Wedding Planner

30 wedding planning details you don’t want to forget


When it comes to your wedding planning details, here is the last-minute list you don’t want to forget!

Feeling a bit like a drill sergeant with a number of timetables and planning spreadsheets you’ve suddenly been inundated with? Don’t freak out, but there’s a good chance you might have forgotten something. No seriously, don’t freak out. Put your feet up for 10 minutes, pour yourself a glass of something cheeky and read these 30 last-minute details you need to know. It’s okay; we’ve got your back.

The wedding of Melissa and Luke

The wedding of Melissa and Luke. Photo: White Ash Photography

1. Get your marriage licence sorted

If you remember one thing, let it be this: while the legal requirements vary state from state, you’ll generally have to obtain a marriage licence between 24 hours to 60 days before the big day. Research the specifics and visit a local clerk to make sure you can actually tie the knot, you know, legally. Don’t be the parents in My Big Fat Greek Wedding Two. That second wedding did look fun, though.

2. With a little help from my friends

We all know that after you say ‘I do’ you sign a piece of paper to make it official, but what happens to that piece of paper? Choose someone responsible for keeping your signed marriage licence safe until the end of the celebrations – if your best friend is the human equivalent of Dory from Finding Nemo, maybe consider asking someone else.

The wedding of Monique and Thomas

The wedding of Monique and Thomas. Photo: Studio Impressions Photography

3. Communication is key

Does a sudden temperature drop mean your outdoor venue needs heaters? Are there microphones ready for the speeches? Is there a knife to cut the cake with? They’re all things your wedding planner or receptions coordinator will be on top of on the day, so it’s crucial that they’re fully briefed on exactly what it is you envision for an ideal scenario and – dare we say it – plan B.

Life happens when you’re busy making other plans, so check in with your wedding coordinator in the morning to talk about the day’s weather and order of events. It should give you that peace of mind you’ll both be seeking.

4. Designate a point person

Whatever happens on your wedding day there’s one thing you can be sure of – everyone is going to have a question for you. Don’t fancy answering an almost endless list of queries while getting ready to walk down the aisle? Whether it’s a friend, planner, parent or bridesmaid, ask someone to be the go-to person for answers and fill them in on all the need-to-know details in advance. Perhaps put together a little cheat-sheet and bribe them with a pre-wedding lunch or bottle of bubbles.

Gift table

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5. Assign a gift caretaker

After the last song has been played and the guests are starting to leave you’ll probably be too busy saying goodbye to gather up all your gifts.  Ask a trusted family member or friend to collect your gifts and cards to take home. If you’re leaving for your honeymoon straight away, give them a house key, so your goodies aren’t taking up space at their place.

6. Use Excel to help keep your preparations organised

They say time flies when you’re having fun, and it’s never more true than when you’re getting ready with your girlfriends. Put together a timeline for all the important beauty preparations and keep your bridesmaids in the loop. Confirm arrival times with your photographer and hair and makeup stylists, and try to allow more time than usual for getting all dolled up. After all, you’ll probably want some time for checking yourselves out in the mirror. Come on, we all do it.

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7. Make an on-the-day schedule

Chances are you’ve probably had a timeline in mind for weeks or even months, but now is the time to double-check and lock in everything – everything. Create a spreadsheet of starting times, budget allowances, when to pay vendors and when to wrap up the reception, and be sure to give your point person a copy. Not only will it prevent any late fees, but it’ll put your mind at ease, and everyone knows confidence is the most beautiful thing a bride can wear.

Bonus: procrastinators, don’t leave packing to the last minute! Set aside a solid hour or two to pack for your wedding day, night and the honeymoon of course. Put the remote down and step away from Netflix.

8. Make a plan and timeline for the photography

Some people say art can’t be rushed, but it almost certainly will be if you don’t keep a photography timeline in mind. Make sure everyone is fully dressed, made up and looking their best in advance, and always be considerate of the photographer. After all, time is money – your money.

The wedding of Sarah and Billy

The wedding of Sarah and Billy. Photo: Sean McDonald Photography

9. Have a plan B in the event of rain

Rain on your wedding day isn’t just a line from a tragic song from the ’90s, it’s also a real possibility. If your venue doesn’t offer any alternative undercover space, you might have to plan to have a tent ready to go and consider asking all your guests to bring umbrellas just in case well before your special day. Sometimes the weather can’t be helped, but you shouldn’t let it rain on your parade. Yes, we went there.

