We highly recommend that a couple create a planning notebook, which includes all of the categories you’re working on, any and all checklists, swatches and your budget. This list is a suggested guide and all of it may not apply to everyone.
Nine to Twelve Months Ahead
- Announce your engagement. Plan a party if you’d like.
- Create a budget and discuss with family members involved.
- Select a date and time.
- Choose a look and feel of the wedding (theme, tone, formality, colors).
- Have engagement photos taken if desired.
- Decide on the amount of guests and make your list.
- Reserve location(s) for the ceremony and reception.
- Book your ceremony officiant.
- Shop for your pros: Photographer, Caterer (if separate from venue), DJ, Baker, and Florist.
- Choose your attendants and ask them so they can plan ahead.
- Set up a wedding website.
Six to Nine Months Ahead
- Register at favorite stores for your wedding gift registries.
- Shop for wedding gown, accessories, veil, undergarments and shoes.
- Start to think about how you will style your hair as you gown shop.
- Decide on groom’s and groomsmen attire.
- Shop for bridesmaid’s dresses.
- Narrow down ideas for the look and feel of the wedding.
- Shop for decorations.
- Choose a design for your invitations.
- Discuss attendant duties with your wedding party.
- Start your honeymoon plans.
- Discuss accommodation needs with out of town guests. Reserve a block of rooms if needed.
- Inquire about marriage license and apply for one. Check on needed to steps to change your name if you are doing so.
- Make your reception food plans.
- Hire a professional wedding planner if needed.
Four to Eight Months Ahead
- Choose your wedding rings.
- Check on passport renewals if necessary (6 months ahead).
- Order Invitations or begin making if you are going DIY.
- Order the men’s attire.
- Have mothers choose their attire.
- Make transportation plans. Reserve as needed.
- Decide whether or not you will have favors. Start making or order.
- Finalize honeymoon plans.
- Finalize any contracts with your team/vendors.
- Make plans/reserve for rehearsal night and dinner.
- Address Invitations, create any maps or inserts and include in envelope.
- Reserve any rentals needed including tables, linens, chairs, tents, dishes, etc.
- Plan any showers or parties that are close to the wedding date.
- Shop for wedding props like the cake knife, garter, ring pillow and toasting glasses.
- Reserve wedding night room for yourself (if you are staying local on the wedding night).
One to Three Months Ahead
- Finalize attendant’s attire.
- Confirm all of your vendors (baker, Photographer, DJ, Officiant, et al.).
- Organize and reserve transportation needs.
- Make or buy a guest book.
- Shop for gifts for attendants or make your own.
- Create your vows, if you are writing your own.
- Attend dress fittings according to your store’s schedule. Have lingerie with you!
- Book your hairstylists and makeup person if using.
- Create and print your programs.
- Mail invitations 6 weeks ahead and keep track of responses.
- Let Officiant know about rehearsal time and place.
- Pick up marriage license if ready.
- Write any thank you notes for gifts received so far.
- Plan reception seating.
- Prepare or purchase gifts for each other.
- Research changing official documents like driver’s license, bank accounts, insurance, etc.
- Schedule final fittings for the bride and bridesmaids.
Two to Three Weeks Ahead
- Reconfirm all hotel rooms for guests and your wedding night room.
- Discuss music list with DJ/Band and Ceremony musicians/singers.
- Check in with Officiant with any last minute questions or plans.
- Check that all attire is in place and ready to go.
- Contact any guests who have not responded so you can begin final count.
- Touch base with any vendors as needed.
- Discuss shot list with your photographer.
- Give out any maps or directions as needed.
- Finalize rehearsal and dinner plans.
One Week Ahead
- Turn in final guest count to Caterer/Hotel/Restaurant/Hall.
- Finalize any and all seating arrangements.
- Final Dress Fitting.
- Arrange for someone (i.e. Best Man) to bring wedding gifts to your home.
- Pre arrange for groom or parents to have final checks and tips ready on the wedding day.
- Begin packing for your wedding night and honeymoon.
- Finish place cards if using.
- Gather together all wedding attire and be sure everyone fits in his or her attire.
- Have rehearsal and dinner.
- Wrap and distribute gifts to attendants, parents, each other.
- Organize details for getting all rentals returned.
- Assemble Bridal Emergency Kit for the big day.
The Day Before
- Have your manicure, pedicure, massage.
- Pull together any last minute details and don’t be afraid to ask for help!
- Relax and Get a good night’s sleep!
- Have a good breakfast!
- Have your hair and makeup done.
- Allow a lot of time to get dressed (2 Hours if you can).
- Bring your Wedding Back Up Bag everywhere you go!
- Be sure groom has rings and marriage license
Right After the Wedding
- Donate any leftover flowers/plants or give away to family and friends.
- Write thank you notes to all of your wedding helpers.
- Clean and store your bridal apparel.
- Return tuxedos if rented.
- Complete any name change tasks.
Don’t get overwhelmed by this list! Not every item listed will apply to everyone. Dismiss and add as needed! Remember to ask for help from your groom, family and friends. They will definitely want to help! You don’t have to do it all!