Planning your wedding is exciting, thrilling, fun and at times…overwhelming.  There are tons of “how-tos,” guides and books out there – but every experience and wedding vision is different.  As you approach your wedding day and are tying up loose ends, it’s hard to plan for the unexpected when you don’t know exactly what to expect.  I have shared my insights below on some critical to-dos that are commonly overlooked.

1)      Take alone time with your spouse on your wedding day

This is the most simple, yet most important “to-do.”  Between all of the scheduled events, pictures and chatting, taking a few quiet moments with your new wife/husband is often forgotten.  Truthfully, it is not the easiest to sneak away as you are the center of attention and the reason for the party.  However, this time in which you take deep breaths, are grateful and take it all in, together, will be among some of your favorite memories of the day.

2)      Have a plan for your gifts after the wedding

If you are not going directly home after the wedding, make sure you arrange for a family member or friend to take your gifts home for you.  Gifts and cards have high value and if you plan to spend the night somewhere, you do not want to cart them in and out of a hotel or leave them overnight in your car. 

3)      Start a list of things to bring weeks before the wedding

In the weeks leading up to your wedding, start preparing a list of all the things you need to bring on your wedding day.  You will have increasingly more things to do and think about as you get closer and if you wait until the last minute to gather your thoughts, you will undoubtedly forget something.  Keep a running list as things cross your mind and even start a pile of things to bring as you see them. 


Some Examples:

-          Special perfume

-          Sentimental keepsakes or mementos you want with you

-          A special card or paper to write your fiancée a letter

-          Any needed undergarments

-          Décor you are responsible for bringing

-          Clothes to wear the next day if you are spending the night somewhere

4)      Know how your personal items and décor are coming home

The venue typically cleans up their items, but any décor and personal items are your responsibility.  Have a plan for cleanup after the reception so it is not left unexpectedly to your friends and family after your exit.  If you have a wedding planner, this in itself makes them worth every penny! 


Some Suggestions:

-          For rental items, make sure you have an inventory checklist of what all needs to be returned, who will be collecting these items following the ceremony/reception, when the items need to be returned by and who will be doing the returning. 

-          For flowers, guests love to take these home with them or you can donate them to a nearby hospital or nursing home. 

-          Have a family member or close friend take all of your personal and sentimental items home that you don’t need that evening (i.e. clothes you wore while getting ready, letters, keepsakes)

5)      Don’t forget to eat and drink – water!

With all of the excitement, nerves and people, it is surprising how easy it is to forget to eat or drink water.  Even if you are not hungry, make sure to take a few bites of your dinner and stay hydrated so you have energy to keep dancing all night!

6)      Don’t forget to tip and pay!

If you plan to tip any vendors or if you need to pay any vendors the day of the wedding, make sure you have this squared away in advance.  Avoid scrambling to write checks during the reception and have the cash or written out checks put in labeled envelopes.  Dedicate someone to distribute these for you (or a wedding planner) so that you don’t have to worry (or forget) about it.  Make sure you bring extra envelopes and money in case there is someone unexpected that goes above and beyond or if you want to hire the photographer or DJ for an extra hour at the last minute.

7)      Don’t forget to thank everyone

Yes, this is your big day, but make sure you thank every person that took the time to celebrate with you and make it special.  Start making your “rounds” early throughout the evening so that you have the chance to say a few words with everyone.  If your guest count is extremely high, you and your new spouse may need to split up to make sure you get a little face time with every guest.


For more wedding tips, how-tos and information, please check out my website,