I'm going to the Mitten and I'm gonna get wedded...
September 23, 2008 3:35 PM   Subscribe

Any little last-minute details I'm missing in the 18 days before my wedding?

The Mr & I are getting hitched on Oct 11th. Huzzah and hooray! As I'm tying up little things here and there to get ready for a wedding and reception in Michigan (we live in Chicago), I'm hoping that there aren't any little, itty bitty details I've forgotten.

For those of you who are married, were there any last minute things you wish you'd known about? Really wish you'd packed a pair of Chucks to wear to the reception? Wish you'd bough your hubby a handkerchief to cry into? Should've packed some rolaids?

Tell me, wise married folks! What have I not considered yet?
posted by santojulieta to Human Relations (29 answers total) 12 users marked this as a favorite
Check which ink is required for a Michigan marriage license (since I assume that because you're getting married in Michigan, you might not be able to use an Illinois license). At my brother's wedding, we realized that not one person there had the correct ink color (I think it's blue, but it might be black. It says on the license).

Luckily, so far, no one has challenged the license.
posted by klangklangston at 3:54 PM on September 23, 2008

If you don't have a wedding planner, appoint your most responsible not-afraid-to-be-an-asshole-if-necessary friend to be the Wedding Czar on the day of the event to handle all the questions that arise; clergy, performers or wedding party confused about their role; run interference on problematic relatives; and any other crises or details then sit back, relax and enjoy your day.

We had a friend do this for us. It was awesome.
posted by MasonDixon at 4:34 PM on September 23, 2008

I was really glad that I brought a change of clothes so that I could get out of my dress after the reception. I ended up being the one to drive home & I would have been very sad to get door grease on my dress.

Things that were handy at my cousin's wedding: safety pins, band aids, an extra battery for the camera.
posted by belladonna at 4:35 PM on September 23, 2008

Wish we'd had somebody pack us some tasty snacks for the post-reception trip to the honeymoon suite. All that schmoozing meant neither of us got much to eat during the reception itself, and we were both ravenous by the end of the evening.

They didn't end up being used, but I was glad I thought to buy some big, matching umbrellas in case of rain.
posted by Bardolph at 4:48 PM on September 23, 2008

I got married two months ago. Last night my bride and I were saying that we wish we had asked the DJ to write down a list of the songs he played. It's a small thing, but it would have been fun to later make a mix CD out of it. We had the DJ play a lot of oldies, and it got everyone from the grandparents to the young kids out on the dance floor- we couldn't believe how many people were out there dancing.

Enjoy your day. It's probably going to fly by, so don't forget to take a breath and really enjoy every moment.
posted by mintymike at 4:53 PM on September 23, 2008

This may be obvious -- make a list of the wedding photos you do and don't want. We asked our photographer if we should make such a list and he got all insulted because "he was a pro." Ha. We ended up with a bunch of pictures of people we hardly knew, fuzzy "artsy" pictures of the church interior (what?), and no pictures of any of our siblings.
posted by Malla at 4:57 PM on September 23, 2008

Make sure you have (preferably a small) digital camera for your own use.

Many people leave a single disposable camera on each table, allowing the guests to take pictures and snapshots during the reception. When you get them developed you sometimes find some real gems.

Slip some painkillers into your pocket or purse.

Some envelopes with tips for the church pastor/priest/janitor and the head waiting staff/bar staff at the reception, if you are so inclined.

Small gifts for your mother, and your new husband's mother. "Thank you for being my mom, and thank you for welcoming me into your family". A token yes, but a thoughtful and usually very well received one.

Comfortable shoes; it depends on whether you intend to change shortly after the service or dance all night in those high heels!

Good luck and congratulations.
posted by Mephisto at 4:58 PM on September 23, 2008

I think the bride almost had to drive across Jersey to fetch the cat & chicken, when one guy couldn't make it, but a bride's maid handled it. So don't book all the bride's maid's time.

