The Ultimate Last-Minute Wedding Checklist
Your wedding day is right around the corner! If you’re like most soon-to-be-newlyweds, you’ll probably be feeling a unique mixture of excitement and nerves.
But if you’re the perfectionist type, or prone to anxiety, your head may be swimming with worry about your upcoming nuptials. Even if you think you’re fully prepared, a voice in the back of your head may wonder “am I forgetting something?”
This is perfectly normal. After all, your wedding is one of the biggest and most important days of your life, and you may have put more than a years’ worth of effort into planning it. It’s natural to want to be as prepared as possible in advance of the big day.
This guide will talk you through everything that you need to do in the week leading up to your wedding, to ensure that your wedding goes off without a hitch.
What to Do the Week of Your Wedding
The week leading up to your wedding is likely to be one of the craziest times of your life. But there’s no reason that it should be stressful, as long as you’ve planned everything properly.
By 7 days out, most of the important stuff will already be sorted. Your venue, suppliers, entertainers and transportation will be booked. The wedding party’s outfits should be altered, collected and ready to go, and you’ll have had a hair and makeup trial run. You’ll be waiting on your flowers, cake, and anything you’ve hired (such as tablecloths) to be delivered or picked up.
Here’s our comprehensive week of the wedding to-do list. Make sure this is all done in plenty of time, and you’ll stay ahead of the game.
1. Rehearse Your Wedding Vows
If you’re writing your own wedding vows, or you’re giving a reading or a speech on the big day, make sure you’re well-rehearsed. Even if you’re bringing a cue card or script to read from, it’s really important that you practise what you’re going to say. Rehearsing your vows out loud – in front of someone, if possible – will make it less likely that you’ll stumble over your words or mispronounce something during your ceremony.
2. Break in Your Wedding Shoes
New shoes pretty much always rub, until you’ve broken them in. In the lead up to your wedding, wear your wedding shoes as much as possible. That way, they’ll mould to the shape of your feet in time for your big day. Stick to wearing them around the house, of course – they could get dirty or damaged if you wear them outdoors.
It sometimes takes several weeks to break in a particularly stubborn pair of shoes, so for best results, get started as soon as possible.
3. Steam Your Wedding Dress
Even if you’ve had your wedding dress steamed once already (usually by your seamstress), steaming doesn’t last forever. Check your wedding dress for any creases that may have formed in the meantime. If necessary, take it to a tailor or dry cleaner to have it steamed again just before the big day. You could also do it yourself with a handheld steam cleaner.
Afterwards, try on your whole outfit together – shoes, dress, jewellery and hairpiece/veil. Make sure you’re happy with the final look!
4. Have Your Engagement Ring Cleaned
If you’ve been wearing your engagement ring for any length of time, it’s probably looking a lot less shiny than your brand-new wedding band. Trust us, this mismatch isn’t going to look great in your wedding photos. Pop down to your local jeweller and have your engagement ring professionally cleaned before the big day!
5. Complete Your Guest List and Seating Plan
You won’t be able to complete your final guest list or seating plan until a few days before your wedding. This may seem pretty last-minute, but it’s inevitable that some guests will miss the RSVP deadline. You’ll have to chase up anyone who hasn’t replied before you can decide who’s sitting where.
Once your table plan is made, confirm the final head count with your venue and caterer. You can now buy or make your wedding place cards.
6. Confirm Your Supplier Bookings
Your suppliers will all be booked by now, of course. The week before your wedding, give each of them a call, to confirm your booking. This is the last opportunity you’ll have to check that:
• Your photographer has the final list of the shots you’d like
• Your DJ or band has a list of song requests
• Your caterer has the final head count, and the table plan (so that they know where guests with allergies or dietary requirements will be sitting)
Ensure that everyone from your hair stylist to your taxi company knows what time they need to arrive.
7. Finalise Last-Minute Deliveries
For anything that’s going to be delivered to your venue – such as rented tablecloths, chair covers, floral arrangements – contact the relevant companies, and check what time they’ll be dropping off the goods. Ensure they’ll have enough time to set up before your guests start to arrive.
