8 To-Dos For the Final 8 Weeks of Wedding Planning
Updated: Jun 8, 2021
Ever get the feeling like you're missing something? When wedding planning, the last 6 to 8 weeks before you walk down the aisle can seem so task-heavy! Here are 8 to-do items for your list in the final 8 weeks.
1. Send out invitations. Invitations should be sent out no later than 6 weeks before the wedding. I recommend sending them 8 weeks in advance, with an RSVP date of 3 weeks before the wedding. This timeline gives you 1 week to wait for late senders and to follow up with people who have not responded before the final guarantee is due with the venue and/or caterer. Remember, typically final guarantees are due 10 to 14 days prior to the wedding.
2. Apply for a marriage license. This should be done roughly 6 weeks before your wedding. To apply for your marriage license, visit the local county clerk's office of the county you will be marrying in (Cook County allows for applications online) together with your driver's licenses. The cost of a marriage license is between $30-$60 depending on the county & can be used after the 1 day waiting period for up to 60 days.
3. Purchase any items you haven't already. By 6 weeks before the wedding, you should have all of your attire, accessories, and decor items ordered. This should give plenty of time for shipping. By 3 weeks, I want you to have them organized and stored in a way that is easy for you to disburse as needed when the time comes. This will ensure that if anything arrives damaged or needs to be returned for any reason, you have time to do so before the wedding. Plus, if anything was overlooked, there is still time to order it. This same rule applies for any DIY projects: wrap those up by 3 weeks prior to the wedding. This will help you avoid the stress of trying to finish those last DIY centerpieces in the days leading up to your wedding.
4. Make your playlists for your DJ. While I wouldn't recommend making an entire 6 hour playlist because, well, that's what you pay your DJ for, I would suggest listing out the songs for special moments (ie. traditional dances, cake cutting, introductions, etc). You can also give the DJ an idea of the overall vibe you want your cocktail hour, dinner & reception to have musically. Some people love a good chicken dance and some don't, but either way don't forget a list of any songs you do NOT want to be played.
5. Meet with your Wedding Manager. If you have hired a Wedding Manager (also known as a Day of Coordinator), they'll usually want to meet with you about 8 to 10 weeks before the wedding. We call this "The Final Details Meeting." At this meeting you'll confirm start times & locations, as well as cover the schedule for the day, set up details, ceremony details, wedding party & vendor info, and more. After this meeting, your Wedding Manager will work with your vendors & use the information provided at this meeting to create a timeline for the day.
6. Make or approve your final timeline. If you did not hire a Wedding Manager, you'll be tasked with creating the timeline for the wedding day. You'll want to set aside time with each vendor to talk about their arrival & departure times, their contracted number of hours, and how long they'll need for set up/prep. You can put this info into a mass spreadsheet detailing where the bride, groom & each vendor will be throughout the day. You'll also want to include timing for hair & makeup, dressing, breakfast & lunch, set up, photos, all of the "moments" throughout the day, and tear down after the wedding. Start this 3-4 weeks before the wedding. If you did hire a Wedding Manager, they will send you the finalized timeline for you to approve 1 to 2 weeks before the wedding. All you'll need to do is look over it and send your thumbs up.
7. Make an inventory list. Include on this list anything and everything that is required for the wedding day. Rings, every decor item, attire, cake topper/knife/server, photos for memory table, favors, marriage license, etc. Everything, everything, everything for the big day! Check it twice, three times, four times if you think you need to. Then, split the list by who is responsible for what and how it's going to get where it needs to be. Example: Rings - best man (groom gives at rehearsal), decor items - DOC (picks up at rehearsal), wedding dress - MOB (picks up from Bride's house after rehearsal & takes to bride's hotel room).
8. Attend your final walk-through at your venue. A week or two before your wedding, you'll want to have what's called a "final walk through" at your venue with your venue coordinator and/or catering manager. This meeting is important for a few reasons: you'll talk through the venue layout, your menu and service times, A/V and other rental details, the flow of guests, and more. You'll want to confirm that everything you have ordered and paid for, as well as requested service times, are on your caterer's banquet event order (or BEO). This form will be their reference on wedding day, so the general rule of thumb is if it's not on the BEO, it's not going to be there on the wedding day. If you haven't already sent your venue and/or caterer your final guest counts, make sure to bring those along to this meeting.
BONUS: Make a list of important shots for your photographer.
The last 8 weeks before your wedding can be very stressful, but with a plan, good lists, and a little time management it doesn't have to be!
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