The big day is fast approaching! What is the countdown to? Two weeks? Two days? Two hours? It's go time, baby! Now that the wedding is only weeks away you may find yourself asking, “what am I forgetting for my wedding?” No worries. We've got you covered. We’ve created the ultimate wedding planning timeline!
Our last minute wedding checklist includes everything from paying your vendors to practicing your wedding kiss. The last few weeks before your wedding can be stressful, let us simplify your life with this comprehensive list of things you need to do before your wedding!
Last Minute Wedding Checklist: Things to Remember
It's almost wedding time! Here are some last minute wedding checklist items to make sure you feel prepared for the big day. Put your excited energy into these tasks and eliminate that pre-wedding day stress.
Week of Wedding Checklist
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. Most importantly: make sure your vendors' plans are in touch with the venue’s policies and facilities.
2. Finalize Your Vendor 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. Create Tip Envelopes
Label and fill envelopes with cash/checks in them for each of your vendors. Having tip envelopes organized beforehand will make it easy to pay out the DJ, catering staff, etc. without having to dig through your purse for cash. Passing out these envelopes is a great job for a personal attendant.
Not sure how much to tip? Most vendors and their staff should be tipped about 15-20% as you would tip a normal server. Download our wedding planning guide for a detailed list of how much to tip each vendor!
4. Secure Your Marriage License
Marriage license laws are different in every state. In some states you can walk in and get your license, in others you have to make an appointment. You may need to apply for your license a few weeks or months before your wedding. Start your research early so you can make sure everything is in place before your wedding!
You may need several documents to make your marriage official. Consult our wedding planning guide for more information.
5. Finalize Your Bar Menu
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.
Most importantly: make sure you get your drink menu approved by the venue and/or bar staff! They need to make sure they have all the ingredients in stock and the bartenders know how to make the drink.
6. Create a Wedding Music Playlist (Or Do Not Play List)
You and your soon-to-be-spouse 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.
You’ll also need to be specific about which songs to play for which parts of the party! Your first dance song, entrance song, dances with your parents, and last song of the night are all important to list for your DJ.
Photographer: Dani Nicole
7. Create a Shot List & Schedule with Your Photographer
It’s time to chat with your photographer now! 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 Wedding Day Itinerary
Having a schedule for you and your attendants will make you feel calm and in control. Your wedding day will run more smoothly if you know what you want to be done and by what time. Our wedding planning guide includes a sample schedule with everything starting from hair & makeup to cleanup at the end of the night.
Always pencil in a few extra minutes for safe measure. Don’t expect everyone to be exactly on schedule, you know your friends and family and which ones are on-time and which are chronically late.
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. Some couples hand out wedding survival kits to their bridal party, some bring coloring books for the kids, some bring a card for their parents. 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. Check with your hotel to see if they offer shuttle services for weddings!
12. Plan Your Meals
There is so much on your plate (pun intended) while preparing for your wedding that you may not remember that you need to eat! 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. Have a Fashion Show
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 rein!
14. Try On Your Wedding Dress (Again)
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. Grooms need a pre-check as well!
15. Practice Your Bustle
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. Check Your Hair & Makeup Schedule
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. You might want to look at the times and dates on a calendar for a visual representation to make sure nothing is scheduled too close or too far from each other.
17. Make Time to Relax!
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. Schedule a Barbershop Visit
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. Practice Walking in Your Shoes
We highly recommend a trial-run of your wedding shoes, especially if they are something you don’t usually walk around in. You may need to break them in or get used to the size and shape of the heel. You may even want to walk around in your dress with your shoes to make sure you know how to walk without tripping over your dress.
20. Write and Practice Your Vows
Are you saying your own vows? Get some inspiration for your wedding vows, then start writing and practicing. Weddings are emotional events. 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. You may have kissed your future spouse thousands of times before, but most of them didn’t involve an audience.
22. Get Your Something Old, New, Borrowed, & Blue
Following tradition? Don't forget to have your "something old, something new, something borrowed, something blue" ready for your big day.
23. Don’t Forget to Delegate
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. Pack for Your Honeymoon
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.
Day Before Wedding Checklist: Last Minute To Dos
25. Have a Plan for Storing Your Personal Items
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. The same goes for any supplies you want at the reception. Drop them off early and save yourself the hassle.
26. Be Sure Your Pets Are Taken Care Of
Do you have pets? Make sure they’ll be taken care of while you’re tying the knot! You may need to pay for a pet sitter or find a neighbor who doesn’t mind checking on your fur-babies while you’re enjoying your wedding.
27. Plan Your Gown Transportation
How is your gown getting to the site? Who is going to bring it? Check with your venue to see if you can bring it a day early so you can get it out of the bag and breathing before the big day.
28. Share the Transportation’s Contact Info
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.
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. Choose a Document Guard
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 the chaos.
31. Prep Your Wedding Emergency Kit
By putting together a wedding day survival kit you're saving yourself from the scary "what if's" of wedding prep. A kit like this includes things like stain remover, snacks, and bandaids just in case anything goes wrong. Odds are you won't need everything in it, but extra preparation can't hurt.
32. Write Your Fiancé a Love Letter
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. Be Alone With Your Spouse
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. If you have a bridal suite at your wedding it might be the best place to get a moment of peace together.
34. Get Plenty of Sleep
You will absolutely have adrenaline kicking in, but it is important to feel well-rested. 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.
After The Wedding Checklist
We’re sure the last thing you want to do after your wedding is go through another checklist, but there are a few more things that need to be done! After you take a moment to relax from all the wedding planning stress or go on your honeymoon, get started on these 5 post-wedding must-dos.
1. Return Any Wedding Rentals
If you rented a tux or suit for your wedding be sure to return it on time! You may also need to return some of your decor if you rented it. Florists sometimes need their vases and other supplies back too!
2. Submit Your Marriage License
Your officiant needs to submit the marriage license to the county clerk after the wedding. Make sure they do this so that your marriage is official! After it’s submitted, your copy of the license may be mailed to you or you may need to pick it up in person.
3. Clean and Preserve Your Wedding Dress
Whether you plan on keeping your dress or not it will need to be cleaned (it’s been through a lot in one day). If you do want to keep your dress, you’ll need to have it preserved. There are tons of benefits of wedding dress preservation.
Preservation will make sure your dress doesn’t turn yellow or grow mold, it usually comes with a convenient storage container so your dress isn’t taking up your entire closet, and it means you can keep your dress for long enough for future generations to use it.
There are many companies that provide wedding gown preservation services, including us! Our wedding gown preservation and cleaning kit includes deep cleaning, minor repairs, a long-term preservation treatment, a display box for storage, and shipping to your door when it’s done.
4. Review Your Wedding Vendors Online
Your venue, photographer, DJ and all your vendors rely on recommendations and reviews to get new clients. If they killed it at your wedding, let the world know! Think of all the helpful reviews you read while searching for vendors and pay it forward to the next bride or groom who are planning a wedding by writing your own detailed reviews.
5. Send Thank You Notes to Your Guests
Thank you notes can take time to write, especially if you had a lot of guests. Don’t stress about making each one long-winded, your guests will appreciate a simple thank you so they know they are appreciated. Be sure to personalize each one so guests know you thought of them and their wedding gift. Remember, you can always ask for help with these!
Complete Your Wedding Countdown Checklist!
Did you go through this whole wedding checklist? Then you’re ready for the big day! Download our wedding planning organizer and guide for a more detailed version of this list. This planner will help you keep everything for your big day organized and scheduled.
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!
(A special thanks to photographer Dani Nicole who supplied many of the beautiful images featured in this blog post!)