When planning your wedding, it's best to start early and be disciplined in keeping up with these wedding checklist tasks well in advance!
At Least One Year in Advance:
* Announce your engagement and send announcements to the local newspaper.
* Plan an engagement party.
* Choose wedding date.
* Decide type of wedding desired (traditional, big/small).
* Decide time of wedding and reception.
* Choose desired location for wedding ceremony.
* Choose desired location for reception.
* Set wedding budget and decide how wedding will be financed.
After the deciding, then the booking...
* See if ceremony and reception locations are available and book them.
* Choose/hire individual who will perform your wedding ceremony.
* Interview/Choose photographer and then book him/her.
* Interview/Choose Videographer and then book him/her.
* Interview/Choose Florist and then book him/her.
* Interview/Choose Baker (for cake) and then book him/her.
* Decide type of music desired for reception, if any.
* Interview/Choose Band/DJ for reception and then book him/her/them.
* Choose reception format: buffet or sit-down dinner etc.
* Interview/Choose caterer and then book him/her/them .
Ten to Twelve Months in Advance
* Ensure home/renter's insurance covers engagement ring or buy additional jewelry insurance.
* Determine a color scheme for the wedding/reception if desired.
* Decide if all/part/any of vows will be written by bride/groom.
* Choose wedding party.
* Choose/order wedding dress and veil.
* Buy wedding shoes.
* Buy undergarments for wedding attire (need prior to fittings).
* Begin looking at invitations.
* Set honeymoon budget.
Six to Ten Months in Advance
* Decide if unity candle ceremony is desired.
* First meeting with minister/officiant.
* Begin writing vows.
* Choose ceremony music (prelude, processional, solos, recessional, postlude, etc.).
* Choose and hire soloist(s) for ceremony/reception/rehearsal dinner.
* Choose attendants and ask if they'll accept the position.
* Begin looking for bridesmaid dresses.
* Pick out tuxes for groom and groomsmen/ushers/fathers.
* Choose/book desired location for rehearsal dinner.
* Look for and book (reserve) block of rooms at nearby hotel for out-of-town guests.
* Choose invitations.
* Decide if programs and/or personalized napkins will be purchased and select them.
* Make first draft of invite list.
* Get directions to church, from church to reception, and from church to rehearsal dinner.
* Make list of attractions/things to do (in town where wedding is) to include with directions.
* Plan honeymoon and book all lodgings/transportation/event tickets.
* Check passports/visas.
* Discuss if a bridal registry is desired and what items would be on it.
* Choose china/crystal/flatware/cookware patterns for bridal registry if desired.
Four to Six Months in Advance
* Make appointment for bridal portrait.
* Make hair/nail appointment for bridal portrait.
* Find out from minister if flower girl can drop flower petals on floor in sanctuary
* Find out from reception hall if guests can throw birdseed or rice
* Decide how you want your exit at the reception/ceremony (guests throwing birdseed, bubbles, casual?)
* Buy/make favors to give guests.
* Buy/make centerpieces for guest tables at reception.
* Order bridesmaid dresses.
* Hire limo driver or arrange other transportation to/from ceremony and reception..
* Buy wedding attire accessories such as gloves, earrings, necklace, purse, shoes, cufflinks, etc.
* Pick out/order wedding bands.
* Select reception decorations such as candles, flowers, balloons, arches, etc.
* Meet with florist to choose amount and type of flowers for ceremony and reception and any other accessories.
* Ask mothers if they want to wear a flower corsage or carry a single flower instead and inform florist.
* Decide if roses will be given to the mothers at the end of/during the ceremony.
* Buy/make basket for flower girl.
* Buy/make pillow for ringbearer.
* Meet with baker to choose flavor(s) and style of wedding cake.
* Decide if a groom's cake is desired; if so, choose flavor and style and inform baker.
* Make/print directions and map for ceremony and reception to include with all wedding invitations.
* Make/print maps to rehearsal dinner to include with rehearsal dinner invitations.
* Make 2nd draft of invite list.
* Register gift preferences with one or more bridal registries at nearby and/or nationwide store.
* Get measurements from groom/ushers/fathers/groomsmen for tuxedos.
Three to Four Months in Advance
* Confirm bridal portrait appointment.
* Confirm hair/nail appointments for bridal portrait.
* Determine how many disposable cameras should be purchased, if any.
* First wedding gown fitting.
* Sign up to donate ceremony centerpiece to flowers for Sunday's service, if desired.
* Buy/make birdseed roses/birdseed packets/bubbles/etc.
* Decide on living arrangement once married.
Two to Four Months in Advance
* Choose soloist's song(s) and get soloist's approval to perform them.
* Mail/take music to soloist.
* Buy disposable cameras.
* Get bridal portrait taken.
* Determine wedding band inscriptions.
* Choose reception food.
* Design program layout (or have a printer do it).
* Determine reception layout (i.e. how many tables, chairs, etc.).
* Determine seating arrangement at reception if it's a sit-down dinner.
* Determine seating arrangement at rehearsal dinner with groom's mother if desired.
* Determine who will put suitcases in limo at reception.
* Determine how attendants will process and stand at ceremony..
* Choose reception music (1st dance, father/daughter dance, mother/son dance etc.).
* Find out if smoking is allowed at reception hall and how to prevent it if desired.
* Make rough draft of list of duties of all involved (Mistress of Ceremonies, etc.).
* Finalize vows and memorize (if necessary).
* Make sure flower girl dress is purchased.
* Make sure the mother's dresses are purchased and are complimentary.
