Ultimate Wedding Planning Schedule - Your TO-DO's - AND WHEN TO DO THEMThe following timeline/checklist is designed with the (ideal) timetable of twelve months. If you’re planning your own wedding on a shorter schedule, just start at the beginning of the list and try to catch up as quickly as possible.
Wedding Planning Checklist: Things to Do When Planning Your Wedding9 to 12 months before
- Arrange a gathering for you and your parents.
- Determine your budget and how expenses will be shared.
- Discuss the size, style, location, and scope of the wedding you want.
- Choose a target wedding date and time. (The actual date will depend on venue availability.)
- Create a binder to store and organize ideas, worksheets, receipts, brochures, or start a Pinterest board, etc.
- Visit and reserve wedding and reception sites.
- Meet with your officiant.
- Start compiling your guest list to estimate headcount. Consider your budget when thinking about “must-invites” versus “nice-to-invites.”
- Begin shopping for the wedding gown.
6 to 9 months before
- Choose the members of your wedding party.
- Enroll in wedding/shower gift registries.
- Hire a photographer and a videographer.
- Book an engagement photo session, especially if you plan to include a professional engagement picture with Save-the-Date cards.
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- Hire a florist and a caterer.
- Make arrangements for music to be played at the ceremony and reception. (Tasks might include booking a band or solo musician, hiring a DJ, choosing significant musical selections, and so on.).
- Reserve a block of hotel rooms for out-of-town
- guests. (Ask about group rates.)
- Send out Save-the-Date cards. (Include lodging and maps, as possible.)
- Shop for wedding rings.
- Select and order wedding gown, leaving ample time for delivery and alterations.
- Shop for bridesmaids’ dresses.
- Schedule wedding cake design appointments and tastings.
- Start planning your honeymoon.
4 to 6 months before
- Finalize the guest list.
- Order invitations (25 extra) and other wedding stationery (i.e., place cards and thank-you notes).
- Plan wedding-day beauty preparations; ask your stylist how far in advance they book wedding parties, and whether they are willing to work on the wedding site.
- Finalize all honeymoon plans. If traveling outside the country, arrange for visas, passports, and inoculations.
- Hire your wedding day transportation (carriage, limousine service, etc.).
- Plan the rehearsal dinner.
2 to 4 months before
- Obtain a marriage license. Bring all the necessary documents.
- Order tuxedos for the groom and groomsmen.
- Meet with the caterer to go over menus, wine selections, etc.
- ***Order the wedding cake.
- Order your wedding rings.
- Confirm wedding ceremony and reception music.
- Book a hotel room for the wedding night.
- If you plan on writing your own vows, start writing them now.
4 to 8 weeks before
- Mail the wedding invitations 8 weeks before your wedding date.
- Do a hair and makeup run-through (including wedding veil, if applicable).
- Confirm all transportation plans.
Related: Natural DIY GLOW
2 to 4 weeks before
- Work on seating arrangements for the reception.
- Finalize arrangements for out of town attendants and guests.
- Confirm details with the photographer, florist, and other vendors.
- Have final fitting for your bridal gown and bridesmaids’ dresses.
- Write your rehearsal dinner toast.
- Purchase gifts for the wedding attendants.
- Compile a list of all of the wedding vendors and wedding party, with contact information. Carry this list with you everywhere you go (just in case).
- Communicate rehearsal dinner details to those who will attend the rehearsal and rehearsal dinner.
- Look into where the bride, groom, and attendants will dress for the ceremony.
1 week before
- Enclose any fees due on the wedding day in envelopes for easy distribution.
- Give the caterer a final headcount.
- Appoint a trustworthy person to bring important items (cake knife, toasting glasses, etc.) to the reception.
- Appoint someone to act as an “organizer” to handle any last-minute problems.
- Review final details for those in the wedding party.
- Get final beauty treatments (manicure, facial, massage, waxing, brow shaping, etc.)
The day before the wedding:** Gather together the following:
- Something old - Symbolizing continuity with family and heritage
- Something new - Symbolizing optimism and hope for the new life ahead
- Something borrowed - An item from a happily married friend or family member
- Something blue - Symbolizing love and fidelity
- Confirm honeymoon arrangements.
- Pack for the honeymoon.
- Enjoy a relaxing day with family and friends.
- Attend the rehearsal and rehearsal dinner; give gifts to attendants.
- Give the rings, and officiant’s fee, to the best man.
- Try to get some rest
- Relax and remain calm.
- Remember to eat something.
- Allow at least two hours for getting dressed.
- ENJOY THIS ONCE-IN-A-LIFETIME EVENT!