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Wedding Planning Checklist & Timeline

Wedding Planning Checklist & Timeline

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,, ...old, and" 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!!

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Creation date: Mar 11, 2007 2:13pm     Last modified date: Aug 30, 2007 2:25pm   Last visit date: Nov 26, 2021 11:13am
1 / 20 comments
Aug 23, 2010  ( 1 comment )  
Cathleen Sosopi (mukiti)
This is the best site I have come accross.  I was grapling with finding information as I am running up and about for my daughter's wedding.  The advice and tips are great.  Mukiti
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