Hello! I can tell you first hand what all the moving pieces are to make a wedding come together. Whether your having 40 people or 200, there are still things that slip thru the cracks! I have put together a checklist to ensure nothing is forgotten and you will have the best wedding ever ( we both know your wedding will be the best ever, duh.)
WHEN YOU’RE NEWLY ENGAGED
❏ You’re engaged! Have some bubbly and bliss out!
❏ Tell people the big news.
❏ Avoid jumping right into planning if you can possibly avoid it: just enjoy this recent change!
❏ Sit down and figure out what your wedding priorities are.
❏ Come up with a wedding mission statement.
❏ Have an engagement party, or a super casual engagement toast.
❏ Decide if you want to elope and ditch the rest of this list (really!)
12 MONTHS BEFORE YOUR WEDDING
❏ Launch your master wedding plan.
❏ Sit down and have your first (of many) guest lists chats (and don’t forget to ask your parents for their list)
❏ Figure out your target wedding budget.
❏ Narrow your venue search (ceremony and reception) to your favorite options.
❏ Hire a wedding planner or day of coordinator. Trust me, you will want to when you see the rest of this list! I'm overwhelmed reading this and I do this for a living!
11 MONTHS BEFORE YOUR WEDDING
❏ Begin touring your preferred reception and ceremony venues (ask questions!)
❏ Book a venue.
❏ Begin your wedding photographer search: set-up meetings, and book.
10 MONTHS BEFORE YOUR WEDDING
❏ Start shopping for wedding attire. Make appointments at bridal and clothing shops as needed. Remember traditional wedding dress shops will have long lead times on ordering dresses.
❏ Research what kind of food you want to have, and begin to interview and book caterers.
❏ If you don’t want a caterer, start to investigate self-catering or having a potluck wedding.
❏ Once you’ve booked your wedding photographer, shoot engagement photos (especially if you’re using them for save the dates)
❏ Finalize your guest list before sending save the dates.
❏ Create a basic version of your wedding website, especially if you want to include it in your save the dates. Look on the knot- it’s completely free and easy to set up! No, I mean really, you can do it on your phone.
❏ Design and order your save the dates.
9 MONTHS BEFORE THE WEDDING
❏ Send your save the dates.
❏ Research wedding invitations and associated paper goods.
❏ If you want to DIY your wedding invitations, come up with a plan now.
❏ Hire at minimum: a day of coordinator to run the show. A wedding is kind of like a Broadway production. Hire a stage manager!
8 MONTHS BEFORE THE WEDDING
❏ Check out local florists and make appointments.
❏ Decide what kind of music you want to have. Do you need a DJ? A band? A DIY music plan?
❏ Begin thinking about your officiant: who will it be?
❏ Daydream about wedding cakes, and discuss what kind you’d like.
❏ If you want wedding showers or parties, peruse these ideas, and ask a friend if they’ll plan it for you.
7 MONTHS BEFORE THE WEDDING
❏ Book a florist, if you’re using one.
❏ If you’ve decided on a band or DJ, book one now.
❏ If you want a videographer, book one now.
❏ Research hair and make-up artists if needed.
❏ Begin researching honeymoon destinations (because you KNOW you need a beak)
6 MONTHS BEFORE YOUR WEDDING
❏ Think about rehearsal dinner options.
❏ Start to plan any extra events associated with the wedding (after party, brunch, welcome party)
❏ Finalize your guest list.
❏ Set up a meeting with your officiant to discuss the ceremony and start marital counseling (if relevant)
❏ Start thinking about your vows and ceremony plan.
❏ If you’re having a friend officiate your wedding, now is a good time to ask them about doing so.
❏ If you’re not having a friend officiate your wedding, make sure you’ve booked someone (or the church/shul/mosque/ temple)
❏ Set up your wedding registry.
❏ Have a meeting with everyone who is helping and make sure they all understand what is expected.
❏ Find a baker for your wedding cake, and if you can schedule cake tastings, do so! Plus whom doesn’t want to try cake!
5 MONTHS BEFORE YOUR WEDDING
❏ Book that honeymoon!
❏ If someone in your wedding is wearing suits, start figuring out if you want to rent or buy
❏ Check out wedding rings and decide what you want.
