Your big day is getting closer & closer and you’re pretty sure all is in order, but pretty sure isn’t good enough! So if you haven’t hired myself to ensure all is in order here’s a few tips to help you make sure you’re on your way to be on top of everything for your big day.
This list is not exhaustive or finite but hopefully these tips will help couples in many ways. It is based on real experiences, observations and celebrations I’ve helped create.
1. Emergency Wedding Day Kit
For brides & Grooms your emergency Wedding day kit, in a word ‘Invaluable’ ! Read my earlier blog, there’s some great advice on it.
2. Check with your vendors & Venue
Check in with your suppliers the week before and especially the day before to put your own mind at ease, any little worry you may have just get it out there, believe me it’s best not having it on your mind.
Call into your venue and have a walk about with the person who will be on duty on the day! This is really important as you will need to know who you will be dealing with on the day and coordinating all the timings etc. Go through the running order if you have any questions or worries on any issues. Remember a running order should be based on approximate timings as weddings almost never go to exact timing plans. Nor should you expect it to, you will need to relax and enjoy your day, do not let the venue pressurise you into exact sit down times. They should have a “stand by” time for arrival, everything after that should flow smoothly.
In my experience the photographs always take a lot longer than anticipated and then you will want some time to talk to your guests before dinner, without leaving them too long waiting. This is where canapés or snacks with the arrival drinks for your guests is a good idea.
(TOP TIP: If arranging canapés you should not need to pay for 100% of your guest numbers, I always recommend 75% of numbers for canapés & 50% of numbers for supper, if these are not included in your package and are being charged as extras)
For a list of my personal highly recommended Premium Suppliers Click HERE
Always handy for the ceremony and have one from each side of the family. Good for moving people up from the back of the church and making sure the front seats are filled.
(TOP TIP: Get your ushers to keep the mass booklets you will both have used during your ceremony, believe me you will want to keep them. !!)
4. Gift table
Ask your venue to organise one and delegate a family member who will be responsible for safekeeping of same. It is now commonplace for the best man or witnesses to take responsibility for cards given as gifts to the couple.
5. Prepare Final Payments
Pay all your suppliers ahead of the day itself. By this you will not have to remember what is owed and to whom leaving you more free time to enjoy your own celebrations.
(TOP TIP: If leaving tips have them & the envelopes prepared from the day before and give them to best man or wedding coordinator to distribute)
6. Flower boutiques for the mums (or the dads)
Get your florist to make these up and maybe deliver them to the venue the day before the event so they can be kept in cold storage.
7. Bridesmaids and best men gifts
Get these well in advance and present well before the wedding day. lovely ideas include bracelets for the girls and either cuffed links or tie pins for the guys, inexpensive and practical.
8.Organise the paperwork.
An important part of making it ‘official!’ Check with the local council or local parish priest or parson where your ceremony will take place about any deadlines for applying for your marriage license well in advance of your wedding date (3 months in Ireland). Start gathering your documents early so that when it comes time to get your license, you have everything you need and can make the process as efficient as possible and less stress. Your coordinator/planner should bring all the official documentation for you from the church and place it in your bedroom at the venue or keep them until after the celebrations.
(Top Tip: Read my blog piece HERE on all you need to know for preparing for marriage with the paperwork)
9. Vendor meals
Be sure you remember to feed the people that are working nonstop to make your day flawless! You’ll be expected to give your final guest count to your caterer a few days before your day, but don’t forget to include the number of vendors you’ll have so that the caterer can prepare simple meals for them, separate from your guests. Most caterers will supply these complimentary so be sure to include your band members, (probably for supper time) photographer, videographer, priest or officiator as well as your planner and their assistants.
10. Favours; edible’s all the way!!!
By no means are favours required, but they are a fantastic detail that each of your guests will appreciate! So don’t make your favours an afterthought — think about what you’ll present your guests as a ‘thank-you’ for coming at least two or three months in advance of your wedding date, so that you can place the bulk order of the items in time, and also personalize each one for that finishing touch. A sweet trolley or personalised chocolate box is ideal and remember don’t go over the top!