A friend hadn't really prepared their midnight satanic ceremony. I didn't mind that since it was their 4th ceremony of the day, but the fool they had doing the subgenius one 4 hours before hadn't prepared either. So 2 of 4 ain't bad but it's nice to get the end right.
posted by jeffburdges at 5:00 PM on September 23, 2008 [2 favorites]

make sure you know whether or not the officiating pastor or whatever expects to be paid; my father is a pastor and as he is performing a service for you, he does have a set fee.
posted by janepanic at 5:11 PM on September 23, 2008

Think of the most important few things that absolutely need to happen for the day to work and think of some backup plans for those few things then accept that other bad things might happen and try not to stress about them (in fact they just give you more stories to tell). Case in point, the baker for our wedding dropped a portion of our cake down a flight of stairs the day of our reception! Not a whole lot we could do about that and the guests got to eat an equally delicious just less fancy decorated cake.
posted by mmascolino at 5:37 PM on September 23, 2008

When are you traveling to Michigan? We gave ourselves lots of extra time in CA before our wedding (we live in NC) last year (yay! October weddings are the best!). Because we'd planned from so far away, we used a coordinator, and lots of family members, but it was nice to actually meet with the baker and the florist and the officiant before the big day. We had an outside service and I think the groom spent a portion of my "getting ready" time rearranging the chairs.
I would advise having and iron (or portable steamer) on site. We didn't have the guys wear jackets, and Hubby was pretty wrinkled. My mom saved the day, by heading back home to grab her iron.
For my sister's wedding we forgot to bring the corsages for the mom's and grandma's and had to delegate a cousin to go back to Mom's house and get them. Also the bakery forgot her cake topper.
So aside from following up, and if possible meeting with, all of your vendors, I would say have reliable people around who are not part of the wedding party.
Oh, if you have time, we got massages a few days before the big day. It was a really nice way to prepare your mind and body. If you do it, be sure to give yourself a couple days in between... especially if you'll be doing any deep tissue work. I was so sore the day before the wedding, I thought I'd have to wear BenGay as I walked down the aisle. Miraculously, I was fine the day of.
Congrats! Good luck!
posted by purpletangerine at 5:56 PM on September 23, 2008

Hubby should get his hair cut a few days in advance and not the day of the wedding (trust me on this one).
If you've got free time, pack your luggage now because those last 72hrs you won't have any time at all.
2nding what Malla said.
Buy your gifts for the maid of honour and best man now.
posted by furtive at 6:01 PM on September 23, 2008

Organize transportation between the wedding and reception, if they're in different places/if you haven't done so. As a bridesmaid in my cousin's wedding a few years ago, my sister and I ended up trucking it to the reception in the groom's car with a groomsman that was just learning how to drive standard because the bride and groom were taking a limo there and nobody thought to figure out who would drive the leftover cars to the reception site.
posted by riane at 6:06 PM on September 23, 2008

Figure out in advance what you want to do with checks people hand you at the reception; either let the groom/best man keep them in his pocket, or something else.

Delegate all duties for the day of.
It's tempting to imagine that you will be able to keep track of everything and deal with details at the last minute, but don't expect this - your attention will be needed elsewhere.
You should not be in charge of setting out party favors before. You should not be in charge of capturing the people who need to be in pictures. (etc)
You should not be the one wrangling out of town guests - this can be weird if there are a bunch of friends from different parts of your lives coming who may not know anybody else. Try to appoint someone (preferably local, or at least socially skilled) to have their contact info and be in charge of helping them with directions, last minute taxi calls, checking on shy friends during reception to be sure they've been introduced to a couple of people to chat with, etc. Could assign one person as point-person for relatives, one for younger friends, etc.

Be sure to have a good breakfast the morning of. You will be on your feet not eating for a surprisingly long time.

Re: disposable film cameras. We did this, and got a few good pics but it was a fair amount of logistics for not a lot of results. The lenses in those cameras are poor, so any large scale crowd shots will suck. Only close-up pics turned out to be any good, and a lot of people just didn't take pictures at all. I'd say if your crowd will be mostly digital camera havers, consider setting up a website where people can upload their digital pics, and put the web address on a slip of paper that you give them with the program or goodybag (or whatever you're giving them).