❏ Decide if you need party rentals and figure out what you need and put together an order (adjustments can be made later, so book now!)
❏ If you need a wedding tent, research and reserve one.
❏ Schedule your hair and make-up trials, if you’re hiring a stylist (also make sure you coordinate with your wedding parties or friends)
❏ Reserve hotel blocks for your wedding (or have your wedding planner do it)
❏ Make wedding night reservations as needed.
4 MONTHS BEFORE YOUR WEDDING
❏ Finalize rehearsal dinner and book anything you might need to still book.
❏ Buy your wedding rings.
❏ Order wedding invitations.
❏ Make sure your passport is up to date if you’re leaving the country for your honeymoon.
❏ Book wedding transportation.
❏ Create a spreadsheet for RSVPs and guest list addresses.
❏ Talk to whoever is planning your bachelorette party and/or any wedding showers.
3 MONTHS BEFORE YOUR WEDDING
❏ Address and mail your wedding invitations (double check the postage!) If you are having a destination wedding send sooner!
❏ Think about what ceremony extras you might need (a chuppah, aisle runners, etc.) and buy or rent them.
❏ Start planning out your wedding ceremony script.
❏ If you’re DIYing anything for your wedding, start now or cross it off your list.
❏ Schedule dress fittings as needed.
❏ Make wedding night reservations as needed.
❏ Research your local marriage license, civil union, and domestic partnership rules.
2 MONTHS BEFORE YOUR WEDDING
❏ Begin working on your wedding vows.
❏ Make sure everyone in your wedding parties have bought what they’re wearing.
❏ Figure out what you’re wearing to your rehearsal dinner.
❏ Put together a list of what you want to pack for your honeymoon, if you’re taking one.
SIX WEEKS BEFORE YOUR WEDDING
❏ Start wearing your shoes around the house as needed.
❏ Make sure you’re updating your gift registry and spreadsheets as gifts arrive, and send thank you notes now if you can.
❏ Confirm that out of town guests are set up at hotels and lodging.
❏ Figure out if you want a guest book, and make it happen if so (also: test your pens!)
❏ Write thank you notes for your shower gifts.
❏ Finalize your vows.
❏ Make sure your wedding outfits are still on point.
❏ Finalizing your menu with your caterer.
❏ Finalize your wedding ceremony.
1 MONTH BEFORE YOUR WEDDING
❏ Put together your seating chart.
❏ Create your escort cards or table numbers.
❏ Finalize your ceremony outline.
❏ Create a wedding timeline (your wedding planner or day of coordinator will do this)
❏ Make any necessary nail and spa appointments
❏ Confirm all vendor payments (and tip amounts)
❏ Create your wedding playlist, if you’re doing the DIY DJ route.
❏ Make sure your wedding party knows any critical information as it pertains to the rehearsal dinner or wedding day.
❏ Give your DOC a copy of the vendor contract information, delivery schedule, and set up times (or work with them to gather that information)
❏ Schedule a final dress fitting.
❏ Print wedding programs if you’re having them.
❏ Confirm all rentals and/or adjust your rental order.
❏ Sit down with your DOC and walk through all the details for your wedding day.
❏ Get a marriage license.
TWO WEEKS BEFORE YOUR WEDDING
❏ Check with guests who haven’t RSVPed.
❏ Confirm head counts, menus, vendor meal requests, and delivery with your caterers and bakers.
❏ Confirm your photo requests, required family, and timeline with your photographer.
❏ Make sure that everyone who is delivering something to the wedding (rentals, flowers, etc.) has a confirmed, final timeline.
❏ Send a transportation schedule to transport providers.
❏ Make sure any clothing you want cleaned or pressed is taken care of.
❏ Ensure that there is a plan for wedding venue set up and breakdown.
ONE WEEK BEFORE YOUR WEDDING
❏ Pack an overnight bag, and include: your toothbrush, birth control/condoms, something to sleep in, an outfit for the next day, honeymoon luggage, and your passport.
❏ Get your wedding manicure/pedicure (if it’s happening at all)
❏ Make sure a copy of your honeymoon plans is left with family and friends.
❏ Put your final payments + tips for vendors in labeled envelopes and give this to your DOC or someone else to manage.