10. Be outstanding for the right reasons

It’s likely that all your vendors have been paid by now, but if there are any outstanding payments to be made after the wedding, be sure to set aside an amount before the actual day. In the excitement of the day’s events, it will be easy to forget something so mundane – and you could easily end up spend that amount on cocktails on your honeymoon.

So think ahead and be prepared with an extra file or even a good ‘ol fashioned envelope with cash. It’s a simple tip, but one you just might thank us for.

11. Have a little extra cash on hand

Tipping may traditionally be an American custom, but you might want to show your gratitude for someone who has gone that extra mile to make the day perfect. Also, if you’re offering an open bar to your guests, the day’s excitement might make you want to add just a little bit extra to the tab. It’s a bit of an obvious tip, but it’s one you just might forget in the midst of preparations.

12. Put a ring on it

Before you put a ring on it you’ll need to get the rings – well, duh. While you’re at the jewellers, have your engagement ring cleaned to make it sparkle on the day. If everything else about you is preened and polished, a shabby ring is sure to stand out for all the wrong reasons.

The wedding of Kirsty and Brodie

The wedding of Kirsty and Brodie. Photo: Tom Hall Photography

13. The bride wore…

A final dress fitting might be common sense, but it’s not something you’ll want to skip. Make sure you schedule a final fitting shortly before the special day so you can organise any last-minute alterations. At the end of the day, a last stitch here, a little ‘letting out’ there isn’t that big of a deal, but feeling uncomfortable on your wedding day is.

14. Organise fittings for your bridal party, not just you

Final fittings aren’t just for brides. Organise another fitting with your bridal party and bring along any accessories or shapewear you plan on wearing. Sometimes one bra just looks better under a dress than another – the term ‘pancake boobs’ springs to mind – so don’t be afraid to bring along a few options to try on.

The wedding of Kaylie and Andre

The wedding of Kaylie and Andre. Photo: Calli B Photography

15. Plan how you are going to transport your dress

Take one look at your dress, now look at your car. If you’re planning on transporting your dress yourself to your ‘getting ready’ location, it’s probably not the best decision to cram it into your little Suzuki Swift. To save your gorgeous creation from being crushed or massively damaged, practice fitting it – in a garment bag of course – into your car well in advance. If it’s a tight squeeze, organise transport with someone owning a larger vehicle or maybe even swap cars. It’ll potentially save you frantically steaming the creases out of your dress that morning.

16. Practice makes perfect

Remember the first time you tried on a pair of heels and were determined to wear them all night? Painful, wasn’t it? To avoid you looking like a wobbly newborn foal – and evil blisters – wear your shoes around the house a few times and practice walking around.

The wedding of Nikki and Lloyd

The wedding of Nikki and Lloyd. Photo: On Earth Photography

17. Make sure the groom gets a haircut

Sometimes the groom can get a little forgotten in the lead-up to the wedding day. Make sure he’s looking sharp and get him to visit a barber less than a week out. Leave it too late, he’ll look a little too dishevelled, book it too soon and he might look like a little kid on his first day of school – cute when they’re five, not so much in adulthood.

18. Get your nails done

Ermahgerd, mani-pedis! When it’s getting to the final few days, take it as your cue to visit the nail salon for a little pampering and enjoy a little breathing space. Don’t book it too soon, however, in case of chipping, but be sure to buy a matching colour varnish just in case of any last minute fix-ups.

19.  Strays be gone!

Okay, it’s not the most charming of pre-wedding to-dos, but if you plan on booking any hair-removal sessions, it’s best to it at least a few days before the special day. It doesn’t matter how beautiful your dress is or how perfectly your makeup has been done, red, blotchy and itchy skin from an adverse reaction is sure to ruin your bridal look.

20. Make sure the DJ knows which songs you DON’T want to hear

You’re out having a great time with your friends, enjoying the music then a god-awful tune comes on, and it just ruins the mood – sound familiar? You’ve probably made a list of songs for your DJ to play, but also be sure to put together one for songs you under no circumstance want to hear – i.e. anything by Nickelback (sorry, not sorry). Also, if there’s a particular song you want to be played, make sure you list the artist as well, to avoid the selection of another artist’s cover.

