Whether you’re getting hitched at home or abroad, in two weeks’ or two months’ time, planning and organising those last-minute details is no small feat. There’s everything to think about for your wedding day (speeches, cake, guest book) and lots to consider even beyond your big day (the honeymoon, thank you cards and photographs). But forget the stress, we say. The romantic adventure you’re about to embark on should be an exciting and satisfying one. Which is why we’ve pulled together the ultimate last-minute wedding checklist, so you can tick off each task in style.
Whether you’re wearing a dress, a suit or something totally unique, it’s important that you and your wedding party look and feel your best on your special day. Spare some time to make sure your outfits are clean, a perfect fit and going to be as comfortable as possible.
☑ Try everything on before the big day
Our top tip: try on your whole outfit, including accessories, and practice walking around the house. This’ll get you used to what you’ll be wearing on the day and highlight if you need any emergency alterations.
☑ Break in your shoes (and advise others to do the same!)
Wear in your shoes a little a week before your wedding so your feet don't hurt on the day. If they’re unbearable, consider sourcing an alternative pair or at least a second pair of shoes to throw on later in the evening.
☑ Clean the rings
Polish your wedding rings and pop them safely in a dust-free bag or box. It’s also a good idea to clean any other jewellery you’ll be wearing on the day alongside your wedding band.
☑ The rest of your jewellery
When it comes to bridal jewellery, take a few tips from the experts at Motley:
Because there’s nothing really such as ‘bridal jewellery’. If you’re a gold person, wear gold. If you love statement hoops, great. You’d be surprised at how much goes with a white dress.
More than a memento
Like your marriage, you want your jewellery to last, and good quality jewellery doesn’t need to break the bank, especially if you go for silver or vermeil. A word from the wise – if you buy plated jewellery, check the base metal is silver rather than bronze (no one wants green ears on the wedding day).
Remember the bridesmaids’ gifts
Because they’ve probably been utterly outstanding. And there’s nothing like a pair of these to express your thanks.
☑ Beauty treatments
If you’d like to get your hair and nails done the week or day of your wedding, be sure to secure your appointment in advance. And remember it’s best not to try any new face products in case they make your skin break out.
☑ Pack your bags
As well your wedding outfits, remember to pack up all your beauty products, a medical kit (for headaches or nervous tummies etc.). You’ll also need pyjamas and an outfit for the following day if you’re staying at the venue overnight.
☑ Pack bags for honeymoon
Jetting off straight after the wedding? Be sure to pack your suitcases in advance to avoid a late-night packing session the night before your big day.
☑ Emergency kit
A bag filled with magic tricks (think scissors, deodorant, stain remover or even a straw so you can drink with your lipstick on) can be a life saver.
☑ Food & snacks
Unless you know food will be provided in the rooms at your venue or hotel, pack some of your own snacks to make sure there’ll be nibbles around while you're all getting ready. You’ll want to keep your energy up for the day ahead!
Next up, it’s time to think about the ceremony itself. Be it a modern, laid-back service or a traditional, religious ceremony, here’s a few things to pin down before you officially tie the knot:
☑ Make it official
Don't forget to get your marriage license and bring it to the venue. We recommend giving it to someone you trust so you don't misplace it if you're stressed on the day.
☑ Practice your vows
Write out your vows even if you intend to read them off by heart and practice them aloud in the run-up to your wedding. The same goes for any speeches you want to give on the day. Don’t forget to print an extra copy and leave it with your maid of honour in case you lose the original.
☑ Orders of service
Plan your order of service and have them printed for your guests to follow along. Run through it to get a rough idea of how long each individual part takes and include a tribute to anyone who played an extra special part in your day.
☑ Venue decor
Arrange for the ushers, friends or family to set up the venue in the morning, e.g. place ceremony programs on each seat, set out any flowers and handkerchiefs for all those happy tears. Remember to double check that you’re allowed to put up your own decor if you’re getting wed in a religious venue.
☑ The ceremony itself
Choose a ring bearer and bring a small dish or pouch to place the rings in during the ceremony. Make sure you have a wedding bouquet and that it will be with you on time.
