The Ultimate 30-Day Wedding Countdown
It's easy to feel overwhelmed the closer you get to your day. The more you want to relax, the more the responsibilities mound on. There are dresses to be fitted, shoes to break in, and rings to pick up. Welcome bags, favors, and seating lists need to be made. And before you jet off to the honeymoon, night-of bags should be packed, wedding party gifts should be delivered, and cards from guests should be collected. Don't fret! Luckily, we're here to help, with expert advice on how to push through the final stretch of wedding planning. From arranging the rehearsal dinner to keeping tabs on your vendors, we've covered everything you need to know to be fully prepared before the wedding date. So keep calm and marry on with this common-sense checklist for the last month before "I do."
Four Weeks Out: Send Rehearsal-Dinner Invites
You want to give your VIPS plenty of notice so they can clear their schedules.
Four Weeks Out: Write Vows
Allow yourself time to write from the heart. Things will only get busier from here, and your ceremony isn't the moment to speak on the fly.
Four Weeks Out: Deliver Playlists
Four Weeks Out: Buy Attendant and Parent Gifts
It's not a must, but giving your supporting cast a token of appreciation is always a good move.
Three Weeks Out: Nail Down Ceremony
Three Weeks Out: Buy (or Make) Guest Book
Three Weeks Out: Contact Outstanding RSVPs
Phone or email invitees who missed the deadline; you'll need this info to pass on to your caterer and to devise a seating chart for the reception.
Three Weeks Out: Apply for Marriage License
State laws differ, but typically a license is valid for at least 30 days; check usmarriagelaws.com to find the requirements for yours.
Three Weeks Out: Prepare a Day-of Shot List
Be sure to ID who's who in your families and the wedding party so your photographer and videographer know whom to capture.
Three Weeks Out: Finalize Day-of Printed Pieces
Print ceremony programs, escort and place cards, menus, signature-drink signs, and the like (or commision someone else to do it).
Two Weeks Out: Create Seating Chart
Make life easier by managing seating assignments online; try allseated.com.
Two Weeks Out: Put Together Welcome Bags
Care packages for out-of-town guests can be simple or elaborate. Be sure to include a schedule of events.
Two Weeks Out: Make Favors
Two Weeks Out: Attend Final Dress Fitting
Think of this as a dress rehearsal, and bring along your veil, accessories, shoes, and day-of undergarments.
Two Weeks Out: Break-In Shoes
Practice wearing your kicks around the house for a few hours at a time.
Two Weeks Out: Get Hair Cut and Colored
Book this early enough that your hair can settle into its new shape, but not so early that roots have time to grow out.
One Week Out: Pick Up Your Dress
Keep it on a padded hanger in a breathable muslin garment bag.
One Week Out: Pick Up Wedding Bands
And then promptly hand them off to your best man for safekeeping.
One Week Out: Get a Spray Tan
If you need some extra color, do this 48 hours before donning your dress to avoid stains. (We also suggest a test run a month ahead).
One Week Out: Confirm Day-of Timeline With Vendors
And provide directions to any transportation you've booked.
One Week Out: Give Final Head Count to Caterer
Caterers have their own guidelines, but most will need the exact number about three days out.
One Week Out: Drop Off Welcome Bags
Leave them with the hotel's concierge. There may be a fee (around $7 per bag) to deliver them to guests' rooms; you might avoid the charge if desk clerks hand them out as guests check in.
One Week Out: Gather All Extras for Your Venue
Give your coordinator any favors, place cards, cake servers, toasting glasses, and whatever else has been in your charge up to now.
The Day Before: Assign Someone to Collect Gifts/Cards
Designating a point person before your wedding means no present will be left behind.
The Day Before: Give Itineraries to Wedding Party
This extra step is well worth it to ensure everyone is where they need to be at the right time.
The Day Before: Go for a Mani-Pedi
It's a smart idea to buy the polishes, too, for any last-minute fixes.
The Day Before: Pack a Wedding-Night Bag
And ask a friend or attendant to make sure it gets to the right place.
The Day Before: Prepare Tips for Vendors
Check contacts to see if gratuities are included; if not, place each tip in a marked envelope, and enlist your MOH or best man to deliver them.