Being in the wedding industry, you would think I would have a pretty good handle on almost everything to do with a wedding. Yeah, not as much as you would think. Since recently getting married myself, and having gone through planning with my fiancé, I am finding there is a lot more detail that goes into the planning than previously thought. And, yes, I am guilty of assuming that all vendors are on top of their game when it comes to planning, but not always.
So, as we start putting together a list, we kept going back to it because “we forgot this and we forgot that.” It made me wonder, what are the most common items that people forget about when planning their wedding? Wow! There’s a lot. So, I compiled a list of the ones that I felt were the most important. I present to you the 30 Most Often Forgotten Wedding Items. We hope this list helps you in planning your own wedding!
Living in Southern California, you are more likely to have good weather days compared to many other places in the country. But that doesn’t mean we don’t have our share. Traditionally, in the first quarter of the year there is an increased chance of rain. In October, you have the winds, not to mention the fires. So, first, plan a date that you think will work out well but also have a backup plan. If you want an outdoor wedding ceremony and/or reception, what is your backup plan if it were to rain? Check with the venue of your choice. If they have one, great, but if not, and the rain or wind is a concern for you, then you might want to go with a different venue.
This will depend on the time of day and whether or not you are having an outdoor or indoor event. Decide on what kind of lighting you want. Just plain lights, mood lights, hanging lights, etc. Then work with your photographer and/or videographer to see what they recommend so that the services they are providing are highlighted. After all, you want your guests to enjoy the ambiance, but you also want amazing photography.
It’s always a good idea to add seating to your ceremony in lieu of cramming everyone together. Give them some space as no one wants to feel crunched, or to be too intimate with strangers, from the time they sit down to the time your ceremony ends. By having about 20 extra chairs than there are guests, will allow people to spread out and not necessarily sit right up against another person. In addition, be sure to mark each seat located in the front that is reserved for those you designate. It can be as little as just the front row or as many as the first three rows. Be sure to inform those who are designated to sit in the reserved section. If for some reason someone is sitting in those sections that have not been designated, be sure that your wedding coordinator or wedding day point person is notified so they can rectify the situation.
I’m telling you, it’s the little things that get left out. The big moment is here. Everyone’s watching. The photographer is in place. The DJ has the right song going and you start looking for the cake knife and server. You forgot about getting one or you left it at home. I’ve been to a wedding where this happened, and they used a small plastic knife from the caterer that was meant for buttering bread. Be prepared.
Again, it’s a small item, but if you have a guestbook and no way for the guests to sign it, what good is it? Be sure to bring plenty of pens just in case the ink dries out or people start walking away with them. Also, if you are having your guests sign something other than a book, bring the proper writing utensil for that item, and again, bring plenty. Test them out ahead of time to be sure that writing tools work with the texture of your item, especially if it is wood or stone, etc.
Everyone remembers this leading up to the wedding day, but sometimes they forget to include it in the wedding day. Without it signed by whomever you designated to be the witnesses and the clergy member; your marriage is not complete. Be sure to bring it, and make it a priority that you, your new spouse, witnesses, and clergy member signs it right after the ceremony after the guests have left the ceremony area, so you can get on with your photo session and reception.
This may seem like the least likely detail needed, but if you are going to a hotel after the reception or to start your honeymoon and are going out of town, you will need your ID. A hotel will not let you check-in without it. And if you are to board a plane, you know TSA will not let you get past security without it. The cash is in case of any unforeseen emergencies where debit/credit cards are not taken.
If you hire a professional DJ or band, they typically will work with you for certain aspects of your ceremony and reception, such as cake cutting, wedding party entrance, father-daughter dance, you get the picture. But if you are doing a do-it-yourself wedding, and Uncle Ted has his CD player, this is where you want to plan ahead of time and make sure Uncle Ted knows what to play and when to play it. You don’t want AC/DC’s “You Shook Me All Night Long” playing during your cake-cutting service. The Archies’ “Sugar, Sugar” might be a little more appropriate.
