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Do you often feel like you’re forgetting something? Well that kind of describes my wedding planning experience, in a nutshell – a long, jerky highway of mental checkpoints, like: “Did I send X and Y wedding invitations?” or “What am I supposed to be doing right now?” or “Was I surfing Pinterest for a reason?”
I frequently feel like I’m totally omitting essential elements of the wedding like RINGS, or CAKE, or a MARRIAGE LICENSE (That last one is more essential than most). And despite having two degrees in WRITING, I still don’t jot down notes or leave myself little reminders everywhere. Or read contracts, for that matter! That’s all on my fiance John.
So while wedding planning has been totally fun, it’s also been just a a teensy bit stressful for me AT ALL TIMES. In order to deter this steady undercurrent of mild mental anguish, I’ve made a very extensive (yet surprisingly basic) wedding checklist. It seems almost too basic to merit posting, but I just KNOW there are other brides like me out there who could totally use this.
These are the things you need to get married. I’ve put an asterisk by the things that are legally necessary.
A Groom/Partner* – don’t leave them in the car! You are legally required to have “two consenting people” of “sufficient mental capacity”. Legally, you don’t even have to like each other that much, you just have to be OK with the idea of marriage…
The Date – it’s an abstract concept, but it’s the first thing you have to get nailed down, along with finding…
The Venue – whether it’s a courthouse, an old railroad station, a Scottish castle, or the great outdoors!
The Dress – SQUEE! Now move on to…
The Invitations – even if you’re just sending an e-vite, you should probably let people know where this shindig is happening, and not just rely on word of mouth…or facebook.
A Wedding Party – made up of your nearest and dearest! Let those people know well in advance that they are expected to stand up for you on your big day. AND that they’ll be required to NOT look, you know, how they do in everyday life.
A Caterer – is someone you’ll definitely want to get in touch with SOON if you want to serve people food (and maybe BOOZE?), and not just…
The Cake – which is ok too! Be warned, not all caterers do wedding cakes. And not all cakeries do catering…
A Photographer – couples on a serious budget can just buy a few hours of their time, or just rely on their friends to provide the lasting memories. Couples who are DEADLY SERIOUS about photography should splurge here, and maybe even pony up for…
A Videographer – a lot of newlyweds say they regret NOT getting one of these. I’m just putting that out there.
The Flowers – are another prime opportunity to scale back and save a little cash. If you’re getting married on a beach, or in a garden, why bother? Just spring for some nice bouquets. But if big ol’ blossoms are totally your thing, go crazy. I myself am partial to anemones. Thanks, Pinterest!
The Officiant* – is absolutely necessary to the wedding ceremony. THOUGH there are a few states where you don’t need one. But odds are, you don’t live in one of those states. If you don’t have a preferred preacher, pastor, or yogi, there are all manner of lovely people who are professional wedding officiants. Also, basically ANYONE can become an ordained minister online (EDIT: though according to our resident wedding planner Liz, it might not be legal to have them officiate a wedding in your state)
Music – is easy enough – just bring your iPod! Always imagined yourself being serenaded by a string quartet? Be prepared to line a poor musician’s pocket with some serious coin.
The Rings – could easily be forgotten somewhere by someone at any point during the wedding day. A fact which terrifies me.
The Marriage License* –
FYI, you can’t get one of these bad boys day-of. Don’t wait till the Friday before your wedding, either. Take care of this several days if not several weeks before. You don’t have to sign it until your wedding day. (EDIT: Liz rings in again – apparently some officiants CAN issue a marriage license day-of…for a price.)
Witnesses* – are those people you sent wedding invitations to. You did remember to send them invitations, didn’t you?! Fortunately, you usually only need two people to show for this whole thing to be legit.
I STILL feel like I’m forgetting something? If so, PLEASE let me know, brides!