It’s the week leading up to your wedding. Excitement and nerves are raging and you feel the clock is ticking to make sure everything gets done on time. There are so many last-minute details to remember, so we put together a list of 21 essential things every bride or groom must do the week before their wedding. We’ve broken them down into three categories: Logistics (the nuts and bolts of the day), Personal (what you need to do for yourself), and Specifics (the little details you may forget).
Prepare your marriage license – Make sure you have your marriage license all set and ready to go. Sometimes, the license will be signed during the ceremony, and sometimes, it will be signed during the rehearsal. In either case, you need to make sure you have this document ready for signage. Without it, your marriage isn’t legal. For more information on how to obtain a New York State marriage license, click here or below.
Create and distribute timelines – It’s important for all members of your bridal party, as well as your parents and those involved in the wedding, to know what’s going on that day. Timelines are especially important for your vendors. Not only do they need to know what time to show up and where to show up, but they’ll actually be helping you schedule much of your timeline. Your salon, for example, needs to know what time the photographer is coming so that they can have you all ready for photos.
Prepare and distribute contact info – Just as important as the timeline, contact info is key. All members of the bridal party, all vendors, parents, and the venue should be on the list. Your number should be included as well, though I would designate a person to field all your calls, especially on your wedding day. You don’t want to be answering or dealing with phone calls while you’re getting ready.
Take enough time off from work – Requesting time off from work should be done months in advance of your wedding, and you want to make sure you take off enough time. Check with your employer to see if you can carry over days or time if you think you are going to need more than what you are given. If your wedding is on a Saturday, I suggest taking three or four days prior. You also want to make sure you take enough time off for your honeymoon. Most couples take two weeks off, though when you take your honeymoon is totally up to you. Some couples take off right after their wedding, others, depending on their situation, will wait a few months. Even if you wait a few months, take a few days off from work after the wedding so you have time to wind down and mentally get back to “reality”.
Drop off all items for your wedding to your venue – Your wedding venue should provide you with a timeline of when things are due for them, such as payments, final headcount, etc. Included in this list is a date of when your wedding items such as favors, menus, place cards, and guest book need to be dropped off. My suggestion is to not do this the day before, but two days out. You are going to be very busy the day before your wedding and you don’t want to have to worry about making a trip to your venue – especially if it’s out of town – the day before your wedding.
Confirm all appointments – Even though you booked your appointments months and months in advance, and probably checked and double-checked on them, do it again. Call your hair salon, makeup artist, florist, limo, baker and any other vendor you are working with to confirm everyone is on the same page, and that everyone knows what time to be where.
Prepare final payments for vendors – Make sure all your final payments to your vendors are made or are set aside to give them the day of your wedding. The last thing you want to do is forget to pay someone.
Plan a rehearsal – No matter if your wedding is a quiet backyard affair or a formal banquet hall event, a rehearsal is very important. There are lots of moving parts to a wedding and people need to know where they need to stand or sit, when they need to come out to music, who is holding bouquets, when to do a unity ceremony, what’s going to happen at the end of readings or when to say your vows. This doesn’t have to necessarily be done the day before your wedding, but it needs to be done close to it.
Get enough sleep – Nerves may get the best of you, therefore, making it hard to fall asleep or stay asleep, and that’s totally normal. However, you want to make sure you give yourself enough time to make up for that. Plan ahead so you get to bed at a reasonable time. Night owls, this means no late nights and early morning. Plan a good 6-8 hours of sleep each night of the week leading up to your wedding. This not only will calm your nerves, but it’ll give you more clarity and composure.
Schedule “me” time – Yoga or meditating are great ways to de-stress. Even just a few minutes of quiet deep breathing or scheduling in a nap can be an excellent way to recharge, refuel and get centered. The days leading up to your wedding are going to be very busy, chaotic and stressful. You need to take care of yourself. Being on the go all the time can lower your immunity, and you don’t want to be sick on your wedding day.
Don’t party too hard – it’s very easy to want to just live it up the week leading up to your wedding or even the night before, but trust me, partying too hard is just going to leave you with a ton of regret. Yes, have a glass or two of wine. Yes, enjoy yourself at your rehearsal dinner. However, drinking too much or staying out too late is just going to have a snowball effect when you don’t have the time to be nursing a hangover or the patience to be working off a few hours of sleep.
Don’t change your routines – Now is not the time to be trying new routines. Keep everything as “normal” as possible. Don’t try new skin routines, or a diet regimen, or sleep routine. Stick with what works well because you don’t want any negative surprises on your wedding day.
Don’t sunbathe – We all know sunbathing is bad, and we should be wearing SPF, so don’t go out and sit in the sun in the days leading up to your wedding. You don’t want to be burnt or have unsightly tan lines. If being tan on your wedding is something you want, talk to your salon to see if they offer spray tans, or even better, see if they offer natural spray tans without the harsh chemicals. Whatever you do, don’t use tanning beds!
Don’t try new foods – This kind of goes along the same lines as not trying new routines. Trying new foods is always great. I love doing it. But, before such a big event, you better be safe. Leave being adventurous at the door until you are on your honeymoon or until you get back. The last thing you want is to try something new and then realize you have a reaction to it and get sick.
Get yourself organized – Gather all necessary items such as garments, your suitcase, paperwork and any other day-of essentials and keep them in one, easy-to-get-to location. We have a great list of things to pack for your wedding day here or below:
Prepare your welcome bags – You want to make sure that your welcome bags are assembled and available at the hotel(s) your guests are staying at prior to the day your first guest arrives. Some guests may arrive the day before, some might check-in that day. Check with your hotel to confirm a drop-off date.
Go to the bank – This is one of those things that might be on your to-do list, but could get pushed back. You want to go to the bank for several reasons. One, you want to make sure you have some cash on you or ready to take with you for your honeymoon. Second, you want to let your bank know of any traveling you might be doing so that they can put an alert on your card. You don’t want to go away on vacation and have your bank cancel your cards thinking they might have been stolen.
Break in your shoes – Guys and girls, I can’t stress enough how uncomfortable dress shoes can be if you haven’t broken them in or stretched them. Don’t put yourself through the agony of painful feet. Break your shoes in, wear them around the house, dance in them, do whatever you need to do to make sure they feel good. Inevitably, you might just want to bring a change of shoes altogether when it comes time for dancing, but be sure to give your feet some love.
Make sure all DIY projects are done – Make sure all of your DIY projects are done at least a week in advance, if not more. The week and days leading up to your wedding shouldn’t be spent with a glue gun in your hand. I love a good craft project, but there comes a time when you have to walk away from the craft table and let it be.
Exchange gifts with your spouse – Here’s why this should be done before your wedding and not the day of. Simply put, Pictures and time. If you are not doing a first-look and are seeing each other for the first time at the ceremony, when are you going to have time to exchange gifts? Also, remember, opening gifts makes a great photo op, which is usually done as you are getting ready. You want to make sure you give each other your gifts prior to the wedding so that you have something to open when your photographer arrives.
Finish your vows – Waiting until the morning of your wedding to write your vows or finish them is not good. Try to plan to have these done at least a week ahead of time. That gives you time to go back, edit, change things around and really make sure they’re perfect. Plus, if you are the DIY-type, it gives you a chance to do something really creative with them.
What’s on your week-of to-do list?
Featured photo credit: J. Ferrara Photography