“We are finally getting married!” is probably one of the most fascinating and exciting lines to hear and say. But after all the best wishes and congratulatory messages, what comes next? Below is the ULTIMATE guide for every type of brides and grooms-to-be we wish we had known.
No worries, we still got plenty of time…
1. Scout for a wedding planner, ASAP
After finally breaking the great big news to the whole family and friends, consider allotting generous time to actually scout for a reliable and well-experienced wedding planner. There are couples who deliberately hire a wedding planner the day after their engagement, some a few days after, and even weeks after the engagement. The thing is, the earlier you hire a wedding planner, the sooner you get professional help from the start of your preparation up until the day of your wedding. Most importantly, hiring a planner at a later month may cause you some major changes in the timeline of your wedding activities too.
Related: Why Should I Hire a Wedding Planner?
2. Do the ‘talk’
This conversation must include the preferred wedding date and discussions regarding the wedding budget. More so, it is best to decide as early as possible who gets to contribute to what. The tough talk about the wedding budget could be a lot easier if you break down the expenses into percentages and categories. For example:
Wedding reception: 50%
Wedding attire: 30%
Wedding favors and gift baskets: 20%
3. Come up with a wedding style and theme
Deciding on a wedding theme and style to follow will give a generous amount of allowance for revisions, mistakes, and overall changes in the wedding theme. Back from our previous blog, we have come up with a guide on how to pick the best wedding theme that would suit your style and ceremony.
4. Wedding dress and veil styles
Similar to the theme, early preparation for the wedding attire gives a lot of room for improvement, changes, and final touches. You do not want to be cramming over an unfinished hem or an oversized waist a few days before the big day. So as much as possible, deciding on what style to follow will lead to an early gown fitting and will allow you to ask for special favors and modifications on your dress.
5. Choose who to include in the entourage
The entourage will play a very essential role in the whole celebration, most importantly in the ceremony itself. As early as now, contact your closest friends and family members whom you would like to include in your entourage, just so you can make unnecessary changes in the event that they could not come to your wedding day.
6. Ensure your wedding ring insurance as well as consider purchasing wedding insurance
This is something that most couples often overlook. Unforeseen circumstances are always around the corner during the wedding journey; that is why it is always best to invest in being secured and protected just in case an event happens where assistance and aid are needed.
7. Rough guest list
A rough guest list is a messy (yes, you read that right) list of the many people that first come into your mind. It is okay to have a rough list with an enormous number of guests in it, because as the big day draws nearer, eventually you will have to cut down the list. What is important is that you have already drafted a good number of people that you want to celebrate with.
8. Plan ahead of time.
One shared belief of almost all wedding planners is to always be ahead of time. A couple of months away from the wedding celebration, these wedding planners already organize a timeline of activities, set schedules and appointments with suppliers and vendors, and put just about enough time allowance for unforeseen circumstances and sudden changes in plans. By and large, wedding planners definitely ace at the time management department.
Hustle, hustle, hustle…
1. Choose a venue
In venues whose location is strategic and very in-demand, we suggest that you book this 12+ months prior to your big day. This is to give you the chance and the privilege to choose a date and time of your choice.
2. Choose bridal and groom accessories
During the earliest stages of your preparation, you must have come up with a wedding style and dress already. With this, choosing the best accessories is no biggie for you at all. The reason why you should plan ahead of the time anyway is to give you a chance to scout for better jewelry stores and plenty of accessories that cater to your fashion.
3. Engagement photoshoot
An engagement photo shoot is one of the many ways of sharing your love and great news with your friends and families. This commemorates your life together as you welcome a new journey ahead of you. We suggest having an engagement photoshoot 10-11 months away from the big day while there is still not much stress from the preparations. You certainly do not want to cram a photoshoot that is 2 months shy away from your wedding!
4. Book an officiant
Regardless of the type of ceremony that you plan to observe, the officiant may come from a referral, choice of the family, or of the couple, and other factors alike. With this, a wedding officiant can also have a hectic schedule which would likely require you to book ahead of time.
5. Establish connections with a wide array of vendors and suppliers
You may do so with the help and assistance of your wedding planner. By and at large, your wedding planner already has his/her own list of trusted and proven vendors which he/she may recommend to you. Establishing connections early on will give you the chance to negotiate certain packages and arrangements for your celebration.
6. Finalize the guest list
In one of our blog posts, we discussed the importance of List A and List B. in this stage of your preparation, you should have a final list of your guests already as this will serve as the springboard for sending out the wedding invites – most especially for guests who live outside the country.
7. Send out invites on the immediate guests
Now, this is another reason why finalizing the guest list is so important. When the list is already final and agreed upon by both parties, you can now send out the wedding invites to your immediate guests. Immediate guests are the people whose attendance at your wedding is strictly non-negotiable; this may include your parents, of course, childhood friend, high school or college best friend, closest cousins, and the like.
8. Establish a routine!
Prepping up for your wedding also entails disciplining yourself and your lifestyle. While it only takes 30 days to form a habit, some routines require a lot more time to establish. For instance, you could use this time to build up a sustainable fitness routine accompanied by a good skincare routine too. But most importantly, learning how to have a good night’s sleep is important to keep you productive and motivated for another preparation day.
