You’ve made it! You’ve been planning and buying and crying and celebrating, and now your wedding is only one month away. Worried you’re going to forget something? Not sure what needs to be done between now and the big day? Here is your checklist for the last 30 days before your wedding day.
PAY YOUR VENDORS
Put a bridesmaid or wedding coordinator in charge of any day-of payments that need to be made. Also have the same person in charge of handing out cash tips. I’ll just say that while I never expect to receive a tip as a wedding photographer, it’s such a welcome surprise that makes me feel appreciated for the hard work I put in on your day!
MAKE THE SEATING CHART
You should have the floor plan for your venue. This will help you create an outline of where the guest tables and head table will be, and from there you can easily assign seats. If you’re wondering whether you should make room for your photographers, don’t worry about it! Most of the time, we enjoy taking a few minutes to eat our dinner in silence!
ORDER OR MAKE ESCORT/ PLACE CARDS
There is actually a difference between the two, and you can have one or both. An escort card or sign lists every guest’s name and what table they will be seated at. Place cards are cards at each seat with the guest’s name on it.
FINALIZE THE CEREMONY
Talk through the details with your officiant. Make sure anyone doing readings or singing have what they need.
HAVE YOUR FINAL WALK-THROUGH
Make a list of questions (you can find a great list here!) Be sure your wedding planner or the person in charge of set-up will be with you. This is also a great time to check out the lighting around the grounds and where the shady spots are for portraits.
BREAK IN YOUR WEDDING SHOES
Nobody wants blisters or bleeding feet at their wedding! Wear thicker socks and walk around the house a number of times. My favorite way to break in shoes is to wear them while I cook dinner!
SEND REHEARSAL INVITES
Rehearsal (and rehearsal dinner) invites should go out to the members of both your immediate families, bridal party and their spouses, officiant, coordinator, and anyone else who will be involved with the smooth operation of your wedding day. Photographers typically don’t need to be there, but if you want coverage of the dinner, don’t hesitate to ask about adding to your package!
WRITE YOUR VOWS
Starting this ahead of time allows you to really write from your heart. If you won’t be saying personal vows, you can give each other letters to read before you walk down the aisle. One of my favorite ways to incorporate personal vows is by reading them to each other after your first look. It’s such an intimate and emotional moment and makes for some of the most beautiful photos!
GIVE THE DJ YOUR PLAYLIST
You’ll need to give them your first dance song, parent dance songs, and if you have anything in particular you’d like played for the grand entrances, cake cutting, etc. Also give any do-not play (*cough “Shut Up and Dance With Me” *cough) and must-play songs.
GET YOUR RSVP COUNT
Your caterer will need the final count and you’ll need for the seating chart too. Get a hold of the guests who haven’t given you an answer yet.
APPLY FOR THE MARRIAGE LICENSE
State laws differ, but for Ohio, a marriage license is good for 60 days after being issued.
MEET WITH YOUR PHOTOGRAPHER
We’ll go over the day-of timeline along with mapping out a family photo list and any other must have shots for the day.
FINALIZE PRINT PIECES
Order any print items for the wedding day. Things like programs, escort signs, place cards, menus, signature drink signs, welcome signs, etc.
Put together any favors you plan on giving to guests. If you’ll be doing edible favors, wait until one or two days before the wedding.
HAVE YOUR FINAL DRESS FITTING
Be sure you bring everything you need- veil, jewelry, shoes, undergarments. Also be sure to bring the person who will be bustling your dress so they can learn how to do it quickly!
You’ll want to do this about two weeks before the wedding day so that hair settles into its shape and color, but the roots haven’t grown out yet. The groom will want to get his barber shop appointment in about a week to five days before the wedding. If you’re thinking about a spray tan, do this two to three days before to avoid staining the dress. And be sure to get a mild tan- orange will show up heavily in photos and can be extremely difficult to edit, if at all! Your mani-pedi should happen a day or two before as well. You can also ask to buy the polish so that you can have it on hand during the wedding day and honeymoon.
GET THE WEDDING BANDS
Make sure you have the wedding bands and that they’ve been sized and fit well. It’s also a great time to get your engagement ring cleaned since you’ll be getting professional photos of it!
Make sure they know the timeline as well as any addresses they need. The venue may also need to know what vendors will be coming to set up and what time they will be arriving. If you’ll be having any party bus or other transportation, confirm the driver knows where they’ll be transporting to and from and the times.
GET YOUR GIFTS
Designate someone to be in charge of your gifts and cards at the end of the night. They can either take them to your place, or store them at their own.
CONFIRM THE DAY WITH YOUR BRIDAL PARTY
Give them an itinerary so they know where they need to be and when.
PACK A WEDDING NIGHT BAG
You’ll probably be checking into a hotel after leaving your wedding. Instead of hauling everything you’re taking on your honeymoon, pack a small bag for just overnight. Ask a friend to make sure it gets to the right place.
Some vendors may have requests for the wedding day, and you’ll need to let the venue coordinator know. Some of these could be a table for the DJ or access to the sound system, a cooler or refrigerator with enough space for the cake, a getting ready space with access to outlets for the hair stylist, etc. Typically, I don’t need anything special as the photographer!
CONFIRM HONEYMOON RESERVATIONS
Flight times, hotel check-in, excursions, etc. About a week out, you can call the front desk of your hotel and ask if they can give you any last-minute upgrades to a bigger suite. If they have something available and you let them know you’ll be on your honeymoon, they’ll usually make it happen!
No one likes coming home from vacation to a messy house!
All content and images are copyright of Alayna Parker Photography.