The Ultimate Last-Minute Wedding Checklist

By Lorna Urwin

Hitting the “one week to go” mark can be both exciting and tense for brides as months of decisions fall into place. Even with thorough preparation in the preceding weeks and months, last-minute tasks are unavoidable. Thankfully unavoidable doesn’t necessarily mean stressful! We’ve put together an easy-reference checklist of the most common last-minute tasks to help you stay on top of the game. Let the countdown begin!

One week to go

Image by Sabine Scherer Photography

♦    Start checking weather forecast for wedding day (ongoing). You’ll want as much warning as possible if you need to switch to rainy-day back up plans.

♦    Ensure marriage licence is in order. For peace of mind it’s better to arrange a licence several weeks ahead of the wedding but it doesn’t hurt to double check that everything is in order at this stage, while there’s still time to correct any errors.

Image by Hello Love Photography

♦    Confirm arrangements with all vendors and share a finalised schedule. Confirm or reconfirm details like the playlist and do not play list (DJ or band), menus (caterer or venue), shot lists (photographer and videographer). Your schedule should include vendor delivery and set up times and locations, points of contact, contact numbers and an emergency phone number to contact you on the day. 

♦    Confirm wedding day roles with bridal party and share a finalised schedule. This should ensure everyone is well prepared to be at the right place at the right time and that no key jobs are overlooked (i.e. who’s delivering the boutonnieres to the boys?). You might want to include all of the bridal party’s contact details on here too, to keep everything in one place. 

Image by Gayle Brooker Photography

♦    Finalise the seating plan. The bulk of the plan will be done in the final month but should now be finalised and ready to be shared with the relevant vendors (wedding planner, caterer or venue manager. Your photographer and videographer may also want a copy). Depending on last-minute cancellations, you may need to continue to make small adjustments throughout the week!

♦    Give final headcount to caterer and create place cards. As above, you should now have a clear picture of which guests will attend. Pass the finalised figures to your caterer or venue manager. Don’t forget to include any vendors who’ll eat on the day! If you’re supplying your own place cards, use the final list to create these now, too. 

Bonus tip: It’s always wise to check in with your vendors in advance to make sure you align with their individual deadlines. This applies both to your venue for submitting the headcount and to a calligrapher if you’re having your place cards handwritten. 

Images by Cambria Grace Photography and Arielle Doneson Photography

♦    Pick up (or take delivery of) wedding dress and groom’s suit. If you’re picking up, have one last fitting in store (complete with underwear and veil if possible). This will give more time if alterations are needed!

♦    Make time to relax. This week is a good time to treat yourself (and some members of your bridal party or female family members) – perhaps to spa treatments. The groom can do the same by treating the groomsmen and male relatives, or you can combine the two groups into one larger celebration, like a special lunch or dinner.

Five days to go

Image by Michele Beckwith

♦    Confirm transport arrangements, including pickup addresses and times. For the bridal party and any guest transportation. You may want to provide the company/driver with a thorough schedule including names, phone numbers, addresses and directions. 


Image by Sawyer Baird

♦    Practise vows (and speeches).

♦    Confirm honeymoon arrangements, weather forecast for honeymoon destination and start packing! Assuming your honeymoon will begin shortly after the wedding day, it’s a good idea to sort out these tasks early in the week, though you might want to recheck flight reservations/status later too. Ideally any honeymoon shopping should be checked off already, so it’s time to get that bag packed! 

Three days to go

Image by Carlie Statsky

♦    Give any place cards, menus, signs and favours to the wedding planner/reception manager or whomever will be distributing them. Consider if there are any other special items that will need to be handed over, too, like a guestbook or cake knife.

♦    Confirm wedding night reservation and pack for wedding. If you want to be super-prepared, gather items for a wedding day emergency day kit too (things like clear plasters, mints, safety pins, a small sewing kit, more comfortable dancing shoes). 

Image by Patina Photography

♦    Check that the bridal party’s outfits are sorted. If groomsmen are renting suits or tuxes, these should be picked up. Bridesmaids should now have all components of their outfits, including shoes and accessories.

♦    Have manicure and pedicure. Buy the nail colours used if you don’t already own them. That way you can easily cover up any chips on the day.

One day to go

Image by Amanda Watson Photography

Rehearsal dinners and ceremonies are not quite as common in New Zealand as they are elsewhere in the world. However, some brides and grooms love the idea of a casual rehearsal to make sure everything on the day runs smoothly. If a rehearsal sounds like something you would be interested in doing then these one-day-to-go points should be added to your checklist!

♦    Rehearse ceremony. The rehearsal should include the officiant, bridal party, immediate family members, and anyone doing readings. 

♦    Attend rehearsal dinner, if you’re having one. This is often a suitable time to present the bridal party and your parents with gifts (especially if the gifts are to be worn on the wedding day) and a good time to hand over envelopes containing tips and final payment cheques to the person who will distribute them to vendors on the day.

♦    Relax and get plenty of sleep!



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