10 Last-Minute Wedding-Planning To-Dos
Cross these items off your wedding checklist in the final countdown to the big day.
In the final weeks, and then days, until your wedding day, it's all about getting everything done. But figuring out the logistics and last-minute details can be stressful.
"We call them 'shower thoughts,' says Calder Clark with a laugh, the owner and creative director of Calder Clark, an event planning firm in Charleston, South Carolina. "There is a lot going on and it's about ironing out all the little things you don't want creeping up on your wedding weekend."
It's possible to put your feet up and savor your last moments as an engaged couple, without the stress of the wedding hanging over your head; it just takes a little more planning and knowing when to delegate. Here, 10 things you can get done so you can be a relaxed bride on the big day.
Break in Your Wedding Shoes
We all have heels we can go for hours in, and another pair where getting from the door to the car is a struggle. "If you want to be the glamorous bride that everyone envisions, and not immediately in flip-flops on the dance floor," says Clark, "you really want to break them in." Put on sweatpants or jeans and walk around your apartment or city block until your wedding shoes are good and scuffed. Get them comfortable and safe to walk in so you can last as long as possible before being forced to change.
Pay Your Vendors
"There's a lot of buttoning up in the weeks before the wedding," says Clark. To make sure all of your creative partners receive payments, Clark suggests preparing your fiancé, or Mom and Dad, for the last dash of final deposits. Knowing that this is done, and all the parties involved are prepared and aware, can relieve a lot of stress in the final countdown.
Finalize the Guest Count
Three to four weeks before the wedding is a good time to reach out to the 20 to 30 people who may be dragging their feet with a RSVP. "Reach out to people you haven't spoken to in a while, who haven't responded and ask them, 'Are you coming? We'd love for you to come and I do need to know,'" says Clark. It's a nice way to touch base with people even if they cannot come.
Confirm Travel Details
If you are going on your honeymoon straight away, check that nothing has changed for your flight, hotel, or other bookings abroad. Knowing all of the details are the same—or adjusting for what is different—will let you pack appropriately and speed off to the airport with excitement, rather than worry.
Changing Your Name? Get Your Paperwork Done
Every state has different rules with name changing, and some even require fingerprints. Now is a great time to figure out what you need to do and figure out if you need a new driver's license or social security card, and if you have to update your home address. "It's a fun time to do things like that, like change your email address," says Clark. "You can do things to make you feel like you are almost there." Just double check a changed name won't impact honeymoon travel. A boarding ticket with a different alias can be a huge problem.
After Your Last Fitting, Have One More
"I don't know if it is nerves or anxiety," says Clark, "but the myth that you lose five pounds before the wedding really is true." Clark says she sees it happen even for brides who claim they gain weight just by looking at a donut. Consider a final dress rehearsal five or six days before you walk down the aisle. Try on everything you plan to wear on the day of the wedding—undergarments, shoes, veil—and make sure it all really works and you're happy with it. If a strapless gown is suddenly a little too loose, take the dress to a local seamstress and have it tacked.
Prepare Cash Tips in Advance
If you plan on tipping vendors or creative partners on your wedding day, pull out all of the cash a week in advance, divvy it up, and seal it in envelopes so they are ready to go. Then delegate the task of handing out envelopes to your Maid of Honor, so it is one less thing for you to think about or do. "You just want to be a bride that day and have fun."
Give Away the Job of Welcome Weekend Bags
"It will keep you frantic, the delivery of welcome weekend bags," warns Clark. If this is something you are incorporating into your wedding, remember that guests will be spread out among different hotels. First, confirm one week in advance where your guests will be. Then label the bags and ask someone in your bridal party to deliver them to each hotel for you.
Order Wedding Party Food and Refreshments in Advance
"It can be lowbrow or highbrow," says Clark, "but find a good place and arrange for delivered catering." With so much else on your mind that day, it's easy to turn around to a starving wedding party in hair and makeup, or hungry groomsmen returning from the football turf. Provide light sandwiches and refreshments for the people who are standing by your side on the biggest day of your life as another thoughtful way to say thank you.
Get Your Beauty Rest, If You Can
You've put so much effort into making this the day you have always envisioned. With everything else nearly complete, book a facial or massage and keep your nails in great shape. These are the last few weeks of your engagement—enjoy them.