Queue the dramatic, synthesised sounds of 80s rock band Europe…
It’s The Final Countdown!
What an exciting and nerve-wracking time that last week is before your wedding, thank goodness we have top London wedding planner Andri of Always Andri Wedding Design to guide us through it. This is Andri’s last post for us (sniff) but you can find all her AMAZING wedding planning advice right here in our Step By Step Wedding Planning Guide.
I feel like we’ve come so far together, dear Bridal Musings reader.
After all the planning, venue visiting, choosing suppliers, and DIYing, your preparations are now in their final stages. Your wedding is just round the corner and everything is coming together in these last few weeks.
What I want to do now is help you prepare for the final push, so to speak, in order to make things easier on the day, because then it’s time to take a step back and let your team of trusted suppliers do their thing.
photo by Closer To Love Photography
So what are the tasks you need to put on your last wedmin to-do list?
In the final run up to the wedding, you will need to:
– Contact all your suppliers for final confirmations.
– Remind each supplier of their agreed start and finish time, check they’ve got the correct address(es), ask their dietary requirements if you need to feed them, settle any outstanding balances and ask any questions that you’ve been saving up.
– Send them a schedule of the day with travel information to the venue(s), including all parking information. You’ll also want to check with your venue about access to the building and include any relevant info, e.g. availability of a lift may impact loading time for bands.
– Give suppliers a main point of contact outside of the bridal party (e.g. a very good friend or a wedding planner/coordinator) who has all the supplier information and the running order of the day. Suppliers can then go to them with any questions and not bother you on the your wedding day.
– If you are arranging transport between venues, check whether the photographer/videographer would like to be included. A central London location can be difficult to park at, for example, so they may prefer to travel with bridal party or on guest transport.
If you’re having a seated dinner, put together a bag or box for each table containing everything that will be laid on it. This could include:
– The table number/name
– Place cards
– Decorations – wineglass charms, table confetti etc
– Disposable cameras/party games/entertainment
Put your place cards in order of how they will be set around the table and include a copy of the table plan so that each setting can be double-checked. Sorting place cards on the day of a wedding can be very time consuming, so make sure you’ve got this sorted and dropped off at your venue in advance.
– Create set-up notes for each area detailing what flowers, décor, props and so on are going where. Do mini mock-ups at home and take photos as guides to give to your main contact. Think about all the different areas including your wedding cake, guestbook, gift table and sweetie buffet, as well as the obvious places in your wedding ceremony and reception.
– Make a plan for what will happen at the end of the night because you’re not going to be in the mood to tidy everything up! Keep in mind that some venues may want you to clear up at the end of the day and not all of them have the requisite insurance to store your wedding presents. Can you assign a trusty friend or relative to collect all the gifts/cards and keepsakes (place cards/menu etc)? Ask for them to be taken to your room or put in your cab to be transported back to your hotel.
– Whilst we’re thinking about it, make sure you know what will happen to any décor items you’ve brought as well as all the flowers that are left over. Can you pick them up the next day? Who will get all the arrangements? (You’ll not want 12 centrepieces if you’re off on honeymoon, but they can make excellent thank you gifts, especially Mums.) Can you assign them to particular guests? If so, put a note at their place setting to let them know!
– Make sure you wear your shoes in. Check that they’re not too slippy on the soles (you don’t want to skid down the aisle or slip over during your first dance); an old theatre trick is to sponge cola on to the bottoms which makes them a little tacky and less likely to slip, particularly the groom’s shoes. If you’ve got leather soles you may want to lightly buff or score them to give a bit of grip.
– Pack your overnight bag (including an outfit for the morning after, unless you want to go to breakfast in your wedding dress!) and honeymoon suitcase in the week leading up to the wedding. Do not leave it until the night before! Work out a strategy to get your overnight bag from your preparation area to the place you’ll be staying on your first night, if necessary.
– Confirm the on-the-day timeline with your hair and make up artists and be sure to share this timeline with your bridesmaids and relevant family members. It’s a good idea to decide exactly which order they’ll be going in (not just bridesmaid no. 1, no. 2) especially important if you have lots of bridesmaids as you don’t want any squabbles on the day! Also share it with your photographer and videographer if you’re having getting ready shots/footage.
– If you’re doing your own make-up make sure you’ve had lots of practise before with the actual make-up you’ll be using on the day. Create a checklist of all the products you’ve used and pack them methodically to make sure you don’t miss anything.
– A reminder for both the bride and groom: remove stickers from shoes and labels/hanging loops from clothing and accessories. Make sure you’ve got all pieces of jewellery (remind your bridesmaids to do the same too), and check that all the guys have a pair of cufflinks. Do it in advance and there’ll be one less thing to worry about on the wedding morning.
– Can anything be ironed in advance of you taking it to the venue? Many wedding dresses, for example, have long ribbon belt sashes, which often get creased while the dress is bagged up, so you could press it carefully beforehand. Hopefully you won’t need to iron the whole dress as your retailer will have steamed it before collection, but ask them for their advice on the best way to prep the dress. The boys can certainly iron their shirts and trousers in advance!
– Check in with your bridal party to make sure that they have all their clothes, shoes and accessories. The guys will need shirts, cufflinks, socks, ties (if you’re hiring suits confirm with hire company what is coming in the bag and check what’s inside the bag when you pick it up!) whilst the girls should be reminded to bring jewellery, bags and pashminas; it’s often the little extras that are overlooked.
– If you are handing out bridal party gifts before the wedding / during the reception, ensure they’re wrapped and ready to go. Ask your maid of honour or a family member to be in charge of them so they can whip them out when needed and you don’t even have to think about them. Also, if you and your love are exchanging gifts on the morning of the wedding, make sure you’ve given your gift to a member of the bridal party / family member who will be with him or her while they’re getting ready.
– You and your fiancé may also want to plan what to do with your honeymoon luggage if heading straight off from your wedding venue/hotel. You’ll also need to think about your wedding dress, gifts and décor paraphernalia after the wedding – will you have time to drop them off back at home or do you need to ask someone to take them for you?
– Book your transport for the end of the night if you’re not staying at your wedding venue, as well as for the next day if going straight to your honeymoon. If you’re driving to the airport, make sure your car is at the right location (strange but true!).
The Night Before
– Finally, on the night before your wedding do a last check to make sure you have everything you’ll need in the morning. Then take it easy, have a rest, indulge in a nice bath maybe, but most importantly make time for yourself.
Okay brides, you know what you have to do…pin / print this post and save it for the week before your wedding.
In the meantime, be sure to check out our Step By Step Wedding Planning Guide (or, as I like to call it in my head, The Chic Bride’S Guide To Wedding Planning) to take you from those first few tentative newly engaged steps into the world of weddings to walking down the aisle in style!
Thanks so much for sharing your wedding planning wisdom, Andri! London brides, you need this lady in your life!