Week of the Wedding Checklist

You’ve ordered the cake and invited your guests. All that’s left is… a lot! Zero in on the final preparations with this week of the wedding checklist.

By The Zola Team

Week of the Wedding Checklist
Photo by Love Photography

The First Look ✨

  • To make the most of the last week before the wedding, take some time to fine-tune your look, check in with vendors, do some self care, and double check all the details.
  • Use the week before the wedding to try on your full outfit, make any necessary adjustments to your ensemble or makeup look, try out accessories, and plan your after-party attire.
  • Reach out to your venue manager, vendors, and guests, so you can be sure everyone who’s supposed to be at the wedding will be there.
  • With all the chaos of planning, it’s important to take a few moments to take care of yourself. Add self care activities to the calendar, such as workouts, massages, and one-on-one time with your future spouse.

With the support of your trusted wedding planner and wedding party, assembling a wedding planning checklist for the week of the wedding can help streamline communications and clear obstacles, so that you can actually enjoy the big day.

To cover all your bases, we’ll break down your week of the wedding checklist into four sections:

One Week Before the Wedding: Troubleshoot and Fine-Tune Your Look

By the week of your wedding, you’ve (hopefully) had time to pick your outfit, get it tailored, do any required makeup or hairstyle tests, and practice walking around in your wedding day kicks (whether they’re six-inch stilettos or brand new Italian leather loafers). But have you ever seen the whole look assembled? If not, it’s time to put it all together. By trying everything on the week before your wedding day, you’ll have plenty of time for any last-minute adjustments.

  • Try everything on: Don your full hair, makeup (if you’re wearing any), and outfit to make sure you like the overall effect. Invite friends, family, or your wedding party to be your second set of eyes. Ask them to take plenty of pictures from all angles, so you have a preview of what your wedding photos might look like.

  • Make Any Necessary Adjustments: Does your smoky eye suddenly seem to detract from the drama of your dress? Does your pocket square clash with your tux? This is the perfect opportunity to troubleshoot looks without adding needless last-minute stress.

  • Try Out Accessories: Many of us have a morning where we just can’t decide on the right pair of earrings or the right tie. In these moments, it’s difficult to decide on something as simple as socks. To avoid last-minute panic, pick out all the accessories for your outfit, including shoes, jewelry, sunglasses, or anything else you might need.

Assemble Your Look for the After Party: If your big day features a costume change, put the same care into trying out and curating your second outfit, too.

Get Your Accessories Ready

Once you’ve finalized your overall look, take a few additional steps to make sure every aspect of your ensemble is squeaky clean and comfortable.

  • Break in Your Shoes: You don’t want to end up callused before you’ve walked down the aisle. Should you develop blisters or cuts, you could even end up bleeding all over your wedding outfit. To avoid this fate, start wearing your shoes around the house for 30 minutes or more each day the week before your wedding.

  • Clean Your Accessories: When you and your spouse exchange wedding bands, you want them to sparkle. Use an appropriate cleaning agent for the material you’ve selected. Likewise, take some time to polish any bracelets, earrings, necklaces, or cufflinks that will make an appearance on your big day.

Prepare for Fashion Emergencies

Weddings are full of amazing moments and outfit dangers like wine stains, watches snagged on cummerbunds, and frosting everywhere. But if you happen to stain your shirt, break a strap, or tear your pants, it’s important to have a quick solution on hand.

Prepare for all of the following issues:

  • Stains: Stains from wine, food, dirt, and even blood are a concern, especially if you or your partner are wearing white. Make sure your kit is stacked with stain removal agents like:

    • Alcohol
    • Acid (lemon juice or distilled white vinegar)
    • Stain remover pen
    • Chalk or powder in the same hue as your garment
    • Clean napkins
    • Water
  • Rips, Tears, and Lost Buttons: You probably can’t hire a seamstress or tailor to be on standby, but that doesn’t mean you can’t prepare yourself with a handy sewing kit. If you’re not adept with a needle and thread, make sure you know which members of the wedding party are.

  • Wrinkles: Anything from humidity to an unexpectedly long limo ride could wrinkle your wedding outfit. Bring an iron or portable steamer so you’re prepared to look your best.

  • Loss or Damage to Accessories: Make sure you have a backup plan for your outfit’s supporting players. Stock your kit with:

    • Extra ties or pocket squares
    • Spare earring backs or extra earrings
    • Nylons or tights
    • Fake wedding rings
    • Corsage pins
  • Hair and Makeup Snafus: You want your look to stand up to the elements, whether that means wind and rain or tearful hugs from your loved ones. That’s why it’s so important to bring the following:

    • A comb
    • Static cling pads
    • Hairspray or gel
    • Bobby pins
    • A mirror
    • Tools to touch up makeup
    • A blowdryer

Now that you’ve finalized your look, organize everything so it’s easy to spot. Then, close the closet and let the excitement ramp up—the next time you’ll be putting on that ensemble, you’ll be heading to your wedding ceremony.