This is one of the more sweet gestures you can do for your spouse. Leading up to the ceremony, you are both nervous and haven’t seen each other all day. Having a nice note and/or gift delivered to the other person might put them at ease, answer any concerns, or simply fill their heart with happiness. I shot a wedding once where the groom was making sure all the details were done while the bride-to-be was in hiding getting last-minute details done, and he simply forgot to write the card out. She didn’t… hmmm. He felt bad and knew he would never have that moment back. Plan it and have it done early and include it with your wedding day attire, your best man or maid of honor, parents, etc. Just someone that you know will have it and will deliver it on time.
In the area of… Responsibilities
If you hire a wedding coordinator, then this role, as well as some of the other roles in this category will be handled. However, if you don’t hire a professional, then be sure to find someone responsible. You will need either one person to be the point person for everything leading up to the wedding day and the wedding day itself OR one person to handle everything leading up to the day and one person for the actual wedding day itself. These are people who will organize and follow-through on everything you want them to do so you can focus on your special day!
Have a team that will pick up everything needed to be taken to the ceremony and/or reception sites. Once there, have the team set-up and decorate according to your plan. Your Point Person should be working with these teams to oversee that everything is done on a timely basis and to your liking. Also, check with your caterer as they often will be the ones that set-up your reception tables.
Your photographer will work with you to create a list of photos you want to be captured. During that process, you will create a list of all family and friends you want specific photos taken with and the various combinations. Your photographer doesn’t know who these people are, so assign someone from each side of the family to be the person that gathers the people needed for the next shot. You want to be sure to get family photo time done properly, but on a timely basis since your guests will be waiting to start the reception.
The last thing you want to worry about is whether or not your venue was left a mess or whether it was cleaned. Did the trash get picked up? Were the tables cleaned? Will you get your cleaning deposit back? You get the picture. So be sure to assign someone to head up this team and assign people to report to them and help with the clean-up. You shouldn’t be worrying about that as you are heading off on your honeymoon.
The last thing you want to do is to gather up your gifts and cards and take them with you on your honeymoon or leave them in the car overnight at a hotel. So assign someone that will take all your gifts and either take them to your home, or they can take them to their home until you return. Someone you can trust, such as your parents or closest friends would make for a great choice.
For the bride, in the event you bring a change of clothes to change into during the reception or if you are heading out afterward for your honeymoon, you don’t want to worry about leaving your wedding dress behind. So, assign someone to the task of caring for your dress until you return. Perhaps your Gift Coordinator? As for the groom’s attire, if you rented a suit or tuxedo, assign someone to return your clothing to the shop before the deadline. One less thing to worry about.
In the area of… Out of Town Guests
Some of your out-of-town guests will stay with family or friends, while others will book hotel rooms. A cheaper way of doing it would be to reserve a block of rooms at the same hotel. Hotels often offer bulk-rated discounts. Then they’re all staying at the same location together. Also, a great idea is to put together Welcome Bags for your out-of-town guests. This bag can include a schedule of events leading up to the wedding and the wedding day itself, a list of things to do, to see, or where to eat while on their own and other amenities that can be included. They paid a lot of money to travel there, so do everything you can to make them comfortable and not left in the lurch.
In the area of… Your Vendors
Be sure to check with each of your vendors and ask them about overtime. Most will go over it with you during the contract talks, but in the case that they don’t, be sure you do. The last thing you want is to be hit with overtime charges that you didn’t plan for. If overtime is a concern for you, maybe re-evaluate the actual time needed. That way if they go over, you are covered. Some vendors, such as a photographer, will have extended hours available. Just check their pricing ahead of time.
All the vendors you hire for your big day, such as your DJ, photographer, videographer, bartender, etc. will be working for you all day long. Although you are paying them for their service, they don’t get to take a break. So, be courteous and be sure they are fed and have plenty to drink. Also, be sure to include them on your guest list when reporting your final headcount to your caterer. One last thought, if you are paying for a team of multiple photographers, be sure to include all of them in the count as well.
Many vendors do not require a gratuity, but some do. Whether it’s required or just a good gesture on your part, place some cash in envelopes and mark those envelopes with the appropriate vendor and hand them out at some point during the day. We would suggest some time before your vendor’s time is up. If you’re not happy with them, you totally don’t have to tip them.
