The last few weeks before your wedding should be a magical time. Most of your plans are in place with only a few things left to finalise, meaning you can now enjoy the excitement in the build up to the wedding, relishing the special attention that being a bride brings!
Even though most couples at this stage can’t wait to arrive and get on with the celebrations, others find this time really worrying. After all, this is when you realise your dream and – hopefully – all the months or years of planning will come together.
To help you keep calm and in control, I’ve put together this list of what to do once you arrive at your destination.
Arriving on time
Even if you don’t have a minimum residency period at your destination, you still need to arrive a few days before your wedding, especially if you don’t have a wedding planner.
I suggest allowing at least two days for meetings and trying to schedule everyone into either one of these days. At least then you’ll have time to relax with family and friends before the wedding.
I certainly don’t recommend arriving the day before, no matter how organised you are, unless you have an independent wedding planner at the destination finalising details on your behalf.
If you’re working with a wedding planner, you have the flexibility of leaving them to arrange meetings, confirm final orders and do any running around for you. We at The Bridal Consultant have had some brides arrive the day before and even the day of the wedding. Whilst I wouldn’t recommend it, it is possible but only with an independent wedding planner.
Try to do as many meetings by Skype as you can prior to your arrival. It really is as good as meeting in person and will save you loads of time when you arrive, leaving you more time to relax. Most suppliers will be happy to Skype, Facetime or even Zoom.
If face-to-face meetings are the only option or your preference, try to schedule these well in advance so you have the best chance of arranging them all on the same day or over a couple of days at the most. Try to get corresponding suppliers to meet together (for example, photographer and videographer) so they can discuss how best to work together and finalise logistics and set up times.
Hair and makeup trial
It’s a good idea to book this for the day of your hen party or a special dinner or event so your lovely makeup won’t go to waste! You can always quickly restyle your hair.
Even if you had a hair and makeup trial months ago during a pre wedding visit, it’s a good idea to have a second trial when you arrive. At this point, you’ll have had your final hair cut/colour and you’ll be absolutely sure you’ve made the right decision about your overall look.
We normally suggest you do this a few months in advance, but if you want to finalise any last minute menu changes, try to do this as early as possible after you arrive. Discuss with your venue if it is possible to make changes so close to the wedding. It’s probably not possible to change the ingredients of a dish (unless it’s to omit an ingredient), so mainly at this point it would be to discuss how food is cooked (for example, rare/medium) or how it’s presented.
If you have wine included with dinner, request a wine tasting. This is something that can be altered up to the last minute, subject to stock levels.
Make sure you leave enough time to visit the town hall to register your legal work. This should be done as soon as possible after you arrive to make sure you have time to finalise any legal requirements and the town hall has time to process the paperwork before your wedding. Note the opening times for the town hall. Most are closed on weekends and can work shorter days than we’re used to in the UK.
The dress is the biggest concern for most brides. We receive lots of calls in the last few weeks before a wedding, usually after the final fitting and once the shop has told the bride the dress may be creased on arrival and needs steaming.
First of all, pack it correctly, whether that be in a travel box or a suitcase. Ask your dress shop to pack it for you to avoid unnecessary creasing.
If your wedding is taking place on a small remote island, steaming may not be an option. If you do have a choice and the shop looks suspect, don’t risk it. However, if you are marrying in a city like New York, Las Vegas or Florence (for example), you’ll have plenty of choice. Ask your hotel for recommendations. They may even offer an in-house service.
Before you send your dream dress to be steamed:
- Take the dress out of the bag immediately on arrival at your room. If you have no room or privacy to hang it, it ask a guest if you can use their room. I would avoid having the hotel hang it in another room as ultimately they won’t look after your dress like you will. I’ve heard horror stories about dresses being left in laundry rooms, kitchens etc. So ask guests and family first and failing that hang it in your room but inside the carry bag (so it’s hidden from the groom). Simply hanging the dress may work, as the weight of the dress should release any creases.
- If any creases persist, try hanging the dress in direct sunlight. If you do this during the hottest part of the day, around lunchtime, it will only take a few hours for the heat of the sun to work its magic. Make sure the area the dress is hung in is protected from spray or any material that might stain it such as sun tan lotions, drinks etc. You could hang the dress behind a patio door to protect it but still get heat from the sun, although it may take longer for the creases to drop.
- If neither of the above work, hang your dress in your bathroom away from any water spray. Turn the heat on the shower up to the highest setting. Let the steam (not water) from the shower naturally steam the dress. It doesn’t take long for this to work, and you’ll need to air the dress after to let the slight damp from the steam dry, but it works miracles.
I’ve recommended these tips for years and few of my brides have had to steam their dress. However, if you do want to use a steamer, ask for recommendations, do your research and don’t send your dress away unless you’re a hundred per cent happy you will get it back in one piece.
Ensure your wedding insurance covers you for any dress mishaps. Should the worst happen, you want to be sure you have funds available to buy a replacement dress!
The groom’s outfit may not need any preparation depending on whether the groom is going formal or casual. Packing with care and attention to avoid unnecessary creasing and a good travel iron will be OK in most cases.
Some formal suits may need to be steamed depending on the material (of course, try the natural options listed above first).
If your hotel offers a dry cleaning service, speak with them before sending your suit or outfit away to an external steamer.
Bridesmaids/special guests’ outfits
A travel iron would be my first recommendation for bridesmaids’ dresses, depending on the material. I love the wedding dress travel boxes you can purchase to carry dresses on the plane. They’re brilliant for any special outfits and accessories – the dress/outfit is less likely to get creased as it has more space to stretch out over. I’ve used this a few times to carry special outfits or dresses abroad for styled shoots and it’s worked perfectly every time – with the methods mentioned above for removing any stubborn creases.
The day draws near!
Once you have finalised your arrangements and the dress is ready, it’s time to start thinking about the big day!
- Arrive on time with enough time to meet any suppliers and complete any necessary paperwork when you arrive.
- Try to schedule supplier meetings for the same day and take a copy of your wedding schedule with a list of any questions you wish to discuss. This may be your last chance
- Visit the town hall to finalise any legal work
- Arrange for a steamer or ask a guest if you can hang the dress in their room to try the natural solutions first.
- Press the bridesmaids/groom’s outfits
Photo Credit – Phosart