7 to 5 Days Before the Wedding: Put Your Head Together With Your Vendors

Once you know your outfit is set, it’s time to get down to the brass tacks of your wedding ceremony. It’s time to double check all aspects of logistics.

Confirm Attendance

Even if you asked attendees to RSVP months in advance, there may be a few stragglers or a few last-minute cancellations.

  • Get in touch with all late RSVPs to find out if they’re attending or sending regrets
  • Take final headcount for the caterers, shuttles, and any other relevant vendors
  • Adjust your seating chart based on the new information

Zola’s free Wedding Guest List Manager can help make this process a breeze. You can track RSVPs, message guests directly, and even get a head start on addressing your thank you notes. RSVP “with regrets” to week-of wedding stress and say “happily yes” to making wedding planning even easier.

Finalize Details With Your Vendors

Beyond providing your wedding vendors with an accurate head count, you’ll want to confirm you’re on the same page about all details of your agreement.

  • Confirm With Each Vendor: Make sure they know when and where to arrive—and how long you expect them to stay.

  • Connect With Your Photographer: Send a finalized shot list to your photographer.

  • Check Payment Agreements: If you need to complete payment on the day of the wedding, make out the checks in advance. Mark any other deadlines on your calendar, and consider paying up early. This way, you can head off on your honeymoon without any lingering financial transactions.

  • Prepare Tips: You don’t want to go searching for an ATM on your wedding day. Take out cash and place it in clearly marked envelopes.

If it’s helpful, delegate payment and tipping on the big day to a trusted member of your wedding party (or your wedding planner), so that you can cut loose on the dance floor.

Get the Wedding Venue Organized and Confirm Details of the Ceremony

Whether your wedding date is a DIY affair or you’ve hired a professional decorator, it’s important to make sure you’ve figured out all the details at your venue.

  • Make your place cards based on your updated seating chart.

  • Assemble welcome and gift bags for your guests and wedding party.

  • Pack the boxes you’re bringing to the venue. Beyond the wedding dress emergency kit we’ve outlined above, be sure to have:

    • Supplies for guests’ emergencies (bandages, medication, and first aid)
    • A guest book
    • Custom decorations
    • Labeling for the gift table
  • Create a playlist of wedding songs in case your DJ or band arrives late (or leaves early).

  • Finalize your details for transit between wedding venues and back to your hotel

  • Assign someone to collect gifts at the end of the ceremony. And ask them to make sure the cards are still attached to make thank you notes easier.

Double Check Details

Beyond the logistics at the venue, take the time to double check a few more important details.

  • Toasters: Make sure everyone who’s agreed to read during the service, make a toast, or give a speech is well prepared.

  • Marriage License Status: You want to make sure you’re actually married by the end of your wedding day. Check to make sure everything is on track with your license.

  • Hotel Rooms: Now is a great time to check in and confirm your hotel rooms are all set to go. Don’t forget to mention your big day—there’s always the chance you’ll get a free upgrade.

  • Honeymoon Logistics: If you’re jetting off right after the reception for a honeymoon or quick “mini moon” getaway, you don’t want to spend your wedding night printing flight itineraries and packing your bags. Make sure you’re already organized before the big day.

  • Update Your Wedding Website: While you’re wading through all the details, it’s easy to forget that your guests need to know what’s going on, too. Be sure to update your website with up-to-date information about accommodations, transit, dress code, directions, and timetables.

Zola’s free wedding websites are easy to use, beautiful, and intuitive. You can build a custom website with all the important information your guests need and update it easily throughout your wedding planning journey. Did we mention they come in a wide selection of customizable themes and designs? Functional, stylish, and simple, your Zola wedding website can make all the difference as you make your way toward that gorgeous aisle.

5 to 3 Days Before the Wedding: Prepare Mentally

With so much going on the week of your wedding, it’s easy to feel like you’re caught up in a whirlwind. It can be exciting, but also overwhelming!

Take steps to find as much stillness as possible. Savor the anticipation before you pledge yourself to the love of your life.

Clear the Deck

You’ve been thinking about your wedding for months. In fact, you’ve probably dreamed about your wedding. But that doesn’t mean that the rest of your life is on hold.

Hopefully, you’ve been able to take some time off of work and find helping hands for day-to-day tasks. Put the icing on the wedding cake with the following steps:

  • Achieve Inbox Zero: Okay, we know some people have thousands of emails in their inbox at all times. But before your wedding, make sure there’s nothing pressing left to respond to, whether it’s a cell phone bill or a business inquiry.

  • Clean Your House: Whether you’re getting ready at home or in a hotel room, a messy living space can clutter your mind and feel like one more nagging thing. Take some time to clean up. Better yet, hire a professional cleaning service or ask your wedding party to chip in.

  • Pack Your Wedding Day Bag: We’ve already discussed the importance of emergency kits. Make sure your bag is fully stocked with everything you’ll need the day and night of your wedding. Use garment bags to avoid wrinkles and place cosmetics in spill-proof containers.

  • Rehearse Your Vows: You don’t have to be a skilled public speaker to get through your vows. However, it’s often emotional. Practicing in advance can help quiet your nerves and remind you how darn excited you are to get married.

