Planning the ultimate wedding celebration? Help yourself out and otherwise make life easier by using the following checklist:
16 to Nine Months Prior to the Wedding
- Start A Wedding Binder. Fill it with pages from wedding and lifestyle magazines–this way you’ll have a ton of great ideas in one place.
- Create A Budget. Work out a reasonable budget that includes what you and your groom can spend, as well as family contributions.
- Choose The Wedding Party. Friends and family will start wondering who you’ll pick as soon as you announce your engagement, so choose the party asap.
- Start The Guest List. Create a head count database to use throughout the planning, Use columns for contact info, RSVPs, gifts and any other necessary info.
- Hire A Planner. Always a good idea–especially because they have vendor connections and can tell you who’s worth it and who isn’t.
- Reserve The Date/Venues. Decide if you want two locations for the ceremony and reception and go from there.
- Book The officient. Find one you love!
- Research Photographers, Florists. Etc. This also includes DJs, bands and caterers.
- Throw Your Engagement Party. If you want to have one, that is!
Eight Months Prior
- Hire The Photographer/Videographer. You don’t have to get into specifics, just make sure they’ll do what you want.
- Book Entertainment. Band, DJ, ceremony musicians…you get the idea.
- Meet With Caterers. Your wedding venue may not feature caterers, so meet with those of interest.
- Purchase Your Dress. Schedule at least three fittings.
- Reserve Hotel Rooms. This is necessary for out-of-town guests.
- Register. Do so with at least three retailers.
- Launch Your Wedding Website. Use a free provider, then send the link to guests.
Six Months Prior
- Select Invites. Purchase them as well–hire a calligrapher if you wish.
- Plan Your Honeymoon. This includes checking that your passports are up-to-date, if necessary.
- Shop For Bridesmaids Dresses: Six months is required for any alterations and whatnot.
- Meet With The Officiant. Discuss the ceremony and ensure you have all the right documents.
- Mail Save The Date Cards.
- Reserve Structural/Electrical Necessities. Portable toilets? Outdoor chairs? Anything else?
- Book A Florist.
- Arrange Transportation. Mini buses, limos, trolleys, town cars…
- Make A Day-Of Schedule. This is a good time to create you wedding day itinerary.
Five to Four Months Prior
- Book Rehearsal Dinner Venues. Negotiate cost and menu as needed.
- Check Wedding Invites. Make any necessary revisions before sending them out.
- Select And Order The Cake. Attend tastings to find out what you like best.
- Send Guest List To Shower Host. Assuming you know about it, of course!
- Purchase Wedding Shoes, Start Dress Fittings. Bring shoes to your first fitting so the tailor can make adjustments.
- Select Hair And Makeup Artists: Make a few appointments, then take pictures of results to compare.
- Choose The Music. When do you want music played? Make decisions based on this.
Three Months Prior
- Finalize Menu And Flowers: See what’s available since these things are affected by season.
- Make A List Of “Toasters.” Which people are giving toasts?
- Finalize Readings? Who are giving readings? Finalize plans with these people.
- Order Favors. Want favors? Order them now.
- Purchase Wedding Undies. Also schedule your final fitting.
- Print Menu Cards And Programs. Only do the cards if you want!
- Purchase Rings. This allows enough time for resizing and engraving.
- Send Vendors Your Event Schedule. Provide a first draft now, which allows for adjustments and feedback.
Two Months Prior
- Touch Base With Vendors. Ensure they’ve answered all of your questions.
- Meet With Your Photographer: This is to discuss shots and anything else you want.
- Review Playlist. Do this with your band or DJ.
- Send Out Invites: The general rule is to do this about two months before the wedding.
- Do The Newspaper Announcement. Note newspaper photo rules, if applicable.
- Have Fun At The Bachelorette Party. You’ve earned it!
One Month Prior
- Enter RSVPs. Do this in your guest-list data base.
- Get Your Marriage License. This can take up to six days.
- Mail Rehearsal Dinner Invites.
- Have Your Last Fitting.
- Stock Venue Bar. Beer, wine. hard liquor…whatever you want!
- Confirm Hair And Makeup Times With Artists.
- Assign Seating. The old “table map” is awesome for a reason.
- Mail Out As Many Final Payments As Possible.
- Purchase Bridesmaid Gifts. Give them out at the rehearsal dinner.
- Get Hair Cut And Colored, If Applicable.
- Write Vows, If Applicable.
- Confirm Arrival Times With Vendors Yet Again.
- Assign Wedding Day Tasks. Have someone bustle your dress, carry your things, don’t forget to put someone in charge of gifts…
- Provide Bridal Party With Your Wedding Day Timeline.
- Pick Up Your Dress. Or have it delivered.
- Check In With Your Photographer. Do this one last time.
- Book A Spa Treatment. Relax, darnit!
- Break In Your Shoes.
- Write And Set Aside Vendor Checks.
- Send Final Guest List To Venues And Caterers.
- Create Welcome Baskets.
- Pack For Your Honeymoon!
There you have it! Keep this list with you and enjoy!