From caterers to lighting technicians, the weather to insurance, there’s lots to think about when it comes to your venue and those who help to make your day happen. Here are a few examples:
☑ Itinerary for vendors
Check in with any vendors you’re working with to confirm delivery times. Confirm final numbers for catering, and don't forget to include yourself and possibly on-site staff when counting numbers for food.
☑ Finalise payments
Make any outstanding payments before the wedding so you can relax and enjoy your day. You may want to also put together a cash tip for staff who’ve really gone above and beyond.
☑ Set up the venue ahead of time
If that's not possible, make sure you drop off everything that's needed (props & decor) before the day and arrange for someone else to set everything up on the day. Delegate roles to specific people to make sure you know who's going to set the tables and lay out fresh flowers, etc.
☑ Plan for bad weather
If you're planning an outdoor wedding, make sure there's enough space under tents, canopies etc in case the sunshine doesn’t show up. You might want to hire some outdoor heaters to keep guests warm or parasols to provide shade for a summer wedding.
Double check whether you need to organise insurance for rented equipment, if this is not included in any contracts.
☑ Check the tech
Test out any speakers and microphones that’ll be used for speeches or live music in the evening to make sure everything is in working order.
☑ Check the lighting
You've most likely only seen your venue in the daylight. Find out what the lighting will be like in the evening in case you need to source additional lighting. Avoid overly bright light bulbs for the evening – fairy lights and lanterns work well for illuminating dark outdoor spaces.
After the wedding comes the dinner, drinks and dancing! Here are a few things to consider post-ceremony:
Curate a playlist for your wedding reception or request songs if the DJ hasn't already asked. You’ll want to dance to songs you and your guests will love after all! You can also provide a list of songs you absolutely don't want to be played at your wedding.
Create a dedicated space for gifts at the venue and assign someone to take them home at the end of the night. If you’d like to be extra prepared, have your bridesmaid write down who gives what gift as you receive them so you can mention it in your thank you cards later.
☑ Wedding favours
Assemble your little thank you gifts for guests and make sure to have a few extra just in case.
☑ The cake
Check you’re cake is scheduled to arrive on time and if there's an option to store it somewhere so it doesn’t melt or get knocked over! Ask your venue if there’ll be cake plates, a cake slice and forks if these are something you’d like. And if you want a cake topper, now is the time to buy it.
It’s best to arrange transport to and from the venue for less mobile guests, such as grandparents, and make sure everybody has the addresses of both the ceremony and reception venue. If your venue is very remote, it’s good form to put on a coach for guests and ensure there's enough parking space for those who’d like to make their own way there. And, of course, don't forget to arrange transport for yourself to and from the venue.
☑ Clearing up
Assemble a post-wedding task force, including someone to help bring the gifts home, make sure decorations are taken away and that the venue is in top condition so you get your deposit back. Ask a friend, family member or your wedding party to organise this, you don't want to be the one picking confetti out of the carpet the next morning.
Make a plan or itinerary with your photographer. When will they be there and what do you want them to focus on? Come up with a list of people you’d like individual photos with and share it with the maid of honour and best man so they can help round up the troops. Also bring a copy of your wedding invitation - it's always nice to have your wedding stationery included in some of the photos.
☑ Seating plan
If you haven't already, confirm final guest numbers and chase those invitees who still haven't RSVP'd. This will help you to create or finalise your seating plan.
☑ On the day stationery
Printed your seating plan? Thought about table numbers/names? Given every guest a place card? We suggest displaying a large seating plan at the entrance of your venue and numbering or naming tables to make it easy for everyone to find their seat. Personalise yours to match your wedding invitations and thank you cards to tie everything together nicely.
Order a wedding sign if you haven’t already. They’re handy for sharing information like ‘Wedding this Way' 'Order of the Day' or asking guests to politely turn off their phones during your ceremony.
Invest in a personalised guest book so you can collect warm wishes from all of your guests and have a beautiful keepsake of your big day to hold onto forever.
☑ Added extras
Think about any fun extras you’d like have at your reception – a sweet stand, silhouette artist, a flip flop station for tired feet. But don't feel obliged to do any of the above, these are nice details but no one will notice if they're not there.
☑ Share the love
Treat those who’ve helped bring your dream day to life a little gift or a drink to show them how much you appreciate their support.