3 to 1 Days Before the Wedding: Check Details as the Festivities Begin

So far, we’ve concentrated on the things you can do in the week leading up to the big event, but there’s a whole category of wedding planning and preparation once guests actually start to fly in. You may have pre-event mixers, rehearsal dinners, or any number of other activities to keep friends and family entertained before the wedding.

Your loved ones know you have a lot on your plate, so you don’t need to plan these events quite as obsessively as your ceremony and reception. Nonetheless, take the following steps:

  • Assign a point person for off-site events: Give them their own to-do list (including confirming your reservation, serving as the go-to resource for questions, etc.). Be sure to plan a special treat, note, or surprise as a thank you for their help.

  • Say Hello! Make sure you give your in-laws and wedding party a quick call when they arrive—even if you don’t have time for a dedicated visit. If you write a welcome note or prepare a welcome basket in advance, that’s one less thing to focus on during this busy week.

  • Check the Weather. We know you’ve been hoping for sunny skies and temperate weather on your wedding day. Now, it’s finally time to see what the cards have in store. If you need to make any last-minute adjustments due to wind or rain, update your wedding vendors, your website, and all other parties.

Practice Self Care

Some spouses-to-be spend months getting ready to look their best on their wedding day, trying out new diets, facial regimes, and everything in between.

But the week before your wedding is not the time to start. A new fitness routine could leave you unexpectedly sore and tired, while a new cosmetic procedure could cause an allergic reaction.

Stick as closely as possible to your normal routine, making plenty of time for the following practices:

  • Drink Water: Drinking plenty of water is beneficial on every level, from helping you hydrate your cells to giving you glowing skin. Make sure you’re getting the requisite eight glasses a day, so that you can look and feel good in your wedding photos.

  • Get Sleep: It may feel like there are still a hundred things on your to-do list. But if there’s one last DIY project still outstanding, just ditch it. Your goal is to get eight hours of shut-eye a night. This can be hard with all the excitement, so be sure to stick to your normal bedtime and use natural sleep aids like essential oils, earplugs, and sound machines to boost your chances of a good night’s rest.

  • Move Your Body: If you already love running, yoga, or pilates, try your best to stick to your normal routine. Getting adequate exercise can help improve your sleep quality and health.

  • Pamper Yourself. Do you need a root touch-up, massage, trim, or mani-pedi before the big day? Make sure to book your treatments a few days in advance of the rehearsal and ceremony.

If there’s anything else you know that helps—whether it’s meditation, a movie marathon, dance class, or journaling—take a few minutes for it whenever you can.

Connect With Your Future Spouse

As you and your spouse buzz about, checking and double-checking details with every friend, family, coworker, and vendor, it’s easy to forget that your wedding is all about your relationship and the bond you share.

Sure, you’ll have time together during your honeymoon, but it can be super helpful to act as each other’s anchors now.

  • Put Pen to Paper: If it’s hard to make time to connect, write a note to your future spouse. Talk about how you’ve been feeling, what you’re looking forward to about being married, and anything else you want to get off your chest. Give this to them before or after the wedding as another keepsake of an intense and special time in your relationship.

No time to sit down and write a note? A sweet idea is to write a few notes on whatever you have on hand—sticky notes, coffee shop receipts, spare ribbon from the flower arrangements... whatever. Your notes can be spontaneous little art projects that perfectly encapsulate this incredible time in your life and how you feel about each other.

  • Schedule a Date Night: Put away the place cards, the DIY projects, and your constantly pinging cell phones. Order in and get a sweet preview of what married life will look like once all the chaos subsides.

  • Peruse Zola’s Wedding Album Offerings. It’s never too early to start dreaming up your wedding album. Zola’s custom wedding album builder gives couples the creative freedom to design beautiful keepsakes with a little help.

Choose either soft gloss or semi-matte premium paper stock options for the photos. As for the cover, you can pick high-quality cover materials, such as linen, vegan leather, or Italian leather (with multiple shining foil lettering options!). Picture the beauty of your wedding encapsulated in a stunning family heirloom you’ll treasure for years to come.

Long To-Do List? Ask for Help (and Count on Zola)

As you build your to-do list, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed by your pre-wedding tasks. But remember: It’s okay to ask for help. If you’re using a wedding planner, it’s their job to make sure that everything goes according to plan. It can be difficult to relinquish control and place trust in their hands, but faith is what it’s all about, isn’t it?

Besides professional resources, your wedding party, friends, and family are more than happy to pitch in. It’s all about asking for what you need. In fact, feel free to direct them to this very list to sign up for specific items. (They can’t practice self care for you, but they can surely call up a vendor.)

At Zola, we’re here to help, too. Our tools make it easy to create your own custom checklist, set up your wedding registry, and update your website with the most pertinent details.

As you work your way through your checklist, remember to take opportunities for fun and levity. There’s a big reward once you complete it—a beautiful wedding day.

Simplify Your Wedding Planning at Zola