❏ Get your wedding day “oh shit kit” put together (aspirin, make-up, safety pins, mints, snacks, etc.)
❏ Pick up your dress (if it wasn’t delivered to you)
❏ Try on your entire wedding ensemble.
❏ Give all your vendors the DOC number to call, just in case (note: not yours!)
❏ Hand over all your planning docs (including a copy of the vendor delivery schedule, set up. times, and phone numbers) to your day of coordinator and take a step back to enjoy this thing!
1 DAY BEFORE YOUR WEDDING
❏ Rehearse your ceremony with your officiant and wedding party.
❏ Confirm your honeymoon transportation, airport drop-off, etc.
❏ Set your alarm (and a back-up)
❏ Print out your vows (or memorize them)
❏ Don't forget to have fun!
Feel free to email me and I will send you a copy in printable PDF form. xoxox, Erin
You’re in the beginning stages of planning your wedding. You are engaged and want to share your love and excitement with the world. Your mom is already eagerly making the wedding list including family from near and far. She mentions wanting to invite your twice removed cousin from Arkansas who invited you to her baby shower three years ago. Who makes the wedding guest list?! You start thinking about high school friends, coworkers, and your Aunt Betsy who undoubtably makes a scene at family functions. Here’s the thing, so many couples agonize whether to invite the entire state of NC. The advice I am here to give is this: who has made a difference in your relationship? Who has been there to support your courtship and that you would ultimately want to support you in your marriage? If that is 250 of your closest friends and family awesome! I love a good party. But if the answer is 40 people, that is the number you should land on. At the end of the day, this is your wedding and who is there should be a reflection on you and your fiancé. Many venues now offer small wedding or elopement packages.
Some of you may already know this, but back in November I got married. I am also a wedding planner, so you can only imagine how much effort I put into planning my wedding. I knew exactly what I wanted and how I wanted it to be done. There are two things I tell all my clients especially my brides. First, never ever go without a wedding planner, and if you decide to go without a planner in the very least get a day of wedding coordinator.
So naturally did I take my own advice? Of course not. Here’s a quick synopsis of what happened: My poor sister (and bridesmaid) didn’t get to enjoy my wedding. NOT one bit.
This mistake is what I reiterate to all my brides, that someone must run the show. No matter the size of the wedding, it can feel as though it is a live production on Broadway. There are so many moving pieces from start to finish that unless a coordinator is doing it, your family is running around like a chicken with their heads chopped off.
The second main piece I give my brides is to hire not a good but a GREAT photographer. I know this sounds easy enough to do. Well duh, of course hire a good photographer, but have you actually thought about what makes a good photographer? I’m here to tell you there are plenty of good to mediocre photographers out there taking wedding photos. So when choosing your photography think about how you like to be photographed. I believe that there are two types of people in this world, photogenic and non-photogenic. My younger sister looks good in every SINGLE photo. She yells out things like “that’s not my good angle!” or “tongue to the roof of your mouth!” and every time she looks good!
I believe I fall into the latter category. I knew that I was going to feel awkward and most likely have a weird smile. I highly encourage you to pick a photographer that makes you feel gorgeous, relaxed, and will cut it to you straight when you look a hot ass mess. Luckily for me Jules and Conrad are those kind of photographers. Not only can they photograph the photogenic with ease, they also give an extra push to those feeling slightly more awkward, so that you can be feeling like Beyoncé on your wedding day. If you need a little more help to find that right angle—I promise you Jules and Conrad are your people. They are magical people that captured the most special moments throughout my day, and to be honest moments I fear other photographers would have missed. Jules and Conrad truly took the time to get know me as a bride and they figured out what was the most important to me in my special day. I am thankful to have a time stamp of genuine moments that I get to look at every day.
Your guests come from near and far, but the ones that make that extra trip ( like your Aunt Susan who just spent 5 hours smashed in a plane) you want to welcome them with something special and what is more special than local?! Here are 6 tips of things you can put in your bag that will no doubt be awesome!
The welcome gift
The term welcome bag is cool and all, but it doesn’t have to be a bag. It can be a basket, crate, bucket or yeah……. a bag. You can order bags from several places with your names and the date or you can mix it up and do a themed basket and still add a personal touch. No matter how you display your gifts, your guests will be delighted that you took the time to put something together.
