Wedding Planning Tips

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12-Month Wedding Planning Checklist

You’ve said yes to the big question, now what? If you’re starting to become overwhelmed with the thought of planning your big day, sit down, take a deep breath and look over this 12-month planning guide. You’ll see that planning a wedding is simply a matter of getting organized. You can do it!

11-12 Months Before the Wedding

  • Officially announce your engagement.
    Your own personal wedding site is a great way to share the plans as they develop. Your out-of-town family and friends will definitely appreciate it!
  • Set a time and date for the wedding.
  • Decide style of ceremony (size, setting, formality, etc.)
  • Arrange for your families to meet if they haven’t met before.
  • Develop a budget and decide who will pay for what.
  • Begin compiling your guest list.
  • Visit and reserve your reception site.

9-10 Months Before the Wedding

  • Decide on a color scheme (consider the reception site).
  • Order your wedding gown and determine who will make any necessary alterations.
  • Choose your wedding party.
  • Meet with potential wedding professionals for your ceremony & reception. Interview local videographers, photographers, florists, DJs & musicians, caterers, and bakeries. Be sure to get a contract that states wedding date, time, and location for each vendor, as well as the schedule for payments.
  • Scout out accommodations for out-of-town guests.

7-8 Months Before the Wedding

  • Start shopping for wedding rings. 
  • Contact wedding officiate.
  • Decide on honeymoon plans and take care of any special travel requirements such as passports or visas.
  • Decide on and order attendant’s gowns.
  • Order invitations and other stationery needs.
  • Register for wedding gifts at select stores and online outlets. Don’t forget to register for shower and engagement party gifts as well!

5-6 Months Before the Wedding

  • Send Save the Dates Let your out-of-town guests know the date of your wedding so that they reserve the date and make any necessary travel plans.
  • Complete guest list.
  • Shop for and taste test the wedding cake. 
  • Select and reserve attire for men in the wedding.
  • Determine marriage license requirements for the state in which you are getting married. (If in the US, contact the County Clerks Office; if abroad, the wedding coordinator will have this information.)

3-4 Months Before the Wedding

  • Finalize the menu with your caterer.
  • Order wine, champagne, liquor, etc., if not included in the caterers service.
  • Finalize flowers, including those needed for the reception decorations.
  • Select and order wedding favors.
  • Order wedding rings��to allow time for engraving.
  • Begin working on vows, especially if you are writing your own.
  • Book rehearsal dinner.
  • Order wedding cake.

2 Months Before Wedding

  • Finalize and book honeymoon.
  • Mail out invitations.
  • Do hair/make-up dry run, complete with your veil or headpiece.
  • Book wedding day beauty appointments.
  • Complete name change paperwork for bank accounts, insurance, etc.
  • Finalize music play list.
  • Finalize order of service and write the wedding program.
  • Touch base with your florist, caterer, and DJ to confirm date and times, etc. Get their cell phone number if you don’t already have them.
  • Order any rental items needed such as chairs, tents, lighting, if not included at wedding/reception sites.

1 Month Before

  • Purchase gifts for bridesmaids and groomsmen.
  • Schedule final fitting for wedding gown. Remember to bring wedding shoes, veil, and proper lingerie needed.
  • Arrange for transportation needs for wedding party and out-of-town guests for the rehearsal and wedding day. Be sure to give the driver the addresses and schedules for all who will need transportation.
  • Contact guests who haven’t sent in RSVPs so that you can give the caterer a final headcount.

2-3 Weeks Before

  • Get marriage license. Call ahead to make sure you know what is required to bring.
  • Organize any accessories needed such as ring pillow, flower girl basket, garter, and “something old, new, borrowed, and blue.”
  • Pick up wedding rings and check engraving before leaving the store. Store in a safe place!
  • Confirm honeymoon hotel, airline reservations, and wedding night reservations, if not leaving until the next day.

1 Week Before

  • Pack for honeymoon.
  • Make final payments to vendors. Put gratuities in envelopes and arrange to have a trusted friend distribute the envelopes on the big day.

1 Day Before

  • Take a long walk or schedule a massage to reduce stress. Gather your thoughts and mentally prepare yourself!
  • Greet out-of-town guests.
  • Make some time for each other to exchange gifts and a congratulatory kiss (or several)!
  • Attend rehearsal and rehearsal dinner.
  • Get in bed at a reasonable hour so that you’ll look and feel your best for your wedding.

Wedding Day

  • Awake early and eat a good breakfast.
  • Go to beauty appointments.
  • Arrive at wedding site, follow timeline as created (be flexible).
  • Relax, smile, and enjoy your well-organized day!