If you’re like most couples, you have been spending countless hours planning your wedding over the past several months. In fact, it is not uncommon for couples to spend one or more years hashing out the ideas and concepts for their wedding, and one would hope that the results would reflect that massive time investment. However, the last two weeks leading up to your wedding are usually the most crucial in the grand scheme of things because you need to make sure all the pieces fit together at the right time and in the right way.
Regardless of how much advanced planning you do things like coordinating the wedding vendors and making sure all the chairs are setup are things that need to be done at the last minute. It would be wonderful if you have advance access to your ceremony and reception sites so you could setup everything days or weeks ahead of time to eliminate the rush, but this is likely not the case if you’re renting a venue. Because of these reasons, we have put together a last minute wedding checklist that should help you make sure you don’t forget to have everything taken care of for your big celebration.
Make a List
Create a very detailed list and check on the progress every day until it is done. Make notes of everything from needing to call a vendor to packing an extra pair of shoes for later in the evening. Though it may seem time intensive, keeping great notes will allow you to have everything done on time.
One of the best ways to get everything on your list done quickly and efficiently is to delegate responsibilities to friends and family. Give each person a job or set of jobs, sit down with them to discuss what you want and when you need it, then let them take care of that for the celebration. Chances are they’ll be happy to help, and you can focus more time on yourself.
Take Care of Technical Matters
Getting married is more than just a ceremony and eating cake, there is plenty of paperwork you’ll need to file as well. Most brides change their name, so there’s going to be paperwork to fill out and file. After your name’s changed, you’ll need several new documents such as driver’s license, passport, Social Security card, and credit cards. Though you can’t actually file these documents until your marriage certificate is validated by the state, having everything ready to go can make the job much simpler.
Prepare for Your Guests
Most couples have guests that will be coming from out of town and staying in hotel rooms. It’s a good idea to reserve a block of rooms for those guests, as well as prepare their rooms with a little gift basket as a “thank you” for making the trip. If the hotel isn’t nearby the ceremony and reception venues, organizing transportation may also be necessary.
There are all sorts of reasons that having a final head count is important, but no reason is more important than for the caterer. Food is one of the most expensive parts of any wedding reception, so having an accurate head count can eliminate the need to buy way too much food or end up having too little to serve everyone. Other things that the final head count impact include the amount of wedding cake you need and the number of chairs that will need to be rented.
Clothing and Accessories
The last thing you want to have happen when you’re getting dressed on your big day is to have an unsightly bra or panty line showing through your dress. Bring along any undergarments you’ll be wearing when you try on your wedding dress to avoid this mistake. Also, make sure you bring all the accessories and clothing along that you’ll need on your wedding day. It’s always a good idea to pack way more than you need rather than ending up without an item at the last minute.
With a final guest list completed, seating your guests is a pretty simple process. Start with your family and closest friends first since they will usually be sitting close to the head table and fairly easy to determine. Once all the easy to seat guests are taken care of, you can put the additional guests wherever there happens to be extra seats open. This is a great job to delegate to someone you trust.
Many couples leave for their honeymoon right after their reception, so having everything planned ahead of time is very important. Make sure you call ahead to confirm your reservations and gather all of your travel documents together, because the last thing you want is to deal with a mix-up the second your relaxation is supposed to begin. If you’re changing your name, you may want to hold off on filing those documents until after you get back home.
File Your License
In most states, you only have a few days from the time your wedding license is signed to get it to the courthouse or city hall to make it official. It’s unfortunate that the process doesn’t afford newlywed couples more time, but just make sure you know what documents you’ll need and the process can go quite smoothly.
Map Out the Day
It’s always a good idea to sit down with your bridal party, officiant, and family to go over all the details of your wedding day in great detail to build a “roadmap”. Your friends and family may catch something you missed, so an extra set of eyes can be very helpful. You never know what might pop up since every ceremony and reception venue is unique, so going over the plan with a large group increases your odds of having a stress-free wedding without any hiccups.