8 To-Dos For the Final 8 Weeks of Wedding Planning
Ever get the feeling like you're missing something? When wedding planning, the last 6-8 weeks before you walk down the aisle can seem so task-heavy! Here are 8 to-do items for your list in the final 8 weeks.
1. Send out invitations. Invitations should be sent out no later than 6 weeks before the wedding. I recommend sending then 8 weeks in advance, with an RSVP date of 3 weeks before the wedding. This timeline gives you 1 week to wait for late senders and 1 week to follow up with people who have not responded before the final guarantee is due with the venue and/or caterer. Remember, typically final guarantees are due 1 week before the wedding.
2. Apply for a marriage license. This should be done roughly 6 weeks before your wedding. To apply for your marriage license, visit the local county clerk's office of the county you will be marrying in (Cook County allows for applications online) together with your driver's licenses. The cost of a marriage license is between $30-$60 depending on the county & can be used after the 1 day waiting period for up to 60 days.
3. Purchase any items you haven't already. By 6 weeks before the wedding, you should have all of your attire, accessories, and decor items ordered. This should give plenty of time for shipping. By 3 weeks, I want you to have them organized and stored in a way that is easy for you to disburse as needed when the time comes. This will ensure that if anything arrived damaged or needs to be returned for any reason, you have time to do so before the wedding and if anything was overlooked, there is time to order it.
4. Make your playlists for your DJ. While I wouldn't recommend making an entire 6 hour playlist because, well, that's what you pay your DJ for, I would suggest listing out the songs for special moments (ie. traditional dances, cake cutting, introductions, etc). You can also give the DJ an idea of the overall vibe you want your cocktail hour, dinner & reception to have musically. Some people love a good chicken dance and some don't, but either way don't forget a list of any songs you do not want played.
5. Meet with your Day of Coordinator. If you have hired a DOC, usually they'll want to meet with you about 4 weeks before the wedding. I call this "The Details Meeting". At this meeting you'll confirm start times & locations, as well as cover the schedule for the day, set up details, ceremony details, wedding party & vendor info, and more. After this meeting your DOC will work with your vendors & use the information provided at this meeting to create a timeline for the day.
6. Make or approve your final timeline. If you did not hire a DOC, you'll be tasked with creating the timeline for the wedding day. You'll want to set aside time with each vendor to talk about their arrival & departure times, their contracted number of hours, and how long they'll need for set up/prep. You can put this info into a mass spreadsheet detailing where the bride, groom & each vendor will be throughout the day. You'll also want to include time for hair & makeup, dressing, breakfast & lunch, set up, photos, all of the "moments" throughout the day, and tear down after the wedding. Start this 3-4 weeks before the wedding. If you did hire a DOC, your coordinator will send you the finalized timeline for you to approve 1-2 weeks before the wedding. All you'll need to do is look over it and send your thumbs up.
7. Make an inventory list. Include on this list anything and everything that is required for the wedding day. Rings, every decor item, attire, cake topper/topper/server, photos for memory table, favors, marriage license, etc. Everything, everything, everything for this day! Check it twice, three times, four times if you think you need to. Then, split the list by who is responsible for what. Example: Rings - best man (groom gives at rehearsal), decor items - DOC (picks up at rehearsal), wedding dress - MOB (picks up from Bride's house after rehearsal & takes to bride's hotel room).
8. Attend your final walk through at your venue. The week before your wedding, you'll want to have what's called a "final walk through" at your venue with your venue coordinator. This meeting is important for a few reasons: you'll discuss the venue layout one more time, go through the BEO or banquet event order that details your menu & all package inclusions, service times, AV and other additional rental details, and basically anything else you've paid for through the venue. You want to make sure everything you have ordered & paid for, as well as requested service times are on this order form. General rule of thumb is if it's not on the BEO, it's not going to be there on the wedding day. REMEMBER TO BRING your final guarantee & final payment to this meeting. You can also usually bring with you any decor items that need to be set up, cake topper, special toasting glasses, etc to be stored at the venue until the wedding day; but make sure to get the OK from your venue coordinator first!
BONUS: Make a list of important shots for your photographer.
The last 8 weeks before your wedding can be very stressful, but with a plan, good lists, and a little time management it doesn't have to be!
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