Rachel Griffin, owner & lead wedding planner
The Week of Your Wedding
Plan Along with Me Series – Step 11: What to do the week of your big day
Hooray! You’re HERE!
It’s the week of your wedding and it’s almost time to celebrate! There should be just a few last-minute items left on your wedding checklist. Let’s take them step by step and get them officially crossed off!
Get Your Marriage License
I can’t tell you how often I hear some version of “oh yeah...we need to do that” when I remind couples about applying for their marriage license. It’s something that never seems to make it on the to-do lists with all the other wedding items you’ve needed to focus on over the last few months. It’s actually pretty straight forward! You’ll just need to plan it out a bit to make the timing work for your schedules and your wedding day.
Here’s how you get it done in Alachua County, Florida:
1. Head to the Alachua Clerk of Courts website and read the Family Law Handbook. (It’s a required step)
2. Complete the online application on their website.
3. Call 352.374.3623 to make an appointment to finish the application in person at the Clerk of Courts.
4. Together attend an in-person appointment to complete the remainder of your license.
You’ll need to bring:
Photo ID’s that show your Date of Birth
Your Social Security Numbers (not the actual cards)
The License Fee Amount
5. Wait three days for your license to become active (unless the waiting period was waived)
Extra Helpful Information:
If you’ve completed any kind of pre-marital counseling, get a completion certificate. This will waive your waiting period for the license as well as reduce your application fee! (You can find the directory of approved providers in the FAQ section of the website.)
If you both are out-of-state residents, the waiting period is also waived.
Your license will be good for up to 60 days.
Check current COVID protocols before applying to the most up-to-date steps.
At this point, you should definitely know your final count for guests, tables, linens, chairs, etc. Make sure that any vendors that were waiting on this information to calculate your final balance, get this official number. As soon as you have the final total, take care of paying any balances remaining.
This is also a great time to get any gratuities together that you were planning for any vendors. Gather the cash (or check, gift card, etc.) and place it in sealed envelopes with the vendor’s name on them, ready to go. Check out Step 9 in our Plan Along with Me Series for answers to all your tipping questions. Gather & Drop Off Wedding Items
The week of your wedding is the time to make sure all your décor items, bar items, alcohol and miscellaneous supplies are all together and ready for drop off to your vendors that need them.
Common items you’ll need to gather for vendors are:
Any DIY projects or décor you’re providing
Bride & Groom Toasting Glasses
Cake Knife & Server Set
Guest Book Supplies (don’t forget pens!)
Often, you’ll be dropping these items off to them around Thursday or Friday for a typical Saturday event. Make sure you or your wedding planner confirm when your vendors can receive & store them. If you’ll be at your venue for rehearsal the night before, that’s a great time to bring anything you can leave overnight for setup the next day.
You’ll also want to pack your personal wedding items for getting ready on the big day. Remember to only bring what you’ll need and not a lot extra. You don’t want a bunch of clutter and extra things getting in the way in your getting ready space.
Images by Oosterling Productions
Common personal items you’ll need to gather:
Wedding Invitation (for detail photos)
Write Your Vows If you’ve decided to personalize your ceremony by writing your own promises to each other, you’ll want to both have them written BEFORE your wedding day arrives. It’s such a beautiful thing when your vows are a personalized commitment – we’re head over heels for it here!
Trust me when I say though that you wouldn’t believe how often our couples are scrambling to get them written the morning of their big day. I even had one groom who was trying to get them copied out as we were lining up for the ceremony!
It’s something that’s easy to put off, but MUCH harder to accomplish when there’s lot of activity going on around you during your getting ready time. There will be lots of people in and out, photographers buzzing around, and family checking in, and all these distractions get in the way.
Pro tip: Find or purchase small or meaningful notebooks or cards to write them in to read from at the ceremony. A sheet of printer paper or your cell phone (yes, I’m serious), just doesn’t have the same romance and aesthetic as reading them from a special booklet. These make really lovely detail photos for your photographer and great keepsakes from your day to save. You can even display them near your cake or guestbook at your reception for anyone that would like to read them later.
Relax & Enjoy!
The week of your wedding day is finally here! You’ve been planning for months and now is the time to step back and take it all in.
Try to let go of the little things and focus on the fact that you’ll be married to your best friend by the end of the week, your family & friends are all here to celebrate with you, and you’re finally about to cross the finish line. Trust me, if you didn’t get those little bows tied on or that extra sign made, no one is going to miss it. I promise!
It’s deep breath and smile time! Know that little hiccups will probably arise at some point, but it’s how you roll with them that really matters. Those small things that didn’t go exactly as planned could end up being your favorite happy accidents and funniest memories from your celebration. Let’s get married! It’s time to CELEBRATE! Check back next month for some final things to do after the wedding in Step 12: You're Married! Now what?
Until then, happy planning! - Rachel