Wedding countdown … the last few weeks, and how to prepare.

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The weeks before I became Mrs …

We all know there is a lot of planning involved in a wedding. You wouldn’t be alone if you became overwhelmed at some stage by how much actual WORK is involved. One thing most brides aren’t aware of, or prepared for, is the last week or two before the big day.                 Little did you know that by making one memorable decision – saying yes to your man – you opened the floodgates to a huge stream of important decision making.

Here are a few tips to get you through so you know what to expect

Every bride will be partaking in one or all of the following:  hair appointments, waxing, nails, tanning, dress appointments – and that’s just for you. Add in all the final checking of suppliers, organising hubby-to-be, and honeymoon details; and then there are the interstate or overseas family or friends that all want a bit of you just before the big day.

Your days are stretched to the max with dropoffs and pickups, and sleep seems the least important on your ‘to-do list’.

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Take a few days off work leading up to the wedding

Let’s face it, you’re going to find it hard to concentrate on much else and there will be a lot of calls to make. So do yourself and your boss a favour; it will be better for all.

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Delegate, delegate, delegate

You won’t be able to do everything by yourself, no matter how much you are willing to try. Calling all bridesmaids! Seriously. While you’ll want to tackle the big stuff yourself, there will be so many time-consuming errands that can be passed on. Picking up flowers, centrepieces, stationary etc. The list goes on. Out of town visitors can be picked up by a close friend or family member. Save yourself the stress, you know an airport pickup will lead to a lunch or dinner.

 Be prepared

 I often suggest to get everything on your to-do list off it before the last week. Leave the last week for those things that can only be done on the last days, and for the inevitable things that will crop up. We get so many brides leaving their accessories till the last week, but this is so easily done earlier. It’s so sad when they have been in before and come back to purchase months later, only to find the item they wanted has been sold. Being prepared eliminates disappointment.

 Take good care of yourself

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Eat healthy, balanced meals and don’t skimp; after all, you’ll need every ounce of energy you’ve got. It’s not fun to be a ‘hungry’ bride or be around one. Pick your ‘go to’ de-stress activity and indulge yourself. It could be as simple as a bath.

Call any guests who didn’t RSVP

Reach out to the last-minute stragglers who haven’t told you whether or not they’re coming to your wedding. While it may feel like you’re playing a game of cat and mouse, it’s better to know the final count sooner rather than later — otherwise those MIA guests might show up and have nowhere to sit.

Do a dress rehearsal

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Put on the full look, including your wedding dress, bridal shoes, and all of your accessories to complete the ensemble. Make sure you’re feeling confident and happy with the overall look of your wedding day outfit from head to toe.

Break in your shoes

Speaking of those pumps, make sure you spend some quality time in your wedding shoes so that you break them in before you find yourself standing in them for 8-hours straight. Try them on with the dress, put them on for a test run and break them in with a walk around your house or a quick dance to your favourite song. If you feel any pinching or rubbing, better to address it now than on your big day.

Read your vows out loud

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Even if you’ve silently read the words over and over again, be sure to read your vows out loud to yourself a handful of times. Practise reading them at a steady and slow pace until you feel confident and calm.

Confirm hair and make-up appointments
Check in with your glam team about what time they plan to arrive. Ask them any last-minute questions about the kind of look you want, and confirm the decisions made in your hair and make-up trial.

Confirm other beauty appointments

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Most brides and their possie will be partaking in tan, nail and other appointments. Make sure you confirm your favourite therapist to get the best job for your big day.

Clear your work To-Do List
Take care of any big projects or assignments at work early on the week of your wedding so that you don’t have a to-do list of work tasks floating around in your head. That way, you can gallop into your wedding weekend without your boss’s voice lingering in your head.

Get plenty of sleep

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Try to crawl into bed a little earlier than usual the week before your wedding. The more rest you get, the better. Once the wedding activities start, it may be harder to wrap your arms around a solid night’s sleep.

Confirm who’s giving a toast
If there are a couple of people who are reading a little something special to you and your significant other at the wedding or rehearsal dinner, check in with them and confirm. You can also let them know the timeframe that they should expect to speak, so that they feel calm and ready when their big moment comes.

Say hello to your In-Laws

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Touch base with your (almost) mother-in-law and father-in-law, and your immediate family as well, and see if they need anything or have any last-minute questions. Once you chat with them, ask them to act as liaisons to the other guests or family members who have questions.

Have a meeting with your Day-Of Co-ordinator
If you hired someone to have your back on the wedding day as your day-of coordinator, have a meeting with them to run through all of the details and check over the day-of timeline. Be sure to give them a to-do list of any specific tasks you’d like them to take care of for you before the wedding, and of course on the day.

Answer last-minute emails

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If your inbox is crowded with questions from guests or vendors, be sure to give it a last minute read through and answer any emails that are filled with pressing wedding questions before you go MIA and straight into a weekend of wedding fun. Also defer new emails with an automated out-of-office reply.

