What To Do Before You Say ‘I Do’

By LAUREN DEPASO
The Voice-Tribune

You’ve got the groom and the bling, but there are about 50 more things to do before you can walk down the aisle.

And while some items on this “I Do To Do” list may seem simple, you’ll be surprised about how many are oftentimes overlooked once bridal hysteria sets in. Here is a list to get you started and help you (k)not forget …

  •  Set a date.
  •  Decide whether to keep it local or get the honeymoon started early by having destination-day nuptials.
  •  Set a budget.
  •  Pick your colors.
  •  Choose bridal party. Politely suggest the best man NOT have the nickname “Frank the Tank”
  •  Buy mother of the bride and father of the bride gifts. Do this early and do not forget.
  •  Put guest lists together for showers and send them to the hosts.
  •  Get bridesmaids and groomsmen gifts.
  •  Set a timeline for all major wedding events – A. When save-the-dates go out. B. Showers. C. When to meet with caterers. D. When to meet with florists
  •  Pick out bridesmaids dresses and make sure your pals get fitted. Unless one of your bridesmaids happens to be Cameron Diaz, the phrase, “I’m a four,” is just disastrous.
  •  Decide how many guests you want and/or your venue allows. Do this alone with your soon-to-be hubby prior to allowing either of your families a say.
  •  Decide who is getting to take dates and who is not. The last thing you want is your groom’s best man’s fling from last weekend falling in the background of your photos while she attempts to master the dance to “Shout.”
  •  Have a day of point of contact for all vendors.
  •  Decide on a band or deejay.
  •  Meet with chosen option and in person. They are the personality and entertainment for your guests. They can make or break the mood.
  •  Reserve hotel room blocks early for your guests.
  •  Don’t overlook parking options at your venue. They’re important. Nobody wants to walk a mile in her shoes just to watch you waltz down the aisle.
  •  Hire a reliable caterer.
  •  Once hired, meet and decide on menu options.
  •  Have a trial run of your wedding makeup for the big day.
  •  Have a trial run of your wedding hair for the big day
  •  Determine the order of the reception (eat first then dance? dance and then eat? when should you cut the cake?). In other words, how far into the reception will Dad make friends with the bartender before giving his toast?!
  •  Photographer: choose one.
  •  Go on a Bachelorette Party – who can walk down that aisle not playing “Pin the Torpedo on the Sailor” at least once?
  •  Work with the venue or caterer to determine if any rentals (chairs, tables, tablecloths, etc.) are necessary.
  •  Select readings for ceremony.
  •  Select readers. You don’t want sloppy Josephine sneaking in a flask and next thing you know “Love is not patient, love is NOT kind” and from there your marriage license is revoked.
  •  Get marriage license. FYI, in the state of Kentucky, they are good for 30 days.
  •  Once you’ve said yes to the dress – schedule a last fitting 3-4 weeks before your wedding date.
  •  Order wedding programs.
  •  Stock up on white dresses during the engagement so you will have enough for showers, parties, luncheons.
  •  Plan a bridal luncheon to thank your bridesmaids. After all, they are (in some cases) acting out a real-life version of “27 Dresses,” and lets face it – none of us have Catherine Heigl’s arms to pull off a taffeta strapless.
  •  Meet with the minister/priest/rabbi.
  •  Choose flowers.
  •  Work directly with the grooms’ family to coordinate rehearsal dinner plans. Trust me – leave the groom out of it. Next thing you know he’s sitting in her lap being rocked to sleep and all you see is Jane Fonda pulling J.Lo’s weave out a la “Monster-in-Law.”
  •  Pack bandages in case your shoes give you blisters from dancing. On that note, wear your bridal shoes around the house for a week to break them in.
  •  Select your something old, something new, something borrowed, something blue.
  •  Work out payment details with minister / priest / venue.
  •  Before the wedding, decide on tips for your caterer, band, bartender, etc. and put the cash in a thank you card. It’s one less thing for you to do the night of.
  •  Find out if the bathroom in your venue provides toiletries. If not, stock up on hairspray for your guests.
  •  After you’ve figured out your ceremony music, get copies of it so you can play it at the rehearsal while you are going over the flow of the ceremony.
  •  When sending out invites, number each one so you can keep track of RSVPs. Even if someone fills out the response card incorrectly, you can reference the number associated with that invite.
  •  Get your thank you cards early so you can write them as you begin to receive gifts. That way you won’t be stuck with 500 thank yous after the honeymoon, leaving you with carpal tunnel and not for any fun reasons.
  •  Plan the honeymoon. This is imperative early on in the planning process. If you try and throw a trip together the week or two before your wedding, you could end up in Boise instead of Bora Bora as you sit in a cake tasting while simultaneously trying to book a trip via the Orbitz app.
  •  Book a room to stay in on the night of your wedding.
  •  Make seating chart, place cards and a creative display where guests can view this information.
  •  Select favors.
  •  Put together welcome baskets for out-of-town guests.
  •  Put together a playlist for the bridal party to get ready to.
  •  Make sure to plan for food while everyone is getting ready. This is often overlooked and then people get wasted very early and the “Cupid Shuffle” turns into your maid of honor’s inevitable walk of shame.