Week 12: The week before

One week to go!  Yippee!  First of all, I hope you have planned to take this week off work.  If you worked right up until 6pm on Friday the day before your wedding (like I did) then I truly hope you have asked your partner to take some time off.  Trust me, even if you think you have everything sorted, you will need at least one body available to do any last minute run around during business hours before the weekend.

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So much to do in this 21 day week of wedding!

A week before your wedding is usually the time when family start to arrive from out of town.  I remember when I first saw my relatives who had traveled from interstate and overseas, the reality of getting married really hit me.  Suddenly there are people turning up everywhere to see YOU and the wedding you’ve worked your tail off planning.  Your wedding that will be taking place in less than a week.  ZOMG… things are getting REAL.  I guarantee that when your family arrives you will need a glass of wine.

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My bossy advice for this week is not to overdo it.  Enjoy having friends and family around, but don’t feel obliged to see them every minute.  Do take some time to yourself to have a decent sleep and chill out.  Don’t listen to last minute wedding suggestions/comments/criticisms from friends and family, it’s too late to make any changes and their opinions will only stress you out.  Drink enough to be sociable, but not enough to give you a hangover.  Same applies to your partner.  Having him/her hung over on your wedding day is not a great start.

Practical tips for your last minute run around, I suggest:

  • Confirm bookings with all of your vendors
  • Put everyone’s number you will need on the day in your phone or your partner’s phone (transport, catering, band, photographer etc etc)
  • Take some time out to write a speech so you will be prepared if you are asked to give a toast
  • Practise dancing at least a couple of times with your partner
  • Make sure your rainy day back up plan is ready (undercover set up and umbrellas!) if weather is looking gloomy
  • Confirm everyone you nominated for jobs are aware of what they need to do on the day (For example, who will drive your flower girls to hairdresser, who is responsible for picking up your flowers, meeting the photographers at the venue, bringing music for the ceremony, giving readings etc)

Finally, imagine a complete run through of your wedding day and visualise everything going perfectly to plan.  Picture yourself with your partner looking relaxed and happy with family and friends celebrating with you.  Imagine yourself eating breakfast, getting ready, talking to your bridesmaids.  Picture yourself driving to the venue, walking down the aisle and saying your vows.  You might only need to do this once but I visualised myself going through the day a few times which helped me feel less nervous on the day.  It also helped me to remember a few small things I’d forgotten in the planning process.

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Think positive and be awesome!

One thing I wished I’d done is stay with my partner on the night before our wedding.  My parents really wanted me to stay at their place to get ready and were quite insistent about it so I just caved in and stayed at their house.  It sort of sucked because I didn’t sleep very well on my own and in the morning I had to negotiate their kitchen for breakfast. So, again, don’t give in to tradition and stay with your future husband/wife if that’s what you want to do!  Now finally, it’s time for your wedding day!

Week 11: The finishing touches

Two weeks to go and still a lot to do.  Hopefully by now you have paid for all of your big expenses like the venue, celebrant, catering, band, photographer, suits, dresses, flowers, transport, accommodation, rings.  The finishing touches are the annoying things like bonbonieres, table numbers and the seating plan that no one on the day gives a sh*t about.  Seriously, don’t give more than two minutes of your time stressing about what stupid wedding favour you’re going to give out.  They are time consuming to make, expensive and often left on the table at the end of the night.

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  A bottle of sand with a dead starfish from your wedding that I will cherish forever

We went ultra cheapo and bought packets of mixed lollies from the supermarket and put them in a clear container with a ribbon and a little tag that said ‘Thanks!’.  It cost just over $100 to buy everything we needed.  We then asked our friends to come over and we put them to work.

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Fingers crossed everyone at the reception is too wasted to care about the bonboniere

The other annoying thing is the seating plan.  If you have friends and family that don’t get along or don’t know anyone else at your wedding it can be a nightmare to plan.  However, no seating plan for close to one hundred guests is just asking for drunken chaos, especially if you want everyone seated in a somewhat organised fashion. We got around it by splitting everyone into four groups with one group per table.  Our seating plan sign at the entrance to the reception read:

‘Join us for dinner and drinks inside

Where you sit, we don’t mind

You may use these rows as a guide

See you soon! From the groom and the bride’

At the time of drafting up our seating plan on PowerPoint we also made our table numbers and menus.  The menu had a program of events, bar menu, catering menu and a quiz titled ‘How well do you know the bride and groom?’ on the back.  Yes, very lame but it was intended to be a conversation starter and I think it worked.

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With a couple of weeks to go, now is the time to encourage everyone in your bridal party to try on all their gear and make sure everything fits.  Try on your wedding dress and shoes to make sure you don’t need any last minute alterations and plan what jewellery you are going to wear.

Confirm that everyone in your bridal party and immediate family have their transport and accommodation arranged and know when and where they need to be on the day.   Also make a last minute trip to the shops to buy some thank you presents for your bridal party and any one else you have put to work!

Week 10: Buck’s & hen’s parties

It is difficult to write a no nonsense guide to running a hen’s night/bachelorette party because honestly, hen’s parties are designed to be nonsense.  My sister, who was my maid of honour, did a great job organising the night in just a couple of months and I had about 8 friends and family at my bridal shower and nearly 20 for my hen’s night.

My advice is to be realistic with your expectations for the night, and offer to give your bridesmaids a hand with planning the event.  Have a reasonable idea about what you want to do for the party and a list of names and numbers of those you want to attend.

I had my bridal shower/kitchen tea and hen’s party on the same day.  Parents and relatives were invited to the bridal shower which my mum hosted at her house and did a great job.  We had tea, sandwiches, cake and champagne and played a few games.  It was very relaxed.

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More cake please!

We hired an apartment near the beach for the weekend and friends could choose whether they wanted to stay over and split the cost of the room or join us for dinner.  From memory my sister organised a set menu at a BYO Thai restaurant and everyone paid around $25 each.

Costs can easily get out of control so I would recommend just one event for the weekend – we did a one hour fire twirling class which was I think around $15 each.

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Fire twirling!

My partner told me about a week before my hen’s night that my sister had booked a stripper and I begged her to cancel it because I would have been mortified if one had shown up.  I think she was a bit grumpy about Phil ruining the surprise and losing her deposit, but I will be forever thankful that I never had to experience some tattooed meat head gyrating all over me in front of my horrified friends.

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The girls screamed in delight when he said he was leaving

If you have a small bridal party with only a maid of honour or 1 or 2 bridesmaids, be prepared to put in a lot of work yourself or have another friend available who can help with organising your friends, asking for money, buying snacks and setting up for the party.  Planning a bridal shower and/or hen’s night is a huge amount of work so don’t place too many demands on your maid of honour or she will be totally exhausted by your wedding day.

I would recommend doing the buck’s and hen’s parties on the same weekend so you are both out having fun at the same time.  Unless of course, all of your friends have kids then alternate weekends might be a good idea so partners can take turns to babysit.  I still don’t have any idea what happened at my partner’s buck’s night but he came home with both eyebrows and no broken bones so I assume it was good clean fun.