So you’ve already got your guest list…and most of them have sent back the RSVP. You already have the list of who’s in the bridal party… you have a long list of “thank yous” to write for all the presents…but do you have all of these? Many come in handy long before your wedding, but ALL of them are good points to think of in the last 2 or 3 weeks.
The Master Vendor List
This is probably the most important list to have, and to have multiple copies of. It includes everyone you are paying for the day…from the Officiant, to the caterers to the florist, to the secretary that will open up the buildings you are using. Include all contact names, phone numbers and if there is anything left to be paid to them. Make copies. Give one to your mom, your maid of honor or personal attendant, and your “wrangler” (the person who will be in charge while you are off getting pretty, getting photos and getting hitched.)
Your Event Schedule:
This isn’t just when your readers come to the alter or when the first dance is played… this includes everything starting with the rehearsal. Don’t fool yourself, plan in some extra time to get ready and for anyone who happens to get lost. Some things to think of: What time do you need to get up to eat a real breakfast before you get your hair done? How long does it take to drive between ceremony site and reception site in horrible traffic? How late do you want to cut the cake? Remember older guests and children will be leaving earlier than you would normally think of going home.
Here’s what it should have at the very minimum: rehearsal, grooms dinner, pictures, hair & make up, dress time, dinner served, first dance, cake cutting, gift opening. Make sure to include event location, phone number, time and who needs to be there. Make sure everyone has a copy.
List of schedule/phone numbers that has ALL the members of the wedding party, parents, grandparents and anyone else involved with the wedding - include the time each party is supposed to arrive at and where so if someone hasn't shown up the personal attendant can track them down. Also include where they are staying at (i.e. hotel, home, or a friend’s house.)
Ok, now to the list of things to do in the last few weeks before the wedding:
Get the final fitting for the dress. Pick up the dress and hang it someplace out of the way.
Set your veil, jewelry, undies and shoes all in one spot, where they won’t get separated or smooshed.
Double check with your bridesmaids (and flower girls) to make sure they all have their dresses, shoes and jewelry.
Get the attendant and parent gifts out, wrapped and labeled. Put these in a box that will go with you to the ceremony site.
Check (or have your soon to be hubby check) with the grooms men and ushers to make sure they’ve had a final fitting of the tuxes, that they have shoes, shirts and ties that all match. If they are to have cuff links, make sure you’ve packed an extra set in your “emergency kit.”
Have someone designated to take all the stuff from church and reception and someone you trust to get all the gifts to the place of the gift opening and not to leave the gifts in the vehicle overnight. So, cousin Bill, who will probably go out for an hour after the reception is probably a bad pick.
Get together your programs, guest book and ceremony site decorations in a labeled box.
Get the reception decorations in labeled boxes. This includes favors, menus, cake topper and anything else the florist isn’t bringing. In the box include directions for the decorating committee. Include a “map” if you can, so they know exactly where any tables are to go.
Make sure you have a "tear down" committee. These are the folks that get all the decorations back to your home.
Make sure your beauty appointments are made, and that the bride is NOT the last one to be “done.” If anything is going to run late, it’s better a bridesmaid have a more simple hair style. The bride shouldn’t be rushed, and they have enough hairspray to make any style stay for the whole day!!
Check with the hotel(s) that you’ve reserved a block with. Check to see who is staying there, and if you are giving them all welcome baskets get those dropped off a day or so early. Make sure the wedding party if staying at a hotel and don't check in until after the reception make sure someone calls the day of and lets the hotel know it will be a late night check in.
Check with the rehearsal dinner site. Do they have the reservation? Do they have a correct head count?
Have someone (personal attendant or your mom) give a call to anyone giving a toast. Make sure that they’ve thought about it and won’t tell any story you don’t want grandma hearing. Or worse, one you don’t want your new spouse hearing!
Check with any transport companies… cars from the airport to the hotel, a shuttle between the hotel and ceremony site or the reception site. Your limo or car…make sure the times are all what you are expecting. If you don’t have a shuttle reserved, make sure a few key people have numbers for taxi cabs.
Pack an overnight bag for bride and groom if staying at a local hotel and not taking off immediately on honeymoon. If you are leaving right away (or in the morning) make sure your bags are packed and your tickets passports, etc. are inside.
Vendor final check list:
Caterer has final head count.
Photographer has a “must have” shot list, and the name of someone who will know who Aunt Martha is.
DJ has both the “must play” and the “don’t ever ever ever play” lists.
Florist has the correct corsage/boutonniere count, and where they will meet you to “pin” everyone.
Triple check with all of these vendors about times. When they will be and where they will be.
Make sure they have your cell number, your fiancée’s number and your “wrangler’s” number.
If any payment is due the big day, get the checks written and in labeled envelopes. For everyone else, get the tip money in labeled envelopes. Don’t seal the “tip” envelopes until you know how each vendor performs. Wouldn’t you hate to tip the DJ $100 when he turns up the volume and plays that song you HATE??
Have an emergency kit for the personal attendant:
4) sewing kit
5) bobby pins
6) toothpaste and toothbrush
8) Extra Jewelry (cuff links, extra earrings)
11) blotting papers
12) nail file
13) colored and clear nail polish
14) stain stick or wipes
15) dental floss
17) nail clippers
18) make-up & lipstick
19) white chalk (to hide what a stain stick can't get out)
20) fan (a little battery opperated one, or just a pretty Scarlet O'Hara one)
21) Double sided tape
22) safety pins
25) small mirror
26) ibuprofen or the like
27) super glue
28) white masking tape
29) static-cling spray
32) camera & batteries
33) bottled water
Yeah, it's kind of a big bag....nice thing is, every time I've packed one, we don't need it. Everytime there hasn't been one, we could have used it!
And just a note…if you don’t have a personal attendant, your maid of honor gets all those duties. If you don’t have a “wrangler”, you need one. Really, it saves so much piece of mind. They are your insurance. They fix things before you can ever notice they weren’t perfect. If you don’t have another friend who you trust with this job, seriously consider hiring a “day of coordinator.” They usually meet with you once or twice before the big day. You’ll go over the schedule of events and the vendor list and your overall dream for the day. They will look at all of your contracts so they know the fine print. On the big day, they will be running around making sure everything runs smoothly. That extra $1000 I told you to build into your budget could be well spent right here!!