A step-by-step itinerary of when to do things while planning your wedding
Wedding planning itinerary
Things to do six to twelve months before your wedding:
1. Announce your engagement. Announce to both sets of parents first, trying to do so in person, and then tell all other family and friends however you feel comfortable. You can then announce it in your hometown newspaper if you desire.
2. Decide on what type of wedding you’d like to have: formal, semi-formal or informal. The more formal the wedding, the more formal everything must be including setting, attire, invitations, favors, reception food, decorations and music. Making the decision on how formal to go will depend on your personal style and your budget.
3. Choose a date. Unless you have your heart set on a particular date, it is smartest to steer clear of holiday weekends and not to plan for one week prior or after a holiday. Also choose what time of day you’d like your wedding to begin. Keep in mind that too early could have your guests tired and ready to leave early, and too late might cause travelers to stay an extra night. The time of day depends upon your guest accommodations and the limitations of your chosen wedding site.
4. Choose the location for your wedding: church, luxury hotel, banquet hall, outdoor lot, etc.
5. Set a budget for your wedding. This should be done as soon as possible and it should all be neatly written down. This will help prevent any future fights about decisions that are made and will help you to stick to the plan and not splurge on anything.
6. Choose the wedding party. Only choose who you want and the number of people you want. Do not let yourself be pushed into asking people you hadn’t planned on asking.
7. Buy the wedding gown. This requires extensive shopping around. And once the gown is selected, then choose a headpiece, jewelry, shoes and the attendant gowns. When shopping for attendant gowns and accessories, stick to a color scheme that you have picked out for decorations, etc.
8. Choose your guestbook, unity candle, ring bearer’s pillow, rice and any other props and decorations you would like to have.
9. Begin planning the honeymoon. Choose a few destinations and check out airline prices and hotel fares.
10. Register for gifts. You may choose to register at more than one store depending on what is available at each site and what stores your guests have access to.
11. Compile a guest list. Include everyone you want to invite to get a starting count; you can change your mind before invitations are sent out.
12. Select a caterer. Ask to meet with them and sample some of their food. Also ask them if they have planned menus or if you’ll have to plan your own.
13. Begin planning the reception. Choose whether you’d like a band or DJ for the entertainment. Book a location to have the reception at or find an outdoor site that you can use.
14. Select the music: DJ or band and/or church pianist.
15. Select a florist and choose your floral arrangements. If you’re undecided about what flowers you’d like, the florist will have ideas and advice to pass along.
16. Select a photographer. Ask to meet with them and see samples of their past work.
17. Choose an officiant. Check local laws about the jurisdictions of lawyers and judges.
18. Your church may require premarital counseling. Check with the religious leader for times and dates you should sign up for.
19. Select and order your engagement and wedding ring selections. Shop around for good prices and ask around for someone people consider a reputable jeweler. A good jeweler will have a good reputation in a community.
Things to do three to six months before the wedding:
1. Complete and edit your guest list. Compare the numbers to your budget to make sure you can afford a crowd of that size.
2. If your state requires a blood test to get a license, you should schedule the appointments at this time.
3. Select and order your invitations. You should have a finalized plan of location, date and time before you go invitation shopping. Also, order 25 invitations beyond your final guest count to accommodate mistakes, undelivered mail and last-minute additions.
4. Finalize the reception arrangements and rent or purchase any necessary equipment.
5. Finalize honeymoon plans and make arrangements and reservations.
6. Call the florist, caterer, photographer, musician(s) and the church or banquet hall to reconfirm your time and date to make sure no mistakes have been made and to make sure you’re up to date on paying everyone.
7. Figure out any transportation needs such as home to church/banquet hall and church/banquet hall to reception.
8. Order the wedding cake. Plan to meet with your cake artist to see their past work and to sample their cake.
9. Select and order the attire for the groom and groomsmen. Select and order the attire for the bridesmaids. Select and order the attire for flower girl and ring bearer. If there are additional fittings and appointments necessary, be sure the wedding party knows about them.
Things to do two to three months before the wedding:
1. Mail out the invitations. This allows time for the RSVPs to come back.
2. Prepare the wedding announcements to be mailed after the wedding.
3. Make an appointment to get your marriage license. Check with the courthouse for state laws and requirements.
Things to do one to two months before the wedding:
1. Make necessary reservations for guests.
2. Plan the rehearsal and the rehearsal dinner.
3. Purchase the gifts for the wedding party.
4. Schedule final fittings for everyone’s attire. If attire is being delivered, confirm the time and date.
5. Schedule appointments at the beauty salon for yourself, attendants and mothers. If you’d like a manicure, pedicure, massage, etc., schedule it for the day before the wedding.
6. Get the marriage license and keep it in a safe place.
Things to do two weeks to one month before the wedding:
1. Mail wedding announcement to the newspaper of your choice.
2. Confirm your wedding day transportation.
3. Make any necessary arrangements to change your name on all legal documents, including license and social security card. Depending on state laws, some documents could take a few weeks.
4. Confirm any reservations you have made for your guests.
5. Plan seating arrangements if you are assigning seats at the reception.
6. Find something old, something new, something borrowed and something blue.
Things to do one week before the wedding:
1. Finalize plans with the caterer, photographer, florist and musician(s).
2. Compile a list of all the pictures you’d like the photographer to take and make a copy for them. Examples are: Bride with parents, groom with parents, bride with groom’s parents, groom with grandparents, etc.
3. Choose a hairstyle.
4. Make sure you’ve picked up the rings and they fit both of you properly.
5. Make wedding day arrangements with the attendants and the ushers, telling them when they should arrive, when certain things should happen and what they should be responsible for.
6. Walk around the house in your wedding shoes to break them in.
Things to do the day before the wedding:
1. Have the rehearsal dinner.
2. Give the wedding party their gifts.
3. Get a manicure and/or pedicure.
4. Put together an emergency kit for the next day. Include bobby pins, safety pins, tissues, Tylenol, band-aids, extra nylons and an anti-static spray.
5. Give the rings to the best man or officiant to keep until the wedding.
6. Pack for the honeymoon and have the luggage waiting wherever you’ll be leaving from.
Things to do on your wedding day:
1. Eat at least one meal. Even if you don’t feel well, you should have something; you’ll need the strength.
2. Go have hair done. Wear a button-up shirt.
3. Try to relax and take things slowly. Don’t rush putting on makeup or getting dressed. Start getting ready at least two hours before the ceremony.
4. Be sure to enjoy every second, the day goes by so fast!