As you well know, or will soon learn, checklists are essential tools when planning a wedding. They may seem small, but these little lists can keep us organized and help us break down this massive job of planning a wedding into smaller, tangible tasks that can be accomplished, one checkmark at a time.
Elizabeth McKellar, owner of The Nouveau Romantics, knows this to be true. As a wedding planner, she is literally a pro at planning weddings—she's been organizing, designing, and producing events around the world for 10-plus years. And, guess what?! She uses checklists to get the job done.
Meet the Expert
Elizabeth McKellar is the founder and creative director of The Nouveau Romantics, a destination wedding planning company with offices in New York City, Los Angeles, and Texas. She is the author of The Little Book of Wedding Checklists, a pocket-size guide to assist couples during the wedding planning process.
McKellar has spent the past decade fine-tuning and perfecting her technique, and she's decided it's time to share her expertise by publishing her first book. The Little Book of Wedding Checklists is a portable book designed to keep couples organized and stress-free during the wedding planning process. It's basically McKellar's decade-worth of expertise put on paper, featuring tricks of the trade and advice only a professional wedding planner can give.
Packaged as a pocket-size workbook, with spots open for notes and personal information, McKellar describes the title as a "pretty straightforward manual" for couples to use as they navigate each step of planning a wedding. "I'm most excited about sharing a lot of practical, personally used knowledge," she explains. "This really represents my [wedding planning] process—this is what [I] do with [my] clients. This is just not common knowledge nor is it really easily found."
From guides on setting (and sticking to) a budget to lists of questions to ask every wedding vendor, The Little Book of Wedding Checklists is set up to guide couples from the engagement through the honeymoon. You'll have to read the book to get all of McKellar's secrets, but we did ask her to give us a preview of some of her best advice.
Keep reading for her ultimate day-of wedding checklist and more—including exclusive excerpts from The Little Book of Wedding Checklists!
Top Tips for the Day-Of
When we spoke with McKellar, we got directly to the point: If you could make any day go off without a hitch, would it be the actual wedding day? And, if so, what checklists would you need to make that happen? Below, she reveals her secrets to a stress-free (as possible) wedding day, including three separate day-of checklists and details couples often overlook.
1. Include extra time in your day-of wedding timeline.
As a seasoned wedding planner, McKellar knows that every time guests have to move venues or locations, it usually takes longer than one would expect. That's why she says to always "include buffer space on the day-of timeline. Don’t anticipate something taking less time—it usually takes more."
2. Remind your wedding party to bring a bag.
While you may have a plan for storing all your day-of outfits, your wedding party might need a reminder to do the same. McKellar explains, "For bridal parties or anyone who is changing, [their] original clothes are going to be somewhere. [Have them] bring something to put those clothes in so [they] can bring them home at the end of the night."
Include a bag as part of the wedding party gift to ensure everyone has somewhere to put their change of clothes or heels.
3. Put someone in charge for the end of the night.
Whether couples have a wedding planner or not, they should always appoint a trusted individual to execute the wedding the day of. But what couples often forget to do, according to McKellar, is designate a person to gather pieces of decor, leftover favors, and other items after the reception. "Who is doing that, and are they clear on the range of what that includes?"
Keep all of your wedding planning details in one place. Then, on the day of your wedding, pass them to your day-of coordinator or planner.
What to Include in the Day-Of Bag
Your wedding day essentials include more than just your attire. Items like your vows or extra copies of your timeline are easily forgotten but crucial to the success of the day.
Here, the six items to include in your wedding day bag, according to McKellar.
- Extra shoes
- Marriage license
- Tips for vendors
- Copies of wedding day timeline
What to Pack in the Emergency Kit
Wedding days are unfortunately not without last-minute surprises. However, you can control your preparedness! Emergency kits are a bridal suite must.
Here, the 16 items to include in your wedding day emergency kit, according to McKellar.
- Pain reliever
- Nail polish
- Stain remover
- Safety pins
- Needle and thread
- Adhesive bandages
- Lint roller
- Fashion tape
- Extra makeup
- Bobby pins and hair ties
- Floss and mints
- Portable snacks
- Water bottle
Who to Include on the Wedding Day Contact List
Couples shouldn't have to worry about any details other than walking down the aisle on their wedding day—that's what planners and friends are for! By making someone the point person for the day-of festivities, couples can actually enjoy the day and not have to stress about any details.
Here, eight details to remember for your day-of wedding contact, according to McKellar.
- Make a "call list" for questions.
- Wedding planner or most responsible friend's contact information.
- Maid of honor/best man's contact information.
- Avoid putting your parents on the list.
- Create a wedding party group chat.
- Include your wedding planner or person in charge of making the day run smoothly.
- Avoid making yourself the main point of contact.
- Put enough information on the wedding website.
Like what you see? Read these day-of wedding checklists and more in The Little Book of Wedding Checklists!