize your bridal party attire, if you have not already done so. Some prefer to do this the same time they book their own tux or buy their own dress, but this is your final warning if you have not done either.
Discuss what you want out of your wedding ceremony. For example, if you are getting married outdoors, you might consider keeping the ceremony short and sweet to prevent yourself from sweating excessively. It’s also nice to keep your guests from sweating profusely, too.
Rentals include everything from your table cloths to dishes to chairs to other décor. Be sure you discuss this with the venue before you rent anything for the ceremony, however. Some venues include certain items, and that will save you some money on the things you need to rent.
Now is the time to finalize your design with your baker. You should have an idea at this point of how big you want the cake, what you want from it, and how it should look. Don’t worry, though; you have time to change it a bit if you need to modify size as the wedding approaches and the RSVPs change your headcount significantly.
You have a lot to consider when it comes to how you look the day of your wedding, and we love that. But, what is most lovable about this situation is that you can do anything you want. You can change it. You can modify it. You should start checking out hair and makeup you love, saving photos, and creating an overall look for yourself.
Now is the time to really make sure you are good with who you chose to invite and/or not invite. You have to order your invitations, so you need to know how many you need. You want to be sure you have at least 10 extras to add to the mix if you choose to add a few more people to the guest list at the last minute.
Pro Tip: Save an invitation for your wedding album. You will never regret this choice.
Now that you know how many people you need, add 10 to the number, and order those invitations. You need a little time for the printer to get your order, to send you a sample to be sure it is correct, and to get the order finalized. You also need this time to help you figure out what you want to do in terms of addressing them. For example, do you want to do it yourself, or you do want to hire someone to do it for you?
Pro Tip: Order menu items to put on your RSVP cards if you are having a sit-down dinner. For example, ask if your guests want one dish or another, that way you know what to order from the caterer when you get your final headcount.
Pro Tip: Add song request lines to your RSVP cards so that your guests can be sure to hear something they love on the night of your wedding. It’s a great way to add songs to your playlist and to make sure your band/DJ plays music your guests love.
Not everyone works with musicians during the ceremony. Some people choose to have their wedding planner hit a button and play a song as they walk down the aisle, but you still need to find someone to do this for you. Otherwise, you should book musicians to play as you walk down the aisle – and before. A beautiful band will do the job for you. A singer can do it for you. A choir makes a beautiful choice. You have options, and we suggest looking into them and booking your ceremony musicians now.
Pro Tip: Be sure you consider music for your cocktail hour, if you are having one. If you have ceremony musicians, they might opt to stay and play for the cocktail hour, too. This is when the bridal party traditionally finishes up the photo process, so this might make a great option for you while you handle this.
You already have a florist. You already know what kind of flowers you want. Now is the time to decide what you want them to look like. Are you using flowers to decorate the ceremony and reception? You need to figure out what you want those to look like. You need to figure out what you want your bouquet to look like. You must figure out a design for the bridal party bouquets. You need to know what the men will wear in terms of flowers on their lapel.
Pro Tip: Get a smaller and less expensive version of your own bouquet to toss during the reception if you plan on going that route. You won’t want to throw your beautiful flowers in the air for someone to catch and potentially destroy on your wedding day. You may want to dry them and keep them as a reminder of your special day.
Along with your invitations, thank you cards should be ordered now. These are perfect to order with invitations so they are similar. They can match completely, or they can just have some of the same design features. Either way, you want these before your friends and family start buying gifts and throwing parties for you.
Not everyone goes through this, but it’s our opinion that it doesn’t hurt. One great thing you can do is talk to your officiant about his or her requirements. Your church, if that is where you are getting married, might even make this a requirement. Find out the specifics, and get started now. You only have so long to do this, and that’s all there is to it.
We love a good playlist, but we mean get ready to write down the most important songs of the night so your DJ knows what you are looking for. This includes the songs you want played for your first dance as husband and wife, your father and daughter dance, your mother and son dance, your final dance out the door, and the music you want played during dinner and during your exit. For example, you might not want dance party music playing while you’re serving dinner to keep people off the dance floor and in their seats. This is a great time to play soft classics that make people feel relaxed and happy.
If you’re going to wow your guests, now is the time to start practicing. Of course, this is not a requirement. You can skip these if you’re more of the traditional dancer who wants to slow dance in circles. We are happy with whatever decision you make.
It’s traditional to invite the wedding party, the officiant, the parents, and even the wedding planner to this one, but you may want to include a few more people. For example, do you have friends coming from out of town you want to spend more time with? Your grandparents might be visiting, too. You can invite anyone you want, of course, but it’s always sweet and kind to invite anyone visiting from out of town – just be sure this is all right with whomever is paying. Traditionally, the groom’s family pays for rehearsal, so keep that in mind with the budget.
Now is the time to create a game plan for you rehearsal. Give your officiant an idea of what you’re looking for, and discuss the details with the venue and/or wedding planner. Details include the timeline of the event, the time you want the wedding to start, the time you want the guests to be seated, how you want people walking down the aisle, and so on. In fact, now is a great time to finalize your list of all things ceremony oriented so everyone can work through their own part.
Now that you have a guest list for this night, it’s time to get to booking. Will you have your dinner at your favorite restaurant, or will you have it elsewhere? Will you have it at the venue? Do you have a large home and want to cater it yourself? You have options, but you need to choose a venue that accommodates everyone on your list, and you need to remember to ask about allergy issues for your guests.
You know the colors. You know the flavors. Call your baker and finalize that order. Pay for it, and move on. You can make small changes as the date approaches, but this is the time you need to get it officially ordered so you’re on the bakery’s roster.
If you’re going to do it yourself, get to work. If not, hire someone to get to work on your behalf. Our advice is to hire someone if you are planning on inviting more than 20 people to the wedding. That’s a lot of invitations to address, and you want to be sure you’re doing it well and carefully. Let the pros handle your small details.