For anything that you need to collect, ask someone (such as your maid of honour) to pick it up. Some bakeries, for example, may require you to come and collect the cake.
8. Organise Venue and Supplier Payments
Most suppliers, such as your photographer, DJ and hair stylist, will require payment in full before the big day arrives. In some cases, your venue may also need you to settle the bill in advance. (They’ll give you a separate bill for things like drinks on the day.) Settle all outstanding bills as soon as possible, to get them out of the way.
If you want to give tips to your suppliers, venue or wait staff, organise the cash into marked envelopes and bring them with you to the venue on the day.
9. Touch Base with Your Venue
Once you’ve confirmed exactly what’s happening with your suppliers and deliveries, it’s time to check in with your venue. Make sure your venue is on board with who’s going to be arriving at what time. Ensure they have your playlist sorted, they know what time you’re arriving, and they have a copy of your order of the day. That way, they’ll be fully prepared for the day’s events. Finally, check that there’s no last-minute information they need from you.
10. Get Your Wedding Supplies Together
A few days before the wedding, make sure you’ve got everything together that you’ll need to bring to the venue. This might include, among other things:
• Decorations (banners, buntings, balloons, fairy lights, table centrepieces, etc.)
• Favours for guests
• Place cards and table markers
• Signage and stationery (menus, itinerary, table plan, etc.)
• Guestbook and pens
If venue staff members are setting everything up for you, drop it off at the venue along with an illustration or description of how you want the room to look. If it’s down to you to set everything up, arrange a day and time that you and your helpers (such as your bridesmaids) can come and get to work. You won’t have enough time on the morning of the wedding!
11. Pack Your Wedding Overnight Bag and Emergency Kit
Every bride-to-be needs a wedding day emergency kit, filled with everything you’ll need for:
• Touching up your makeup (e.g. lipstick, wipes, mascara, powder)
• Clothing emergencies (e.g. fabric tape/glue, stain removal pen, white chalk)
• Personal hygiene (e.g. baby powder, antiperspirant, tissues, breath mints)
Don’t forget the snacks, cash, and your umbrella. If you’re staying at a hotel the night before or after your wedding, bring whatever you’ll need for sleep and the next day (makeup remover, toiletries, pyjamas, undies, change of clothes, etc).
12. Prepare for Your Honeymoon
Are you going on a honeymoon or a mini-moon straight after your wedding? If so, you’ll have to be prepared to set off on your holiday straight after getting married. This means packing your honeymoon bags with the appropriate clothes, accessories and toiletries you’ll need for your trip.
Don’t forget your passport and anything you’ll need for the flight (if applicable). You may also need to check-in to your flight and print off your boarding passes beforehand.
13. Check In with Your Wedding Party
A few days before your wedding, touch base with your parents, bridesmaids, groomsmen, and any other wedding VIPs. Does everyone know where they have to be, what they have to do, and when? Make sure everyone giving a speech has finished and rehearsed it.
Confirm who will be helping you clean up the venue afterwards, and designate someone to help you transport wedding gifts home. This is a good opportunity to ask if anyone has any final questions.
14. Have Any Last-Minute Beauty Treatments
Most brides-to-be indulge in some last-minute beauty treatments before their big day. After all, all eyes (and cameras) will be on you! Some ideas for treatments you might like to have in the week before your wedding include:
• Mani-pedi (gel or shellac to prevent chipping)
• Leg, underarm and bikini line waxing
• Spray tan top up
You could even get a massage, for all-important stress relief.
15. Finalise the Wedding Day Itinerary
You’ll probably already have your wedding day schedule all planned out: what’s happening and when. If not, now is the time to finalise it. Make sure you, your groom, and your wedding party are all happy with what’s happening and when. Read it over until it’s engraved in your brain!
Don’t forget to plan out your getting-ready schedule for the morning. Figure out what time you need to do everything, and in what order, to be ready to go when your wedding transport arrives.
16. Get Some Rest
Finally, make sure you get a good night’s sleep every night in the lead up to your wedding. Aim for around 7.5 – 8.5 hours of good quality rest, at the same time each day. Ideally, go to bed early (before 11pm) so that you’re feeling fresh each morning. This will make a world of difference to how you look and feel on your big day!