Your partner proposed against a picturesque backdrop, and it was pure perfection. How are you going to top this? And what comes first? Let's say you've opted for a micro wedding, and your mind is running wild about what to do next. Or you think that a smaller wedding translates to throwing a checklist out of the window. (Yes, it's true, micro weddings are notoriously known to be a bit more relaxed than large weddings, but there is still a decent amount of planning that goes into it.) Whether you fall under the former or the latter category, our step-by-step guide will make you look like you've been born to do this!
3 months out
Proclaim it to the hills
First things first: Send out a telegraph, postcard, or a good ole text message (whatever floats your boat) to let your nearest and dearest know that you are engaged. They say it isn't official until it's Facebook official, and if you're social media savvy, you probably want to change that relationship status to engaged. It is up to you how you celebrate the good news, whether it be an engagement party or an intimate dinner with family.
Budget, budget, budget
This is probably not the most fun start to planning the best day of your lives, and it's by no means an easy feat, but we promise it gets better. It calls for open discussions between you and your partner and possibly both sets of parents. How much are you willing to splurge on a wedding? How are you going to split the costs? Are your parents going to pay and how much?
Make your guest list
This is where you decide who gets an invite and who doesn't. Luckily with clear ground rules in place, you and your partner can start with the people you absolutely want there, like immediate families, close family members, and friends. Ultimately, you want to be surrounded by your favorite bunch of people in the whole world, and seeing you're planning a micro wedding, you'll probably not invite all your colleagues and extended families. Your guest list will ultimately determine what type of venue you'll book.
Secure a wedding venue and date
Now that you have a guest count in mind, you have to find a venue that accommodates them (and inspires you, and fits within your budget, of course). Luckily with micro weddings, you have way more options to explore all kinds of unique locations.
First, find out what is included in the package. Also, make sure that your venue has a rain plan in place if you decide to get married outside. The Notebook romanticizes kissing in the rain, but there is nothing romantic about a water-soaked bride with mascara dripping down her face. Once you've decided on your venue, set a wedding date.
Book your most essential vendors
Make sure you book your most essential vendors to avoid disappointment later on.
Yes, you've heard right. Micro weddings still utilize various vendors; you just have more leeway in deciding which ones you want to include in your wedding. Think caterer, photographer, florist, planner, and officiant.
Find out if your venue includes food and beverages that reflect you and your partners' personalities, or look into catering companies or food trucks.
Check out various photographers' work to see whose style you like best. It's also important to get along with your photographer because you don't want an awkward vibe to reflect in your wedding photos.
Not all locations need décor; some are so naturally beautiful that décor would be redundant. If your venue doesn't come with decor, you should consider hiring a local rental company for your desired furniture and design details.
If you've hired more than three vendors, we'll recommend hiring someone to worry about the nitty-gritty. If you wish to hire a planner, they will deal with the vendors mentioned above so that you don't have to.
The legalities are an essential part of your special day. This includes hiring an officiant, seeing that they are ultimately responsible for performing the ceremony, and signing your marriage license. Suppose you want a family member of a friend to officiate your ceremony. In that case, you have to let them go through the ordination process sooner rather than later.
Time to send out save-the-dates
Your wedding vision is a little clearer by now, meaning it's time to invite your guests to share in the love. With only three months to go, we recommend you send out online save-the-dates. You can always mail your customized invite later on. You just have to make sure your guests keep the date open and make the necessary travel arrangements, especially if you plan on having a destination wedding.
Ask your wedding party
Asking the people you love to be part of your wedding party is special; you might as well make the "proposal" memorable. Luckily, things are a lot more laid back these days, and you can even "pop the question" through a virtual party.
Say yes to the dress (and suit)
Many brides opt to buy off the rack rather than order online or make a customized dress when working with such a short timeline. If you decide to order a dress, make sure you do it early on in the process and book a few extra appointments to allow room for alterations. Luckily you've already asked your squad to support you in your quest for finding the perfect wedding dress.
2 months out
Book your honeymoon
Many dreamy locations require advanced booking, so a bit of planning goes a long way. You also have to factor in your leave time. Plus, you've got a little extra reading to do now that Covid has entered the picture. Decide on a place that you both will enjoy, find out what the Covid-restrictions are, and book accordingly.
Start your registry
No matter how big or small your wedding is, you still want to look into a registry. A wishlist will make your life, as well as the lives of your guests, a whole lot easier. Make sure you have a variety of options and price points to choose from.
Regardless of how small your wedding is, you still want you and your wedding party to look and feel like a million bucks. And yes, we know that beauty technically falls under the vendor category, but we thought it deserved its own heading, seeing that a hair and makeup trial might be involved. Your wedding dress can guide you in this process. For instance, if you are going for a relaxed look, you might want to consider loose curls. For something a little bit more formal, you can opt for an updo or a sleek ponytail. And if you're going to break the "rules," we are here for it too! You don't want any surprises on the day of.
Accommodate your guests
Part of accommodating your guests is finding them accommodation recommendations and arranging transport to the venue (if needed). You might want to look into reserving a block of hotel rooms or Airbnb options.
Mail the invitations
Make sure your guests have adequate time to respond to your invite and have a fixed RSVP date. Keep in mind; this is your guests' first glimpse into your special day - make it memorable!