Your calligrapher cannot get your invitations written out if you don’t give him or her the addresses of everyone on your guest list. Go through what you have, and then reach out to anyone whose addresses you don’t already have. Here’s a fun tip: You can reach out on social media, with a group text, or you can just refer to the list you gathered when you sent out save the date cards to your friends and family.
What do you want to give your wedding guests as a thank you for coming to your wedding? You can give them any number of items, but we love things that they can use and enjoy. The small personalized bottles of champagne make great gifts. A to-go box with treats in it is another fun option. You can use anything you want as a favor, but you do need to get that concept finalized now so that you have time to order what you need to ensure each guest is left with a lovely gift.
If you’re using flowers, you’ve already discussed this with your florist. If your venue or another vendor is doing the decorating for you, touch base with them to go over an idea of what you want. Pictures are always helpful so that there is no miscommunication pertaining to your thoughts and desires. If you are a couple who likes to get crafty and save money, you might be making DIY decorations. Now is the time to finalize those ideas either way.
Now is the day to go shopping for bands. You should go together, choose what you want, and buy them now. You need time to have them fitted, and you need time to see what options you have in terms of what you want. Some bridal sets need to be custom ordered in advance. Additionally, you’ll need to figure out how much time you need to have your wedding band and engagement ring sautered together prior to your big day if you go that route – you will need to bring both back at that time to allow ample time for return prior to your wedding day.
You need more than one to be sure your dress fits correctly, so now is the time to ensure you get your next fitting scheduled. Even if your dress fit perfectly when it came in, get it fit for length, width, and other issues you might notice this far into the game. If you work out and live a healthy lifestyle, your body could change since you first bought your gown.
Pro Tip: Schedule appointments for fittings for your bridesmaids, mother, mother-in-law, and flower girls, too, if they need them. You don’t want to find yourself worried that things individually when you could worry all at once.
You have four months to go, which means you might not feel so rushed at this moment, but now is the time for you to start shopping for these items. Some are easily found, and others might require a bit more looking. Start shopping for these now so you don’t stress about them later.
Your wedding night might come with a honeymoon suite if you’re getting married at a hotel, but it won’t if you’re not. If you fall into the no honeymoon suite included category, now is the time to call a hotel you love and pick a room. You don’t want to go home on your wedding night; it’s more fun to stay at a hotel and not worry about your dishes or making your bed, etc.
Pro Tip: Book your room using your favorite app or your favorite hotel’s online portal, but do call to see if they can accommodate you on your wedding night in a suite. Not all hotels include their suites online, and you don’t want to miss out on something special on the night of your lives. Another pro tip – ask for early check in so that your friends and family can send someone ahead to decorate your room in a romantic manner for you and your new spouse.
If you already booked your honeymoon, good for you. If not, now is the time to book. You don’t want to choose what you want to do, forget to book it, and find out it’s at capacity when you do book. This gives you time to focus on things that are what you want rather than what you are stuck with if you wait too long. Book your flights, hotel, rental car or limo transportation, and any other services you might want to enjoy. This involves excursions, spa treatments, and dinner reservations.
Pro Tip: If you are a husband planning a honeymoon surprise for your wife, go with something wonderful like a spa day or a special bouquet of flowers upon arrival. If you are a wife surprising your new husband on your honeymoon, consider something like a round of golf, a helicopter tour, or an active date day like parasailing or jet skiing, or whatever is active in the season and location you’re traveling.
Take pictures with you! This is the time when you come to meet with them for the last time prior to your wedding, and this is the time you need them to know precisely what you are looking for. Describing it is one thing, but seeing a photo to reference while working your flowers and centerpieces is paramount. Don’t forget to tell the florist what color scheme you’re using, and don’t forget to let them know if you have a more prominent theme they can work with.
What are you doing to decorate your ceremony, your reception, and the cocktail hour location of your wedding? If any of your decorations are not included in your rentals, your florist order, or your venue, it’s time to order those. Candles? Vases? Frames for your head table to include all your favorite dating photos? Get those ordered now so that they have time to arrive, and you have time to repair any orders that aren’t right. This is not to say that someone will mess up your orders, but it is to say that you want to be prepared rather than sorry.
Out of town guests are traveling a long way to visit you. They are taking time off work and maybe even school to visit you for your wedding. They are bringing their kids to another city where it’s not nearly as easy to care for them. They are taking their personal vacation time, money, and travel dates to visit you – and your job is to take care of them. Be sure these baskets include something wonderful, and nothing generic. You want them ready in advance – and they will be a lot more work than you think – so that you can deliver and drop them off at the hotel the day of arrival for each of your guests. Keep in mind, too, that not everyone will arrive the same day.
Pro Tip: Welcome baskets can be any size, any shape, and include anything. For example, you might choose to give your guests each a helpful tool basket for your beach wedding with cute flip flops, sunscreen, and a fan to keep them cool. You might choose to give your guests a personalized robe and slippers to use in their room, along with a bag of delicious gourmet coffee, or a bottle of wine or champagne, rather than a wedding-theme basket. A candle, some soft music, and some sweet treats are also wonderful ideas for welcome baskets. If you have guests with children, consider adding something a little fun for them in the basket, such as coloring books and games to keep them busy when mom and dad are preoccupied.
You are getting married, and people want something to keep to remember it by. They also want something to tell them where they are in the process, how much longer it will take, and when it will be over. At the risk of sounding crass, this is a true story. Guests want to know how much longer they’re sitting outside in the heat. They want to know where they are in the ceremony so they can take their toddler to the restroom or hang out for a few more minutes since things are winding down. Programs need not be fancy, but this is something you want to design. Our professional tip is to design it as much like the invitations as you can.
You can’t just call them up and order a few things here and there. You have a lot to discuss, and you have to taste it all. This makes a fun date night, and don’t forget to include options for everyone. The best wedding menus have a meat option, a seafood option, a vegetarian option, and a child-friendly option. Now that we think about it, we might see why so many people are turning to buffets rather than trying to accommodate all the people who have different health needs, tastes, and desires. You want to discuss everything you want on your big day from your appetizers to your entrees to finger foods for the cocktail reception.
