Planning a wedding can be a fun process, but that doesn’t mean you won’t run into a few speedbumps. Though you’re sure to remember the dress and decor, a handful of details tend to slip the minds of busy couples in the thick of their planning.
If you’re hoping to stay on top of the details – big and small – you’ll want to note a handful of tasks that often fly under the radar. Luckily, we sat down with a group of industry experts to ask them what you’ll want to add to your to-do list – here’s what they had to say.
Remember your rehearsal dinner.
With couples making so many decisions about their big day, many often forget that the day before requires its own planning as well. So don’t lose sight of the fact that your rehearsal dinner kicks off what’s sure to be an unforgettable celebration!
Shannon Tarrant, co-founder of Wedding Venue Map, notes that finding a rehearsal dinner location is something her clients struggle to prioritize. “Wedding planning is full of so many tasks that choosing a rehearsal dinner venue falls low on the list,” she says. “Try to secure a location 3-4 months in advance, so you have time to plan the details.”
Buy gifts beforehand.
Some couples decide to purchase gifts for their wedding party and loved ones, such as parents and grandparents. If you plan to show your appreciation with a gift, make sure this task doesn’t get away from you.
“If you’re giving gifts to your family and or wedding party members, this is something you want to plan ahead for,” recommends Nikki Golden of Nikki Golden Photography. “Nobody wants to be running around the week of their wedding looking for those perfect gifts.”
Nora Sheils, co-founder of Rock Paper Coin and founder of Bridal Bliss, agrees, sharing, “Start searching for wedding party gifts early! This is a task that gets put off, and we see couples scrambling the week of the wedding to purchase, pick up, and wrap. Not a fun way to spend your wedding week!”
Have a plan B for the weather.
Even the sunniest of spots can experience inclement weather, so no matter where you’ll be saying, “I do,” you should always have a plan if things don’t turn out the way you initially hoped. Arranging these details beforehand will give you peace of mind as you continue to plan.
”Another detail that we often see happening with couples who don’t have a planner is having a bad weather plan,” mentions Jackie Watson, principal planner at Jaclyn Watson Events. “Having a contingency plan should be on the forefront of the couple’s mind.”
Print in advance.
Even in a world where we primarily operate from smartphones and computers, there are still a handful of things you’ll need to print out for your celebration. So make a note of what you’ll need in paper form and who will transport them.
“Many couples put off ordering their day-of printed items such as menus, place cards, or programs,” highlights Sheils. “These items can take longer than you would think, especially with specialty printing or custom designs. Plan your paper items when you order your invitations, so it all looks cohesive and is completed earlier in the process.”
Hire a planner.
Wedding budgets vary in size, but a wedding planner is a wise investment if you can afford it. Having someone there to help with the details will take a lot off of your plate. Plus, your planner will be there to answer questions and take the stress out of planning.
Patricha Pike, venue manager and event planner at Meadows Event Center, suggests, “Delegate tasks to wedding party members or trusted family and friends. Or, if the budget allows, hire a day-of coordinator.”
Create a plan for gifts.
Some of your guests will show up to your special day with gifts, so you need to have a plan for transporting them home after the festivities.
“While most of your guests will be generous with the honeyfund or cash, there WILL be some physical gifts at the wedding,” shares Tarrant. “Make sure that there is one person designated and responsible for getting the gifts to their next location, and they won’t sit in a car all night long.”
Map out your processional.
You might have chosen the song you and your partner will walk down the aisle to, but what about the order in which your loved ones will do the same? Think about how you’ll organize your processional and who will be walking down when.
“Discuss who is walking down the aisle BEFORE the wedding rehearsal,” recommends Kimberly Sisti, owner, florist, and planner at SISTI & CO. “Consider others’ feelings if certain members have limited mobility too. Everyone invited to the rehearsal should participate in the processional and recessional; there is no need for additional people to attend and offer opinions.”
Organize your communication.
When planning a wedding, there can be dozens of people you’re communicating with at one time. To avoid losing yourself in the back and forth, it’s wise to organize your inbox properly before the emails start flooding in.
Watson suggests, “If you’re emailing a lot with all your vendors, remember to make sub-categories for each one – catering, bar, rentals, etc. This will make finding things much easier.”
Know there may be bumps.
Even the most well-thought-out wedding days still encounter small bumps and changes – and that’s okay! Go into your planning accepting that things may not go as you once planned, but the day will be magical regardless.
Sheils emphasizes this point, stating, “Be ready for the unexpected! There is rarely a wedding or wedding planning process that goes off perfectly and without a single hitch. Prep for the unexpected, and don’t let it ruin the day for you.”
Remember the food.
Most weddings plan for dinner, but plenty of couples forget that two meals often come before this! To keep your energy up and fully enjoy the day, plan for what you’ll eat before guests arrive.
“Make sure you will have food for your bridal party on the wedding day,” reminds Golden. “Most of the time, bridal parties are at the wedding venue for several hours, or even the full day, without a chance to leave and get lunch. You don’t want anyone (especially yourself!) getting hangry before the ceremony!”
Shorten your to-do list.
The list of things you need to do before your big day may seem endless. That’s why it’s essential to break them down and get rid of the tasks that aren’t important to you and your partner.
Maureen Cotton, coach and officiant at The Soulful Wedding, shares, “Make a list of possibilities and then KonMari it! Look at each item, consider the effect it will have on the experience for yourselves or for your guests, and strike it out if it doesn’t bring significant joy. Free up valuable time, money, and energy for the things that count – that itself will bring joy!”
Remember that your wedding day is about celebrating your love as a couple as you begin this new chapter. Of course, the details are important but don’t lose sight of the fact that the day will be perfect no matter what happens. After all, you’re ending it together as a married couple!
Meghan Ely is the owner of wedding PR and wedding marketing firm OFD Consulting. Ely is a sought-after speaker, adjunct professor in the field of public relations, and a self-professed royal wedding enthusiast.
We’ve partnered with OFD Consulting to bring you this great advice from their collective of wedding professionals.