Last Minute Tips: A to Z

A is for Alphabetize

Photo by Angela Anderson
Take a little time once your escort cards are finished and put them in alphabetical order. This will save a lot of time for your coordinator on the day of the wedding – plus if you keep your final list of guests attending nearby, you can do a final check to make sure no one has been missed.

B is for Bouquet

Photo by Nicole Dixon
Where you hold your bouquet is actually really important for pictures. The tendency when you get nervous is for the bouquet to get higher and higher towards your chin – this hides your gorgeous dress and sometimes your beautiful face! We certainly don’t want that! Keep your shoulders back and down and try to rest your forearms on your hips – if you do this your bouquet should be pretty much right in front of your belly button which is perfect for pictures. It also gives you a little room in case the nerves get the better of you and it starts to migrate north on that looooong walk up the aisle!

C is for Ceremony

Photo by Steve Mastroianni
Say your entire ceremony out loud just as it will be done on the wedding day and time it – especially if you are getting married at the same location as your reception. This is a great reality check against your timeline – you don’t want your caterer to think that your ceremony is 30 minutes when it really only runs 10 minutes. 200 thirsty guests converging on a bar that isn’t ready is NOT a good thing!

D is for Directions

Make sure that you limo company has addresses for all the stops you plan to make – they might not know how to get to that gorgeous little known park downtown that you want pictures at so give them the address ahead of time. Also, for those out of town guests, slip directions for every event into your out of town guest bags at the hotels. Or set up an event at and give that number to your guests. You might want to drive the route from your ceremony to the reception to make sure there aren’t any roadblocks or detours that you need to take into account.

E is for Emotions

Photo by Rob Rife
The emotions surrounding a wedding can take even the most even keeled bride and groom by surprise. I always say that weddings bring out the best and the worst in the people you least expect and sometimes people lose their minds a little. If it all gets to be too much before the wedding, there is nothing wrong with turning off the email, putting down the wedding binder and walking away for an afternoon – it will all be there when you get back.

F is for Facial

Photo by Wally Spice
If you have never had a facial, the week of your wedding is NOT the time to get one – they can irritate your skin and sometimes cause breakouts. The same goes for a massage if you bruise easily! Even if you are an old pro at the facials and really want to get one, make sure to schedule it early in the week. Also, take it easy on the new products – just because a skin cream costs $100 an ounce doesn’t make it perfect for your skin. Stick with the things that you know work and don’t irritate your lovely complexion.

G is for Gown

Photo by New Image Photography
Once your dress is back from being pressed, try to get it out of the giant white bag as soon as you can. Hang it up so it is well off the ground – if you can hang it from a light fixture that is best. If that won’t work, hang it from the top of a closet door with the giant white bag between the dress and the door (you want to protect the dress as much as you can). Spread a white sheet on the floor and spread out the train so keep it from wrinkling. Then keep the pets and the groom out of the room!

H is for Handkerchief

Photo by Nicole Dixon
Even if you don’t normally cry or aren’t emotional, the emotions and feelings you will experience on your wedding day may take you by surprise. Have a REAL hanky on hand rather than tissues to dry those tears or get rid of that shine (wedding gowns can be HOT!). A hanky won’t leave fuzz on your face like a paper tissue will leaving you with less touch up as the night goes on. Give the hanky to the groom and he can hand it to you if you need it – after all, tuxes have pockets and most bridal gowns don’t!

I is for Infants

Photo by Davis Photography
Okay, I had to cheat a little on this one so it isn’t just infants but kids of all ages – if you have kids attending your wedding or some little ones in the bridal party, check with the parents to see if they need high chairs. Most venues will have high chairs or infant slings available if you ask ahead of time but you have to ask! If the venue needs to rent them, they need notice to do that and 20 minutes into cocktail hour is not enough time! It is just another thing you can do as a host/hostess to make your guests feel special and welcome – thinking ahead for the parents in the group goes a long way!

J is for Jewelry

Photo by Alex Rivera
Take all your jewelry with you to your final fitting and put everything on together – this is a nice final check to make sure you like the complete look. Just because you love a necklace doesn’t necessarily mean that it will look right with you neckline of your gown and just because you love those earrings doesn’t mean that they won’t be too much with your veil.

K is for Kiss

Photo by Clay Jackson
Practice the kiss – yes, I am serious! First, it gives you an excuse to make out with your soon to be spouse (not that you should need one) and second, it gets you both on the same page as far as how far you plan to take the kiss. You don’t want to have different ideas of what is appropriate on the wedding day – after all, your Great Aunt Tessy will be there!

L is for Linens

Photo by Rob Rife
When you do your final walk through of the reception site, do a final check that you have enough linens for every table that you would like covered. For instance, the cake table, guest book table, gift and escort card tables, high top tables for the cocktail hour. If you are having food stations or tables that serve as the bars, venues will often use black skirting for these tables – if you want them to match the rest of your tables, request that a linen be placed on them instead. Doing the final count will help make sure everything thing is covered on the wedding day. (pun fully intended)

M is for Menus

Photo by Angela Anderson
You probably know someone with some kind of food allergy – be it nuts, strawberries, shellfish, or wheat, they seem to be more common nowadays. Even if there are no allergies among your guests, you may have a vegetarian or someone who keeps Kosher or a pregnant guest who can’t eat that bleu cheese in the salad! Having a menu at each place setting or displaying one at every table is a great way to make sure your guests know what is in each dish so they can avoid the foods they can’t eat. If you are having food stations, small cards in front of each dish is also a wonderful touch. Even if you leave these until the last minute, you could do them with just a printer and some card stock so they are an easy last minute project.

