I don’t know about you, but I’m a list maker. I take a list to the grocery store (I even have an app for that now). I often make a list of things I want to accomplish on a given day. And professionally, as a Celebrant, I certainly have a checklist for each couple I am working with, one that includes details I need so I can write the perfect ceremony because they have returned their questionnaires. Check! Other items on my list include wedding vows, marriage license, payments, ‘props’ if needed for rituals (such as candles, wine, sand, a glass for ‘breaking the glass’ or any number of things for different traditions), and a plan for the ‘big day.’
If you are planning a wedding, you will have a list even more extensive and having that checklist can provide a sense of security and accomplishment. For me, a list eases my mind. It assures me I won’t forget something important because it’s written down.
I’ve collaborated with Vicky Reddish, from The Essential Smoky Mountain Wedding Planning Guide, to come up with three versions of a checklist that we hope will be helpful for you. As you will see, they are very detailed and like all things in life and weddings, the choices are up to you. We’re just hoping to give guidance in navigating the complexities of wedding planning.
Hiring a wedding planner, if you can afford one, is a great investment. Many of the items on the checklist will be handled by him or her. It’s great to have someone overseeing everything, especially on the day of the wedding. If you are having your wedding at a venue that includes a coordinator, you may not need another one, but if there is no one on-site, it really helps.
Vicky says, “Whether you lean on a trusted friend or hire a professional, I definitely recommend having an outside party help with the details and coordinate the day of. This keeps you from stressing out over details on your big day and lets you soak it all in." That’s good advice. Being present for this rite-of-passage can be difficult but it is so important.
For a casual wedding you can ask family or close friends to help with some of the tasks. For your processional have a trusted person who is not in the processional cue everyone to enter. This makes the ceremony entrance go smoothly.
If you have your ceremony at a house of worship and the reception in another location, have directions printed out for everything and try to plan the timing of the two events so there is little down time. The wait after church and before the party can be tedious. Don’t put your guests through that. This is why many people choose to have the ceremony and reception in the same location.
Think of our checklist as your roadmap, although you may decide to take a different route, and that’s perfectly ok. You might also want to think about which partner is taking on each task. Just as your marriage will be a partnership, you want to take this on challenge as a team. Often one person leans into it more, but there is always something to help with even if your bride or groom is doing most of the work. And try not to stress. I know this is much easier said, than done, but by utilizing a checklist, you can find some ease knowing everything is in order. Good luck! Congratulations!
feel free to download the attached check lists for your use!