The question is popped, the ring is on, stars are in your eyes…but now what? With so many tasks to take care of and details to arrange, planning a wedding can seem overwhelming. But, if you give yourself enough time to plan and sort the tasks month by month with a wedding-planning checklist and wedding timeline, the job becomes more fun and less stressful. Have a look at our three must have wedding checklists!
Rehearsal Dinner Planning: Everything You Need to Know
Even though you’re already throwing one huge celebration, don’t forget about the smaller dinner party that goes along with it: your rehearsal dinner. Although it won’t take as much planning, there’s still a good amount of thought that should go into it. Find our top tips below.
Decide Who’s Hosting
Traditionally, the rehearsal dinner is thrown in the couple’s honour (usually by the groom’s parents), but really anyone can host. Some couples even choose to do it themselves. One thing to keep in mind: The host usually takes care of the bill, which also means they get to be the creative director (as in flowers and invites are up to them).
Put Together a Budget
This is the pregame, not the main event, so don’t feel pressured to spend big on elaborate centrepieces and a four-course dinner. You have the opportunity of inviting a smaller group of guests if you wish ie it doesn’t have to be an invitation for all wedding guests. The focus should be on meeting and mingling, so let that guide your budget decisions.
Work Out the Guest List
The reason you’re having a rehearsal dinner is to get quality time with those closest to you, so make sure they’re on the guest list. The must-invites are your immediate families, your wedding party and their spouses or significant others, the parents of your flower girls or ring bearers, and maybe your officiant. If there are a lot of guests traveling from out of town (i.e., you are having a destination wedding), then it’s polite to invite most, if not all, of them. If that’s just too many, give them nearby dinner ideas and directions on your wedding website and perhaps get together with all for a cocktail or welcome drink after dinner. In Ireland this can be an ideal opportunity to show your guests a real Irish pub!
Know What You Want It to Look (and Taste) Like
If the host already has a location in mind, let that guide the menu and décor decisions. If not give them suggestions. Even if you’re having a classic, formal ballroom wedding, you could have a more laid-back affair the night before. Favourite foods, the place you went for your first date or even your honeymoon destination can drive the theme.
Search for and Book the Rehearsal Dinner Spot
Restaurants are the most common rehearsal dinner venues, but there’s no reason you have to limit yourself to just those options. It could be, on a hotel rooftop, at a brewery, in an Irish pub, marquee at hosts home or even at a bowling alley.
Send Out Invitations
Rehearsal dinner invites can be sent in the same envelope as the wedding invitations or sent separately. For a casual rehearsal dinner, you don’t need anything over the top. Send out simple paper invites, or for a small group, an evite or even a personal phone call with a follow-up email with all the details works too.
Tap Your Toasters
Traditionally for our American clients the rehearsal dinner is usually the time for some of the toasts including the host toasting the couple. The hosts will welcome the families together, thank everyone for attending and bring up sentimental stories that make everyone laugh (and cry!). The bridesmaids or groomsmen (except for the maid of honour and best man, who usually toast at the wedding), grandparents or anyone else could also give a speech.
Confirm the Timeline and RSVPs
One to two weeks before the rehearsal dinner, follow up with your officiant to double-check the rehearsal time as well as with the rehearsal dinner venue to make sure you’re all set for the planned reservation. Call up any guests whom you haven’t received an RSVP from to finalize the guest count for the catering and seating setup.
Use This Wedding Decor Checklist to Help You Nail Every Detail
Designing your wedding can feel a little overwhelming, especially when your venue is a blank slate. We’ve been thinking about all of the different décor elements that can go into your wedding day — so many options! — and realized a checklist was in order to help you nail every detail. This wedding décor checklist has everything your day might need, but nothing here is mandatory! Check off what you like and leave blank what doesn’t fit your day.
Wedding Ceremony Décor
Seating or Ceremony Instructions Sign/ Unplugged Ceremony
When thinking about what signs to have at your ceremony, we highly recommend one announcing you’re having an unplugged ceremony. This helps keep people’s eyes on you and allows your photographers to capture your love without a sea of cell phones in the pictures! (Not sure what an unplugged ceremony is?
Let your guests know how the ceremony will flow with ceremony programs. Your stationery vendor will print a program in line with the rest of your stationery.
