Can you believe you’re already at the homestretch? You have 30 days until you strut down that aisle and there is still SO much to do!
First things first, you have to map out the remaining items left on your to-do list. If you’re finding yourself completely frazzled and need a bit of a kick in the right direction, I got you girl! Below, I've laid out the things you should do in the 30 days leading up to your wedding.
You need a final tally. At this stage in the game, you should be sorting through RSVPs and asking yourself who hasn't responded? Once you have those folks listed, give them a call. If a few days pass and there’s no response, move on. You can always factor in some extras as a safety. Then, document it and stick to it. I know, it’s disappointing that you might have to accept some folks you wanted there aren’t coming, but you’re down to the wire and decisions need to be made. There are vendors awaiting your count such as your caterer and event planner. You also need to finish that seating chart and I’m not going to lie … it can be a pain!
If you haven't yet already, get your marriage license. There are different laws in place per state, but it’s important to get this squared away as it’s typically only good for 60 days. If you can eliminate this one before the 30 day mark, I'd suggest doing so. It's one more must checked off the list! To note, the absolute latest you can do this is 24 hours in advance, but honestly, it isn’t worth the stress to wait.
You should have a final fitting on the books at this point. If not, do so ASAP. Just think, what if the last alterations done went all wrong and you need to get it situated immediately. Ideally, you should aim to have the appointment on the calendar sooner than one-month prior, however one-month is the absolute latest you should be going in to get this situated.
Hair + Makeup
Is your look locked in? At this point, you should have an appointment scheduled to align with your hair and makeup stylists. It's assumed you have had a couple of trials by now, but this appointment is meant to dive into the nitty gritty's. You will tell your stylists exactly how you want your hair and makeup done on the day. Can changes be made in the moment, of course, but it’s always good to give them direction so they can make sure they have everything they need.
Spa Day? Um, Duh.
But, like who doesn’t love a good spa day? It’s mandatory that you take a trip to your favorite spa in town for the whole nine yards of beauty. Go for the massage, nails and toes, facial treatment, eyebrow and lip grooming, etc. You name it. It is extremely important to pamper yo’ self. A spa day will not only relax your mind before diving into these last 30 days of planning, but serve as the ultimate refresh. In addition, make sure you have an appointment for all of these treatments on the books for the week of your wedding.
You want to be sure to hop on a call with your vendors 30 days prior to the wedding to align on logistics such as arrival and departure time and staffing. This is if you don’t have a wedding planner handling this for you. Thereafter, you should meet with your vendors in person 2-weeks prior. As a wedding planner, I find it super helpful to have a second alignment meeting with your vendors closer to the wedding date for safety measures. And, you can finalize all payments with them during this time. But, do what works for you!
The good ol’ timeline! Have you set the schedule for the day? This is another task your wedding planner can tackle should you have one. Don’t overlook the power of having a planner as it really makes things all the more stress-free for you and your fiance, and quite frankly, for your vendors and guests as well. Your wedding timeline will need to incorporate ALL THE DEETS gathered from your vendors along with anything the bride specifically asks you to add in. The details can include timestamps, activities, etc. I personally provide my clients with two separate timelines, one for the vendors and one for the bridal party. Hey, the party needs to know where they are responsible for being too! Check out my wedding worksheets for timeline guidance!
Bridal Emergency Kit
You need an emergency kit handy on the day of the wedding. Truthfully, I bring my mini suitcase to every wedding I work. In this, I have all the necessities my brides would need should an emergency surface the day of. What happens if your dress rips and you need a sewing kit? What about if you stain your dress at the cocktail hour grabbing an appetizer? Play it safe and keep a kit in your bridal suite for easy access.
Have you printed your programs? You should make sure this is done at the before the one-month mark. If something is incorrect such as a typo, you need extra time factored in to force correct. Programs so important as they serve as a day guide for your guests. Fun fact, pocket guides are always the way to go! You want your guests to actually use them, not throw them out and end up not where they’re supposed to be :)
Favors should be ordered a month in advance at the absolute latest. Personally, I like to handle the ordering for my brides at least 3-months before as you never know what delays you could experience with bulk shipments. Plus, you want to make sure you have these in time as they really do add such a nice touch! To me, favors are more than just a giveaway. They are a symbol of gratitude, a beautiful touch to reception tables, a gesture to make your guests feel welcome and a memorandum that can be savored thereafter.
Expecting guests from out of state? If so, it’s always a nice to have a wedding basket awaiting them when they check into their hotel. Because these baskets add to your guests overall experience, you want to make sure you collectively have everything you need so it leaves time for last minute store runs or online purchases.
What’s the song list status? Have you and your fiancé picked out your songs yet and if not, do so at this point! What are the musts and more importantly, what are the songs chosen for your special dances? You want this finalized so your DJ has time to prep. The entertaining of your guests is crucial and is one of the major components that sets the tone.
Have you created a list for your photographer yet? If there are certain shots you’d like to request, your photographer needs to be in the know. So, what is your capture list? Jot it down and send. Remember, late requests can alter your overarching timeline.
Bridal Party Gifts
This is the fun part. I don’t know about you, but I love gift giving. It’s nice to have something for your bridal party to open the day of your wedding. It could be as simple as a thank you card, but it shouldn’t be overlooked. It’s the thought that counts, of course. These peeps are your tribe and they should be honored in some way, shape, or form for being there for you on one of the biggest days of your life!
Bridal Party Check-In
Does your bridal party have everything they need for the big day? People can be forgetful (and hey, there’s always one in the group!), so it’s worth it to do a 5-minute touch base with each and every one of your members. You should make sure that the suits and bridal gowns are altered and ready to go. You need to be certain that they know where to be and when (this is where your wedding planner can take charge).
Accommodations + Transportation
At this point in time, you should have accommodations and transport finalized. The most you should be doing here is a simple check-in. You should give your hotel and venue a call to ensure alignment for the big day. If your hotel and venue space is under the same roof, be sure you run through any necessary logistics with the venue manager. You'll need to be clear on location and pick-up times for the day. If guests are being transported from the venue elsewhere (for example, the rehearsal or ceremony itself could be offsite), align on shuttle systems or scheduled transport to and from. As far as parking goes, you should make sure you understand the regulations so people who know where to go. Is there valet? Do they charge a fee to park in general or overnight? Get this situated.
Are your rehearsal plans good to go? Is the venue clear on instructions? You need to align with the venue so that nothing is forgotten. There are usually time stamps at a rehearsal so it may or may not be worth putting together a small timeline and distributing as people enter. Also, secure all payments as you don’t want to be doing this day of when you’re trying to enjoy the time you have with your guests.
YAY! Are you leaving for your honeymoon right away? If so, make sure you and your fiancé sort through your plans one last time at least one-month in advance. Are your flights and hotels all set? Also, get that packing done!
This is short and sweet, but should be accounted for. You should check-in with your officiant and make sure he/she is in the know about any specific readings or things you want mentioned.
The wedding planning process isn’t a stroll in the park, but it shouldn’t put a damper on your planning. Take some time to relax and enjoy this month. You’re so close at this point!
As a side note, don’t forget to consider COVID guidelines. This might affect your overall timeline. As a planner, this is something I handle for my brides. I ensure I’m in the know about all of this before the month prior mark so we avoid running into any issues. Of course, there are always unexpected issues that could potentially arise.
In closing, get er’ done! The above are crucial must dos and it’s better you handle sooner than later (as with anything). However, you should stick to the 30 day mark as the absolute latest to accomplish all things wedding. Of course there will be some surprises, but realistically if you can get these things on lock within the appropriate time frame, you should be a smooth sailing girlfriend.