Even when you're planning a long engagement, those 18 months can go by fast! With bridal showers, bachelor and bachelorette parties, and balancing life in general, those last couple months up to the big day can get a little crazy! So, here's 10 tips to stay ahead of the last minute wedding details!
1. Start a packing list early.
There are so many little things that need to be packed for your wedding day. So, instead of hoping everything gets packed, add the items to a list the first time you think of them. Make a note in your phone or on Google Drive that is accessible everywhere you go. Make a list organized by person and list any items that person needs to remember to pack. I start these lists for my couples in my client management system and they're available for them to add to as soon as they get engaged! I usually have a Bride, Bridesmaid, Groom, Groomsmen, and Other list.
2. Start a song idea list when you get engaged.
Another list I start for my couples to use as soon as they're engaged is a song list. Unless you're a big music person, sometimes coming up with song ideas on the spot is hard! When I start the document I list the song categories: Ceremony prelude, recessional, First Dance, etc. Then, I encourage you to start listing songs that you like in the document as you hear or think of them. You can use the list as a brain dump and then choose the songs as a starting point for your ceremony and reception songs list. That way coming up with 10-15 songs for the ceremony and special dances is easier!
3. Note important times on your timeline as you come across them.
Putting together your wedding timeline can be overwhelming, especially when you're trying to do it a few days before your wedding. Start right away! Don't worry about starting at 8am and working to midnight, instead note times as you decide them. It doesn't have to be detailed but having the basics from the start is helpful! Note your ceremony time and your reception time and the end time. Then note if your venues designate a time that you can get into them. Then you know what time to tell your vendors for deliveries and set up. From that timeline you can work backwards to add in the details of cake cutting and pictures and toasts.
4. Print your vendor contact information.
As you sign contract with vendors, make a document to keep track of their hours and their contact info for your wedding day. I print off all the wedding vendors' contacts and make a list of their contact info to have with me on wedding days. If someone is late or something is incorrect, I have the contract to check against the details and I have their contact information at my fingertips to talk with them about the details. If you print it off as you book, you don't have to worry about printing everything the day before your wedding!
5. Prep and Pack your decor by item or table.
If you're ordering decor and menus and table numbers and renting napkins and runners, you're going to end up with a lot of boxes. When I'm planning a wedding I order all the decor to my house and organize it there. But if you don't have a planner and you're in charge of decorating the venue yourself, you'll want to be organized! Open the decor as you receive it--there might be stickers or plastic wrapping all over the items that would take a lot of time to unwrap individually on your wedding day. Then pack everything by item or by table, depending on what makes the most sense to you. Make a list of how you want items set up and even stage a table and take pictures to share with your set up team.
6. Start grouping your guests by groups to make seating them easier.
When working my couples I have an amazing client management system that I set up for my couples. it includes a guest list organizer and I find it so helpful! If you're creating your own, I suggest using Excel or Google Sheets. Make a column for their name and address as normal, but then add a column and name it "group". Group the list by family name or friends group like Bride Father's Side or Groom College Friends. That way as RSVPs come back you can sort by group and use those groups at tables.
7. Organize tips in individual envelopes
When you're planning your budget, talk about what vendors you want to tip. If you're unsure, there are some great resources for tipping vendors. And check back here because I have a tipping post scheduled! Once you have those amounts decided, make out envelopes for the tips and write the vendor's name on them. Add your cash whenever you're ready, seal the envelopes, and place them with your items to pack.
8. Talk through Wedding Day transportation needs early.
A lot of times my couples talk through transportation to and from the venue and for the guests early, but think about how the wedding party will be traveling. Do people need to be picked up from the airport? Do you have enough room in cars to drive from the hotel to the hair and makeup places? If the groom is driving his car to the ceremony venue and then you're taking a bus or limo, how is his car getting back to the hotel at the end of the night? Think of those details early so you're not stressing to find enough cars and drivers for the wedding day.
9. Make any pre wedding appointments a few months in advance.
Are you thinking of getting a spray tan? A wax? A manicure and pedicure? Make those appointments early on and add them to your calendar so you're not stressing to find a place a few days before your wedding. It helps to make sure your favorite salons aren't booked up and you're not running to find a new option.
10. Make a clean up plan and checklist
Similar to your packing checklist, make a checklist of the items you need to pack up at the end of the night and who's responsible. What are you going to do with the florals at the end of the night? Does the florist need the vases back? Does your rental company come to pick up the decor at the end of the night or do you need to return it? Don't forget to check the bridal suite for phone chargers, makeup, and extra shoes. Think through the items that you're renting, borrowing, and buying. Anything you take with you or have delivered will need to be removed!
If you're feeling overwhelmed or would like help to set up, break down, and stay organized let me know! Let's talk about how I can help!