Does your caterer provide a bartender for the wedding? Most don’t, which is why you might need one of your own. Now is the time to find someone who is willing to do this work – and you want to be sure everyone has all their proper licensing.
Pro Tip: Don’t forget to check with your venue to see if they allow liquor on site. Most places do, but sometimes couples are surprised to learn their venue only allows beer and wine. And, keep this in mind, there is nothing wrong with only serving beer and wine at your wedding if that is what you prefer, and if that is what works for the budget.
It can become quite expensive to serve a full open liquor bar in which people can order anything they want. Your bartender will need every type of liquor and mixer available, and that’s not possible if you’re not getting married at a hotel with a bar. However, you can create a less panicked situation – and a much more affordable situation – by creating a custom cocktail for the wedding so that it’s the only liquor drink available. Otherwise, have some beer and wine, and let that be what people drink.
You forgot about the one, didn’t you? If you need a passport, be sure yours is not expired. If it is, it’s time to renew it while you still have time to get it back without paying those exorbitant expedited processing fees. If you need other documents, such as a birth certificate, get those in order, too. Check to see what your honeymoon requires of you, and get each document.
Pro Tip: Renew your passport if you are within 6 months of your expiration date. While it’s still good, there are some countries that might not let you entre or exit if you are within 6 months of your expiration date. It’s better to renew now and avoid potential flight, travel, or document delays while you’re trying to have the time of your life.
Pro Tip: Make copies of each of your important documents, your credit card, and your banking information to give to someone you trust implicitly. You don’t know if you will need this information in case something gets lost or goes wrong while you are out of the country. Give them to a parent, sibling, or best friend; whoever will keep them safe and be there for you if something happens while you’re gone.
This is one of the most fun and most stressful parts of your planning process. No family is without at least one person someone else doesn’t want to sit by, and it creates some big issues. Our advice is to create a chart of the floor plan, and then write names on small pieces of paper so you can move them as you seat them, reseat them, and figure things out. If you think you can put this job off for a while, you’re wrong. It could take you weeks to get this just right while you wait for RSVPs, and while you hear from family who is not friendly with whom, and whatnot. Family drama is a thing, and you may not even know it.
Pro Tip: Numbered tables are tired and overdone. Instead, try using something creative to differentiate your tables from other tables at the reception. How about naming them all after your favorite vacations (a Caribbean table, a Napa table, Paris, etc.) or naming them after your favorite Bible verses? You can do anything you want, but this makes your wedding seem a bit more beautiful, more special, and more personal.
Pro Tip: Seating charts don’t have to be what you think they are. What about a teen table and a kid’s table? Not everyone has to sit with mom and dad, and it makes your job easier if you can keep kids somewhere out of the way of the cake, with a table filled with crayons, coloring books, puzzles, and games that don’t involve any candles that might burn them or flowers they can accidentally destroy. They’ll have a lot more fun, and so will their parents, if you take care of the kids like this.
You might see it, you might like it, you might want it, but that doesn’t mean you might get it. You might not have enough hair, dark or light enough skin, or whatever to make it work. Now is the time to take your makeup looks and hair ideas to your stylist and your makeup artist to see them on your face. You might love it. You might hate it. You might want to make some changes, and that is precisely why you do this now and not on the day of your wedding.
Pro Tip: Have your makeup artist write down everything he or she used on you. Name, color, palette, everything. You want to know you have it all right on your wedding day, especially if he or she has to pack up and come to you.
Just when you thought you were done with things like this, we have more accessories for you. You want to have a personalized flute with your wedding date on it, and you want it to be a nice one. You need time to order it. You also need a beautiful guest book, a lovely pen (your everyday B.I.C. just won’t cut it on your wedding day), and you probably want personalized serving accessories for the cake. Now is the time to order those so that they make it to you on time. Everything you personalize takes more time to create and ship.
You’ve had a month to think about the menu. You’ve had that time to check with friends and family to double check no one has any allergy or food issues. You’ve had time to make adjustments for what you really want and what you really need, and now it’s time to make those final changes.
How do you want to tell people to get to their correct seat? You want place cards, and they can be as simple as a piece of cardstock with a name, or as elaborate as a bottle of wine for each guest with a personalized label dictating where they sit with a fancy number. You can choose, but you need to choose now so you can get those created, ordered, and shipped to you before it’s too late.
Pro Tip: Order place cards you can customize at home. For example, instead of ordering them with names and table numbers already on them, order them with only names. You can add the table numbers yourself. Remember, you’ll probably change this seating chart a few more times as you go, so you don’t want anything final.
You’ve already met with your florist to finalize your floral arrangements and your supplies. Now it’s time to call her and make your final order. This includes additional flowers for special guests such as grandmothers or even the couple who is coming who has been married the longest (that always makes people feel good when you recognize them for something so wonderful).
It’s getting real. You’re putting invitations in the mail, and that means people are going to start RSVPing for your wedding. Be sure you have RSVP cards in your invitations, and be sure they are addressed and stamped back to you – or to the person who is caring for your RSVPs.
This goes hand in hand with what we just said to you about asking someone to help. You want to be sure you have someone who will take these, organize them, and adjust your charts and menu lists as you go. This is a job you can do, but it’s not a bad idea to ask someone else for some help. You need all the help you can get right now, and it’s a good idea to make sure you practice accepting that help.
If you’re using traditional vows, you needn’t worry about this. However, now is the time to write your vows. You might need more time than you think. Why? Because you might have so much you want to say, and it might be difficult to figure out how to say it in a manner that’s appropriate for your wedding and all the people listening to your private thoughts.
Meet for coffee, and bring a notebook. You have an officiant who wants to be sure every last detail of your wedding is one that goes smoothly, and he wants to know that you’re on the same page. This is the time to provide a list of start to finish details, including who walks who down the aisle, what song is being played, verses you want read, and everything in between. Take his or her advice on tweaking things, adding or subtracting readings, etc. This is someone who has been to more weddings that you’ll ever go to.
