18 Things Couples Forget When Planning Their Wedding
Feel like you’re forgetting something? We’ve got you covered.
Nobody forgets to go shopping for the perfect wedding dress or to schedule a cake tasting (yum), but there are some things couples forget – those less exciting wedding-planning details that can often fall through the cracks. Here are 18 things that are easy to overlook during the planning process—and should be added to your to-do list!
1. Add wiggle room to your wedding budget.
It’s almost guaranteed that you’ll run into some hidden fees or other unexpected expenses, so make sure to give yourselves a cushion. We recommend using about 5% of your total budget as a buffer to cover any unanticipated costs.
FREE DOWNLOAD: Wedding Budget Spreadsheet
2. Prepare to keep your inbox organized.
You may want to consider creating a separate email address specifically for your wedding for a few reasons.
- You will likely receive invoices, timelines and payment methods sent to your email from your vendors. To ensure you don’t miss a payment and to keep all the important info organized, a separate wedding email is always a good idea.
- Throughout the planning and research process because you will likely receive e-newsletters, wedding show follow-ups, vendor correspondence, and helpful planning tips from vendors and wedding companies. It’s much easier to have it all in one place—where both you and your fiancé can access it—without having it clutter up your main inbox.
3. Factor in additional time to order your dress—and alterations!
Unless you purchase an ‘off the rack’, ready-to-go gown, you’ll need to begin your wedding dress search at least 10–12 months in advance of the big day. To be safe, you’ll want to allow 6–8 months to receive a custom-made dress. And leave plenty of wiggle-room (and a bit of room in your dress budget) for alterations.
READ MORE: Tips For A Great Wedding Dress Appointment
4. Keep in touch with your vendors.
Open up your ‘notes’ app, download our free vendor contact spreadsheet (below) or grab your wedding planning binder and keep a running list of all your vendors along with their contact information, in case you need to get in touch with them quickly. Our downloadable spreadsheet can be shared with anyone and can be accessed anywhere from your computer, tablet, or smartphone. Most importantly, don’t be afraid to reach out! Your vendors are experienced wedding industry experts and are ready to help you when you need it. No question is off limits.
FREE DOWNLOAD: Vendor Contact Spreadsheet
5. Build some cushion into your timeline.
Hair and makeup always take longer than you’d think! And if your ceremony and reception are at two different locations, let’s not for forget to factor in Michigan road construction. Building a bit of wiggle room into your wedding-day timeline will ensure that a minor delay here and there won’t throw the entire event off track. Download our free wedding timeline templates to start crafting your timeline today. Print and re-print until you get it just right and then print out additional copies for your bridal party, vendors and immediate family.
FREE DOWNLOAD: Wedding Timeline Templates
6. Have an RSVP-tracking strategy in place.
The struggle with tracking RSVPs is real, people! Here’s the deal: on average 80% of your guests will attend your wedding. Of the invitations you mail, 90% are likely to respond, meaning you will need to contact the remaining 10% to follow up on wedding RSVPs… therefore the pressure is on.
One way to circumvent this problem, write a little number on the back of your RSVP cards that corresponds to your own numbered guest list. That way you’ll know who each reply card belongs to.
READ MORE: Your Guide to Wedding RSVP’s
7. Update your wedding website regularly.
Create your wedding website before you send out your save-the-dates, and keep it updated as you go, don’t neglect it. Your guests will turn to it if they have questions.
- Link your gift registries.
- Add hotel room block information so guests can make reservations early.
- Add maps to your venue(s) along with nearby attractions, and include the weather forecast for the big day. Well-informed guests are happy guests.
8. Teach someone to bustle your dress.
That may mean having your maid of honor attend your final dress fitting or whoever will be bustling your dress. They’ll learn how to do it and get a bit of practice at your final fitting, so that it won’t take as long (or be as stressful!) on the day of.
