Planning a wedding in 2023? Keep your eye on the big day with our wedding checklist and awesome tech to make your wedding day memorable.
Is your big day coming up? We are here with a handy checklist, as well as some trends and technology tools to help make your wedding one that every guest will remember. Psst… big weddings are back!
Go Big and Go Bold
After a couple of years of smaller weddings due to social distancing, this year is seeing an increase in just about everything, from the size of guest lists and culinary options to the extravagance of décor, aesthetics, and eye-popping locations.
“Big weddings are back,” says Marcia Terrones of Monona Terrace Community and Convention Center in downtown Madison, Wisconsin. And she should know. Monona Terrace has hosted thousands of weddings with guest lists now averaging over 150+.
Menus are becoming a culinary experience. Many couples are splurging on food and beverages to provide a wider variety of hors d'oeuvres, more expansive gourmet menus, craft beers, cocktails, mocktails, and even a private wine label for the couple. And you’re likely to see food stacked on the walls and interactive food tables.
Bold is now even bolder! Expect to see flowers galore and the more colorful, the better. This includes the table settings, table clothes and fashion styles. Even traditional white and black wedding dresses and tuxes will have bright pops of color in bouquets, boutonnières, and corsages.
Need some inspiration? The largest wedding photo database to derive some inspiration is still tried-and-true Pinterest. So, don’t be afraid to go over the top because you won’t be alone.
The 12-Month Wedding Checklist
Planning a wedding is exciting, but it is also stressful. There are seemingly countless things to do, arrange, schedule, and decide upon. It's best to start with a list of action items that are prioritized by the timeline in which they should be accomplished.
Once you have a date set, the clock is ticking. Let's start with a basic 12-month checklist. If your timeline is shorter, front load the 9-12 month action items immediately. If your timeline is longer, get what you must get done in a timely fashion so you still have time for the "ifs" that always come up close to your wedding day.
12 months out: Budget / Venue / Wedding Party
Your budget drives most of the other action items, so decide now and stick to it. So far in 2023, the average cost for catering alone is about $75 per person. It adds up fast, so be reasonable and add a percentage for contingencies.
If your venue is a destination wedding, get "save the date" notifications out asap. Regardless of your venue, be sure and read the small print in your venue contract. Many venues have strict policies that may not work some of the details of your dream wedding.
Get your wedding party set as well. As soon as you have a date, get your wedding party together. They'll want to do a bridal shower and bachelor/ette parties, so give them plenty of time to plan as well.
9-11 months out: Hire Vendors
This includes a wedding planner (if needed), printer, photo/videographer, food/beverages, wedding cake, florist, jewelers, DJ/band, valet, tables/chairs/staff, beauty salon, and more. It helps to get multiple bids, but do not underestimate the time it takes to book these wedding essentials.
Don't forget that if you want to be legally married, you'll need a wedding license and an officiant who is legally authorized to perform weddings.
8-9 months out: Choose a Wedding Dress
Wedding dresses are often the most stressful and time consuming decisions a bride-to-be will make. This includes dresses for bridesmaids and attire for the groom's side as well.
6 months out: Save the Date / Honeymoon / Registry
Give your guests time enough to plan for your big day. And if you have special instructions like "no kids", this is the time to do it. For a fun, unique way of getting your guests to save the date, use VideoStamps! A VideoStamp lets you record a custom video for everyone on your guest list and attach it to your Save the Date cards. Your guests simply scan the QR code, watch your "save the date" video, and then send their reply.
If you're planning on doing a honeymoon right after you say "I do," then get to planning this too. You may also set up an online donation site, like Honeyfund, for guests to help pay for an amazing destination honeymoon rather than deal with the registry.
If a traditional registry is what you want, go ahead and get registered and let everyone know.
3-4 months out: Trial Runs / Cake / Vows
Your wedding day is right around the corner. Do a trial run with make-up and hair, if you have the time and budget. You'll be way more relaxed on the big day. This is also the time to choose/order a wedding cake, if that's your thing. Some established bakeries may require a deposit, so be prepared.
Now about those dreaded vows and wedding toasts. Unless you're a gifted and brilliant public speaker, you better start thinking about what to say ahead of time. Fortunately, if you're like 99.9% of the population that fears public speaking, there's a solution - Provenance.
Provenance uses proprietary software tools to write personalized wedding ceremony scripts for the officiant(s), vows for the couple, and toasts for the guests.
2 months out: Send the Invites
Now it's official. No backing out now. This is also another opportunity to use VideoStamps. Your guests will love being able to send video RSVPs!
1 month out: The Dreaded Seating Chart
By now, you'll know exactly who's coming. You'll already have a solid idea of head-count for your catering vendor, but now the real fun begins. Where do you seat everyone? From smaller intimate gatherings to a 300-person blow-out, it's important to seat guests so they'll be comfortable and have fun at their tables but not too much fun (or the opposite!). You don't want to end up in a trending TikTok wedding fail video.
1 week out (yikes!): Final Wedding Dress Fitting
Whether you have been working out three times a day for the last 3 months or gone the other direction and binged on ice-cream and potato chips because of the stress, you should do a last fitting, just in case.
Wedding Day: Relax
Wait, what? Sure! If you planned ahead, this day will be a piece of cake. Good luck!
Whether you’ve been planning your own wedding or have a wedding planner, it’s almost a given that you’re using apps to do just about everything. They help take care of everything – budgeting, stationery, gift registries, guest lists, a website… you name it. There are do-it-all apps like Zola and WeddingHappy that can help you stay on top of all your to-do’s and keep you on track.
If you need help with budgeting, take a look at Mint or LadyMarry. Both apps allow you to link the app to a bank account, set budgets for each category of your wedding and then easily keep track of it all.
If you’re searching for a planner, vendors, and venues, check out WeddingWire which has an easy to use searchable database for everything “wedding-y” imaginable, although it is limited to larger and mid-market cities.
The bottom line is that you can find a wedding app for anything, even writing your wedding vows.
Memorable Tech for the Big Day
It wasn’t long ago that it was “old school cool” to put a disposable camera on every table so the guests could take photos of fun moments at the wedding. That evolved into digital photo booths displaying photos in real time on big screens. The age of the digital photo booth is still popular but losing some of its unique flair.
Now it’s more common than not to see QR codes everywhere so guests can use the QR code link to share photos and videos. And there’s another new QR code technology that’s becoming more popular at weddings - VideoStamps. VideoStamps get placed all over the wedding venue before guests arrive. Then guests can pick one (or more), create personalized video messages or videos from the wedding and share it via the QR code for the happy couple to view it later. Plus, the bride and groom can make their own pre-recorded video that all the guests will see when they initially scan the QR code.
There’s so much to consider when planning your wedding. Above all else, remember that it’s YOUR day, so make it yours. Be unique. Be memorable. Be happy.