* Determine length of bridesmaid dresses.
* Determine hose color and shoes for bridesmaids.
* Bride buy gifts for bridesmaids, parents, fiance, personal attendant.
* Groom buy gifts for groomsmen, parents, fiance, ushers.
* Buy gifts with fiance for Mistress of Ceremonies, Host/Hostess, soloist, guest book attendant, etc.
* Schedule bride's hair appointment.
* Schedule nail appointment.
* Finalize invite list.
* Get addresses of all people on invite list.
* Order invitations.
* Order programs.
* Order monogrammed napkins for reception if desired.
* Reserve rental items: candelabra, linens, canopy, tables/chairs, etc.
* Set date with fiance to get marriage license (check restrictions on how long it's valid prior to wedding).
* Get blood tests/physicals for marriage certificate if required.
* Get any immunizations you will need for the honeymoon.
Two Months in Advance
* Book rooms for out-of-town attendants at hotel.
* Go over rough draft of duties with all involved in wedding.
* Choose one person to whom the groomsmen can return their tuxes, to return to rental place.
* Determine who will return the groom's tuxedo to the rental place.
* Determine order/timing of events at reception (cake-cutting, garter toss, etc.).
* Second wedding gown fitting.
* Buy honeymoon clothes and going away outfit if necessary.
* Buy/decide on rehearsal/rehearsal dinner outfit.
* Determine the "something borrowed, ...blue, ...old, and ...new" to wear on wedding day.
* Get wedding bands inscribed.
* Get final order of prelude and processional music from organist.
* Hire babysitter to watch any children during wedding ceremony.
* Call to inform all people who need to be at rehearsal.
* Buy guest book and pen.
* Obtain marriage certificate.
* Last meeting with minister/officiant.
* Determine where bride and attendants will get dressed (at home/hotel or ceremony site?).
* Determine where groom and attendants will get dressed (at hotel or ceremony site?).
* Buy/make throw and keepsake garters.
* Make itinerary of wedding day for all involved.
* Choose songs for video (background music for intro/pre-wedding).
* Buy stamps for invitations, response cards, and some to get started on thank-you notes.
* Ensure formal-wear shop has all tuxedo measurements.
* Address/mail wedding invitations.
One Month in Advance
* Order flower arrangements for rehearsal dinner tables if desired.
* Find out if reception caterers will make a basket of food for you to take to your hotel after reception.
* Determine who will be in the limo (i.e. just newlyweds or attendants/parents too??).
* Determine when items needed at reception (toasting glasses, etc.) will be taken there.
* Show final program to minister and organist to check for accuracy.
* Decide if gown will be preserved and where.
* Decide if bouquet will be preserved and make arrangements.
* Ensure band/DJ has equipment/music needed tp play your chosen reception music.
* Pick up wedding bands.
* Ensure home/renter's insurance covers wedding bands or buy additional jewelry insurance.
* Confirm honeymoon reservations.
* Check registries to make sure shower gifts and/or early wedding gifts have been marked off as purchased.
* Record gifts as you receive them and send thank-you notes.
* Open joint checking and savings accounts.
* Change beneficiary to fiance for will and life insurance policy.
* Inform car/home/renter's insurance of marriage (discounted rates may apply).
* Make list of all places with whom bride needs to change name and submit changes.
Two Weeks in Advance
* Final meeting with florist - overview and give him/her map to ceremony and reception sites.
* Final meeting with reception hall/caterer.
* Final meeting with videographer - overview, give him/her music and map.
* Final meeting with photographer.
* Final conversation with band - overview of times & special songs, mail him/her/them map.
* Mail directions to limo driver and confirm times.
* Meet with rehearsal dinner caterers for final details.
* Print programs.
* Print rehearsal dinner maps (extras in case guests forget map that came with dinner invite).
* Finalize and print list of duties for each person involved.
* Print itinerary of wedding day (copies for all at rehearsal).
* Confirm nail/hair appointments.
* Print list of reception dances for MC/band/DJ.
* Final wedding gown fitting.
* Confirm hotel reservations for wedding night.
* Confirm hotel reservations for attendants.
* Determine personal wedding morning itinerary (time to wake up, ... time to leave for church, etc.).
* Groom's hair appointment.
* Submit wedding announcement to local newspaper for publishing day or weekend of wedding.
* Move belongings to new home.
One Week in Advance
* Make bride's emergency kit.
* Pack for honeymoon.
* Get traveler's checks for honeymoon; exchange money to foreign currency now if desired.
* Fill out first page of guest book.
* Remind attendants about rehearsal time.
* Take marriage certificate to minister/officiant.
* Give best man the clergyman's fee (if to be payed day of ceremony, otherwise pay this week).
* Finish centerpieces for guest tables at reception if it's a last minute duty (i.e. need fresh flowers, etc.).
* Give final guest count to reception facility and/or caterer.
* Remind groom/fathers/ushers/groomsmen to pick up tuxedos on day before wedding.
* Ensure delivery of flower arrangements for wedding rehearsal dinner have been made.
Day Before Wedding
* Pick up wedding gown and veil.
* Pick up tux.
* Take favors, centerpieces, cake knife and server, toasting glasses, CD's, and birdseed roses to reception hall.
* Nail appointment.
* Give mom lipstick to keep in purse on wedding day for bride (or prepare bride's purse).
* Rehearsal and rehearsal dinner.
Morning of Wedding
* Bride's hair appointment.
* Give groom's wedding band to Maid of Honor and bride's wedding band to Best Man prior to ceremony.
* Relax and enjoy!!