So you’ve spent months and months planning your very special day and its now only a few days before you tie the knot so as to speak! There are so many details to your wedding day so making sure that nothing is forgotten or overlooked is critically important to your day going smoothly.
As a Wedding Photographer I see brides and grooms worrying during the best day of their lives that they or someone in the wedding party may have forgotten something or the timing is out. Together let’s walk through some important, must remember, details before your wedding day.
About a week before your day make sure you catch up with your makeup stylist, florist, wedding car/transport, caterer/venue and of course Photographer! All these suppliers are pinacle to making the day work like clockwork.
Hair & Makeup
Ask the makeup stylist what time she and her team will be meeting you and your bridal party at the venue to start hair and makeup. She will know what time she needs to start, usually working backwards from the ceremony and figuring out how many ladies she will be working with. Normally it will be bridesmaids, mother of the bride, mother of the groom then the bride. The stylist will bring everything with her and be prepared to adjust timings if needed.
I always call the bride and groom the week before the wedding to go through their details one last time. The Bride & Groom would have completed my Pre-Wedding Questionnaire a few weeks beforehand and we would have met up for a pre-wedding shoot, but its always a great idea to make sure no important details have changed. Last minute surprises are not great on the day, the Photographer will know what is happening next, or indeed they should do. Let the Photographer know what time the stylist is meeting you on the day and her plans for who she is doing first.
I would normally get to the bridal preparations just as the last bridesmaid is being styled and the bride is about to be pampered. This gives me plenty of time to get some fantastic shots of them both having their hair and makeup done together. I gather together wedding shoes, jewellery, perfume bottles the wedding flowers and her stunning dress for those beautiful detailed shots.
Pop in to see your Florist, they will welcome the chance to talk through your flower arrangements one last time before your wedding day. Finding out the time of delivery, the address they are delivering to and more importantly what they are delivering, just check its worth it!! The bouquets are usually delivered to the bride and the corsage pins to either where the groom is getting ready or to the venue for when the Groomsmen arrive. Once again, the Photographer will need to know this information so they can capture pinning their flowers to their jackets which is a bit of giggle!! I have become quite adept at doing this for them!
If you are traveling between venues you might have ordered a special car to take you to your ceremony and then onto the wedding reception venue. Most weddings I see these days are held in the same place, however last year a few of my weddings had cars and a couple of them were really funky!
Check what time they are arriving and the route they plan to take to your ceremony. Last thing you want is to be left waiting for your ride or worst, the driver gets lost! That’s happened to one of my brides before! If you are planning on arriving a couple of minutes late to your ceremony make sure the driver (not to mention the registrar/church) is aware of this. The driver might like to arrive on time but hold you outside the church/venue. Us pesky photographers love to catch that just arrived look. The bride will be nervous and her bridesmaids will be supporting her as she makes her way to her groom. Just love that bit, always so exciting with expectations running high.
Wedding Day Venue
I can’t stress this one enough, always visit your venue before your big day. Check on all the details from seating arrangements to timings, pre-reception drinks to cake stands/cake knives! It might be obvious to you but just check that it will all be in place. The venue would have done this a thousand times but its your day, not someone else’s! Just check.
If you are getting ready at the venue, check that the rooms you are staying in are not booked for the night of your wedding. I’ve been to weddings where the bridal party gets moved out of her room in the middle of getting ready as the room has been booked for that night, and not by one of wedding guests! Not good eh.
Check that they can supply water and soft drinks to the bridal preparations. They normally supply an ice bucket of something bubbly to aid the party feeling!
OK so lets move onto a few other areas that need not be forgotten.
Do a quick check on all your supplier contracts to make sure they have all been paid and are up to date. The last thing you want is for them not to turn up cos they’ve not been paid in full because the invoice was never received thanks to Spam mail or something equally as daft.
Your Songs and Playlists
Get these ready in good time, make sure the music can be played at the venue or their system connected to your own device, bring cables and make sure the device is charged! When I got married we played a songs from a CD as the registry office couldn’t play anything else!! Well it was 10 years ago, iPhone hadn’t even been released at that point!!
Make sure the songs have been chosen by both of you, they are special to you or you both at least like them! Check to make sure you have a song to walk down the isle to both ways and you have chosen your first dance music. If the DJ or band don’t know it let them have a copy in plenty of time before the day!
Dresses & Suits
This one is a biggie! Your dress, pick it up a few days before your big day. Make sure it is in a dress carrier and when you get it home hang it somewhere clean and out of direct sunlight. Take it out of the bag so that any creases drop out naturally. Oh and keep it out of reach of any pets, well you never know!!
Your Groomsman suits, go pick them up, get them home and try them on, the Groom that is! You don’t want any meltdowns over pants being too tight or the jackets not fitting. No pigging out the days before the wedding, we don’t want any buttons popping off!
Now this bit feels like you are moving house! Remember such things as deodorant, perfume, hair clips, slippers and those comfy PJ’s whilst your getting ready in the morning. Check to make sure you have your jewellery, garter if you having one and all your toiletries for the next day. Make sure your groom has his cuff-links and ties, shoes, after shave. You get the picture, make a wedding day list beforehand and that way all the bits and bobs you want to take won’t get forgotten.
You’ve probably already collected them from the jewelers. Check where they are and that the best man has them in his safe possession on the day! I met a couple last year that bought their rings the year before and then when they went to get them for the wedding day they couldn’t find them, what a complete and utter nightmare, don’t let that happen to you.
Wedding day gifts such as flowers for the Mums and a little trinket or something special for the bridesmaids are usually the norm. A wedding I captured in June thought up some fantastic gifts for their wedding party. One of the groomsmen received a special number plate as it seemed he collected them, that created a lot of laughter and giggles! Ask the venue to store the flowers somewhere cold for you and bring them out just before the speeches. You could also ask them to store the presents somewhere safe for you.
Now, I can’t stress this one enough. You have been running around like a pair of nutters arranging the biggest day of your life so far and you are feeling the strain. Take time out and relax! Book a couple of days in the diary to just chill, do nothing but drink lots of WATER and get some sleep. Try not to OD on alcohol or do any muscle killing exercises as you will regret it. You need to make sure your body is rested and ready to go, it’s gonna be a long day!
Your wedding day will be the biggest day in your life for quite a while, don’t regret the day or night before by having one too many with the boys or girls for that matter! There is nothing wrong with having the girls round in your hotel room for a girlie night and a couple of glasses of bubbles or a lads night down the pub, but make sure you temper it. You will be in the spotlight for your entire day and it will be a long day. Sorry to sound so boring and sensible but trust me, I like a party and lots of fun but not to the detriment of a beautiful day that can’t be replayed. That’s all I’m saying on the subject at the risk of sounding like my mother!!
Yep I know, that is a whole lot to remember and to be prepared for but trust me, if you don’t do it you will be in a pickle!! Make a list and work through it. You will probably end up adding to it as you go through but at least you won’t forget anything important. Go for it, start writing those lists and be prepared.
If you can think of anything else that you found useful to do before your wedding day that you would like to share, please do, experience from previous brides is invaluable.
Thanks for reading and I hope you found it useful.
Laura Anderson Photography – the best ever friend and my second photographer
All the Brides & Grooms featured in the photos
and of course me! Photography By Sally-Anne