1. Scout and book hotel accommodations for out-of-town guests
Obviously, booking a room accommodation for your out-of-town guests will require you a hefty amount of time just for scouting alone. You would want to give your visiting guests the warmest welcome there is, so you need to make sure to get the best reservations for them ahead of time.
2. Arrange suppliers for wedding favors
Your guests will probably look forward to your wedding favors. 8 months prior to your wedding, you may want to start calling a pool of suppliers who could produce the wedding favors according to your chosen style and theme. Again, your wedding planner already has a personal list of the trusted suppliers in town and you may want to seek help and assistance for that.
3. 2nd rollout of invitations
Now that you have already sent out your invites to your immediate families and friends, it is now time to send your invitations to the next line of priority. The second rollout of invitations is dedicated to friends and some distant relatives whose presence at your wedding is more flexible. Meaning, whether they come or do not, it will not be that much of a big deal to you.
4. Begin planning the honeymoon
One of the most thrilling parts of this journey of course is the honeymoon. Take this as a time to go back to the places that you have always dreamed of going to as a couple. May it be a simple out-of-town trip or a round-the-world honeymoon, planning as early as now makes room for future changes in plans and itineraries.
Great work! What’s next?
1. Discover hair and make-up style
Discovering the perfect glam for you requires the professional help of a stylist. Which by the way, can also be consulted by your wedding planner. A wedding stylist takes charge of coming up with the right style for your facial features and the overall look of your wedding suit and gown.
2. Meet with the chosen officiant to discuss the ceremonial proper
After finally deciding on an officiant, arrange a meeting wherein you get to discuss the plans for the ceremonial proper. Your officiant must also be made aware of your allotted time for the ceremony itself. This way, any sacrament and/or rituals can be carefully planned out in accordance with your desired schedule.
3. Constantly communicate with vendors and suppliers
By this time, you should be practicing constant communication with your chosen vendors and suppliers, most especially with the ones concerning the rentals. Vendors who offer rentals on chairs, linens, lighting, and decor for the venue must well be coordinated from the start of the reception and up until the last minute of your after-party celebrations.
4. Cake and food tasting
Cake and food tasting is what’s really exciting in this whole preparation journey. Make sure, though, to decide first on which caterer to hire so as not to draw confusion among different caterers during the cake and food tasting.
5. Book ceremony musicians
Simply because they too have hectic schedules! Wedding bands and other artists also have gigs and booking throughout the year so it is best to notify them earlier.
All set for our final touches!
1. Finalize flower arrangement for the wedding party, attendant, venues, cake, etc
…and make sure to notify them of the final date of your wedding as well as the overall schedule of the program
2. Book honeymoon flights and hotels
…just in case a hurricane might occur! Book your honeymoon arrangements way ahead of time so you could spare yourselves from the hassle of running out of slots, available rooms, and tour schedules. Plus, it is also best to consider the season when choosing a honeymoon destination.
3. Prepare the wedding favors and welcome baskets for guests
This task also demands you to coordinate with a handful of suppliers and wedding vendors that are best to craft different wedding favors in accordance with the theme. Most of the time, wedding favors and welcome baskets go together. A wedding planner also takes charge in scouting for a one-stop-shop vendor who could supply the needed number of wedding favors and welcome baskets.
4. Prepare the playlist to send to the DJ/ band
They need a rehearsal for that too!
5. Arrange the rehearsal dinner and guest list
Rehearsal dinners are not just a plain wedding simulation. Rehearsal dinners are sort of a celebration, too. It celebrates intimate moments with you and your closest guests as you all look forward to a new chapter beginning the next day – your wedding day.
6. Book the venue for the rehearsal dinner
The venue for the rehearsal dinner will greatly depend on the number of guests invited for that night. Plus points if you could also invite the officiant to the rehearsal dinner!
We’re almost there!
1. Finalize honeymoon plans
… and coordinate with your travel guide and/or travel agency
2. Finalize ceremony and reception seating
… which must be thoroughly discussed during the rehearsal dinner. Finalizing the seating arrangement during the ceremony and the receptions are only possible if the guest list is already finalized and all the guests have confirmed their attendance on the big day.
3. Finalize hair and make-up with the official stylist
3 months from the wedding day, your stylist may come up with minor changes to your make up and hairstyle. Typically, your glam team will start to practice the makeup application and fix your tresses within the allotted period of time for the preparation. If the preparation for the hair and makeup takes up about 2-3 hours, then your glam team will practice at the same given time.
4. Purchase the guestbook, flower baskets, ring bearer pillows, and toasting flutes
Minute details like these are already being taken care of by the wedding planner. Unless, of course, you have special requests upon the purchase of these things mentioned.
5. Finalize the program for the reception and after-party
The first person to consult with this one is your wedding planner as he/she creates the overall wedding program and day-to-day activities. Aside from the wedding planner, make sure that the masters of the ceremony or the host get to be well-informed about the flow of the program in the reception.