Get your caterer to pack you a to-go bag of food for afterward. You'll be hungry after.

Remember that even if a vendor screws up or some unpredictable thing happens, it will all be ok. People don't care about the details. Everyone is coming because they like you and as long as you're happy that day, everybody else will roll with it and be happy too.
posted by LobsterMitten at 6:18 PM on September 23, 2008

Make sure you have an extra set of keys to whatever car you will be using the day of the ceremony. (I locked all my fancy underwear in the car -- with the keys in the car -- and someone had to drive the hour back to my house to get the extra keys.)
posted by anastasiav at 6:46 PM on September 23, 2008

I'd also double-check that your minister/officiant is allowed to perform weddings in the particular city/county/state you're in. I know some people who didn't double-check and ended up drive over the state line (from WI to MN, where the minister was licensed) during the reception to make it all legal.
posted by belladonna at 6:51 PM on September 23, 2008

Take sleeping pills or something the night before, you'll be thinking to much, it will help you sleep. Then, sleep as late as possible (you will get up earlier than you planned). Ear plugs, eye shades, etc.

Realize that out of all your plans, not everything will be done in time, done perfectly and you absolutely will forget something. Keep mind the most fun is the party and the most emotional is the ceremony, so when you start that walk down the aisle, you leave it all the planning behind you and have a great freakin' time. Absolutely have fun. Basically, don't sweat the small stuff, cause by that point, there's not much you can do to try and finish it, get it done perfectly or go back to get it.
posted by pokeedog at 7:22 PM on September 23, 2008

Assign somebody - your Mom, your sister, your best friend, etc. - to pull you and your Husband (!!) aside during the reception. Just stand in the corner and and just simply observe for five minutes (who ever that assignee is can run interference so nobody interrupts you). Watch your friends and family having fun, laughing, dancing. All the people in that room are there because they love you and are enjoying the day in your honour.

I promise you it is something you will always remember. And unless you have somebody intentionally pull you aside to take the time to observe, that magical fleeting moment will pass. Sure, you may have it on video, or in pictures. But to watch it live, it's something that is truly breath taking.

Congratulations and good luck!!
posted by dancinglamb at 7:26 PM on September 23, 2008 [5 favorites]

I got married in May. We thought we had everything covered, but on the day of, there were a few obvious "oopsies."

First, make sure that if you have a veil that it's not going to be in a bag or something that will wrinkle it. Thirty minutes before pictures, we realized that the veil was wrinkled beyond recognition and my brother had to run to his house to steam it.

Have your hair done a week or two before as a test. Take a picture of the test hair if you like it and bring it on the day of. I did have the test done, but didn't take pictures. On the day of, it was obvious that the hairdresser totally forgot what it was supposed to be and made me look like I was going to prom. It was really hard to describe what she was supposed to do to fix it and after it was done, I still wasn't happy with it. Having pictures handy is a must.

Also, have someone handy that can handle the checks and confirm details with your vendors. Give them the phone numbers of all essential personnel. Have them meet your limo driver outside and make sure they are going to the right location (ours tried to go to the wrong hotel...ugh). This person could also handle the checks for the limo driver, pianist, pastor, DJ, etc.

Have your personal attendant carry a bridal survival kit. These include things like spare lipstick, tampons, deodorant, eye drops, glasses repair kits, Tide-to-go pens, a sewing kit, lotion, breath mints, Rolaids, etc. If you Google for wedding survival kit or bridal survival kits, you get some handy lists.

posted by bristolcat at 7:27 PM on September 23, 2008

If it's an outdoor wedding, wear sunscreen. I was sunburned for my whole honeymoon. If you're leaving for your honeymoon straight from the wedding, bring sunscreen.

