Advice From Wedding Experts: what to do the week and day before your wedding

A couple of weeks ago, Annabel and I had an idea for a new mini-series featuring oodles of down-to-earth wedding advice from all of our wonderful Little Book Wedding Directory members.

So, we sent out a note to everyone and asked them to submit their best tips and nuggets of wisdom. The response was unbelievable. I’ve spent the last week sifting through over 30,000 unmissable words of wedding advice from the most wonderful wedding suppliers.

In the first of this mini-series, I’m going to be sharing some of the best suggestions from all our wedding friends, focusing on the week and day before your wedding. Before Christmas, we’ll also be publishing features about the morning of the wedding, the ceremony, the drinks reception and dinner as well as the evening celebrations. We’re even looking at post-wedding essentials too. In fact, because we’ve been so overwhelmed by the brilliant advice we’ve received, we’ll be publishing a special online magazine in the New Year and that’s going to be a planning essential for sure.

But, for now, let’s turn out attention to the week before your wedding. Now, I know from my years as an award-winning wedding planner that this is when everything gets super serious! However organised you’ve been throughout the planning process, there are things that can only be done in those last few days. So, it’s really important that you’re totally on it with the wedmin but you also need to be really kind to yourself. It might seem that it’s all a bit too much or that everything is ‘so near and yet so far’. I promise you that a plan, some support and a good dose of the advice below will see you through in fine style.

Actually, I need to start this feature a little bit earlier than the week before the wedding because the fabulous hair stylists and makeup artists that you’ll find in Little Book for Brides have some wise words to make sure that your hair and skin is in top condition come the big day.

Amazing Face, Dorset Makeup Artist + Follow

“Exfoliating once week will increase blood flow to the face and improve the skin’s overall condition by 100%,” says Caroline from Amazing Face in Dorset. “It’s amazing that so many clients really never do it and to me, it’s the most important part of any skin care routine. It will really make your skin glow and increase its radiance so you get a youthful, less tired appearance. The next step, when it comes to preparing your skin, is to always moisturise after cleansing – a foundation will always look smoother, more polished and your skin will just glow”

“The right skincare regime should ideally be started months in advance,” advises makeup artist Kristina Gasperas. “You should make sure that you are keeping yourself well-hydrated, drinking warm water with lemon juice and a fresh smoothie with lots of green vegetables daily. Also make sure that you are eating plenty of oily fish and avocado as these help keep the skin in top condition.”

Then, when it does come to the week before the wedding, our beauty experts are very sure that there are things you truly DON’T need to do: “Don’t have a facial the week of the wedding as it can cause breakouts,” says Antonia from Elle Au Naturel.

“The same is true of threading and waxing so avoid these in the days before your wedding. Instead, schedule everything for around two weeks before the wedding to give you time to heal should you have a reaction or breakout.” “This is not the time to try anything new with your skincare,” cautions makeup artist Maxine Wilson. “Stick with the product that you’ve tried and tested and DO NOT TOUCH any spots! Left alone, there’ll be plenty of time for them to heal before the big day!”

So, let’s head on in to the week before the wedding and it’s time to step-up the organisation:

“If you’re using multiple suppliers, now’s the time to think about a room layout plan,” says Caroline from Vowed & Amazed. “If you can create one and send it through to your suppliers, they’ll be really happy! Many couples say to us ‘oh, there’ll be someone there on the day who’ll know what to do’ and so often, there isn’t anyone available or they’re busy elsewhere. So, pre-planning the room layout makes things quicker and easier for you and your suppliers.”

Whilst we’re talking about your wedding day suppliers… “Check in with each and every one of your suppliers for the big day in the week before,” advises Val from superb wedding planners Benessamy Weddings & Events.

“Make sure that they have everything they need and everyone is on the same page. Confirm final timings with them by sending out a schedule of the day. It’s always a good idea to send out the same comprehensive schedule and contacts sheet to everyone so that all the suppliers have a good idea where they fit into the wiser plan, and not just their small part.”

Hannah from All Things Borrowed agrees: “We love lists! Lists upon lists! Everything is so much clearer when it’s down on paper. Make a list of all the things that still need to be done and just cross them off one at a time. Having a million things whizzing through your head will only stress you out even more.”