N is for Nails

Photo by Steve Mastroianni
Gets your nails done or do them yourself a few days before the wedding. Make sure to have extra polish to match in case you chip a nail before the wedding and some nail glue or super glue if you happen to have acrylics. Even if you don’t do the traditional ring pictures, people will be looking at your rings all night long – make sure that your nails don’t distract them from the bling!

O is for Organization

Photo by Chris Holley Starling
Make lists of all the things you need to pack for the rehearsal night, the wedding day and your honeymoon night. Check things off as they go into each bag – as someone who wore her white wedding shoes to brunch the next morning because I forgot any other shoes, I know of what I speak! Checklists for people who are doing the set up is nice as well and really help get your vision across more clearly.

P is for Phone

Photo by Kollmer Photo
TURN OFF YOUR CELL PHONE and assign someone to take all those last minute phone calls. The last thing you should be doing while trying to relax is give directions to your cousin from Pittsburgh to the wedding ceremony. Appoint someone else to take those phone calls, change your outgoing message to include their name and number and put down the cell phone. Now back away very slowly and find a glass of champagne!

Q is for Questions

Photo by Mike Steinberg
In the weeks before the wedding, keep a small notebook with you at all times to jot down any questions that you think of for your vendors. That way everything is in one spot for the final walk throughs and wedding day details. Another option is to use my favorite service – sign up and enter your email address, when you have something you want to remember, just call the number and it will transcribe your voice mail into email and send it to you (or anyone else you have set up). Great for when you are driving and remember you need to call uncle Charlie and ask him to do the blessing!

R is for Rings

Photo by Wally Spice
Have your engagement ring polished – either professionally or in a glass of club soda overnight. You can also use Alka Seltzer or denture tablets. Please note, you should only do this with hard stones, never soft stones like pearls, jade or opal.

S is for Shoes

Photo by Angela Anderson
Break in your shoes before the wedding – if you need to stretch them out, wear them around the house with a pair of heavy socks on. Wear them to get the mail and scuff the bottoms on concrete so they aren’t slippery. Even if they fit perfectly, wearing them around the house will give you an idea if you might want to add some cushy foot petals for comfort. You are going to be on your feet a lot on your wedding day, never hurts to give yourself a head start!

T is for Thank You

Photo by Jamie Jansen
Get all your thank you notes for gifts received before the wedding written and ready to mail prior to the big day. You will have a ton of thank you notes to write after the wedding, so why not knock a few of them out of the way before you leave on your honeymoon? You can either mail them out early (for those who aren’t coming to the wedding) or wait until after the wedding (for those who are attending but sent the gift early) to mail them but it is so nice to go on your honeymoon with a clear conscience.

U is for Under Pinnings

Photo by Davis Photography
You should already know what you are wearing under the gown as you need that for the final fittings. Make sure to put everything aside and together in the bag you have with you on the wedding day – that means that bra, bustier or “chicken cutlets”, the stockings and the undies themselves. This is especially important if you are getting dressed someplace other than home. That last thing you want to worry about is finding someone to go get your bra from the hotel room!

V is for Veil

Make sure your veil is hanging up so the wrinkles will fall out – in a pinch, take a nice relaxing shower or steam bath with the veil in the bathroom, any wrinkles should steam right out. Oh, and keep cats away from the veil – for some reason they love that material and will either sleep on it or shred it to bits!

W is for Weather

Photo by Angela Anderson
Take off your bookmark list. Stop obsessively watching the Today Show, the 6 o’clock and the 11 o’clock news for the forecast – the weather is something you can’t control and that is why you have a Plan B – so stop stressing out about it. (To explain the picture – if you look very closely at the windows you can see the torrential downpour that moved Jennifer and Craig’s wedding indoors – can’t control the weather, you just have to roll with it!)

X is for eXercise

Photo by Genevieve Nisly
Keep your workouts light the week of your wedding – you don’t want to hurt yourself while lifting weights. Exercising is a great stress reliever but it can be hard to walk down the aisle with a sprained ankle and even harder to dance all night with a pulled muscle!

Y is for Yes!

Even if your mind goes blank and you can’t form words, it is a safe bet that the answer to the questions being asked is either Yes or I Do or I Will. If all else fails, just nod, smile and keep looking in your fiance’s eyes.

Z is for Zzzzz

Photo by Davis Photography
Get as much sleep as you can the week before the wedding! This especially goes for the night before the wedding! As much as you might want to stay out and visit with all your friends and family at the rehearsal dinner, remember you will have plenty of time to do that the next day at your wedding. Set a curfew for yourself and assign someone to make sure you get to bed – that way you won’t be worried about bags under your eyes the next day or a nasty hangover either and you can have as much energy as Megan did on her wedding day!