1. Remembering a pretty hanger for your dress
It’s a tiny detail, but when your photographer takes the classic photo of your dress hanging up before you put it on, you don’t want to ruin the shot with a plastic or wire hanger.
2. Telling family about reserved seating
It won’t matter how cute your “Reserved” sign is if your family doesn’t know the seats are meant for them. Make sure everyone is clear at the rehearsal where they’re allowed to sit.
3. Packing your cell phone charger
You’ll probably get a bunch of calls on your wedding day from frazzled guests and anxious family members who need fast answers. Make sure your phone is fully charged — and then put someone else in charge of answering it.
4. Packing a wedding night bag
Put together an overnight bag packed with toiletries, sexy lingerie, and anything you need for the next morning. Then ask a bridesmaid to drop it for you at your wedding night room.
5. Changing your name (if that’s the plan!)
If you’re taking his name, you’ll need to replace everything with your maiden moniker on it, including your Social Security card, driver’s license, and passport. You can find out online what you need to bring with you to your area’s Social Security office and Department of Transportation office.
6. Bringing extra cash
Whether it’s tipping your hairstylist, the band, or the hotel bellhop, you want to have some extra cash (including singles) on hand.
7. Getting international travel documents
As soon as you book your flights, check with your airline to make sure you have all the documentation you need. Keep in mind that you need a passport even to travel to Canada, and it can take up to six weeks to get one, so start early!
8. Writing your thank-you speech
While you don’t have to give a full public address, it is nice for the bride and groom to say a few words to thank parents, bridal party members, and anyone else who supported them through the wedding planning. Take an hour or so to jot down a few thoughts to make sure you don’t forget anyone.
9. Assigning someone to collect your gifts
There are enough horror stories of couples who forget to bring their gifts home — and never see them again. Make sure you’re not one of them by appointing a relative or friend to gather the goods and keep them until you get back from your honeymoon.
10. Arranging day-of transportation
Make sure you have a car or someone available to drive you on the day of the wedding to the hair salon and to the church.
11. Having someone pick up your dress
Whether you change into a cute “going away” outfit after the reception or don’t want to take off your dress until you get to the hotel room, make sure someone is available after the wedding to pick up your dress and hang on to it for you.
12. Packing an emergency day-of kit
Head off any issues by putting together an emergency kit with bobby pins, a sewing kit, safety pins, clear nail polish, extra hose, bandages, aspirin, antacids, tissues, and anything else you think you might need. Even better, ask a bridesmaid to do this for you.
13. Eating dinner (and cake!)
Remember all the time you spent deliberating over tastings and miniature portions of cake? Now it’s time to enjoy the fruits of your labor. Put someone in charge of making you and your groom have a few minutes to sit down and eat (your wedding planner, maid of honor, or a parent are all great point people for this task). At the very least, eat a slice of cake!
14. Feeding your bridal party
Your bridesmaids are probably going to be too busy before the ceremony to stop for a meal. Set aside time that day for lunch with sandwiches, chips, fruit, and other snacks to make sure they get some food beforehand.
15. Making a “Just Married” sign
A “Just Married” sign for the car is a classic tradition, and it makes for a fun photo op. Make your own, enlist a crafty friend, or look online at sites like Etsy to buy one premade.
16. Giving gifts to your bridal party
Show them how much you appreciate all of their help over the last few months with a personal gift for each attendant.
17. Bringing your cake cutter
They don’t necessarily have to be crystal or engraved, but considering what a big photo op the cake cutting is, you probably want to have something a little nicer than what your caterer will hand you. If you’re not interested in purchasing a set, see if a family member or friend will lend you theirs (a la your something borrowed).
18. Making sure to have “something old, something new, something borrowed, something blue”
If you have specific items in mind (such as your best friend’s veil for something borrowed or jewelry from your grandmother for your something old), be sure to arrange for them in advance.
19. Creating an itinerary
Just because you know the schedule for the day forward and backward doesn’t mean everyone does. Make sure your relatives know where they need to be and when (for example, not to leave the church if you’re taking family photos after the ceremony), to save time and reduce confusion.
20. Enjoying the day
After spending a year or more obsessing over your wedding, it can be easy to get caught up in the details. But the day goes faster than you will believe, so take a deep breath, realize that everything will be fine, and concentrate on simply taking it all in.