Order or buy bridesmaids dresses/suits
You don't only have your wedding dress or suit to worry about. You ultimately have to decide what vibe you want to go for with your bridesmaids'/groomsmen outfits. Make sure it is something your wedding party feels comfortable wearing and that they order or buy their outfits within the 2-month timeframe. While you are at it - who's going to give a wedding toast?
We would recommend having the bachelors and bachelorette parties 4 - 6 weeks before the wedding, depending on your schedule. It's a good idea to start discussing potential dates with your wedding party. If you are a little pressed for time, you might want to consider a joint party.
1 month out
Plan the wedding day timeline
If you decide on a micro wedding, you probably want to create space for spontaneity, which is totally within your right. But you also want to add a little bit of structure to your big day.
You need to decide what time your glam squad will rock up and give the arrangements through to your wedding party. Depending on the hairstyle, you may want to look at 40 - 45 minutes per bridesmaid and 60 - 90 minutes for the bride. Makeup will approximately take 30 minutes per bridesmaid and 60 minutes for the bride. By this time, you've probably determined the time you need to be ready, so work it out backward in 30 - 45 minutes increments to determine their arrival. Also, factor in a bit more time in case you are running behind schedule.
Are you opting for a traditional ceremony or something new? Either way, there is still planning that goes into it. What order do you want your wedding party to enter? Are you going to have a flower girl and ring bearer? What music do you want to play? Customize your service by choosing songs near and dear to your heart or writing your own vows. Water bottles might be a stellar idea for a sunny day or a nice cuppa if it's a bit chilly. Try not to confuse your guests. If you're not going the traditional route, let them know with a sign that they can take a seat anywhere.
You also might want to schedule a call with your wedding planner and decide when you want your cocktail hour to start, when you want to have your first dance, at what time do you want the dinner to be served, and your bouquet to be tossed.
Make final alterations
If needed, you want to start making alterations to your dress/suit and your wedding party's attire to ensure a stress-free day. Remember to bring accessories to your fitting like headpieces, shoes, and undergarments you plan to wear on your wedding day. If you're still not happy with the alterations, you might want to schedule a final fitting at the two-week mark.
Finalize your menu
A wedding tasting is often overlooked because it's not deemed essential, but it might be helpful if you've never tasted your caterer's food. You don't want any surprises on your wedding day, do you?
Even though this will vary from person to person, you still want to thank a few special people. It might be a good idea to make a list of the people who supported you the most throughout your wedding planning, followed by wedding favors for the guests and helpers.
Did all of your guests respond to your invite? Now is a good time to call aunt Suzie, who is technically challenged, and ask her if she will attend the wedding. Depending on your venue, you need to send a final headcount one to four weeks before the wedding.
In the name of beauty
Book everything you need to look and feel your best before your wedding day. If you want a bronzy glow, book a spray tan. Try not to go a few days before your wedding, and (we can't stress this enough) always say yes to a trial run.
Depending on your schedule and preferences, you may also want to book the following: brows, haircut and coloring, manicure/pedicure, professional teeth whitening, and wax. Don't opt for quick-fix treatments, or try a brand new facial the day before your wedding.
Plan your rehearsal dinner
"I only want one day to celebrate our union." Said no one ever. A rehearsal dinner is a perfect way to kick off your wedding celebrations and honor your VIP guests. Make sure you secure a dinner reservation for the day before and inform your guests accordingly.
Check-in with vendors
Now is an excellent time to check in with your vendors and ask them any questions you might have. Also, confirm the last-minute details so that there is no confusion on your big day. You probably want to send photo ops to your photographer, run the playlist by your DJ, and send the final headcount to the caterer and venue.
It's all in the details
Your ceremony should be finalized by now, but you probably have a few minor details that need taking care of, like the seating chart, writing your vows, and printing your programs. You also need to send your vendors the day-of schedule so that everyone is on the same page.
Break-in those shoes
You will spend hours on your feet on your wedding day; make sure your shoes are properly broken in. Who wants blisters on their honeymoon?
Tie all loose ends
If possible, it will be best to take a few days off from work to tie up some loose ends, like attending your final appointments and picking up your wedding dress and the rings. You might want to look into designating point people and providing your wedding vendors with emergency contact numbers to call on the wedding day.
Time to pack those bags
You probably want to take your time packing your bags because what happens in the Maldives stays on Insta forever. Plus, certain things just add a special touch to your big day, like a day-of present to your partner. But what about the miscellaneous items that are often overlooked? Here's a list of things that we recommend bringing along:
Wedding day emergency kit
Yes, you've heard right; it's time to schedule a little me-time. Self-care comes in many shapes and forms, and it looks different for everyone. Some book themselves a manicure or pedicure; others prefer getting wonderfully lost in a book.
Going to chapel
Nerves are completely normal when it comes to your wedding day. But there are a few things you can do to alleviate unwanted pressure.
Eating is not cheating: Make sure you start the day with a healthy breakfast, eat low-sugar snacks throughout the day, and eat when dinner is served. For obvious reasons, try to avoid foods you have never tried before - this is not the time to unleash the adventurous foodie in you.
Ensure you keep hydrated and go easy on the alcohol; no one wants their wedding day to be a blur.
Make sure your phone is fully charged.
Remember to breathe and take it all in!
P.S. If this checklist is making your head spin and you want professional help planning your Lake Tahoe micro wedding, you've come to the right place. Our innovative Micro Wedding Booking Tool features all the exciting parts involved with booking and designing your wedding and removes all the hassles and time-consuming elements. Check it out here.