I see this question a lot on wedding forums and I thought about it a bit myself before my wedding came around. So here’s your guide on how much time off you will need off work to be sufficiently chilled enough and on top of all of your wedding tasks and get that to-do-list checked off.
There are a few things that will factor into your choice:
Will you be going on a post-wedding honeymoon immediately after, or are you having a mini-moon or a staycation instead? This will directly impact how much time you have off for your wedding, depending on your honeymoon package. Maybe you just want a few days away, maybe you want a whole month. Consider this first. Do you have enough annual leave built up to cover this and a few days before your wedding? Ideally, you should leave a little bit of annual leave as a buffer in case you need it for any reason.
If you’re doing all of your own decor, food and flowers, etc, then I can imagine a week off before the wedding as a bare minimum. TBH, it’s probably not worth the stress. But if you’re leaving the majority up to the professionals, then a couple of days for smaller projects like packaging your bomboniere, hanging decor and writing on chalkboards is recommended to allow for any mishaps that may occur.
Remember that if you’re having your wedding even an hour or two away, that you may want to stay there the night before and make a weekend of it, just so you don’t get sluggish from the travel and you can really enjoy this time. This is especially relevant for destination weddings, as you may even get some jetlag, so have a buffer either side so that you feel a bit better.
You may want to set aside some time to have your eyebrows threaded, a haircut/colour, a facial, your nails done, your beard trimmed, a spray tan, a wax, even a MASSAGE to ease the stress of this impending important event in your life. Make a list of all of the beauty appointments that you need to have, and slot them in, keeping in mind that many salons will be closed after work, and some are best left to the last day, like your nails, for example. If you have a regular salon or barber that you attend, ask them for the best time to get each routine done.
Will you buy or hire the groom's suit?
Out of town guests:
If you have interstate or international guests coming to your wedding, then they may arrive a few days before and leave to go home a few days after, so you might want to set aside some time to see them and spend some time with them, whether it’s catching up or showing them around. It’s the least you can do after they spent a lot of money coming to visit you and spend your wedding day with you.
If you’re a workaholic or you’re concerned that your workplace will crash and burn without you- discuss these concerns with the team and figure out an action plan to put in place for while you are away. Work out who will cover your key tasks and ensure that they are 100% confident doing so, and don’t need to be calling you and asking you how to do it. You will be stressed enough about vows, speeches and last minute mishaps, so there’s no need to be checking your email at every moment. Turn that auto-responder on and take a very deep breath!
If you already have kids and they aren’t at school yet, it will take you much longer to get things done if they’re at home while you’re in wedding planning mode! Either get a babysitter while you have your hands full on your days off or have someone with you to help. All parents know how time-consuming parenting can be. Sometimes, they are perfectly fine keeping themselves entertained with toys, books or games, and other days, they want every ounce of your attention, right now! Remember this when you are scheduling any time off for the wedding, as you may need to get an extra set of hands on board to give you some much needed respite.
Similarly, if you’re a stay at home parent, book in some babysitting time or daycare time in these last few days to ensure you stress levels are a little lower. It’s a worthwhile investment if you need to be 100% focused on this big event.
Judging from our couples and what they have done, if you’re not heading straight to a honeymoon, you should take at least a few days off prior to your wedding so finish off any last minute to-do’s, make any last minute purchases and do any beauty or grooming prep for the wedding day. If your wedding is on a Saturday, take at least Thursday and Friday off to decompress. If you do have some leave spare at work, take the entire week prior, which is a total of 5 days leave but a massive 9 days off if you work in an office at a 9-5, Monday to Friday job! But still, considering that you will only get one day off after the wedding, so it’s wise to take a couple more afterwards to manage any potential hangovers, have your recovery party and enjoy married bliss for a few days. So for couples that are skipping the Honeymoon but just doing a short staycation, at least a few days before and after the wedding is ideal.
For those that are heading away, make use of your days off in the weeks leading up to pack and do any honeymoon planning, and then take a couple of days off before the wedding to do any last minute things and get your final items packed for your honeymoon. Ensure you have your passport if necessary, travel insurance and a solid itinerary with hotels and tours booked to avoid any last minute honeymoon issues.
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