Take your rehearsal seriously. We were a bit lackadaisical about it and realized during the ceremony that we'd never talked about where we would recessional to once the ceremony was over. The groom and I just kind of ...kept...walking and there are these great photos of us turning around, laughing, totally confused. Whoops.

Give all your vendors one final call a couple days before just to make sure it's all in order. I realized around midnight of Wedding Eve that I hadn't heard from the photographer in a week and basically had a little panic attack.
posted by crinklebat at 7:31 PM on September 23, 2008

If you're having some sort of after-party, plan it, or have someone else plan it! I had asked someone to find a bar and notify everyone to go there if they were still up for hanging out, but he neglected to call the bar and check that it was okay we were coming, and it turned out to be closed. So we went to another bar and then couldn't notify everyone of the change. At three other weddings the couple just casually said, "Oh, just come back to our room, we'll get pizza," and in all three cases the police came about noise and we had to slink off into the night. Another wedding or two decided to hang out in the hotel lobby, which had couches, but an oddly quiet atmosphere, and ultimately was kind of depressing and anticlimactic.
posted by xo at 7:46 PM on September 23, 2008

Its cliche, but get a good night sleep. Your eyes will thank you when you are trying to keep from blinking after 600 photos.

Accept the fact that it will be pretty much sensory overload and you won't be able to take it all in (that's what the photos/video are for).

The moment right before you walk down the aisle, pause, take a breath, and think about where you are and what you are about to do. From that point onwards the day/night will be somewhat of a (wonderful) blur.

Good luck!
posted by 3rdparty at 8:13 PM on September 23, 2008

If you are sending your dress/veil to be pressed before the wedding, include a packing list in the dry cleaner's package! And when the package comes back from the cleaners, check it before the day of the wedding!

We did not do this. My veil had been lost by the dry cleaner (who says he didn't receive it because he didn't have a packing list). Fortunately a friend of my sister in law had a suitable last minute replacement. It sucked though.
posted by crazycanuck at 8:48 PM on September 23, 2008

I really wish I'd got a pre-nup. I'm not joking.
posted by w0mbat at 9:02 PM on September 23, 2008

Breath mints.
Band aids
Duct tape
a blank check
posted by JohnnyGunn at 9:55 PM on September 23, 2008

Tell the officiant what your married names will be.

My best friends got married, and at the end, the rent-a-pastor said to the audience, "I now present to you Mr. and Mrs. Smith." But because the bride was not taking her husband's name, both of them craned their heads looking around for his parents, utterly confused why they were being presented. When they realized he was referring to them, they got kind of annoyed that he'd made this rather dated assumption about their plans without ever asking, and they both felt that in saying this he took away the bride's identity at the end of the ceremony. It wasn't the end of the world or anything, but even though they were married five years ago, it still bugs them.
posted by Capri at 11:34 PM on September 23, 2008

Capri, that happened to me too ("Mr and Mrs Hisname will greet you outside the register office on the way out") and it just hadn't occurred to me that they'd do that without asking. So yes, make your wishes clear, whatever they are.

I'm not the best person to be giving advice, as at our wedding we let all but the most essential things go. For us the essential things were
a) getting married, with very few trappings apart from a dear friend providing some simple music;
b) being comfortable (physically. i.e. not wearing unfamiliar and uncomfortable clothes);
c) seeing friends and family, providing nice food for them and enough drink for everyone to get as drunk as they wanted to be and
d) not spending silly amounts of money.

I found it a useful exercise to work out in our minds what our priorities were, and act accordingly. Then we abandoned all thoughts of what others were expecting of us. Mr Alto was ill in the weeks leading up to the wedding, which meant we had little time to worry in any case.
posted by altolinguistic at 6:48 AM on September 24, 2008

Also - congratulations, and I hope you have a wonderful day!
posted by altolinguistic at 6:49 AM on September 24, 2008

I got married almost six months ago. The only thing that we forgot was to get the pastor to sign the marriage license form that he was supposed to, and while we were on the way to the honeymoon suite, we had to drive back to give it to him.
posted by joshrholloway at 8:22 AM on September 24, 2008

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