One of the most important things you need on your wedding day is your marriage license. Without it, you cannot get married legally. Your officiant needs it to sign, and you have to have your witnesses sign (don’t worry – this is not something else you need to add to your list. Your witnesses are your maid of honor and your best man). Call the local courthouse where you are getting married and figure out what you need. Every state and every municipality is a little different. You might need your driver’s license or passport, a birth certificate, and your social security card. Some places might require you both come in together, and other places might be okay letting you both come in on your own time if you can’t see them together. Know it ahead of time.
Now that the RSVPs are rolling in – it’s time to finalize those seating charts. Don’t worry that you still have a few weeks for RSVPs to come in. Just finalize your ideas. You can cross people off as you go, but there is no need to re-do everything after this. This is the final version, and it’s time to get it to the people making your place cards so that they can get them printed and shipped.
You don’t have to say anything specific at the moment. Just ask any final questions you’ve been keeping up with, confirm with them anything you’ve already talked about. Make any changes you’ve been thinking about. Just remind them that your big day is coming up, and you’re excited for it to all happen. This reminds them that they’re doing something for you, and it all keeps everyone in the loop if you’ve made any changes.
It’s time for you to try your dress on for the last time. Well, hopefully this is the last time. This should be the time your alterations are all done, your dress fits like a dream, and you’re ready to go.
Pro Tip: Take all of your accessories with you when you try your dress on for the last time. This includes your bra, panties, stockings, and other undergarments you’re wearing on your wedding day. You need to be sure they fit with the dress; that they don’t show, they don’t make you feel as if you have any extra rolls of skin because they’re too tight, etc.. You can’t get a new dress now, but you can order new undergarments this far in advance.
Can you believe you are here? This is the moment you’ve been waiting for. This is the moment you are creating your final timeline for your wedding day. This is the timeline you use to mark every single moment of your day. And we’ve decided to help you out a bit and outline it for you.
Keep in mind that we have a few pieces of advice for you – don’t schedule a facial, wax, Botox, fillers, or color the day of or the day before your wedding. Instead, schedule a massage, manicures, pedicures, and small things that aren’t going to affect you by making you feel swollen, by causing any bruising, or by making you red for your wedding day. Book your mani, pedi, and massage for the day before. Book your hair and makeup artist for the day of. Book enough for all your bridal party to enjoy this part of your big day with you.
You can give these people anything you want, but remember they have been with you every step of the way. Gift cards, personalized gifts, and things they really love individually make a wonderful gift for those who are standing up with you on your wedding day. Whatever you give them, make sure it’s something that shows you value them and appreciate them, and that you definitely spent time thinking about them.
This is a fun part of the process! This is where you get your first glimpse of your dream turned reality, and it’s important. You need to have a diagram, and you need to walk through the venue with the planner or the people who will decorate and set up for you on your wedding. They need to know what time you plan on getting married, what time your vendors will arrive, and they need a chart. They need to know where you want every single table and chair located. Here’s a helpful list of things to discuss on this day.
Readings are very important passages read at weddings, but they are certainly not a requirement. If you don’t want them, you’re not required to have them. If you do want them, they can be anything you want from your favorite verses in the Bible to song lyrics to quotes about love and life. Now choose the people who will read them at your wedding.
Pro Tip: Include a reading of your first love note from your spouse or partner if you want to make the day a little more special and it’s not something too personal. If you want to make people feel the strength of your love, this is a good way to make that happen.
Did you know that your officiant might not come to your reception following the wedding? Most will only come if they receive an invitation, and you absolutely want to provide an invitation to this. Be sure you ask your officiant to join you.
Pro Tip: Don’t just ask your officiant to your reception dinner. Invite him or her to your rehearsal dinner, too. And, if you’re feeling generous, it’s a lovely idea to invite his or her spouse to join for both.
Take a hot bath. Take a hot shower. Go swimming. Get a massage. Go see a movie. Have a girl’s night or go on a date with your fiancé. Buy a new book and sit down with a glass of wine on a rainy afternoon on the porch and read until you’re ready for bed. Do whatever calms you down, but do it. You need it at this point.
Pro Tip: This is your wedding day, but your wedding day is only one day of your life. you’re not going to notice if the flowers aren’t perfect or if the cake is a brighter shade of white than you chose originally. So, don’t sweat the small stuff. Just be thankful you get to spend this time with the people you love, and that you get to start your best day ever with a great attitude.
Whatever you want to wear is fine, but you know what you want to wear that night. You can be as casual as you want depending on the location, or you can be as formal as you want. Just remember to choose something you love that flatters you and makes you feel like a million bucks.
Pro Tip: Rent yourself a designer ensemble from a company such as Rent the Runway for a night like this. You can order a few things to have delivered in advance, and you can send them right back for replacement items if they don’t fit, if they aren’t flattering, or if there is something you don’t love about it that’s not right. You don’t have to invest in yet another expensive outfit, but you do get to wear a designer label. Just remember to have someone send it back for you inside the rental timeframe after your rehearsal. Choose a delivery date a day or two prior to the big day to be safe.
Remember when we told you that you’d be talking to your vendors left and right? Well, you are doing just that now. Don’t worry if you feel a little bit like a stalker. They work with brides all the time, and they get what you’re feeling. You’re not a stalker. You’re just doing what you should do. Call, confirm, make a note of it, and then call back again if you feel the need.
You’ve already made the list of songs you do want to hear and songs you don’t want to hear, but you need to add the songs your guests have requested to the list. You want them happy, too, and this is a simple way to make them happy.
Have you made post wedding plans for your wedding dress? If you plan on keeping your gown to pass on to the next generation or if you plan on selling your gown, you’ll need to have your dress professionally cleaned and preserved. This will get rid of all the visible and invisible stains on your wedding gown that will become unsightly over time. The easiest way to do this is to order a Wedding Gown Preservation Kit, which includes free shipping, insurance, 5 additional items from your wedding day preserved free, and a 100 year guarantee against yellowing. The kit takes about 7 days to ship so if you order it now, you’ll know you’ll have it for your big day.