The wedding of Luke and Melissa

The wedding of Melissa and Luke. Photo: White Ash Photography

21. Give any guests who haven’t RSVPed a quick call to check in

If the RSVP deadline has well and truly been and gone, it’s definitely not rude to call any guests that haven’t replied. It’s important to give your venue and caterer a final head count and it’ll help you plan out the final seating chart.

22. Make you feel my love

If your guests are flying in for the occasion, shop around for some thoughtful welcome gifts to leave in their hotel rooms. Any cheesy ‘welcome to’ souvenir is always a winner.

The wedding of Sarah and Billy

The wedding of Sarah and Billy. Photo: Sean McDonald Photography

23. Practice your speech before the big day

Now’s the time to apply those final tweaks to your vows, and practice any speeches you plan on giving. Spontaneous ad-libbing often makes for the best ceremonies, but if you’re admittedly a little daunted by public speaking, having a few quick ‘run throughs’ can put your mind at ease.

24. Write a cute love note to your sweetheart

Set aside a few minutes to write a sweet little love note to each other, saying how excited you are to spend the rest of your life together. If you get some free time in the days leading up – we said if– write a few quick notes and put them in envelopes titled ‘open when…’ to be read on certain milestones, like anniversaries or even on your first fight. They’ll be fun to look back on, and another reminder of some of the reasons why you’re tying the knot.

Breakfast tray

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25. Make sure you eat breakfast on the day

It doesn’t matter how slim-fitting your dress is – skipping breakfast on the morning of your wedding is never a good idea. If staying at a hotel, pre-order breakfast to be delivered to your room, so it’s one less thing to think about on the day, and eat something substantial (the strawberry in your Champagne does not count). Imagine the awkwardness of a grumbling stomach as you’re saying your vows.

26. Have your driver’s contact details (just in case)

If you’re not planning on driving yourself, your driver can be one of the most important people on the day, literally getting you from A to B. Make sure you have your driver’s mobile number just in case of any late arrivals or if you’ve left something in the car after the big day. Also, if you have guests from out of town, it’s always a lovely gesture to plan transportation for them to and from the wedding. Whether it’s a simple Maxi Taxi or a stylish limo, your transport is one thing you’ll want to get right.

The wedding of Anna and Zac

The wedding of Anna and Zac. Photo: Tim Harris Photography

27. Make sure there is plenty of water around for both guests and flowers

Obvious fact of the day – flowers need water. Have a vase of water ready to save your bouquet from wilting in the heat, especially if it’s a summer wedding. Remember to hydrate, hydrate, hydrate – the same applies to humans.

28. Make an emergency bridal kit

Pretty much every ‘bride advice’ list includes an emergency kit, but it’s for a good reason! Think of the horrors you’d avoid by packing some hairspray, face powder, lipstick, mints, hemming tape, safety pins, stain remover, tissues, band-aids, extra pantyhose, traction pads for heels and hairpins of every kind.

Actually, you might not want to think about it for too long. Don’t fret too much if you forget something as one of your guests or bridesmaids is bound to have something helpful on hand, but an emergency kit could be one of the best pieces of insurance you’ll ever invest in.

The wedding of Alex and Josh

The wedding of Alex and Josh. Photo: Jess Marks Photography

29. Double check you have everything you need for the cocktails

If you’ve organised to have a bartender at your wedding, double-check the cocktail list the day before. A forgotten garnish, a missing mixer, a Pimm’s Cup without the Pimm’s – they’re all things that can be avoided with a quick phone call and a trip to the bottle shop. Also, if you’ve designed a signature cocktail for the occasion, confirm the ingredients before the big day and make sure you have one final sample, all in the name of wedding planning, of course.

30. What to do when it’s time for the guest’s to leave

Anyone who’s worked in a late-night venue will tell you there comes a time when you just have to kick everyone out – they’ll usually play Semisonic’s Closing Time as a polite cue. Make sure you’ve checked with all your vendors, especially your venue, about when your reception is expected to wrap up to avoid an unexpected overtime fee. As the song goes, ‘you don’t have to go home, but you can’t stay here‘ – hotel after-party anyone?

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