The final countdown

When I first got engaged, someone told me and my fiancée that the most hectic part of this process was the month or two after the engagement, and the month or two before the wedding — advice we’re finding is certainly coming true. 

The weeks and days before your wedding will no doubt be stressful, but here are some ideas we came up with to help your wedding countdown be a joyful, not dreaded, one.



Tying up loose ends

My fiancée proposed in April 2013, and we immediately set to work finding vendors — a venue, photographer, florist, DJ, hotel, transportation, etc. — a process that required a wealth of patience and organizational skills. Once we made our picks, we put down deposits and then largely bid adieu to the process for a while. In the intervening months, we picked bridal-party attire, shopped for our dresses, made centerpieces and obsessed needlessly over details, a habit we’re trying to break!

After taking a planning break for the holidays, we revisited most of our vendor contracts and saw that many of our balances were coming due around the same time, about two months before the wedding. So — to stave off a slew of phone calls and emails at once and lighten the sudden load on our bank account — we tried to be proactive and send in payments early when we could.

In addition to paying balances, we had to start scheduling follow-up vendor meetings, which we sought to stagger throughout the final few months. We had to meet with the venue to do a final rundown of the food and linen selections, with the photographer and videographer to walk through the venue, with the DJ to select songs and with the florist to plan arrangements. Getting our thoughts together before each meeting helped; researching songs we liked, flowers we took to and making a list of photos we know we’d need to capture kept the meetings shorter, and helped us to be more prepared for the barrage of paperwork each vendor presented.

Guest list

We’re right now in the midst of RSVP collection. We’re both the type to try to get tasks done as soon as they present themselves, but we’ve had to curb that habit when it comes to the guest list.

While we’re eager to start filling out our seating-assignment chart from our venue — a veritable map with enough symbols to confuse any cartographer — we have to cool our jets until all of our RSVPs come in, and they’ve been trickling in just a few per day. We’ve had a few people we were surprised are coming, and a few no’s that we’ve also been surprised by, so getting ahead of ourselves with the table assignments could just create more headaches down the line.

Most venues don’t require the final headcount until the week of the wedding, so don’t get working on tables too early. Make sure you give your guests a cutoff deadline for RSVPing (usually about three weeks before the wedding) and, from what we’ve heard, some follow-up phone calls are usually in order for the non-responders (our stalking commences at 12:01 a.m. March 19).

‘Me’ time

If you’re having a larger wedding, the months and especially weeks leading up to the event will likely be consumed by wedding details. There may be a wedding shower, final fittings, walkthroughs, rehearsals — it may seem like every moment of your life is devoted to the wedding.

But, balance could be key in helping keep perspective, and your cool. Take time for yourself, separate from the wedding. Make sure to do things you enjoy, especially activities you’ve found to relieve stress: Exercise, cook, read, volunteer, see a movie with your fiancée (or by yourself!). Self-care is paramount; having two brides or two grooms who are overstressed and overworked will not make for a very joyous or productive planning process.

And from what we’ve been told, no amount of pre-wedding stress and worry will make the day perfect; there will surely be things that go wrong. But the details will likely be the furthest things from everyone’s minds as the vows are said and sealed with a kiss.