You’ve already finalized it in terms of creating a final chart, but now is the time to touch base with all the people who did not RSVP. If they say no on the phone, via text, or through your email, go ahead and remove their names from the wedding tables. You don’t have to re-do your entire seating chart, but you might want to consider making some moves if there are few people at one table after RSVPs are final.
Pro Tip: Only change your seating chart if you find you have one or two people at one table or a few empty tables. You don’t want empty tables. You don’t want people feeling as if they are sitting alone. Make changes only if this is the case.
Pro Tip: Call the venue if you realize you no longer need a table or two after RSVPs are finalized. You can save a little space and maybe even a little money. Call the vendors you’re renting table cloths and décor from and let them know you have fewer tables, and you don’t need as many chairs, tables, or cloths. Finally, call your florist to let them know if you take away any tables. They need to know so they don’t make those centerpieces. You might have fewer guests, but you’re saving some money by removing tables you don’t need.
They should be ready now, and it’s time to pick them up and make sure they fit. If you are having your band attached to your ring, you need to make sure you take it in now so you have time to pick it back up before your big day. If you choose not to have them put together professionally, there is nothing wrong with that, either. Not everyone sauters their rings together.
Now is the time! It is officially official, and you can get married anytime now that you have this in your possession. You will hold on to this until the day of your wedding rehearsal and you will give it to your officiant that evening. He or she will hold on to it, sign it, and get other signatures the day of your wedding. He or she will also turn it in for you and file it with the local courthouse so that your wedding and marriage are legally recognized.
If your dress was perfect at the last fitting, this fitting is unnecessary, but it’s worth keeping on the list just in case. Things go awry all the time.
Now is your time to shine. This month is all about you and your fiancé. Enjoy it, but don’t overdo it. Take the time to enjoy yourself without becoming too tired or anxious about everything.
Pro Tip: Take a time out. Listen to your body. If you need to breathe and relax one day, do it. You don’t want to overdo it and end up sick just before your wedding. However, that happens all the time because brides and grooms don’t know how to stop and rest when their bodies are telling them that they need just that.
Pro Tip: Write your thank you cards as gifts come in. You will find that some guests who cannot make it to the wedding begin sending gifts to you now, and you want to write notes as soon as they come in. Otherwise, you’ll find yourself with dozens or even hundreds of thank you’s to write all at one time after the honeymoon, and that’s no fun.
This list is going to depend entirely on you and your honeymoon. What time of year is it? Where are you going? How long are you going? Is this a formal type of vacation, an active vacation, or what? Layers are always good for any locale, but you need to get more specific with your list. Look up the weather where you are going, and pack accordingly. This list is designed to make sure you have everything you need when you pack, since you will be packing for numerous nights away all at the same time (i.e. your wedding night, your pre-wedding night, and your honeymoon).
Now is the time to do this, because now is the time you will think of things left and right. Nothing is worse than having a thought you need to take care of in a moment when you cannot take care of it, so you can jot it down and organize your thoughts at the end of each day. These notes will be anything from “Remind your dad to do this,” to “Ask the officiant about the timing,” to “Breathe,” and so much more.
You’ve really never needed a date night more than you do right now. We know a thing or two about weddings, and we know you need to spend some time with the love of your life. While you’ve probably been spending more time together lately than ever before, you’re probably also not getting much in terms of quality time. There is no doubt in your minds you are spending most of your time doing wedding related stuff, and you’re spending a lot of your time with your friends and family. You need some time for the two of you right now, so let’s get to work doing that.
We know, we know. You’re feeling a bit like a broken record, but we want you to call them all one more time and make sure everyone is on the same page in terms of what is going on, what is happening, and how it will all work. This is also your last time to get your last minute changes in. So, call now.
The RSVPs are in and everyone is accounted for. It’s time to let your caterer know how many people are coming, and let them know precisely how many people are eating what. Be sure that you are very careful with special menu items – specifically anyone with an allergy – and you let the caterer know what you need. This is the last time you get to change the menu and the headcount, so be sure you’re accurate and on target.
Pro Tip: Order a few additional meals just in case. You never know if someone is going to show up who was not on the RSVP list by accident, by design, or because they don’t remember simple rules of etiquette. It’s better to have too much than it is to have too little.
You’re probably seeing things flying off the registry list left and right, and you might want to update that to ensure that everyone has a fair shot at getting you something for your big day. It’s a little bit of a misconception to think that people will write you a check or give you cash if you run out of options on the registry. Some people might get you whatever you want, and you might not like what you get.
Your wedding shoes should not be the shoes you wear for the first time on your wedding day. It’s time to break those bad boys in around the house so you don’t end up with hurt feet and blisters for your wedding night. Worse, you don’t want those on your honeymoon.
Pro Tip: Take a knife and gouge shallow Xs on the bottoms of each shoe. This helps keep the shoes from slipping all over the floor when you’re walking down a slick aisle or in the middle of dancing. It’s what supermodels do when they have to wear heels down a runway. Did you know that? Since the aisle is your runway, go ahead and do the supermodel thing and make sure your shoes were made for walking.
Do you have pets, plants, and a house? It’s time to make arrangements for those things while you’re away. Ask a friend or a parent to care for things around the house. They can check on the house, pick up any packages delivered while you’re gone and take them inside, water your plants, and take care of your pets. If you prefer, you can board your animals with professionals, too. There is no right or wrong way to do this, but do remember that you might need a pet sitter longer than just your honeymoon if you plan on spending a night or two away from home prior to your wedding.
