The devil is in the details, ladies. No matter how many Buzzfeed lists you read, during wedding planning – you will sweat the small stuff! Or if you’re anything like me, you’ll pick the venue, photographer, florist and dress then pretend wedding planning is complete!
Luckily, it only took me a few weeks to realize that there are minute details that really matter (and some that don’t matter at all)! When I finally accepted that wedding planning wasn’t complete, I knew I needed a timeline. I downloaded The Knot app, the Wedding Wire app, went to Pinterest and printed 4 cute “wedding planning timelines” then went on Etsy and bought an ADORABLE wedding planner. Can you tell I was still procrastinating the actual planning?! Hilariously, I ended up using an Excel spreadsheet that I made myself. My best piece of advice is get a timeline and get it in a format that works best for you — Do you like crossing things off a handwritten to-do list? Print a timeline from Pinterest. Are you always on your phone? An app will work best for you! Like hiding rows on Excel? Make your own list! (I can send you mine — it’s color coded)!
But no matter how well you plan, you’re bound to forget something, here’s a handy list of some of those minute details that are actually a pretty big deal that you may be completely forgetting.
1. The Before and After Meals
Rehearsal dinner and morning after brunch — these are the pre and post parties to your actual wedding! You’re busy planning the biggest day of your life so delegate these two events to your soon to be hubby. They can use this as an opportunity to showcase their personality — in our case, we used our rehearsal dinner as an opportunity to be less formal and our guest enjoyed a family style dinner at Graffiti Bar at Sampan before our wedding and a very relaxed brunch at Urban Farmer at The Logan Hotel after the wedding.
2. Transportation Plan
Logistics – so fun, right? Not! Having a timeline and a transportation plan is essential to get all the photos you want in the time you have allotted for photos. It’s also essential in ensuring that you and your wedding party are at the venue on time – wouldn’t want to be late to your own party! Pass this along to you photographer and your driver — on wedding day, you want to be worry free!
3. Photo Location Permits
These easy to obtain documents are a must have in Philadelphia! Although we didn’t get bothered by anyone, there is always a chance that without permits you could get chased off your dream photo location. Most permits have a very quick approval process, but I suggest requesting these about 1 month prior to the event to ensure your date is available!
This one comes with a story — I thought about the guestbook a lot during the beginning of my planning, because I was getting married at The Free Library of Philadelphia, and I wanted the perfect guestbook to match the theme. Cut to 1 month prior to the wedding when I still hadn’t found the perfect thematic guestbook and my photographer saved the day with a photo book from my engagement shoot! Although wedding guest books aren’t what they used to be, they are a fun piece to have when you want to look back at the memories! There are great ideas out there — I love the idea of placing blank labeled wine bottles on the tables for each guest to sign! Number the bottles and use them as table numbers — two birds with one stone.
5. Vendor Meals and Tips
You’ve spent an entire year telling these people what to do and they’ve either brought your perfect vision to life or kept everyone on the dance floor all night like they promised they would! The least you can do is feed them! Don’t forget to include vendor meals on your final order to your caterer, they will take care of the rest. As far as tips go, I am not going to claim to be an expert on how much to tip each vendor – there are lots of articles to help with that. My suggestion is to designate a point person in charge of tipping your vendors for you. A responsible friend or family member to oversee the cash and getting it to those vendors before the night is through! Don’t let that task fall on your shoulders! If this task falls by the waist side while you are dancing the night away, mail a check to the vendor before leaving for your honeymoon with a thank you note!
6. All the Presents!
Gifts for bridal party and parents: Another group of people that have spent an entire year listening to you talk about every boring wedding detail and planning showers and bachelorette parties to celebrate you — it’s time to thank them! With wedding party gifts – I like the idea of giving something they will use on the wedding day and beyond. Each time they use the item or wear the item they will think of all the fun they had at your wedding! Some ideas I’m loving right now for the ladies: makeup bags, comfy shoes for the reception, and S’well water bottles that match your wedding colors. For the guys: ties, engraved tie bars, flasks, and cigars! Now the parents are another story completely but stick with the theme of something to be used/worn on wedding day and beyond. Can’t go wrong with jewelry for Mom and cuff links for dad! In my case, personalized gifts are the way to my parents’ hearts! For all gifts, remember: it’s the thought that counts!
Now just for fun — here’s a quick list of things that I worried about way too much that I don’t want you to worry about 😉
1. The color of your table linens/napkins: no one ever left a wedding and said, “OMG, did you see those linens?!”
2. The stamps you use on your wedding invitations: the envelopes end up in the trash — do not overpay for 49 cent stamps because they’re cute.
3. Your wedding day lipstick/nail color — again, I’ve never heard someone say, “Her nails were WHAT color?!”
These tips and tricks are here to help you be a little more stress-free in your planning process. Don’t fret – I’ve got more stories coming to you about my insane wedding planning journey. Next post: when you beg a retired seamstress to fix your dress a few weeks prior to your wedding, your groomsmen tell you that their suits are electric blue not the navy that you chose…at your rehearsal dinner and you see your bridesmaids’ dresses all together in person for the first time on your wedding day: confessions about all things attire!
Stay tuned for more articles from the Confessions of a Philadelphia Bride series, written by Victoria Waxman.