Of course, it’s not just your suppliers that you need to contact as Val from Benessamy Weddings & Events explains: “Speak to any guests that you haven’t heard from or are concerned about and ensure that you know their plans. If guests are travelling from further away, check in with them and make sure they’ve booked their travel and accommodation. You don’t want a panicked call the night before when they can’t find a hotel room!” Ain’t that the truth!

Now, with all the ‘big’ arrangements confirmed, let’s take a look at a few more practical things to do that can make your wedding day smoother… “If you have hired a wedding planner or stylist now is the time to make sure they have any menus, table plans, placement cards and name cards ready to lay out on the day,” says Harriet from De Winton Paper Co.

“For those of you that have chosen to plan your big day without hiring a professional planner then it is worth liaising closely with your venue to see if they will be placing these items out for you or if you will need to make alternative arrangements.”

You want to have your final dress fitting about 2-3 weeks before your wedding so that there are no last minute alterations required and you can enjoy collecting your dress in the week before your wedding,” explains Laura from Brides of Winchester.

“Before you collect your dress and accessories from your boutique, plan where you’ll store your dress when you get it home,” says Lindsay from Dress in Love Weddings. “Ideally, and especially if you have a long train, your dress needs to hang at full length so the train doesn’t crease. Have a clean, white king-sized duvet cover ready to hang over your dress to protect it when you take it out of the gown bag.”

“In the week before, make sure that one of your lovely bridesmaids or your mum knows how to help you into your dress,” says Helena from Heavenly Vintage Brides. “Getting into a wedding dress is not like getting dresses normally and gowns will often have buttons or even need to be put on carefully over the head with the use of a makeup scarf. Always make sure that you have a practice run!” And it’s not just the bride who needs to think about her ensemble either: “One of the problems we find on the groom’s side often comes if you’ve hired suits,” says filmmaker Julie O’Neill from Mintyslippers Media Ltd.

“We’ve experienced lots of instance where the suits are the wrong colour or the waistcoats are missing. Leaving the suit in the bag and not checking it when it’s picked up isn’t a good idea. Check everything in advance and avoid any last minute dramas.”

Encourage the male members of your wedding party to get their hair trimmed early on in the week before rather than leaving it too close to the wedding,” says Claire from Littlebird Weddings. “Mens’ hair always looks better with a bit of growth!”

Now’s also the time to make sure that your wedding party knows what’s expected of them as photographer Ross Hurley explains: “Assign a bridesmaid or groomsmen the role of chief helper. This needs to be someone who’s trustworthy and can keep to time. This will be the go-to person for anything on your wedding day.  Within this week, let them know their duties. As a photographer, I ask for one person in particular who can help find correct family members for your group photos. This person, also usually then helps me out with a few other tasks on the day. This means you are not bombarded with questions or requests and are free to relax and enjoy your wedding.”

Sian from Tilly Trotter’s Brides agrees wholeheartedly: “Definitely identify your ‘go to’ person. This is the poor devil who’ll be tasked with dealing with any issues that arise on the day. They’ll have to pay suppliers, deal with your drunk cousin etc. etc. so that you and your partner are left to carry on oblivious to any dramas!” So, being given the ‘super-helper’ badge might not be the best job ever but someone’s got to do it! There is also something else that you really have to do, however much you might like to avoid it…

“It might sound dull but now’s the time to make sure that your finances are in order, especially if suppliers need to be paid on the day or just before,” says Claire from Littlebird Weddings. “Once that’s done, you can get on with thinking about the big day.”

Val from Benessamy Weddings & Events agrees: “You really need to make sure your books are balanced, especially as your bank balance takes a final blow in the weeks before your wedding. Make sure that you keep a list of who’s been paid and who’s yet to be paid and, if anyone needs to be paid on the day, have that cash or cheque ready to give to someone else the day before and delegate that role.”

The days before the wedding is a really special time and, as Michelle Kelly, Pocketful of Dreams’ wedding planner and mastermind behind the soon-to-be-launched Fearless Authentic 8-week wedding online course, it’s not the time for crazy amounts of work: “This is your time to sit back and reflect on what you’re actually about to embark on. Now’s not the time to running a million and one errands. All this should be well and truly done by this point and you should be entering the final week with a huge sense of excitement and also confidence that everything’s been boxed off and dealt with.”

Michelle, and all of our experts, agree that the day before the wedding is absolutely one to savour: “Make time to hang out with the special people in your life who might only be in town for the wedding,” suggests Rachel from Paper Arrow Press.

