You're in the wedding home stretch!
Zoo New England | Lena Mirisola Photography
The final countdown is on... It's the week before your wedding! No matter how big or small a celebration you're having, there are certain things you won't want to forget in the days leading up to your I Dos. Here's a handy checklist to help you wrap up all the loose ends in advance—so you can kick back, relax, and soak in every moment of the big day.
Venue + Vendors
- Give your venue and/or caterer the final guest count. Make sure you know the date this final count is required—and submit it by then! Otherwise, you may be stuck paying for the original (read: higher) number of guests you quoted.
- Finalize the wedding timeline with vendors and the wedding party—make sure to give out copies, too!
- Confirm dates, times, locations, services, etc. with your venue & vendor team (Or have your Wedding Coordinator do it for you!) Basically make sure everyone knows where they need to be, what time, and what for. Some examples include:
- Go over pickup times and locations with your limousine / transportation vendors.
- Make sure your floral designer / rental company / DJ / cake maker, etc. has early access to the event space for delivery and/or setup.
- Double-check that your officiant has your preferred readings, your photographer has your shot list, your DJ has your playlist, etc.
- Figure out tips and final payments for vendors. Go to the bank, pull out cash, and put each payment and/or tip into a clearly labeled envelope to be handed out over the course of the event.
- Put together a Google Sheet of all venue and vendor contact information, and share it with your wedding planner, on-site coordinator, or whomever you trust to handle day-of communications.
- Let your caterer know how many vendor meals you'll need, and be sure to ask these vendors about any special dietary requirements. After 13 hours on their feet to make your day perfect, they'll appreciate a good meal and 20 minutes to take a breather.
- Finalize reception tables and create the seating chart and/or place cards if you're having seating arrangements.
- Check the weather report and if things look iffy, connect with your venue to solidify the contingency plan. (This Plan B should be figured out early in your planning process and communicated to your vendors, too!)
- If you're having a rehearsal dinner, confirm all times, locations, and details with the venue(s), officiant, and wedding party.
- Hand over wedding favors, décor, paper goods, and ceremony items (e.g. champagne flutes, cake knife, ring pillow, unity candle, etc.) to your on-site coordinator or wedding planner to set up. Include any special set-up instructions.
- Pro Tip: Pack all decor and day-of items in clear plastic storage tubs with locking lids. Write out what's in each tub and attach a label to the top. This is also super helpful for your wedding planner to be able to pack stuff back up at the end of the night!
Actual photo of Hayley's wedding bin!
Wedding Party + VIP Guests
- Connect with your wedding party, ushers, and VIP guests to make sure everyone's aware of their wedding-day duties.
- Designate someone for "wedding photo round-up" duty. During your formal portraits, it'll be handy to have a close friend or family member in charge of gathering together the necessary VIPs for their photos.
- Assign someone to pack up your gifts/belongings after the reception.* This could include personal items but also wedding accessories like your guest book, toasting flutes, and cake-cutting utensils. And don't forget about the top tier of your cake, if you want to save it for your first anniversary!
- Ask your most responsible friend or family member to hand out final payments and tips over the course of the event.*
- If needed, assign someone to return any rental items or tuxedos the day after the wedding.
- Check in with anyone making speeches. Are they good to go? Nothing too embarrassing, right? Right??
- Grab some water and snacks to have on hand for the getting-ready rooms.* If you're anything like us, you'll also want champagne and OJ for mimosas!
- Wrap any gifts you'll be giving to your future spouse, family, or wedding party. Or simply write them heartfelt notes to open on the day-of.
- Drop off welcome bags to guest hotels, if you're doing them.
*These tasks are typically taken care of by the wedding coordinator—but if you don't have one, you'll want to ask someone you trust to handle.
Attire + Beauty
- Pick up your perfectly-tailored gown, pantsuit, or tux... Swoon.
- Have your own personal fashion show. You wouldn't walk the runway without a dress rehearsal, right? Take some time this week to pull your entire wedding look together—from head to toe. Make sure you have all the pieces / undergarments / shoes / accessories / shapewear, etc. etc. that you'll need to look your best.
- While you're at it, break in those wedding shoes. Simply walking around the house will get your feet used to that fancy footwear without the risk of scuffing them up. (Unless they're slippery. Then you'll want to strategically scuff.)
- Put together a Wedding Day Emergency Kit. This is a small makeup bag filled with "just in case" items that can fix most of those little wedding-day problems.
- In desperate need of a massage? Now's the time to squeeze one in.
- Enjoy a mani-pedi. And anything extra like eyelash or hair extensions.
- If you want a spray tan, get it now. Doing this a little earlier will allow your tan to fade into a more natural glow. Wait at least 8 hours before showering and moisturize daily.
- Get a nice hanger for your wedding attire. Most wedding photographers will take a photo of your wedding dress or suit, hanging in all its glory in front of some picturesque setting before you put it on.
- Clean your ring so it's nice and sparkly for photos.
- Hydrate and eat clean. You want to not only look your best on your wedding day, but feel your best!
Destination Wedding + Honeymoon Prep
- Make packing a priority! If you're having a destination wedding or honeymoon immediately following the festivities, triple-check that your suitcase is fully packed.
- Finalize and confirm hotel bookings, as well as flight numbers and arrival times for all the key players in your wedding.
- Do you have all the necessary legal documents in hand? This may include passports, IDs, birth certificates, visas, vaccination cards, and anything else needed to make your destination wedding legit.
- Make sure you have the proper electrical converters so you can plug in your devices. You really need your hairdryer to work.
- Get foreign currency in advance, if possible.
- Pack your carry-on! Wedding attire, rings, and anything else of value should be in that bag. You don't want lost luggage to ruin your wedding day. (Pack a steamer to remove any travel-induced wrinkles!)
- Apply for your marriage license as soon as you arrive at your destination.
- Don't forget the rings and marriage license, if you want this union to be legal!
- Finalize and practice your vows, if you're writing your own.
- Tie up all your personal loose ends. For example, if you're taking time off work for your wedding and/or honeymoon, make sure you get all your ducks in a row first. Activate your email away message, wrap up any projects, cover your shifts, etc. You want all these nitty-gritty life responsibilities taken care of so you can fully relax and enjoy your celebration!
- Take some time for self care. Meditate and breathe, at the very least. And try to get a solid 8-hours of sleep the night before.
- Remember why you're getting married in the first place. It's not about the pomp and circumstance of this one day. It's about the love you have with your partner and the life you're about to build together.
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