We love a playlist, and we love it to include everything from must-play songs to songs you absolutely do not – under any circumstances – want played. What kind of songs are those? Well, some people might not want to hear Baby Shark at the reception if they have small kids who might break down when it’s over. Some line dances make couples cringe. Some people simply don’t want to hear the song they considered ‘their song’ with another person (i.e. maybe put the song your spouse danced with his wife to at his first wedding on the DO NOT PLAY list). This list should also include the times you want certain songs played, such as the first dance songs right after the wedding party is announced and just before dinner begins. The choice is yours.
Now is the time to trim your hair so it’s healthy. Get it deep conditioned, update your color, and get rid of any roots. What we do not recommend, however, is making any radical changes. Now is not the time to decide to cut bangs, add layers, or chop 6 inches off your hair. It is also not the time to decide you want to go for a brand-new color you’ve never used before. It’s also not a good time to go to a new stylist because your old one refuses to make any major changes two weeks before your wedding day. Trim it, cover your roots, and move on.
You don’t want to wait too close to your big day for one of these, and we have a good reason for that. Everyone’s skin is different, and you don’t know how yours will react to your specific brand of facial – and this is especially true when you are already anxious and stressed with your wedding planning. Now is the time to get your facial so you have it, but so that you also have time to recover if you turn red or break out from the treatment. You want beautiful skin on your wedding day.
Who do you trust? You need this person to handle these things on your wedding day, and you need to ask them to do it now. This person can be a parent, a close friend, or the wedding planner. This person is responsible for making sure all vendors have their final payment on the day of, that they have their tips, and that things are running smoothly. You’ll provide this to them on the big day, and they will be sure these things are passed out and handled so that your only job is to have fun and relax.
On the same note, you want to ask someone you trust to run some errands for you while you’re off enjoying your honeymoon. This person will do the following:
No matter how many people you have working transportation on your big day, now is the time to touch base with them. Make sure they know what time and where to pick up the wedding party, the guests, and anyone else riding along. Make sure each driver and each company has a list of addresses, times, and information. And, be sure you give them a contact number that is not yours. It can be your wedding planner or someone else you trust implicitly on your wedding day.
Pro Tip: Ask someone you love to monitory your gift table at the wedding. Make sure this is someone you trust. We hate to even mention it, but you never know what will happen at a wedding. There are times when people will take things that don’t belong to them, especially if that item comes in the shape of a card. People know that there is cash and gift cards handed out in cards at weddings. You want to be sure someone you trust is taking care of those cards by putting them in a locked box if your guests don’t do that themselves when you walk in. A pretty card box that can be locked is a great idea so no one can take what’s in the box. This person will check the table periodically to make sure no one is lingering, and they will make sure all cards make it into the box. You don’t know about vendors, about people who are temporarily employed, and so on. You cannot be too careful with this.
May we suggest a new bottle of amazing perfume? It’s a wonderful gift to give yourself to wear on the day of your wedding. And, the scent will forever remind you of that day when you put it on, and what’s better than being instantly reminded of the most special day of your life?
You already created a list of everything you need, and now is the time to pack your luggage. This is separate from the rest of the luggage you will pack this week, so keep it all together. Things like makeup, charges, and toiletries will have to be added to your luggage at the last minute since you will need those throughout the week on your wedding day. Getting this luggage packed now is a wise idea so you can put it out of your mind later in the week when you are a little busy doing other things.
Most of your vendors will have taken your final payment for their services at this point. While every vendor is different, most want their payment around a month ahead of time if you did not pay them in full upfront. However, you should gather remaining payments for anyone else. Make sure that the vendors get their payment, or you might be missing out on a vendor on your big day.
Each of your vendors deserves a tip for their hard work. Fifteen to 20 percent of what you paid them in general is what you should tip, and this means you need to get to the bank and get some cash to pay them on your wedding day. Put each tip in an envelope with the name of the vendor on it, and give those envelopes to the person you trust the most who is in charge of this job on your wedding day. Do not allow them to give out these envelopes until the end of the night, however.
If you have people reading at your wedding, now is the time to give them their scripts. Even if they are permitted to read from the paper at the wedding, it’s a nice idea to give it to them in advance. You don’t know how many people appreciate a little heads up so that they can have time to be sure they are pronouncing things correctly. Go ahead and laugh, but this is something many people will be grateful for.
Now is the time to hand these over. Your officiant wants them in his hands so that he can have them on the big day. You might be reading them yourself, but you want him to have them so that he can hand them to you during the ceremony. Don’t you think you have enough to worry about on your wedding day? You don’t need to worry about finding your vows in your bra strap on top of everything else you are doing.
Now is the time to start planning your wedding day essentials. You want to choose an outfit to wear the day of your wedding that is comfortable and cool, but that also allows you to get undressed without ruining your hair and makeup. A pretty robe or button up top works. If you’re getting married in your hotel, you can stay dressed in anything you want throughout the day, and a bridal robe might be just what the doctor ordered this day.
Pro Tip: Choose shoes to wear around the day of that will not make your feet sweat. There are few things worse than sweaty, stinky feet on your wedding day. You can wash them, of course, but do you really want to worry about that? Slippers or comfortable flip flops are a great option.
Now is the time to make sure you have everything you need to get married in.
An emergency kit is something you cannot live without on this day, trust us. Some baby wipes, breath mints, bandaids, bobby pins, hairspray, lipstick, Tide to Go pens, towels, deodorant, makeup wipes, and additional makeup all make great emergency kits. Let us also suggest that you keep with you something special, like a note from your fiancé telling you how much he loves you and how much he cannot wait to marry you. If that doesn’t remind you to forget everything else in an emergency, what will?
It’s almost time to get married, and now you need three different types of luggage. This bag is just for the night before. You want to include the following in this luggage:
This is the bag you will have with you the night you spend as a wife for the very first time. This bag should have any lingerie you want to wear on the wedding night in it. It should have your clothes to wear the following day whether you’re having a post wedding brunch with everyone or you are heading straight to the airport to leave for your honeymoon.
Tanning beds are dangerous, and being out in the sun might cause an accidental burn. This is not the week for that. Instead, be sure you get a spray tan on your wedding week. It’s our recommendation that you do this two days before your wedding. You need time for it to set before you can shower, but you also want a fresh tan on the night of your rehearsal and the day of your wedding. Too much further in advance, however, might cause it to start wearing off before your wedding day.
