Planning a wedding can be a challenge for anyone, especially if you have a full time job, other outside activities, and also a single parent. Before contacting wedding vendors or venues, think about your vision for your wedding. Think about wedding ideas, themes, and wedding colors. The colors you choose may help you decide what time of year you would like to marry. An outdoor springtime wedding may inspire green tones while a winter wedding is more silver or gold. You may also have a favorite color that really speaks to you and your personality.
When planning a wedding, different wedding planning tasks will fall according to your own schedule and needs. The majority of brides and grooms choose their wedding date and the ceremony location before anything else. After that choice has been made, then it’s on to the wedding gown and thinking about a guest list. Many brides enjoy attending a bridal show in the early stages of the planning to get ideas and to find out what’s new on the wedding scene. You may use the following wedding planning checklist to help guide you through the process from 1 year out. Just keep it simple and enjoy the ride!
This checklist is easy and works for me. Feel free to adjust the checklist according to your own timeline.
12 Months Before
- Announce your engagement to family and friends and plan an engagement party.
- Sign up for a wedding website to keep your guests informed about event details, area information, etc.
- Choose a wedding date.
- Work on your wedding budget.
- Hire a wedding planner to help secure contracts, etc.
- Choose a location and reserve your ceremony and reception site.
- Begin a rough guest list and compile current addresses.
- Decide on who you’d like to have as your attendants, including your maid of honor and best man.
- Begin shopping for your wedding gown.
- Purchase a wedding planning book/journal, or a simple calendar to keep track of important dates and appointments (fittings, showers, etc.)
6-9 Months Before
- Research and choose one or more bridal gift registry.
- Order your wedding gown and buy undergarments that you will wear with it (bring these to all fittings).
- Order other bridal accessories – shoes, veil, etc.
- Begin shopping for bridesmaids dresses.
- Find an officiant who will perform your ceremony.
- Choose and book ceremony musicians, a wedding band/ DJ, photographer, caterer, and florist.
4-6 Months Before
- Select and order your wedding invitations, envelopes, and thank you notes.
- Select and purchase wedding favors.
- Purchase any desired ceremony and reception decorations – candles, vases, aisle runner, etc.
- Start researching wedding cake pictures and local bakeries for ideas.
- Book your honeymoon and verify that you have any necessary travel documents including passports and visas.
- Book a room for your wedding night, if you will be leaving for your honeymoon the next morning.
- Block hotel room accommodations for out-of-town guests.
- Print out directions to the ceremony, reception, rehearsal dinner and hotels for guests.
- Compile a list of area information and things to do for out-of-town guests.
- Reserve transportation for you and your wedding party to and from the wedding, as well as a bus or trolley for your guests (if necessary).
2-4 Months Before
- Find out what your state’s requirements are for obtaining a marriage license.
- Order tuxedos for the groom and groomsmen.
- Meet with your caterer to discuss the menu.
- Meet with your officiant to discuss ceremony details, wording and wedding vows.
- Order your wedding cake.
- Buy thank-you gifts for your attendants.
- Shop for a gift for your new spouse-to-be.
- Select and purchase wedding bands, and have them engraved if desired.
- Meet with groom’s parents to coordinate and choose a location for the rehearsal dinner.
- Contact party-rental companies for tables, chairs, tents, etc. if necessary.
- Purchase luggage and other travel necessities and attire for your honeymoon.
- Order or renew passports if necessary.
- Schedule an appointment with your dentist if you’d like to have your teeth whitened or cleaned before the wedding.
4-8 Weeks Before
- Mail invitations out eight weeks prior to the wedding date and send accommodation info to your out-of-town guests.
- Compile and complete name change documents or purchase a bridal name change kit online which contains all of the necessary forms to file.
- Fill out a change of address form at the post office, if necessary.
- Pick up your marriage license.
- Have ceremony programs printed.
- Purchase a guest book and other wedding accessories including toasting glasses, cake knife, ring pillow, etc.
- Keep your wedding website updated with directions and event details.
- Choose your hair and make-up stylists and schedule a trial for both. Book appointments to have your hair, make-up and nails done on the day of the wedding.
- Review insurance information with your fiancé to see if any updates need to be made prior to the wedding (car, home, medical, etc.).
- Plan a bridal luncheon or dinner with your bridesmaids.
2-4 Weeks Before
- Create a seating chart for the reception and make place cards (or have a calligrapher work on these, if you have hired one).
- Contact your caterer with a final guest count.
- Print out a timeline of events for your wedding party and vendors – include contact information and cell phone numbers.
- Meet with your photographer and florist to finalize details.
- Finalize your ceremony and reception music and song list for your wedding band or DJ.
- Confirm lodging reservations for out-of-town guests.
- Place a wedding announcement in your local newspaper.
- Pick up wedding bands and make sure they fit.
- Schedule a final dress fitting.
- Write rehearsal dinner toasts.
1 Week Before
- Write out final checks for your minister, organist, DJ or musicians, etc. and organize in envelopes for your wedding coordinator or one of your attendants to distribute at the wedding.
- Pick up your wedding gown.
- Confirm limo or other transportation reservations.
- Pack for your honeymoon and confirm travel arrangements.
- Treat yourself to a spa day!
The Day Before
- Welcome out-of-town guests as they arrive.
- Take a yoga class or go for a walk during the day.
- Schedule a hair appointment for prior to the rehearsal dinner.
- Attend the rehearsal and enjoy the rehearsal dinner!
The Wedding Day
- Wake up early and do some light exercise, or just go for a peaceful walk outdoors and soak up the beauty of the day.
- Set aside some time before the festivities to exchange gifts with your bridesmaids or close family members.
- Eat a healthy breakfast.
- Enjoy every second of the day….it belongs to YOU!
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