There are so many tasks to complete when you’re planning a wedding. It can be difficult to know how early in the game you should complete certain items in order to ensure that you’re not behind schedule. According to wedding experts, the following timeline is a good one to use when planning your wedding.
One Year or More in Advance
- Pick some possible dates. Then run them by your groom, parents and anyone else who’s critical to the event. For instance, if your heart’s set on getting married in your hometown church, find out if it’s available on the days you have in mind.
- Decide on a budget and who’s contributing to the pot.
- Start looking at wedding gowns, even if it’s just in bridal magazines.
- Start gathering a list of potential caterers.
Nine to Twelve Months in Advance
- Begin developing your guest list.
- Start looking at ceremony and reception locations. Sign a contract as soon as you’ve found what you’re looking for.
- Start visiting caterers. Develop a menu and sign a contract as soon as you’ve picked the right one.
- Choose your attendants and discuss it with them.
- Start considering attire for your wedding party.
- Begin shopping for your wedding gown.
- Start searching for bands or DJs for your reception.
Six months in advance
- Finalize a contract with your DJ or band.
- Choose and order your invitations.
- Provide your maid of honor and best man with a list of their duties.
- Start shopping for your bridesmaid’s dresses and attire for groomsmen. Find out how far in advance your dresses must be ordered.
- Finalize your wedding gown choice, and place an order.
- Start visiting florists. Be sure to discuss any rental items you’ll need from them.
- Begin registering for gifts.
- Start visiting bakeries and deciding on your wedding cake.
- Determine your honeymoon destination.
- Begin interviewing photographers and videographers. Sign a contract when you’ve found the right one.
- Begin developing your ceremony. Determine any readings or music you want, and meet with your officiant to discuss the details.
Four to Five Months in Advance
- Order your bridesmaids dresses and groomsmen’s attire.
- Finalize your choices with the florist and place your order.
- Finalize your reception menu and wedding cake choice.
- Make any hotel arrangements needed for out of town guests, such as finding a group rate at a hotel near the event site.
- Book your rehearsal dinner site and choose your menu.
- Finalize your honeymoon plans and make reservations.
Two to Three Months in Advance
- Shop for and purchase wedding bands.
- Shop for and purchase accessories for the bride and attendants.
- Choose your attendants gifts and order if necessary.
- Choose your wedding favors and order if necessary.
- Schedule your wedding portrait if you’re having one done before the wedding.
- Finalize your wedding ceremony.
- Meet again with your officiant to ensure everything’s in order.
- Have groom and groomsmen measured for tuxedos.
- Buy any special lingerie required for your wedding gown and have your first fitting.
- Ensure that bridesmaids have received their gowns and had a fitting.
- Pick up your invitations. Inspect them immediately for mistakes.
- Arrange for wedding day transportation and parking.
Six weeks in advance
- Mail out invitations
- Buy a guest book and pen.
- Finalize hotel arrangements for you and your groom, guests and attendants.
- Determine local marriage license requirements.
- Gather name change forms if you’re changing your name, and begin adding each other to insurance policies, etc.
- Decide how you’ll wear your hair. Take your veil to your hairdresser if needed.
Three to Four Weeks in Advance
- Send rehearsal dinner invitations.
- Have final gown fitting.
- Schedule any wedding day hair and other beauty appointments.
- Finalize song lists with ceremony musicians and band or DJ.
- Finalize photo lists with photographer.
- Obtain your wedding license.
One to Two Weeks in Advance
- Call your attendants and other important participants and remind them of dates and times for rehearsal dinner and wedding.
- Confirm your headcount and menu with the caterer.
- Wear your wedding shoes to break them in.
- Confirm final payment with vendors.
- Make a seating chart for your reception, if necessary and forward to caterer.
- Confirm time and location with your officiant, florist, baker, photographer, videographer and musicians or DJ.
Day Before The Wedding
- Pack and assemble everything you’ll need for the wedding day and your honeymoon. This includes your gown and accessories, wedding rings, etc.
- Drop off favors and guest book at your site.
- Hold your rehearsal and rehearsal dinner.
- Present gifts to your attendants.
The Big Day!
- Take a moment to look at everything as it comes in (flowers, etc.)
- Spend a moment with your parents. This is a big day for them too.
- Have your hair and makeup done.
- Relax and soak it all in!
The Day After
- Ensure that vendors have been paid.
- Arrange for tuxedos to be returned (the best man usually does this).
- Arrange for wedding announcements to be mailed.
- Arrange for your gown to be cleaned and preserved if you wish.
- Freeze the top layer of your wedding cake to be eaten on your anniversary.
Your wedding is a monumental event, both in its importance in your life and in the work that it requires. Staying organized and completing tasks in plenty of time can help relieve the stress that so often plagues brides to be, and ensure that everything goes smoothly on your special day.