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The 5-Part Wedding Checklist You Didn't Expect

Wondering where to begin with planning your wedding day? If you’re anything like me, you headed straight to Google for a wedding checklist. There are plenty of generic wedding checklists online. Inevitably, they’ll include things that make sense for you and a few that don’t. When you’re sorting through them, it’s important to remember that you’re creating your celebration. This isn’t about following an industry standard. It’s about creating a ceremony and reception that reflects you and your relationship. Prioritize what will let you be present with your people. This five-part wedding checklist will help you create a wedding day that’s fun and true to you.

A groom dips a bride for a kiss in front of cheering guests at their wedding exit in Buffalo.

The Wedding Day YOU Want

Before I dive into my wedding checklist, I recommend holding a little brainstorming session. Make a list of the things that are most important to you. You can use this to ground your decisions when you’re overwhelmed with advice coming from every direction. Is someone telling you that you need monogrammed favors? If it’s not on your list and it doesn’t feel important to you, you can let it go.

Your Wedding Checklist

1. Know how to get dressed.

Whether you’re wearing a dress, suit, or something in between, your wedding attire is probably a little more complicated than your everyday clothes. You might have a bustle or a bowtie, for example. If you’re wearing anything that’s new to you, make sure you know how to make adjustments, fasten it, etc. I’ve seen a lot of wedding parties get completely frazzled over the laces and buttons of a bustle when everyone would rather be partying at the reception.

Bridesmaids kneel around a bride trying to fasten the bustle of her wedding dress.

Some of these things are hard to do for yourself. The best way to prevent any wedding wardrobe hiccups is to bring someone with you to your final fitting. The tailor can teach both of you how to tie your tie or bustle your dress. That way even if wedding day nerves make you forget everything, you’ll have backup.

A groom ties a bowtie in a Buffalo wedding venue.

2. Arrange remaining vendor payments and/or tips.

Many vendors’ contracts require that they’re paid in full before the day of your wedding. Set calendar reminders to wrap up all those invoices on time. When it comes to tips, I highly recommend having a day-of coordinator who can distribute tips on your behalf. That way you can focus on your celebration and trust that everyone is taken care of.

A bride hugs a wedding florist under a white tent.

3. Get everyone on the same page for portraits.

Your wedding checklist should include sharing relevant parts of your timeline with everyone. You might assume that family members know when to show up for formal photos, but people are easily distracted when they’re in high spirits. Tell everyone exactly where and what time they need to show up for photos. If you can designate a wedding party member to round them up, even better. This will keep you from falling behind on your timeline and getting frustrated with anyone. You’re there to have fun!

Families pose for formal wedding portraits as part of a wedding checklist.

4. Remember to eat.

It’s a bit of a cliché that marriers get so busy that they don’t eat on their wedding day. I love to see couples prioritize indulging in the beautiful food they ordered. Even when you have the best intentions, though, wedding days can get a little hectic. Fuel yourself with a good meal before the day really begins. Have your favorites for breakfast or lunch so that you feel more level going into this high-emotion day.

A bride in a robe sits on a bed surrounded by bridesmaids toasting mimosas.

5. Make plans for after the party - like an after-party!

Your typical wedding checklist will stop at the reception exit. In my experience, couples and guests are happiest when they have a clear plan for what happens after the party. Will you plan a formal after–party at another venue? Do you want to meet your friends at your favorite dive in comfier clothes? Or will you head to bed for some quiet time and sleep? All are good options, but you’ll be happier if you decide on one ahead of time. This also gives you the chance to straighten out any transportation logistics.

Tacos sit under warming lamps at a Buffalo wedding reception.

Was this wedding checklist helpful? I’m a Buffalo wedding photographer who lives for helping people create the fun wedding experience they want. Check out these blog posts for more tips:



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