Basket from A signature Welcome
Bag from Tea and Becky paper co
Add a wedding weekend itinerary
I love a plan; no, I mean I really love a plan. It makes me feel warm and fuzzy inside when I know what to expect. Giving your guests an outline of when they have to be a social butterfly or when they can hide in their room for some downtime lets them know what to mentally prepare for. This is also helpful as a parent, does little Suzy get to take her nap at 3:00 pm ??? Nope she is on her way to rehearsal dinner. All the parents WILL THANK YOU.
Welcome itinerary by Zazzle.com
Include a map
All towns have awesome maps, some highlight restaurants, breweries or local attractions. This is not only helpful for your out of towners, but it is something nice for them to take home. You can even personalize it by putting a symbol near your venue. Let’s face it, everyone is going to use their cell phone to get around so find a map from a local artist or something they could hang at home.
Everybody likes drinks
You have just gotten off a flight or a 7-hour car ride with your two kids, nothing says welcome like a drink. you can get a local wine, beer or specialty nonalcoholic drink. If none of those fit your guests needs, you can add in waters. Always good to keep your guests hydrated!
Wine Biltmore estate Asheville, NC
Need I say more? Every town has that hidden gem of a chocolate store and nothing says thanks for being here like a truffle. You can get them in a box of 4 or 6 and it pairs well if you go with the wine option.
French Broad chocolates Asheville, NC
Include a local gift
This one is so fun and has so many options. It really could be anything from a local soap, chap stick, honey or even hot sauce! A small token that says, “we're here, you’re here, support local and lets party!!” Your local farmers market, craft fair or specialty boutique is a great place to find these items.
Product Craggy Mountain Asheville, NC
The most important thing is that you have fun and get creative!
Pampas grass is so unique and can look like feathers. It comes in a variety of different colors and can be dried to last forever! Click on the link below to see all the beautiful ways it can be used.
One of the first pieces I bought from Topshop (that’s the place I used to work for, those of you that don't know) was this mustard, ruffley, long dress. Actually, as I type this description, it sounds completely hideous. Fact: when I bought this dress, it was something I never would have usually bought but something about this dress said "New job, new look". Fast forward to moving to Asheville. I'm whisking down the cat food isle at Ingles in my mustard colored dress. I forgot to tell you that this dress is very modest but it does have a little bit of sass by having an open back. I see this woman who is staring at me near the cat litter. I always walk by the cat litter very quickly because my son hates the smell. (that, and I lived in NYC so I walk with purpose). I thought to myself...Did this woman think I was about to mow her down with the shopping cart? Did I snatch the last can of specialized weight loss cat food? I brushed it off and moved on to the next isle. A few minutes later....there she was again with the epic stare down. Now, I'm beginning to think to myself, do I know this woman?! Nope, most definitely never seen her in my life. She now starts walking towards me and a large part of me started to panic. Mind you, this woman is probably in her 70's and here I am towering above her in my three-inch heels. I definitely could have taken this woman down. Next thing I know, she comes very close to me and leans in (please, cue: sweetest country accent) "um miss, I wanted to let you know your dress is not zipped up in the back" Now, if this was in Miami or any other major city, I could be lying in a ditch in my mustard color dress and three inch heels and no one would probably stop, but this sweet lady took the time in between picking out cat food to help what she thought might be a fashion malfunction. At this point, I didn't have the heart to tell her, that in fact ,the dress was supposed to be like that. I just said "oh my gosh, thank you so much” Here is the thing ladies; this woman who I never met had my back. So, just incase this wasn't intended to be a fashion statement and you see someone coming out of the restroom with her underwear tucked into her pantyhose, have the kindness to say something. We need more Ingles cat food ladies in this world
Everybody listen up! I want to tell you about the coolest thing since ice cream trucks were invented. You know when you were a kid and you heard the sweet magical sounds of the ice cream truck the next street over? Well this is that good, except it carries adult beverages.I mean, the bar literally comes to you......Need I say more?!. Not only is it pretty to look at, but the drinks look amazing too. This awesome local family has turned a horse trailer into a mobil bar! This is perfect for any outdoor wedding or event.