This is the playlist you will play the day of your wedding while you’re getting ready. We won’t tell you what to include on it, but we will tell you to choose songs that make you feel happy, good, and even pumped up. Make it a playlist everyone can jam to, and make sure it’s going to let you have some serious fun while you’re getting ready.
You’re going to have a good time today, but you’re going to do one thing first. You’re going to stop by each hotel you booked rooms in, and you’re going to deliver your welcome baskets. You can leave them with the front desk to put in the rooms of your guests. It’s our advice that while you might want to deliver them personally, you should not do that today. You don’t want to feel rushed if family and friends you haven’t seen in a while want to sit down and chat while you’re busy delivering welcome baskets and getting go the spa for your spa treatments.
Pro Tip: It might feel crass to leave welcome baskets at the front desk to have them delivered rather than hand-delivering them, but how special will your guests feel when the concierge delivers them to the room for their enjoyment?
Today is the day you get to get gorgeous. Go for a manicure, a pedicure, and a massage. Keep the massage light and airy; don’t try one you’ve never had before. Get a simple pedi and mani so that that you don’t end up with crazy nails the day of your wedding. Keep in mind, too, this is a fun thing to do with your bridal party, your mom, your mother-in-law to-be, and any other family who wants to join. Make it a girl’s day, and you’ll be as relaxed as possible with their distraction.
They know their jobs. They do, but you’ll feel better if you remind them one more time. This means reminding the person in charge of tipping to tip. The person in charge of handling the décor and other things to remember what you want. Remind your great grandmother to stay away from the liquor and stick to wine, and don’t forget to tell Great Aunt Sue that she cannot smoke inside. These are the things you will be thinking about, so feel free to do a little reminder moment.
You get to go to your own rehearsal. You get to walk through your wedding. You get to walk through what will happen on the most magical day of your life, and you’ll get to enjoy every second of it. Now is the time to focus on the things that make the most difference to you, which is spending this time with the people you love the most. Practice getting married, and have some fun.
Pro Tip: It’s easy to want to keep the drinks flowing at your wedding rehearsal dinner, but do not allow yourself to accidentally drink too much on this night. You don’t want a hangover on your wedding day. You don’t want tired eyes, and you don’t want to see yourself feeling poorly on the day you’ve been looking forward to for so long.
Now is the time to make a little speech for your bridal party. They are all together, you are having a good time, and it’s an emotional evening. Present them with the gifts you thought of for them, and tell them how much you both love and appreciate them all. Try to remember that these people have put so much of their own lives on hold to be here for you this weekend and in the months leading up to this day, and thank them appropriately.
Pro Tip: Make sure you have plenty of tissues today and tomorrow.
If there is one thing we can tell you to do this day, it’s that you should relax and have some fun. This is probably the real party of the weekend since it’s the one you’ll get to really sit back and enjoy. We don’t want to throw you for a loop here, but your wedding day will be so busy, so fast, and so full of things to do and people to talk to and see that it will fly by in a blur. You want to spend some quality time with these people tonight, since you probably won’t get to spend much quality time with them tomorrow.
We know, we know; you don’t want to sleep tonight. You want to stay up with your girlfriends in your bridal suite and watch movies and talk and laugh and have fun, but you need your sleep. Tomorrow is going to be the most fantastic day, and you don’t want to be so tired tha you cannot enjoy yourself. Get some sleep.
We already said it, but we will say it again. Please watch how much you have to drink. Stick with one or two drinks throughout the evening, and be sure you eat something for dinner. Now is not the time to go on a liquid diet and starve yourself to fit into your dress. You don’t want to be sick on your wedding day. We cannot stress that enough.
Pro Tip: DO NOT DRINK TOO MUCH!
Today, someone in your bridal party is your designated text responder. You don’t have time to focus on things that might go wrong, the drama other people might want to bring to your table, or the small issues that might distract you. Even the well-wishers will give you anxiety if your phone is going off every few minutes. Either turn it off completely and let yourself have a good time, or hand off the phone to someone else and let them respond to your messages for you throughout the day. This is a great way to stay calm and relax.
Pro Tip: Drink plenty of water. You need it today.
If you did not hire a wedding planner, today is the day to put others in charge of details. Let your bridal party members help you with things like taking calls from the florist or checking on things in the reception room to make sure it’s all good. Let them stress and handle things that might not be going well in your life, and let them have the trouble of getting everything together today. They want you to have the best day, so they are all about this. Let them do it, and let them be there for you on this beautiful day.
This is not the day to skip breakfast. You cannot starve yourself. If you’re worried about feeling bloated, try eating some fruit, some yogurt, or a smoothie for breakfast. Throw in a piece of wheat toast for good measure. If your wedding is late in the day, snack on something healthy like a few nuts or some fruit and veggies throughout the day to help you sustain a feeling of fullness and good health.
You can send him a bottle of his favorite liquor, breakfast in bed, his favorite music, or you can get him a new watch or something ahead of time, but now is the time to have someone send it to him. A handwritten card is also beautiful, especially if it has a message in it about how much you are looking forward to becoming his wife.
Try to get some sleep and not wake up too early, but don’t stress yourself out if you do wake up a little early. You’re excited, and that’s all right. Just make sure you give yourself some time to get everything done. You don’t have to rush on this day, but you should give yourself plenty of time to wake up, shower, eat, and relax a little.
Pro Tip: Try to get up before everyone else and enjoy some time alone. Today is going to be one in which you find yourself surrounded by people all day long, and this might be a good time to spend a moment alone. Call your fiancé and rendezvous for a quick walk around your hotel or a cup of coffee on the terrace. You aren’t supposed to see one another dressed on your wedding day, but you can start the day off with a kiss and a good morning.
