If you don’t want to go completely insane during the last few weeks before your wedding – and you don’t want to drag everyone to insanity with you – you’ll need to avoid the last-minute crunch. This means budgeting your time accordingly throughout the planning process and not procrastinating. There are a handful of things that MUST be done within a month of your wedding, and cannot be done a day sooner, in most cases, so try to avoid adding any unnecessary tasks during that time.
Here’s a guide to that last month so you know what to expect:
- Walk-through with the caterer and any major vendors
- Chasing any rogue responses that haven’t been mailed in yet
- Seating assignments
- Getting stationery printed (you might be able to do this sooner, but chances are there are some last-minute things to be decided. You definitely will have to wait until your table assignments are completed before printing your escort cards, unless you plan to hand-write the table numbers on them.)
- Finalizing liquor order based on final headcount
- Submitting final headcount to the caterer
- Giving final table count to the florist
- Paying final invoices
- Compiling day-of payments and gratuities. (This might require a trip to the bank for a large cash withdrawal)
- Pick up wedding dress from seamstress
- Assemble hotel welcome bags. (Due to the shelf life of common gift items, this typically cannot be done earlier than 1 month ahead, but it depends on what you’re including in the bags.)
- Assemble favors, if they are perishable
That’s a lot! Plus, you’re getting ready to entertain guests, possibly getting a hair cut & color, maybe even getting ready to move into a new home! Anything else on your to-do list for wedding preparations should be done more than a month in advance of the wedding.
Don’t wait until the last few weeks to:
- Compile a list of photos for your photographer
- Pick your special songs that you want the band or DJ to play
- Buy the wedding rings
- Get your marriage license (In Maryland, you can get this as far as 6 months in advance.)
- Make your hotel reservations for your wedding night (Your room block cut-off date will likely be a month before your wedding.)
- Come up with a timeline for your wedding day
- Purchase your wedding day accessories such as signage, guest book, card box, and cocktail napkins
- Purchase gifts for people in the wedding party
- and pretty much anything else that needs to be done in preparation for the wedding!
If you have a competent planner, you’ll have plenty of guidance through all of this, and you won’t have to worry about missing the boat on getting things done. But if you’re doing it on your own, it’s easy to let things slip until the last few weeks. (Take it from me. I waited until 3 weeks before my wedding to hire my lighting guy! Eeps!!) You’ll underestimate how much there is to do during that time, and you’ll drive yourself up the wall. Avoid the crazy times and pace yourself throughout the process.