Other Wedding Ceremony Décor Items
- Welcome Sign
- Aisle Markers
- Aisle Runner
- Ceremony Arch
- Ceremony Backdrop
- Vow Books
- Ceremony Table
- Flowers including pew ends , alter arrangements, chair decorations and candlelight
Wedding Dinner Table Décor
Table Garland, Table Runner and Table Numbers
While they may seem like a small detail, table numbers are super important! Or you may opt for table names based on things such as your shared pastime, favourite movies and travel.
The time of your wedding reception will influence the food options for wedding. It can dictate what type of food you serve, from a full meal to just appetizers and hors d’oeuvres for an early wedding or intimate event.
You may want your guests to get up and mingle instead of feeling tied to their table eating a full meal — to encourage this, you might decide to serve smaller plates such as appetizers and hors d’oeuvres. This may seem like a good idea in theory, but if you are asking friends and family to join you during a “mealtime,” it is highly recommended to serve a full meal instead of snacks. To still keep it quite informal you could decide to have food stations /buffet style event or even have an indulgence table for dessert. It’s no fun being hungry, and you would not want your guests to leave early because they need to eat!
Other Wedding Reception Décor
- Table Runners
- Table Numbers
- Escort Cards
- Table plan
- Crockery , Cutlery ,Glassware pending whether your venue supplies or you may decide to upgrade what they do provide.
- Chair Back Décor
Wedding Reception Décor
Guest Book Table + Welcome Sign
A guest book gives your wedding guests a chance to offer warm wishes and advice as they celebrate your special day with you. The guest book is something to keep and look back on for years to come.
Bar or Drink Station Display/ Bar Menu or Signature Cocktail List
Are you two cocktail connoisseurs? Designate a couple of signature cocktails for your reception and let your guests know what’s on the menu with an illustrated cocktail menu!
Other Wedding Décor Elements
- Decorated Gift Table
- Card Holder + Sign
- Escort Card Display
- Dressed Dessert Table
- Stand + Topper for your Cake
- Dessert Displays/Indulgence table
- Mood Reception Lighting
- Hanging Decor
- Wedding Favour Display
- Lounge /Chill out Area
- Cute Quote Signs
Wedding Attire Checklist
Yes, the bridal gown will garner all of the attention of the guests, but don’t forget all of the other fashion and beauty items necessary to complete your look on the big day.
For the Bride
First step is to decide if you would like to have a shop bought dress or couture especially designed. Shopping for a wedding gown is like nothing else you’ve ever done before. There’s the personal attention you’ll get from a salon consultant, the crowd-sourced opinions from your crew, the magnificence of every gown’s fabric, shape, and style—it is sure to take your breath away! It can take some time so ensure you begin looking for your dress 9-12 months out and make sure you allow at least 6 weeks for alterations.
Remember to break them in well before the wedding and have a pair of more comfortable shoes to change into later on in the reception! You may also require a separate pair for your photo shoot if it includes walking on grass /gravel !
Unless your makeup artist will be there with you throughout the event, it is a good idea to purchase products such as lipsticks and blushes that you will need for touch-ups later in the night.
If you can, have a professional manicure and pedicure the day before your wedding to complete your picture-perfect look. Or if having gel /shellac manicure can have that 2 /3 days prior .
Other Wedding Attire for the Bride
- Wedding veil
- Stockings – be sure to have your maid of honour carry an extra pair in case of runs!
*Don’t forget to incorporate something old, something new, something borrowed and something blue!
For the Groom
The groom’s attire is generally determined by the formality of the wedding. It can range from a business suit and dress tie to a tuxedo or tails. The list below should keep your man covered, no matter what his style:
- Dress shirt or tuxedo shirt
- Suit or Trousers and jacket
- Tie (bow, ascot or straight)
- Cummerbund or Vest Socks
- Shoes – tell him to break in as well!
If renting tuxedos, they should be reserved several months before the wedding and picked up a few days before the wedding. This will allow for last minute corrections or alterations. If your groomsmen do not live in your area, measurements can be taken at any tuxedo shop and emailed to the hire shop. If the groom is having a bespoke suit made, he should get working on it at least 6 months prior.
*To save money, consider allowing the guys to wear their own shoes. As long as they have a similar finish, are appropriate for the look and will appear similar in the photos. This is something none of your guests will notice and will probably make for very happy groomsmen.
We hope on reading our three must have Wedding Checklists blog you are now in for a less stressful Wedding Planning experience
Don’t hesitate to contact Michelle with your queries!
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