Confirm Honeymoon details

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With all that’s going on it will be easy to miss some big details like the honeymoon, so checking passports, hotel reservations and flight times should all be done ahead of time

Delegate a decorations diva
Ask someone in your wedding party to be in charge of taking home any decorations that you want to keep after the wedding, whether that’s your guest book or your centrepieces. If not, you may risk finding them in the venue’s trashcan the next morning.

Pack your honeymoon bags

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If you’re jetsetting off to your honeymoon right after your wedding, be sure to pack your bags ahead of time. That way, you won’t have to worry about doing laundry or adding last-minute items to your suitcase the morning after your big day. Don’t forget a change of clothes if you’re going straight to an airport the day after. Organise someone to bring your luggage to you and take your wedding clothes home. No one needs that kind of extra baggage.

Clean up your house/apartment

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It’s never fun coming home to a messy apartment, especially after one of the best weekends of your entire life. Tidy up around your house so that you can come home to pure relaxation after your wedding.

Look over the seating chart
Glance over your headcount and seating chart and make sure all looks good and that you didn’t accidentally forget any of your guests .

Have some alone time with your fiancé

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Before things start getting too busy, and before the wedding night embargo is placed on you two, spend some alone time to connect and get excited together about the big celebration ahead.

Assign a family member to grab gifts
Choose a family member to collect the card box, and any wedding gifts that guests brought, and take them home for you. You may be too busy to remember to do this, or you may be heading to your wedding after-party. Assigning this task to someone else (and someone responsible) will help make sure your gifts make it home to you safe and sound.

Figure out your Post-Wedding escape route

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Whether you plan to go home after the wedding or to an after-party, plan your transportation for the end of the night so you’re not caught hailing a cab in your wedding dress.

Pack an extra dress
Consider this your back-up, plan-b dress, in case halfway through the wedding or during the after-party you want to change into something a little more comfortable. Don’t forget a change of clothes if you’re going straight to an airport the day after. You can’t fly OS in a wedding dress.

Get your nails glammed up

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Spend an afternoon treating yourself to a mani/pedi with your mum or bridesmaids.

Double check your To-Do List
Run through your to-do list one final time and see if there’s anything you forgot to do or saved for the very last-minute. If you find there are a lot of tasks left, delegate them out to trusty bridesmaids or family members.

Chug some water

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Keep a bottle of water close by. Wedding planning keeps you on your toes, so stay hydrated, especially when  the week before your wedding you are running errands and making sure everything is perfect.

Send vendors their final payments
Instead of waiting until the wedding day, or the day after, send over any final payments to your vendors. The last thing you want is them hounding you for a check when you’re in the middle of dancing to your favourite song at your wedding.

Treat yourself

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You’re at the tail end of the wedding planning experience, so treat yourself! Whether that’s with a workout class or a day at the spa, do something relaxing for yourself to get pumped up and excited.

Pack boxes for the Day-Of
Organise all the items that you’ll want to travel with you on the day-of. Whether it’s decorations or items for the ceremony, gather them all together and label them as you would moving boxes.

Write the groom a love letter

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Jot down a couple of words and feelings for your soon-to-be hubby to read on the morning of the wedding. It will help get him excited and emotional for the day ahead of both of you.

Reach out to your bridesmaids
Check in with them and see if they need anything before the wedding. Also confirm with them that they know where to be and when for hair and makeup on the day-of. Pro tip: Set a fun tone for the weekend by sending them an email with a fun song or a goofy picture.

Make a DIY wedding survival kit

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Put together a bag of essentials that you think you and your bridesmaids may need for the day-of. Include lots of Band-Aids, Panadol, safety pins, needle and thread, tampons, hair ties, and mints.

Pack your car ahead of time
Pack all your boxes, your dress, and any other items you want to bring with you into your car before your wedding day. That way, on the day of, you won’t have to worry about forgetting anything or doing any heavy lifting.

Wrap bridesmaid and other gifts

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If you got your bridesmaids and other helpers a little something, package them together and wrap them up in cute wrapping. Put them all in a box or bag that you’ll have with you on the morning of your wedding, or at the rehearsal dinner, so you can easily grab them and give them out to your girls.

Print Place Cards
Now that you know exactly who is coming and where they are sitting, you can get these printed and boxed up ready to go for the big day or pass the details onto the venue.

Decide where you want your first look to be

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Whether you have a special spot in mind or want to check in with the photographer beforehand, pick out the spot where you want to see each other for the first time ahead of the wedding.

Drop off items at the venue
If the venue is okay with it, drop off boxes of decorations or wedding items ahead of time. That way, you don’t need to lug a bunch of boxes with you on the day of.

Pack an evening bag

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Prepare a mini-purse of small essentials that you can store at your dinner table. You can include lipstick, a hair tie, and anything else you think you might want to have on hand during the reception.

Deliver a Must-Have shots list
Put together a list of all the photos you want taken on your wedding day and send that over to your photographer. That way, they can stay on track and make sure they can capture every single moment that means a lot to you.

Take a Deep Breath
Take a lot of these. They are unlimited. They are free. They are more than necessary. Please don’t forget that.

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