It’s not going to be easy today, but you can do it. You can relax, and you can have a good time. You’ve got this. You’re still going to be married at the end of the day, so don’t let anything ruin your day. So what if the florist is a little late or your custom cocktail isn’t the right shade of blue? You are a married couple, and this is the day you’ve been waiting for.
Pro Tip: Ask your makeup artist to let you keep your lipstick and other makeup (or buy it) in your bridal bag for the day so you can touch up as you go throughout the day.
We shouldn’t have to explain this one to you, but this is the primary goal of your day. Have fun. Enjoy yourself. Drink some champagne while you get ready, but don’t drink too much and end up sick.
Pro Tip: Don’t wear a bra while you’re getting ready for your wedding during hair and makeup. It might leave some marks on your back and shoulders that will show through your dress, and that is not a flattering look you want to deal with.
Pro Tip: Your parents have been wonderful during this time, and you’ve probably spent a lot of time with your mom in the past few months. Your dad, though, did not get to spend this kind of time with you, and that means you need to focus on doing something wonderful for him on the day of your wedding. He is giving away his little girl, and that’s not an easy thing for a man to do. So, it’s our recommendation you surprise him with a first look. This means ask your photographer to capture the moment your dad is brought into the room when you are completely ready. It can be moments before you walk down the aisle, or it can be earlier in the day. But, make sure your photographer is there to capture this glorious moment forever.
Say I do. Exchange your vows, and don’t forget to make that first kiss as husband and wife count. Oh, and don’t forget to have fun with your photos.
Pro Tip: Ask your wedding planner, best friend, mom, whoever, to make you both a plate and have it at the table when you come into the wedding. Trust us; you will want this food, and it might not be something you get otherwise. People will want to chat with you, hug you, and congratulate you, which means you might not get anything to eat. Let your family tell your guests that you need 10 minutes of uninterrupted time to sit down and eat your meal. Or, let them serve you in another room during a few moments you have after photos between the pictures and the reception. You never know when you will get to eat tonight, so this is a helpful tool.
Your bride-to-be needs your input with this. You have people to invite, she has people to invite, and she needs you to tell your side of the family that your mom and dad’s next door neighbors from 1937 to 1938 cannot come to the wedding if you’re working with limited space.
The bride cannot do this for you. You should choose those you are most comfortable with, those you trust the most, and the men you cannot imagine spending your special day without.
This is everything on her list and more, if she wants your help. There will be things she’s fine doing without you, but every bride wants to see you engaged and happy to help with the planning process.
When the day arrives for packing to begin, do your own packing. Don’t ask her to do it. She’s got enough going on. In fact, if you can plan the honeymoon yourself, that would be fantastic.
Ask this question regularly throughout the process. Ask her every day. Ask her every weekend. Ask as often as possible if there is anything you can do to make this easier on her, to help, or just be present. Asking to help has never gotten a man in trouble during the wedding planning process.
You should send them every few weeks out of the blue so that she knows you’re thinking of her. She should know you love her, and this is a sweet way to make sure she knows that when she’s feeling stressed and overwhelmed.
The wedding day is one of the best days of her life, and you should get her a gift to give to her first thing in the morning. It needn’t be anything expensive or grand if the budget doesn’t allow you prefer something thoughtful and kind. You can get her anything from a playlist of romantic songs you created just for her or a new bottle of her favorite perfume. Just get her a gift to give on the day of your wedding.
Do this with honesty, love, and with some time to spare. Don’t wait until the last minute. Do this when you have time, and make sure they are what you want to say. Keep them where she will not read them, and hand them to the officiant yourself.
She’s going to be a little stressed. You’re going to be a little stressed. But, remember to be patient with her. She needs this as much as you need it, and you’ll find tha you can both offer one another a little grace when you are planning your wedding if you both have some patience.
Do this a week before your wedding. This allows you time to regrow your hair and fix it if it’s not what you wanted, but not enough time for it to grow too long if you want it to be perfect on your wedding day.
This is a job you can do every few weeks or months. Make sure you’re planning date nights that allow your bride-to-be a chance to relax and enjoy herself. Plan something fun. Plan something romantic. Just plan something so that she is not required to do any work on her own.
This is what you do the morning of the wedding, so don’t forget tha you have this job. This is a job you will do yourself, and you must make sure it’s done safely. Give them to him in the boxes so there is less change they will fall out of his pocket and anywhere you cannot find them.
You’re responsible for your own tux, so be sure you’re able to get that on your own. Do not ask your bride to do it for you. She’s already busy, and she’s not going to have much time to handle one more thing the week of your wedding. You need to grab it yourself so you can try it on and make sure it fits, it’s not damaged, and it’s what you want. Do this a few days in advance so you have some time to get it exchanged if it’s not what you were asking for.
This is why we encouraged you to send your thank you cards as the gifts began to come in. Now you have all these wedding gifts to go through, and you have cards to write for each one. You need to send these cards out as quickly as possible, though there is a little grace period considering you did go on a honeymoon and need time to get home and get through everything. Don’t let this go more than a month after your wedding.
Now that your dress has done it’s job and made you a beautiful princess on your wedding day, it’s time to return the favor. Pack up you gown in your Wedding Gown Preservation Kit and drop it off at your local UPS store. When you get back from your honeymoon you’ll come home to your beautifully cleaned and preserved wedding gown and the peace-of-mind in knowing your gown won’t stain or yellow for your lifetime and beyond.
Are you changing your name? If you are, you need to be sure you’re able to change it as quickly as possible. The process is simpler than it looks, but we have a little checklist for you to help you get through the situation with ease.
This process is relatively simple if you move. Simply fill out the information online. There is a change of address form on the internet on the United States Parcel Service website you can use to change your address. It’s quick and easy, and you should do this in conjunction with your mail forward request.
If your parents helped you pay for your wedding, now is the time to do something wonderful for them. Take them to dinner. Send them on a spa day on you. Send them on a weekend getaway. Just do something nice that tells them how wonderful they are to have paid for your wedding, and it also shows them how much you appreciate them and all you do for them.
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