Planning a wedding is no easy feat. Trust us, we've been part of over 150 of them! If you're juggling work or kids, it becomes even more difficult to find the time to ensure nothing is missed. We recently came across an incredible article from Brides.com that perfectly summarises the key items that are often overlooked by couples. Here is our version of their list (a little more suited to our Aussie celebrations):
1. Have a Back-Up Weather Plan
This is a piece of advice that's passed around all over the net and yet, so often I meet clients a month-out who haven't considered what will happen if it's raining or really windy or if it's realllllly hot. Of course, we want your day to be spectacular weather and we're the leader of good weather cheerleaders, but the small cost that's associated with booking a backup weather plan is cheap insurance for your wedding not to be ruined by crazy weather.
2. Know when the Sun will Set
This is so important for photos and planning your ceremony. Knowing the exact time will allow you to maximise your daylight hours before the reception - sunset is golden hour for lighting in photography, and you should plan to adjust your ceremony time accordingly.
3. Arrange Transportation for your Bridal Party
We always recommend booking reliable transport for the entire wedding party, especially if each party plans to arrive at the ceremony separately. Let's not rely on Ubers choosing the best route!
4. Designate Someone to Be the Day-Of Point Person
We cannot say this enough- you don't want to be answering the phone, setting tables, and handling all those last-minute questions on the day of your wedding. You've made plans to hang out with your bridal party and family, get your hair and makeup done, and just enjoy your day. At every wedding, there are always some tasks that need to be done on the day, it's just the nature of a wedding. So please, for your own enjoyment, put someone else in charge. May we also be sneaky enough to suggest that you hire a professional who has seen it all before and will have the answers already- especially if you'd rather your friends and family didn't have jobs to do on your wedding day.
5. Budget for Extra On-the-Day Costs
Will you be purchasing coffee for the bridal party the morning-of? Will you be arranging snacks and food for the day, before you leave? Will you require an Uber at the end of the night? These things might add up if you're not expecting them.
6. Arrange Adequate Lighting
Lighting is so important when it comes to setting an overall tone for your reception. For example, the lighting at your venue should start warm, bright and welcoming, and then gradually become dimmer as the night progresses; eventually switching to minimal ambient lighting as the dance floor takes off. Some venue spaces have lighting already installed but will require a technician to use them (at an extra cost). Some DJs will provide lighting with the rest of their setup, which means you have the dance floor covered. Some venues won't allow you to adjust the lighting at all, so it's worthwhile asking beforehand to incorporate candles, fairy lights and spotlights, if you feel they suit your "vibe".
7. Provide Extra Seating at a Cocktail-Style Reception
A cocktail-style reception is such a beautiful way to keep the party going and ensure your guests mingle. It's also a great way to save a little money without the full sit-down dinner service. BUT your guests will need somewhere to sit down at some point in the night. We tend to plan a few chairs for elderly or less-mobile guests, forgetting that our friends in high heels become less mobile as the night goes on too. Your wedding could be 8 hours of on-your-feet fun for your guests, so please allow a few extra chairs or lounges for them (for feet's sake!)
8. Designate a Photo-Wrangler
As your photographer is capturing you with different groups of guests and family, you will be unable to gather whom you'd like for each photo. So write your list and hand it to someone who can be off finding those people while you're busy smiling your guts out :-)
9. Establish a Wedding Website before you mail your Save-the-Dates
If you haven't already, please take the time to make yourselves a wedding website. It doesn't need to be fancy; there are so many great free options, or you can pay a little more to customise it. A website is an easy place to direct your guests to for the details, AND you can update it quickly and easily with any extra info or last-minute changes.
10. Arrange Transportation for the Newlyweds After the Reception
Some venues will include a car for you two lovebirds at the end of the night, but most won't. If you don't have a sober Steve ready to drop you off, make sure you book a car in advance. You don't want to be fighting over Uber availability with your guests. Better yet- arrange transport for them at the end of the night too! It's the best method to ensure they all get home safely and no one's tempted to drink-drive.
11. Ensure You Use the Correct Amount of Postage
Postage goes on weight these days- even your standard DL size envelope is weighed, and if it's overweight without the correct amount of postage paid, it might not make it to the destination. Make up one full invitation, RSVP cards, extra info and all and take it to the post office to be weighted. The staff there will let you know how many stamps you'll need for each. Better yet, see point 9 above and just mail a single card with the website address on it.
12. Check Guests for Allergies and Dietary Restrictions
Your caterers need to know ahead of time if anyone has allergies and the severity of those allergies, so they don't serve food that's potentially harmful. Asking for dietary requirements once isn't enough, because at every single wedding there is always an extra vegetarian or seafood allergy unaccounted for, and the catering team have to rush around and make changes. Ask your guests once on the initial invite, again on the wedding website and again just before your catering numbers are due- everyone is busy and it's likely someone may have missed your earlier requests.
