As a professional wedding planner, there are certain details my clients typically forget about.
Although it's one of the most important steps, clients often forget to pick up a marriage license.
Important reminders include taking out tips for vendors, writing vows, and planning the rehearsal.
Wedding planning involves a lot of details, so it's no surprise that some of them slip through the cracks, particularly as the big day gets closer.
As a professional wedding planner, I find my clients typically forget key steps in the last 30 days before their wedding. Here are my tips for making sure everything is in order before your wedding day.
Obtain your legal marriage license
The biggest detail that my clients forget is, ironically, the most important: their legal marriage license. The rules on when and how you can apply for this document will vary depending on where you're getting married.
For example, I primarily work in Oregon, where you can apply for your license 60 days before the wedding. Ideally, this will allow you to receive the license at least three days before the wedding and save you from potentially paying a rush fee.
Be sure to check the rules where you're getting married, and plan to bring the license with you to the rehearsal. You can then hand it over to either the person marrying you or your wedding coordinator or planner (if you have one).
If you're traveling immediately after the wedding, pay attention to when your license needs to be returned. Sometimes, this has to be done within a few days of the wedding.
Order food and drinks to enjoy while getting ready
It's incredibly important that you (and whoever else may be getting ready with you) stay hydrated and fed on your wedding day.
This can be a great task to assign that wedding VIP who keeps asking how they can help. Ask them to order a meal to enjoy together before you and your crew get dressed.
Take out tips for vendors
Unfortunately, you're not done paying for things just yet. Tips are an important way to thank the members of your vendor team.
Many of my clients tip me via cash or check. Venmo and other forms of electronic payment typically work well too, depending on how you've paid the vendor before.
Keep in mind that some vendors may already include gratuity in their balance (this is almost always the case for caterers). Make sure you double-check your contract or invoice to avoid tipping twice.
If a tip isn't in the cards, writing a nice thank-you note is always appreciated. You can also set a reminder to write reviews for your vendors after the wedding. A review is one of the most helpful and meaningful ways my clients support my work.
You can use this cheat sheet to help determine who to tip and how much to give.
Plan the rehearsal
One of the few things I strongly recommend for any wedding is a rehearsal. If anything, it helps to get the wiggles out among your wedding VIPs.
Ideally, the rehearsal happens at the same location as the ceremony. But if that's not possible, don't sweat it. You can simply choose a convenient spot to run through the program of events.
A good rule of thumb is that the people getting married, the person marrying them, and at least 50% of the people involved in the ceremony should attend the rehearsal.
Don't forget to include anyone walking down the aisle, doing a reading, or performing a song.
Don't forget to get event insurance, if required by your venue(s)
Increasingly, I find wedding venues are requiring what's known as "event insurance," which will protect you from any unexpected incidents on the day of the wedding.
Often, a venue requires proof of insurance at least 30 days before the wedding. Although it's one of the easier and more affordable items to mark off your checklist, it's something my clients tend to forget about.
Start writing your vows early
One of the most stressful situations I've ever witnessed on a wedding day was a bride frantically jotting down her vows five minutes before walking down the aisle. Don't do this to yourself.
Ideally, you should start working on your vows four to six weeks before the wedding. This gives you plenty of time and space to revisit them and/or share notes with your partner(s).
Starting early also allows you to pour your heart into one of the most important aspects of your ceremony.
My ceremony-script template can help you decide what to include in your vows.
Consider packing for your honeymoon before the wedding
Many people choose to travel immediately after their wedding. If this is the case, remember to pack ahead of time. This is a good chore to get done before the rehearsal or any other pre-wedding events.
It's also important to remember to arrange for pet and/or plant care while you're away.
Make time for each other
At the end of the day, your wedding is about you and your partner(s). To stay calm and connected, plan a date night the week of your wedding. Bonus points if you make the focus of the date anything but the wedding.
The point is to make time with the person or people you're about to marry.
Most importantly, take a moment to recognize all of the work you've done and reflect on what this major life transition means for each of you.
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