“Maybe invite a close friend to drink champagne with your while you get your nails done or book a table for early cocktails in the evening.” Take time to pamper yourself and enjoy lots of lovely beauty treatments and massages,” says designer Charlotte Balbier. “Relax your body and mind so you’re feeling calm and minimise your stress levels. A relaxed bride is a happy and beautiful bride!”

It’s also the perfect time to indulge your romantic side with a few small yet delightful gestures… “Write a handwritten note or card to your partner that they can open on the morning of your wedding,” says Lorna from EYI Love. “Tell them exactly why you can’t wait to marry them and spend the rest of your life with them. Make sure you give a card to your partner to write to you so you can also have the joy of opening and reading this on the morning you’ll be wed.”

“Hide a little present to treasure in the pocket of your partner’s suit,” says Sarah from Little Bevan. “It can be something he’ll find on the morning of the big day. I embroidered our initials and wedding date on a big white linen handkerchief – but don’t do as I did and do it at 5am on the morning of the wedding!” Of course, it’s highly likely that there might be the small matter of getting your venues prepped and pretty too…

“If you’re having a DIY wedding, rope in all you know to help you,” advises Hannah from All Things Borrowed. “Your family and friends all want your day to be the best so lots of help is at hand, just accept their offers!”

“Delegate as much as possible,” says florist Rachel Grimes. “Enjoy the madness! This is all part of the wonderful celebration of your marriage and memories will be made on this day and certainly on the next!”

“Make sure that you’ve got a team of people to help you because this will really relieve any stress,” agrees Araminta from Jacaranda Catering. “Then, before you and your fiancée leave each other for the night, make sure that you steal a moment for just the two of you. Be it a walk with the dogs, a drink in the pub or just a cuddle on the sofa, it will mean a lot.”

The night before the wedding can be filled with many things – rehearsal dinners, pampering time with the girls or a quiet dinner for two. What everyone seems to agree on is that a late night and one too many drinks is not wise…

“Drink plenty of water and use an overnight hydrating face mask that you’ve previously tried and tested,” suggests hair and makeup artist Laura Barrow. “You’ll wake up rested with glowing, supple skin.” 

Enjoy the night of pre-wedding celebrations with a good filling meal, a large glass of quality alcohol (only one, it helps you sleep!) and stay hydrated!” says makeup artist Kylie McMichael. “I also recommend that my brides have a hot bubble bath before bed as it lets your mind wander and you can process everything from the day and look forward to the amazing day that you have ahead.”

Taking time out to remember what’s really important and enjoy the occasion with your friends and family is something that all of our experts feel very strongly about and UK Celebrant, Samantha Kelsie explains it perfectly: “In all the fuss and excitement of planning the bigger parts of the day, it can be easy to sometimes lose sight of the real reason that you’re planning your wedding, especially when the stress kicks in. Remember, you’re doing this first and foremost because of that little thing we call LOVE”

So, that concludes this round-up of things for the week and day before your wedding and I still don’t feel that we’ve scratched the service – there’ll be so much more advice in our post-Christmas magazine but I hope this first feature has given you plenty of ideas for your last single seven days.

I’ll be back next week looking at the morning of the wedding and the ceremony itself but, for now, I’ll leave you with these words from Michelle Kelly of Pocketful of Dreams and new venture, Fearless Authentic.

“Finally and most importantly if you only do one thing in the week before your wedding it should be this: spend some time visualising your beautiful, emotional and sensational wedding day, really feel those feelings and make sure those visualisations are positive. There’s no place now for last-minute worries or imagined dramas – I’m a strong advocate for the ‘thought’s become things’ approach and I know that visualising what you want is one of the most powerful things you can do to actually make it happen. It’s the law of attraction and trust me, it works.

Love Tamryn x

Tamryn Settle

Tamryn Settle View all Tamryn's articles

Self-confessed wedding addict Tamryn spends her days in her Berkshire studio writing about all things beautiful and romantic with her black Labrador for company.

3 thoughts on “Advice From Wedding Experts: what to do the week and day before your wedding

  1. What a FABULOUS start to an awesome series of posts – well done and thank you Tamryn for putting out there some genuinely helpful, inspiring and sensible suggestions, including some from brilliant suppliers who really know what they’re talking about. So proud to be part of this LoveMyDress family xx

  2. This is an excellent post, saved for me to look back at nearer the time! I’m so looking forward to the rest of the series. Xx

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