13. Talk to Suppliers about potential Overtime
Does the venue allow you to extend on the night for an extra fee? If so, YAY! But remember to let your other suppliers know too. Too often we hear of weddings who've chosen to extend but the DJ left and there's no music for the last hour- a total buzz kill!
14. Sound Equipment for After the Band
Leading on from the above, if your live entertainment are finishing at 9pm, they're going to pack up all their sound equipment and take it with them. Their equipment is usually EPIC in size and volume, so if you then revert to an iPod playlist at half the volume, it's going to be noticeable. Ask the band when you book if you can "dry hire" an extra couple of speakers and return them the next day (and don't forget an auxiliary connection cord!)
15. Factor Yourself into the Guest Count
You might be laughing but it happens! It can be super confusing for everyone if the numbers aren't exactly right, and heaven forbid the venue or hire company are two chairs short!
16. Order Vendor Meals and Check their Dietaries
Some of your vendors are going to be on their feet, running around for 12 hours or more on your wedding day! So it's customary to feed them and give them that time to sit and take a break- would you work for 12 hours without a break? The meal is usually charged at less than the guests' meal and they're used to covering dietary requirements, so ask them beforehand what they eat too.
17. Bring a Change of Clothing (or at least shoes!)
At some point in the night, your clothes are going to become restrictive and your shoes will definitely be feeling uncomfortable! You could prepare an entire outfit change for your reception, or you could simply pack a pair of different comfortable shoes (I'm talking to the boys too! Nobody wants blisters from new shoes on their wedding day!)
18. Assign Someone to take your Wedding Dress
I don't know if you've ever had to transport a wedding dress anywhere before, but it is quite a mission to move it properly! A garment bag can only do so much to stop the crushing and dirt, it needs some serious space to lay flat and will be hard-pressed to fit into the back of car that's filled with people and/or other wedding things. If you're planning on leaving for your honeymoon the next day, make sure you ask someone to transport your dress home and if possible, get it dry-cleaned ASAP.
19. Book a Hotel Room Block
If you're hosting a destination wedding, contact one or two local hotels in different price-points and ask them if they offer group booking discounts for your wedding. If they do, make sure you check on other booking websites to make sure it really is a discount and let your guests the details know sooner rather than later.
20. Arrange Welcome Bags of Out-of-Town Guests
This is a very "American" thing to do, but if your wedding is going to be in a unique or unusual destination, or if you have guests coming from overseas, a little gift bag with a map or a custom printout of things to do in the area wouldn't go astray. They've traveled a long way to celebrate with you, any little extras you can offer will make them feel appreciated.
21. Wedding Signage
Usually placed low on the list of priorities or forgotten entirely, signage is a MUST if you're hosting your wedding on a large property or at a public place where there may be other events (the Botanic Gardens, for example). A simple "wedding this way ->" and another "welcome sign" with your names on them will suffice. NB: Remember you'll need someone who can place these in position before your guests start arriving.
22. Designate Someone to Gather Up Gifts, Decor and Personal Items
At the end of the night, the last thing you want to do is carry a whole bunch of gifts and decorations to the car, or run around the reception space, checking for lost items. Not all venues will allow pack down the following day, so ensure you have someone you trust who'll complete the pack up and transporting of those items.
23. Leave Enough Time and Money for Dress Alterations
They say six months is an ideal time for major alterations, but definitely more than three months. This is because our bodies fluctuate naturally and a couple of fittings will allow time to ensure it fits like a glove by the time you take it home. Even when the dress fits perfectly, you may need to pay for ties to be added so you can bustle it for the reception. This costs money because it's intricate work, and you don't want to pay a small fortune for your beautiful dress only to have a dodgy alterations job done. Do your research, check reviews and don't be afraid to tell the alterations person exactly what you want- they will make suggestions, but it's your dress.
24. Plan Out Your Accessories
You've probably already thought of having a veil or not, but what about earrings, bracelets, hairpins and other accessories? Is your wedding in winter? I promise you'll want to organise something to cover your shoulders and arms as you venture outside.
25. Eat Food and Drink Water
We cannot stress this enough! So many Brides forget to eat or they don't eat enough before the ceremony and once those initial nerves have passed, headaches ensue (one of the reasons we always carry some paracetemol!). Having plenty of water and some light snacks throughout the day and then again when you go for your bridal party photos is a great way to ensure you don't get too tipsy, too!
BONUS: Write Out and Do-Not-Play List for your Music
Most couples remember to let the DJ or musicians know their key songs, but what about a do-not-play list. A list of songs/bands/genres that you and your loved ones are NOT into and will not enjoy hearing all night.
These tips seem simple enough, right? Absolutely! But when the day comes around and you're busy marrying the love of your life, these are the things that you don't want to be focused on.
To read the original article, click here.
For more tips and tricks, you can check out our blog, or to hire a wedding day coordinator, a wedding planner or professional master of ceremonies (MC), shoot us an email firstname.lastname@example.org . We'd love to hear from you.