Into the crunch time…
1. Rough draft of wedding vows
Pro tip: practice reading it out loud in front of the mirror! It manages stage fright and shyness to public speaking.
2. Review the ceremony details and reception program
…and inform your wedding planner as soon as you want to have changes with the schedule.
3. Apply for a marriage license
Make sure to secure a marriage license with two to three extra copies in the event that it might get misplaced and/or the original copy was damaged.
4. Final dress fitting with the entourage
This fitting determines the type of adjustments needed for the whole entourage including the brides and groomsmen.
5. Make arrangement and reservations for your bridal party
Your bridal party and the bachelorette’s party are some of the celebrations that your guests will surely look forward to. For the bridal party, you may want to treat your beautiful ladies to a spa day paired with a good manicure and pedicure to top it off. If the bridal party goes over 10 people, an early reservation is a must to avoid crowding with other customers. Plus, you get to reserve the whole place exclusively for your party.
1. Confirm and follow up
During the last 4 weeks of your rollout, you must dedicate the time left in confirming the date, time, and location to vendors and caterers. Aside from that, this is also the time to confirm and finalize your honeymoon reservations.
2. Pick up
The last 4 weeks of your wedding preparations are also allotted for the pick up of your wedding rings and marriage license. Normally, a month earlier is recommended so as to give time for any correction in the personal information included in the marriage license.
3. Final dress rehearsal
One month can go by very swiftly. With that, you must take this time for your final gown fitting together with your shoes, accessories, and undergarments. More so, your dress rehearsal will have the presence of your stylist and the person who will do your hair and make up on the actual wedding day. The dress rehearsal is a good simulation of what it would be like during the actual wedding so as to give you an idea of the flow and pacing.
4. Thank you notes
Your very little spare time during the final stages of your preparation is dedicated to writing thank you note cards as a form of appreciation to your guests.
5. Final vows
Of course, if you got the time for writing thank you notes, you must also make time for rehearsing and doing the final touches to your wedding vows. Spontaneity is always nice, but stage fright must be conquered too!
We are all set!
1. Give the final headcount
Two weeks shy from your big day, your guests may or may not have already confirmed their attendance. You may want to follow up with the guests who have not called back yet. But nevertheless, take this as a sign to give the final headcount to the caterer, and consider those who are confirmed as the guests who will definitely be there. This will help the caterers accurately estimate the amount of food that they need to prepare.
2. Final look
In the remaining days or so, you should have already contacted your reliable hairstylist to do your final haircut and hair color; or perhaps a color retouch for your hair.
3. Delegate the wedding duties
Assign a group of people whom you think will be responsible and reliable enough to handle last-minute wedding errands and duties. Such duties include arranging the gift tables, guestbook, assisting the guests towards the parking spaces, calling in the rentals for additional chairs, send directions to the bridal car driver, and other guests, and so on. It is also best to delegate someone to return or drop off the wedding suit and gown at the laundromat or rental.
1. Make final payments to the vendors and personnel
Whatever amount you have agreed upon, we recommend settling your payments days before your wedding to avoid unnecessary stress on your end.
2. Give final instructions to the photographer and videographers
…before they give their last touches for the same day edit and the video souvenir.
3. Prepare wedding clothes
Have someone to assist you in prepping up your wedding clothes, one that is probably knowledgeable in ironing out the creases on delicate garments.
4. Prepare wedding day emergency kit
You could coordinate this with your wedding planner because he/she is well-experienced for some wedding day blues and emergencies. These emergency kits may include some medicines, band-aids, bobby pins, and safety pins.
A day before the big day
1. Deliver the welcome baskets and wedding favors at the venue
… and make sure they are similar to the headcount!
2. Attend the rehearsal dinner
The rehearsal dinner is also a way of giving thanks to your guests who have also become part of this wedding journey. This could be an intimate dinner with your bridesmaids and groomsmen together with your closest families. The rehearsal dinner is a pre-celebration for the big day.
3. Sleep early!
You do not want to be late on your own wedding!
The big day
It is actually happening!
1. Have a heart breakfast to pump you up
The ceremony will probably take much longer, also taking into account the travel time going to the reception. With this, it might get you weary and exhausted even before the reception. Get yourself just the right hearty breakfast that would fuel your energy and keep you intact the whole day.
2. Take your time to prepare
Relax and stop worrying! Your stylist, hair and makeup artist, and your trustworthy wedding planner will take over the rest of the day. Your duty is simply to savor and celebrate the moment.
3. Give the wedding rings and officiant fee to the best man/maid of honor
This task could also be handled by the wedding planner herself. But sometimes, there are brides who opt to personally hand out the rings and fees to the best man or maid of honor.
4. Relax and be at the moment!
After almost a year (some even take more than a year) of hustle and preparation, you deserve this day with nothing but sheer happiness and celebration. So go and celebrate this journey with much joy and contentment!
Mimi Ebichi Events specializes in the craftsmanship and wonders of planning, organizing, and executing well-laid-out wedding celebrations. We put value in our commitment to deliver outstanding results to satisfy the needs of our clients. While there is no such thing as an actual perfect wedding, we make sure to give back beyond the trust and investment you put in making us part of your big day.