If you’re engaged, we’re betting that you’ve thought this at least once: “Wedding planning feels like a full-time job.” But what if you’re already employed? While wedding planning should never interfere with your actual job, there are a handful of times when taking wedding leave and the occasional day off from work will be necessary in order to cross another task off your wedding to-do list. From meetings with vendors, to dress fittings and makeup trials (and your honeymoon, of course), you can expect to cash in your vacation days for more than one wedding-related occasion.
Here are eight times you’ll need to take wedding leave.
Time off: one day
Most professional wedding photographers aren’t free on the weekends — they’re too busy shooting weddings. A weekday may be the only time your photographer can schedule your engagement photo shoot, especially if you want the pictures taken during a popular wedding month (like October). Try to be understanding of your photographer’s other obligations and look for the silver lining: taking your engagement photos on a weekday means you can use your favorite local hangouts as backdrops, without the weekend crowds.
Venue Walkthrough and Menu Tasting
Time off: half-day to one day
Even after you’ve hired them for your wedding, it’s not uncommon for venues and caterers to be available by appointment only. Saturday or weekend appointments may be hard to come by, particularly during peak times (spring and fall) when these vendors are extra-busy with their current weddings.
In this case, you might need to miss an afternoon of work during the week as your wedding nears and it’s time to finalize the details, such as your venue walkthrough and reception menu tasting. If your venue and wedding caterer aren’t affiliated (or can’t meet at the same time), try to schedule both of the appointments for the same day in order to minimize your amount of time away from work. Having a destination wedding? If it’s in your budget, arrange a quick trip to your wedding location a few months before the wedding to hammer out as many details as you can in person.
Shopping for Wedding Attire and Going to Fittings
Time off: one day
Bridal shops and menswear stores tend to be very crowded on the weekends, making individual appointments and personal space a hot commodity. If your work schedule allows it, plan to shop for your wedding attire on a weekday instead. This gives you the opportunity to for a more relaxed experience — you might even be able to extend the length of your appointment or have the shop to yourself!
Once you’ve purchased your wedding dress, suit or tuxedo, you’ll have at least one fitting after your order arrives at the shop. The fitting(s) will be a shorter appointment, so you won’t need to take an entire day of wedding leave unless you purchased your attire from an out-of-town location that requires travel.
Hair and Makeup Trial
Time off: half-day
Don’t be surprised if you have to book a weekday appointment for your wedding hair and makeup trial. If a wedding beauty pro is too busy working their magic on brides every Saturday, that’s a good sign! Schedule your trial appointment for a weekday afternoon when you can duck out of work a few hours early.
Bachelor or Bachelorette Party
Time off: two days
If you’re traveling for your bachelor(ette) weekend, you might need to miss at least one day of work depending on where you’re going. For bachelor and bachelorette destinations that can’t be reached in a couple of hours, consider taking off the Friday and/or Thursday prior so you don’t spend your entire Saturday traveling, just to turn around and come home on Sunday.
Don’t forget about your return trip. If you’re going to be spending a full day traveling home, consider taking wedding leave on the Monday after your bach weekend. This gives you time to rest up after a weekend of festivities and also creates a buffer in the event of unexpected travel issues.
Week of Wedding
Time off: two or three days
In the week before your wedding, give yourself at least two or three days off of work. You’ll need this time to take care of any last-minute details, such as picking up your marriage license, packing for your honeymoon, vendor follow-ups, bridal beauty treatments, and travel (if you’re not getting married locally). A few days of wedding leave also gives you the opportunity to welcome any out-of-town guests.
Most importantly, you need time to rest! Even if it’s just a quick afternoon nap before you get back to filling those wedding welcome bags, looking after yourself is extremely important in the days leading up to your wedding. That means no work allowed. This is the time to eat healthy, catch up on sleep and get organized so you can avoid any chance of feeling sick or overwhelmed on the big day. With the wedding so close, you’ll probably be too excited to focus on work anyway. (But if your boss asks, you didn’t hear it from us.)
Day After Wedding
Time off: one or two days
If you’re delaying your honeymoon, you deserve at least one or two vacation days before returning to work — trust us on this. Getting married over a weekend? Take wedding leave on that Monday (and maybe Tuesday) to relax, catch up on thank-you notes, and above all, enjoy the company of your brand-new husband or wife!
Time off: one to two weeks
According to a WeddingWire survey, the average honeymoon lasts seven to nine days. If you have a Monday-Friday work schedule, consider planning your honeymoon return on a Friday or early Saturday so you have the rest of the weekend to unwind at home before clocking in again on Monday morning.
Can’t take off that much time? A mini-moon (three or four days) is just as romantic and offers plenty of perks — such as allowing you to split up your vacation time if you can’t be away from your job for more than a few days at once.