The Wedding Edit: The Ultimate Checklist For Brides-To-Be!

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Its over a month since Aled and I tied the knot – I can’t believe it was that long ago! Since our wedding I’ve had a few friends who are getting hitched soon ask me wedding-related questions, so I thought it might be nice to compile a really comprehensive checklist on here for anyone who may need it in the future 🙂 I’m hoping this list will be a work in progress, so any other wedded peeps out there – please add your tips in the comments below !  I’ve also made a little checklist, which you can find at the end of this post. So if you’re getting married soon – CONGRATS ! Enjoy the planning process, and don’t worry if you feel stressed when it gets close to the time. It’s very normal, but I promise you it will all be worth it ! ❤ 

The Legal Bit (lets get the boring stuff out of the way first, shall we?)

  • Give notice of marriage in the county that you LIVE at least 28 days before your ceremony – you have a little interview, and then they will publicly display your intention to marry so that people have the opportunity to object.
  • Book a registrar in the county in which you will MARRY – ideally do this as soon as you have booked your venue, although it depends on the county. We got married in Bedfordshire, and they only took bookings 1 year in advance. So we dialled at 8AM exactly a year before our ceremony. We booked our venue regardless, since we decided that worst case scenario, we would just have a friend perform the ceremony if a registrar couldn’t, and we would do the legal bit elsewhere. Remember to think about the timings of your day when you book the registrar – we went for a 3pm ceremony as we didn’t want our guests to have a crazy long day, and this enabled people that lived locally to take a 1/2 day off work if needed (we got married on a Friday)
  • Pay for marriage certificates in advance if you plan to change your name – I can’t stress this enough. There are SO MANY places you have to change your name, many of which require an original certificate. It’s much cheaper to pay for these before the ceremony than after. Here is a list of places you may find helpful:
    • DVLA – driving licence – require original document
    • Passport – require original document
      • Top tip: you can list your maiden name on your passport in case you want to keep it for work.
    • HM Revenue & Custons
    • Council
    • Banks and Building societies – some can do this in store, others by post. Some required original documents, others were happy with a copy
    • Your employer
    • Pension provider(s) – may require original, or certified copy
    • Phone company – require original
    • Doctors
    • Dentists
    • Car Insurance
    • Health insurance
    • Student Loans Company
    • EHIC

The Venue

Before we got married, my sister sent me a list of really handy questions to ask when viewing venues. It really helped me, so thought I’d share [credit to Michie!]:

  • What room will you get married in, and what room will the reception be in? Ideally you want this as two separate rooms so people aren’t chucked out whilst they change the room from ceremony to reception. Also, where do people go for the pre-reception canapes?  If any of these options are outdoors then what is the indoor alternative if there is rain?
  • Do you get exclusive use of the venue?
  • Is there somewhere onsite where you can get ready on the day? What about the men? If you get ready onsite do you have to go outside to get between there and the venue? Make wet weather provisions
  • Can you get in the day before to set up / will they set up for you?
  • Is there somewhere nearby everyone can stay afterwards? If this isn’t onsite, what transportation options are available? Ideally you want onsite so people can stay right until the end / not worry about getting home! At least for immediate family.
  • Is the bar for the reception in the same room as the dancefloor? (otherwise your dance floor may have empty moments as everyone will end up in the bar – you want everything in one room for the evening including some seats for people who want to rest feet)
  • Do they allow candles and real rose petals
  • Will you have a designated wedding co-ordinator in the run up / for the day?
  • What chair cover options do they have and how much do they cost – we didn’t have these in the end. Waste of money if you ask me…
  • Consider the layout of the ceremony room and reception venue (worth seeing how it will all work – get the person showing you around to talk you through a wedding)
  • Do they have a microphone etc for speeches?
  • What time does everyone have to leave?
  • Is there plenty of parking?
  • Will the venue clear up at the end of the night? <<this is super important, you don’t want to have to spend a couple of hours after the wedding is over clearing everything away.
  • If you have young children there, is there somewhere they can nap? If they stay overnight, is there access to a fridge / kettle for milk?

Invitations

  • Once you have your venue & date, write a guest list
    • Will you have day guests and evening guests?
  • Send a save the date so people have it in their diaries and can book accommodation
  • Buy invitations / Design and make your own – we made our own using Adobe Illustrator (Inkscape is a free, less pretty version of this software), and there are free fonts on DaFont and vector graphics on FreePik
    • Date, Time, Location, Timings, links to websites or gift lists
    • If anyone is contributing to your wedding, it’s polite to acknowledge this on the invite
    • Decide how you would like guests to RSVP. Make sure you also ask for dietary requirements
  • Consider making a website where you can put key information – we used Weebly to make a website, and RSVPify for our RSVPs – we had different passwords for day and evening guests

The Ceremony

  • Pick your vows – the registrar will let you pick from a selection, or would you rather write your own?
  • Decide on any readings
  • Book a photographer and/or videographer – photos are not allowed during the ceremony so you will want someone official to capture those special moments. Some things to ask are:
    • What happens if the photographer is ill
    • What time will they arrive? Can they capture some getting ready
    • How long will they stay? Will they catch any of the dancing?
    • Do they need food?
    • Do you get an engagement shoot? – This was surprisingly very useful for us. We got all our awkwardness out during the practice shoot!
    • Do they charge for travel?