11. Guestbook and pens
Include something for your guests to leave their well-wishes for you upon arriving at your reception. Don’t leave this until the last minute. This could be a book on the location where your nuptials take place. Also, don’t forget the pens! A beautiful idea is a photo of yourselves with a paperboard surround so guests can sign this and you can get it framed after. Have a second copy in case of disasters and maybe have this on a pedestal at the church where guests can sign.
Ask the venue for a plinth for this and if they have one can you borrow this for the church before. Again your planner can arrange this.
12.The younger guests
They will get bored especially during the meal and speeches. There are many wedding babysitting vendors out there but as well as this think of providing colouring pages and crayons. You can easily personalise these pages with images available from the internet. And simply print them off yourself. If parents are not keen on sugary drinks, ask the caterer or venue to supply sparkling water with flavoured sugar free cordials. There are lots available. Also think of their food, fast food meals are not good enough and a lot of venues will try and persuade you to serve these. Half portions of your choices, pasta, lasagne are always lovely options for children. A bedroom with a few movie on DVDs will go down a treat. Think hard about children’s tables, sometimes children are best seated with their parents.
Read my blog piece on entertaining younger guests at your wedding.
14. Vegetarians, vegans and dietary requirements
Often overlooked, however there should always be a silent vegetarian option available just make sure it’s substantial enough for your guests. People seem to think vegetarians don’t eat much, just because they don’t eat meat. Try and think outside the box, vegetarians don’t eat only pasta.. Moussaka is a lovely option as is flavoured polenta dishes. Also discuss with your venue/caterer vegetarian alternative options for supper.
(Top Tip Remember to ask guests on your invites if anyone has any food allergies, especially nuts and if this is the case, it is easier to make sure that there are no nut products in any of your food offerings, including oils)
15. Cake knife and toasting flutes
Check that your venue has theses on hand and ask for pictures of same to make sure it’s the quality you want. You may also receive these as a gift at your shower or opt to purchase your special set on your own, or use ones that have been handed down to you by parents or family members. When packing up your items to be placed at the reception, be sure to remember to pack your cake knife and toasting flutes (and keep the original packaging to avoid breakage) so that this detail will not be overlooked. Once this item is off your to-do list, you can focus on other things to pack — delegate someone to collect these for you after the reception, which should be your coordinator/planner. Ensure that theses are delivered to your hotel/venue before the wedding day.
16. Tech chargers
“When it comes time to get ready in your bridal suite on the day of the wedding, have your electronics charged and ready to go! If you’re planning on using your iPod for any part of the reception music (i.e. your favourite recording of the first dance you and your partner will sway to), make sure you have the right charger and the correct connection to your band’s or DJ’s sound system. Also, keep your phone charged overnight the night before. You’ll want to have it ready to go. A good idea is to get yourself and your partner a portable charger for around 20-30€
Your guests will be hungry late night, check with the venue what they provide as standard and ask about an upgrade. Reminding them that your guests will be spending well at the bars during the night and see what you can come up with together. Chargrilled Burgers are a great idea with really good condiments, sauces and cheeses, brioche buns are a winner as they’re soft, easy to eat and damn tasty. Recently I’ve hired a chip van for the guest at midnight where they served real chips, jumbo sausages and onion rings.. Score, it was amazing and everyone loved it.
Again remember your vegetarian and vegan guests.
18. Passport and identification
Be sure your passport and driver’s license are up to date and packed safely in your carry-on luggage. Airport security will not let you get on the plane with expired identification, so be sure you have taken care of this detail months before your wedding.
19. Thank-you notes
It’s easy to let things fall by the wayside in the aftermath of your big day as the dust begins to settle, but your thank-you notes to your guests should be sent out no later than two months after your big day. It is easier to order these when you are ordering your invites, probably in a similar style and should be cheaper. Also, don’t forget the important people in your life, including your parents, family members, and bridal party that were there with you through the planning from the beginning.
20. Online reviews
The people that have worked so hard to make your wedding day come to fruition are often forgotten once the big day has passed. The best thank-you you can give your vendors is an honest review online and an email follow up. That is the only way that your vendors can continue to improve the level of service they provide to future couples so your feedback is very important! Plan to carve out time to review your vendors within six months.