In the area of… Caterers
Be sure to make a list of all your guest’s allergies and/or other food restrictions and sit down with your caterer and discuss options. The last thing you want to do is to get a guest sick. Also, if you have vegetarian or vegan guests, this is the time that you can make sure there will be options available for them, etc. This is also a good time to mark the table number each one is sitting at in the case that the meals are plated instead of buffet-style. In the case of a buffet, be sure the caterer puts notifications in front of the food so that guests can make wise decisions.
We mentioned already to include your vendors in your guest count, but don’t forget the obvious: the Bride and Groom! As unfortunate as it is, it surprisingly happens more than you’d think. Many couples never think to include themselves in the count, and it can cause a delay in getting your food, or worse- a couple of your guests could potentially miss out on food.
First of all, obviously, not everyone likes cold drinks. But the majority of people do, and you always want to be prepared. The general rule of thumb is that one pound of ice is enough for each person on the guest list, including the wedded couple and vendors. If you are having an outdoor event or it’s a very hot day, you might want to consider a pound and a half per guest. It’s okay to have leftover ice, but not okay to run out. Check with your facility if they have an ice maker or a place to store all the ice. Also, check with your caterer. It might cost a little bit more, but if they can handle ice for you, it’s one less thing to worry about.
In the area of… Transportation
Be sure to put a plan in place on how you want your bridal party to arrive at your venue. Do you want them arriving altogether? Are groomsmen and Bridesmaids separate? Also, what is the exit procedure? If they all come together, should they plan to get rides home after? Don’t leave them stranded before or after the event or force them to pay for Uber or Lyft services.
Similar to the above, what is your plan to get the Bride to the event without the Groom seeing her? How will he get there? And better yet, how are they going to leave? What if the Groom drove himself there, but leaves in a limo, will someone be responsible to take his car home? Things to consider.
In the area of… Your Attire
Whether it’s for the wedding gown or the bridesmaid’s dresses, be sure to give yourself enough time to retry the dress prior to the big day and allow the time needed if any new alterations are required. You do not want the dress to need altering and they can’t get back to you in time for the wedding. Make sure to give yourself plenty of time!
You don’t realize how important emergency kits are; especially for the bride. We aren’t talking about emergency kits for cars or in the event of an earthquake, we are talking about HER EMERGENCY MAKEUP AND OTHER THINGS KIT! Last-minute mascara, lipstick, bobby pins, etc. Things you’ll be glad they’re there if needed. Read our blog on “What Not To Forget In Your Purse On Wedding Day” for more helpful tips on this!
If you plan on going to a hotel after the reception instead of straight to your honeymoon, be sure to bring your overnight bag with everything you will need for that night and the next day. Change of clothes, makeup, hair items, protection if needed, and any medications, etc.
Being in your wedding dress for the entire event and reception can become a bit cumbersome. So, if you plan on changing into something more comfortable for the latter part of your wedding, don’t forget to bring a change of clothes. Now if you end up wearing heels all day, and don’t want to go barefoot, bring a pair of flat shoes to wear regardless if you change your clothes or not. Your feet will thank you.
These last two come highly recommended!
Unless you are having a very early ceremony and reception, you won’t eat until later in the day. You will have a lot going on and the lack of food, combined with nerves, is a recipe for disaster. Besides who wants to faint and face plant at the altar? Be sure someone is in charge of providing food and drinks, including water, to the bride and her party. Stay hydrated!! Even if you have a really aggressive dress and it takes time and maybe even other people to help you undress to use the restroom, it’s still better than that face plant idea. This goes for the groom and his guys too. You’ll be going on empty stomachs, so be sure to eat and drink.
One of the hardest parts outside of the guest list and table assignments is all the advice you will be getting from your family and friends. Not marital advice, but wedding day advice. Some feel they should have some things their way since it’s their daughter or their son getting married, and especially if they are paying for all or some of it. Try to understand, they’ve waited a long time for this moment and they just want to be a part of it in some way. But at the end of the day, it’s the Bride and Groom’s day. Be sure to stop, breathe and refocus, and make it the best day possible… for yourselves.
We hope this list of the 30 Things You’re Probably Forgetting About While Wedding Planning is a helpful tool for you in your wedding planning process, and helps you to feel a little more stress-free! Let us know in the comments if you’ve discovered any more items that you think we need to add to the list! Also, check out some other helpful tips for your wedding day here! Best of luck to you in all of your wedding planning!