READ MORE: Who to Bring to Wedding Planning Events
9. Pay attention to the weather—and the sunset!
One thing our team values: having a solid backup plan. If any part of your wedding is outdoors, you’ll definitely want to have a rain, snow, extreme heat contingency plan in place (this is Michigan after-all). But you may not realize that it’s important to keep an eye on what time the sun sets, too. Ask your wedding photographer about the infamous golden hour, the period shortly before sunset that’s usually the prime time to take outdoor wedding photos. It’s definitely worth fitting in to your timeline!
10. Put together a wedding-day emergency kit.
This is a small makeup bag filled with “just in case” items that can fix most of those little wedding-day problems.
- Got a pounding headache pre-ceremony? Pop an Advil.
- Did your updo start coming undone? Grab extra bobby pins or hairspray.
- Did you spill some red wine or did a button fall off ? Luckily you’ve packed some Shout Wipes and a mini sewing kit!
- From double-sided tape to deodorant, an emergency kit can be a real lifesaver on the big day.
When it comes to makeup, having translucent powder, blotting sheets, lip gloss easily accessible means you can touch up in between the ceremony and reception, before your romantics, or before that grand exit that is sure to be photographed.
11. Bring a nice hanger for your gown.
Most wedding photographers will take a photo of your wedding dress, hanging in all its glory in front of some picturesque setting before you put it on. Make sure not to use a wire + clear plastic hanger you got from the alterations shop. Something decorative always elevates your photos.
READ MORE: Preparing for Your Pre-Ceremony Photography
12. Consider an “unplugged” ceremony.
You’re paying for a professional photographer, the last thing you want is 21 iPhones making an appearance in your ceremony photos. Consider having an unplugged ceremony by displaying a sign that asks your guests to keep the phones, tablets, and bulky cameras under their seats, in their pockets or purses. That way your trusted wedding photographer can get that gorgeous, unobstructed shot of your walk down the aisle and first kiss as a married couple.
13. Pre-plan your formal family photos.
Prior to the big day, your wedding photographer will likely ask you for a wedding photo list, which will outline specific family formal wedding photos you and your soon-to-be spouse want to be sure and take during the wedding. A complete wedding family formal photo list will help you and your photographer make the most of your time. Work with your wedding photographer to develop a priority list.
14. Figure out tips and gratuities in advance.
Just when you think you’ve accounted for every imaginable wedding expense, there is one fee you may have forgotten: tipping wedding vendors. The majority, if not all, of your vendors generally receive some sort of gratuity or tip. Since many of these can be done in cash, it is easy to lose track of how much is spent, be sure and budget for gratuity and taxes.
Check out our guide for tipping your wedding vendors. We recommend going to the bank before your wedding, pulling out cash, and putting each tip into a labeled envelope. Then you can assign the most responsible member of your bridal party to hand them out over the course of the event.
READ MORE: Guide to Tipping Your Wedding Vendors
15. Ask about vendor meals.
Don’t forget vendors need food or water breaks—so please remember to feed them! Ask your venue or caterer what they offer for vendor meals, and give them the final “vendor meal” count at the same time you confirm your final guest count. It’s also recommended that you check in with your vendors in advance regarding any dietary allergies or restrictions.
16. Bring along some comfy shoes.
Yes, your Christian Louboutin heels are remarkable. But no, they’re not exactly all-day, all-night, dance-floor friendly. Bring along a fun pair of bedazzled sneakers, trendy Converse or cute-but-comfy flats so you can dance the night away without being crippled by blisters.
17. Assign someone to pack up your gifts/belongings after the reception.
You’ll be busy doing that ‘having the best day of your life’ thing. Consider assigning a few things to your bridesmaids to help you keep track of important items throughout the day. This could include personal items but also wedding accessories like your guest book, toasting flutes, and cake-cutting utensils. And don’t forget the top tier of your cake, if you want to save it for your first anniversary! Having an exit strategy in place means you can enjoy every moment of your wedding day, and know you’ve trusted a few of your loved ones to handle the end-of-night tasks.
18. Have a plan for guests who need transportation
If your wedding ends relatively early or if many of your friends want to keep the fun times rolling at a near-by you may want to have Uber / Lyft codes ready and available to ensure everyone gets to next destination safely.
READ MORE: Uber / Lyft Codes