Between the dress, the décor, and the destination, wedding planning can be one of the most complicated things you’ll orchestrate in your lifetime. With all these moving parts, it’s inevitable that you’ll forget something throughout the process. The key? Stay organized. Make lists. Check them and check them again. And, most importantly: don’t stress too much if you wind up forgetting something. With a backup plan in place and people you trust all around you, there’s nothing to worry about.
To be sure things go off without a hitch, though, here are a few of the most common wedding details many couples forget.
As you’re planning your big day, certain people will emerge as unexpected heroic helpers and major players: a special aunt, old friends, musicians, in-laws or the friend-of-a-friend DJ who’s cutting you a deal. In addition to the regular recipients—all members of your bridal party plus any involved parents—you’ll want to make sure you give these people something to show them you’re grateful for all they’ve done. If the budget is super tight, a heartfelt, hand-written card is a great option and a small gift card or memento goes a long way.
As you’re packing for the big day, remember to bring everything you need for decorating the venue: tape, hook and loop fasteners, table clips, and anything else that will help you fasten your banners, signage, and bunting throughout the venue. Also, consider that many venues have rules against using typical adhesives, so bring along options that won’t leave behind any sticky residue or messes. Some helpful tools, like a hammer, a stapler, and a roll of twine will be much appreciated when you’re decorating. Finally, if you wedding is outside, pack table skirting clips, to avoid any chaos on a breezy day.
If you’re going totally DIY and don’t have the help of a venue or a designated wedding planner, consider that in some parks and public places you’ll need to have a permit and other forms of permission to get married. Additionally, some venues require you to obtain special event insurance (couples often add this as a rider to an existing insurance plan) or to hire a local police officer during certain hours. These things are easy to overlook, but your wedding could be stalled without them, so make sure they’re fully accounted for.
During the hustle and bustle of the day, you’re going to be focused on getting ready, entertaining your guests, making sure everything goes perfectly and, honestly, little else. The last thing you’ll be thinking about is making sure all the many vendors, service providers, and performers get paid. In the days or weeks before the wedding, write out pre-stuffed envelopes labeled with each vendor’s name or business. Give them to someone you trust to distribute at the end of the night.
Your timeline is everything on the day of the wedding. It lets the dozens of people involved know where to be when, and following it closely is crucial to a successful event. In addition to basics like call times for all parties, have your timeline feature detailed info like sunset time (this is super helpful for the photographer, who probably wants to capture certain shots in the daylight) as well as any contingency plans should things run over time-wise. Make it easily accessible in printed and digital form so everyone has access no matter what.
It happens; people who originally RSVP’d “no” are suddenly last-minute “yesses.” Distant relatives decide they can make it after all. Friends of friends crash the wedding. It’s rude, but it does happen, so the best thing you can do is be prepared, just in case. Most caterers will already account for a difference of five or 10 guests, but you’ll need to decide where to seat them. Make sure you have a little bit of wiggle room in your seating chart to accommodate unexpected guests.
By the time you’re halfway through the reception, you probably won’t be too concerned with anything other than having fun. But there is a slight chance the wrong song choice could harsh your mellow. And we won’t judge you if you want to keep some tunes off the playlist, especially if it’s anything involving coordinated dances. On the other hand, make sure to remember to give the DJ a top 10 or 20 list of must-play tracks so you capture the ideal vibe on the dance floor.
It’s raining, and you don’t have enough umbrellas for your bridal party to get from the limo to the reception venue. Your wedding planner wants to know where to sit grandma during the ceremony. God forbid, you forgot the wedding license (which, depending on your state, will need to be signed by your officiant or the judge after the knot has been tied). Designate someone to help you solve these problems. And avoid the urge to make it a parent or a member of the bridal party—these people will be super busy all day long!
The goal of wedding planning should be to coordinate everything so that you don’t have to worry about anything besides saying “I do,” cutting the cake, and dancing the night away with your new partner. As long as you have a list of things to remember, you’ll be well on your way to a wedding to remember that goes off without a hitch (pun intended).
Halle Summers is a Marketing Coordinator for FASTENation Inc., a premier global manufacturer, technical converter, distributor, and designer of adhesive based fasteners and tapes. Halle enjoys sharing her unique perspective and knowledge through her blog writing. When she isn’t writing articles, she enjoys spending time in downtown Charleston, South Carolina and all the amazing food her hometown has to offer.