The Food

  • Find a caterer- We had to use our venues supplier, which was more expensive, but the food was delish! (Usually the venue will insist on a certain caterer because theyre good!)
  • Plan your wedding breakfast
    • Canapés – people get hungry while you’re off having your photos
    • Starter
    • Main
    • Desert – could you have you wedding cake as your desert to cut costs?
  • Make menus for the tables
  • Plan your evening food- We had wood fired pizza which went down VERY well after a few drinks
  • Plan your drinks – does your venue supply alcohol or can you bring your own and pay corkage?
    • Reception drinks
    • Wine for Dinner
    • A toasting drink?
    • Non-alcoholic bevvies
  • Buy your wedding cake? – Tradish / cupcakes / a mix of both?
    • Does your venue have a cake stand you can borrow?
    • Who will assemble the cake?

Music

  • Book a DJ, Live musician, or both
    • Musicians bump their prices up for weddings, and often insist on being fed and watered for free, make sure you know their diva demands before you book them!
  • Find out where and when will the DJ set up
  • Prepare playlists for:
    • Guests arrival
    • Bride’s entrance
    • Ceremony Exit
    • Reception
    • Wedding Breakfast
  • Find out who will control music Our venue refused to (which really annoyed me – surely this is literally their job?!) 
  • Find out what sound system is available in your ceremony / reception / wedding breakfast locations?
  • Ask for song requests-  We had a little form on our website that people used to request their favourite songs

 

Flowers & Decor

  • Order flowers – giving your florist a pinterest board to work to is helpful. You will need:
    • Bridal bouquet
    • Bridesmaid bouquets
    • Buttonholes for the groomsmen and Dads (do you want the groom’s to be a little more intricate?)
    • Corsages for the mums
  • Try some DIY decoration: The morning before the wedding I raided Waitrose’s flower section and my mum arranged them in some £1 IKEA vases. People thought they had been professionally done, and they were a fraction of the cost. If you’re worried about styling flowers yourself, stick to greens and whites – very fresh and very bridal
  • Make table centerpieces
    • What will they be? Will they fit the theme of the wedding?
    • How will you hold/display the table name?
  • Enquire about the venue’s decoration options – we borrowed log slices, a cake stand, and a couple of easels from ours
  • Make a Table Plan – I think this is where you can add a personal or cheesy touch if you want. Because your guests will look at it once and it will be put away after dinner. Make it your own ! We love travelling, so our table plan was a world map entitled ‘Where In The World Are You Sitting?’, and our tables were named after our favourite places. Also…. good luck with actually figuring out who’s sitting where. I had an excel sheet where I could drag and drop people. It was very stressful.
  • Buy guests favours – we gave everyone little succulent plants and they went down very well – they also doubled up as extra decorations
  • Buy bags for people to take home their favours and/or wedding cake
  • Write placeholders – we stuck little named chalkboards into our succulents, so everyone could keep track of their favours!
  • Prepare Signage
    • We had a sign at our ceremony with the classic ‘pick a seat, not a side, you’re loved by both the groom and bride’…. thanks pinterest
    • Do you have a hashtag?
    • Canape / Reception Drinks menus
    • Thank you signs to go next to the gift table
  • Buy a gift box, and come up with a strategy to keep it safe. Not from your guests (hopefully you can trust them!), but it’s a well known scam for people to dress up in a smart outfit, walk into a wedding, and swipe stuff from the gift table. We told our groomsmen to keep an eye, and every few hours one of my bridesmaids kindly emptied the box.

Wedding Wardrobe

  • Find the wedding dress – arrange a date to go shopping with your nearest and dearest. Try on a few before you make a final call
    • Remember to schedule alterations! (which you’ll need to bring your shoes / undies to)
  • Buy wedding accessories – shoes (and spare shoes?!) / veil / hairpiece / jewellery
  • Buy bridesmaid dresses – listen to your bridesmaids – you want them to feel comfortable and happy in what they’re wearing. Let them try on a few styles and consider letting people have slightly different dresses to suit their body shape. Don’t forget to check out the sales – we got two of our dresses half price because we waited till boxing day!
  • Consider getting ready clothes – I got us all matching robes and flip flops!
  • Organise hair and make up – make sure you read reviews, and definitely have a hair trial!
  • Order groom & groomsmen suits – consider renting these, especially if your groomsmen are coming from all over the country! We went with Moss Bross, who I wasn’t overly impressed with (what kind of place sells wedding suits, but no plain ivory waistcoat?!?!… and the shirts were terrible quality so most of our groomsmen wore their own) but it was convenient as each groomsman could get measured in his local store, and if you have a certain number the groom goes free!
  • Buy the rings – be prepared to haggle. I managed to haggle ours down to less than half the original price quoted *pats self on back*
    • Make sure your wedding band is the same metal as your engagement ring, so they wear evenly.

The Little Touches

These are the things that you don’t need to have, but can make the day more special and memorable to your guests

  • Bridal Party Gifts – little touches to thank the people that helped you out the most on the run up to the big day!
  • A photobooth – I’m so glad we booked our booth. There are some brilliant pics, and the company we used pasted all our pictures into a guest book!
  • A sweet table – we didn’t have one of these, but I’ve seen them at weddings and they go down very well
  • Garden games – again, we didn’t go for this, but if you have lots of children attending this could be good to keep them entertained
  • Flip Flops – … so again… we didn’t do this…. but sometimes it’s nice for people to take their heels off and change into more comfy shoes for dancing!
  • Toiletries for the loos – I made little care boxes to put in the toilets at our wedding. For the girls I put in deodourant, hairspray, dry shampoo, nail files, chewing gum, paracetamol and sanitary towels. The boys one was a little more sparse – some gum, hair gel, deodourant and paracetamol. I meant to write little tags on them so people would know they were from me but I forgot ( Aled overheard some people saying that our venue was really posh cos it had toiletries, haha! It’s nice to know they didn’t go un-noticed ! )

 

AM

 

 

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