Part 3: The Ultimate Wedding Planning Checklist (The Final Week to After Your Wedding)

How to Organize Your Wedding To-Do List and Make it a Memorable Journey Instead of a Daunting Task

The Final Week

  • Hunt down any RSVP stragglers and deliver your final headcount to your wedding venue. Most California wedding venues need you to deliver your final headcount at least 14 days before your wedding day.
  • Get dolled up! Get your haircut and colored/highlighted/balayage. If you do other things such as fake tan, eyelash extensions, eyebrow tint, etc., now is the time to get that all taken care of.
  • A couple of days before your wedding, get a manicure and pedicure.
  • Treat yourself to a massage. And why not treat your fiance to one as well?
  • Get your final wedding dress fitting. Bring your wedding planner along if she can make it.
  • Clean your ring so that it’s extra sparkly for your photographer to capture on your wedding day.
  • Clear or postpone your to-do list at work or elsewhere so that you can focus all of your attention on wedding planning and any last-minute details or changes.
  • Get your bags ready for your honeymoon and confirm your arrangements. Don’t forget your passport!
  • Read your vows out loud. Now is the time to nail down the wording, tone and inflection. Read it over and over until it’s perfected.
  • If you’re planning a before or after breakfast, brunch, lunch or dinner with some guests, now is a good time to make that reservation, especially if it’s for a larger table. 
  • EXTRA Tip: Rent a UHAUL. You may not be thinking about “after” your wedding, but there are some details to cover — where will your florals go? Where does all the extra food go? Your guests’ gifts and all the other items to take away from the venue. Renting a UHAUL and designating a sober driver to take these items back home will save you a lot of stress after all the fun and dancing is over for the night. Typically, your wedding planner will also help you with this.
  • Wine Country Tip: you’re getting married in wine country! Consider setting up a tasting event or tour for some select guests. 

The Night Before & On the Day of Your Wedding

  • The Night Before Your Wedding

    • Pack a purse or small bag with your personal items
    • Eat a meal that won’t cause you to get sick or bloated. We recommend a vegan meal. Drink a couple of liters of water with this meal or before bed to prevent any bloating and to help your stomach settle.
    • Pack a clutch or small bag of personal items
    • Drink even more water. Actually, always drink tons of water.
    • Try to sleep 8-10 hours. If you’re having trouble falling asleep because of nervousness and excitement, try having some hot tea (no caffeine) or a very, very small amount of Melatonin (3mg or less).
    • Get your car prepped with any boxes, suitcases, bags or even survival kits to bring to the ceremony and reception

  • The Morning Of Your Wedding

    • Stay off your feet as much as possible. You’ll be on your feet all afternoon and evening, so save some energy.
    • Eat a healthy breakfast that contains minimum salt to avoid any bloating.
    • Reminder: drink your water!
    • Take your dress out and get it hung and steamed to remove any wrinkles or imperfections
    • Lay out all the items (such as your shoes, rings, invitations and other details) that you want your photographer to capture
    • Be gracious, kind and thankful to everyone around you. It can be a stressful day, but remember to be present and positive.
    • Enjoy everything, it’s your special day.

After Your Wedding

  • Write “Thank You” notes.
      • We recommend that you start writing notes as soon as you receive gifts, or even create a spreadsheet to help you stay organized. Handwritten notes are a nice touch and get specific with your note — let the gift giver know what you plan to do with their gift. This makes your note more sweet and sincere.
      • Your photographer may send you a batch of photos to choose your favorites from. Otherwise, they’ll select their top favorites on your own.
  • Return duplicate or unneeded registry gifts
      • Make sure to do this as soon as you can or assign someone to help you with this task.
  • Update your marital status/last name (if you change it) to the following:
      • IRS, you and your spouse’s employers, your insurance companies, credit card companies, any loan or mortgage providers, the Passport office, your primary care or doctors’ offices, the Passport office, Social Security office, Voter Registration and the Post Office. If you’re into social media, you can update it on Facebook as well.
  • Get written confirmation that all of your wedding vendors have been paid
      • They may have already provided this since you paid them in full before the wedding, but if they haven’t, be sure to get an invoice or receipt for your records.
      • If you were happy with your wedding vendors, let them know. The best place to review a wedding vendor is on their local Google profile. This goes a long way for their business.
      • If you plan to eat a little on your first anniversary, get a top-tier piece wrapped up to take home with you. Don’t leave it in a place in the freezer where it can get crushed or ruined. 
    • A lot happened on your wedding day. You may have stains or dirt on your wedding dress that you didn’t notice. We recommend sending your dress to a professional cleaner or wedding gown preserver to clean and preserve your wedding gown. You never know if you’ll want to pass down your wedding dress to someone else eventually.

About the Author, John Alden

John Alden is a Wine Country Wedding expert and the owner of Mountain House Estate, a Northern California wedding venue located near Cloverdale,  Sonoma County. Over the past 5 years, John has tirelessly worked to keep the property in pristine condition and has unmatched expertise about wine country weddings. In his free time, he enjoys working on classic cars in his garage.