Wedding Planning Tips Congratulations! You’re getting married. Now it’s time to plan your wedding. This is a very exciting time in your relationship as you and your groom embrace the beginning of your life together. Whether it started as a burgeoning romance between friends or a romance bloomed from a chance encounter, it has now blossomed into a lifelong partnership of love and devotion. Now comes the opportunity to celebrate this blessing with friends and family.
Planning this exciting event can sometimes be a major headache. However, every bride deserves the wedding of her dreams without the stress of the hustle and bustle. Below are a few wedding planning tips and tricks to help keep this a day full of cherished memories instead of wishes for re-dos.
Hint: Use this time to embrace the help of loved ones. Ask questions of your married friends. More often than not, every bride has a tip or two for how to avoid what she has learned the hard way.
Your Wedding Checklist: 11-12 months prior to your wedding
- ___ Formally announce your engagement to both families.
- ___ Set a date!! Be sure to choose a date that accommodates your special guests (such as summer months while children are out of school and vacations are usually scheduled).
- ___ Set the budget! This is an often overlooked but extremely important task. Plan with your groom for the one or two items of most importance and budget around those few major items.
- ___Book the wedding officiant. Meet with your pastor, rabbi, or other clergyman about availability.
- ___ Select the wedding party. Including friends and family in your big day is an honor for all involved.
- ___ Reserve wedding and reception locations. Remember that reception locations for events held on or around holidays will book faster and may increase rental rates.
- ___ Shop for wedding insurance and decide if it’s a good option for you.
- ___ Hire the wedding consultant or planner.
- ___ Compile the guest list being careful to pay attention to your budget here.
- ___ Purchase a wedding planner book. Pockets make handy spots for storing receipts. Be sure to have day-to-day slots and extra space for notes. Wedding planning software may be a large help with budgeting, planning, and organizing even down to the thank you notes and seating arrangements.
Your Wedding Checklist: 9-10 months prior to your wedding
- ___ Choose and confirm the photographer. Do not be afraid to ask for portfolios.
- ___ Select and secure the caterer. Be picky! Meet your caterer and sample the foods. Don’t be scared—it is polite to ask for references. The Better Business Bureau is also a good resource for information concerning the company’s catering history.
- ___ Book the videographer. Pictures are worth a thousand words but moving pictures say much more!
- ___ Hire the florist. Your wedding flowers will be a larger part of your budget. Your florist can help you with color schemes and ideas to make your big day beautiful.
- ___ Book the musicians and/or DJ services for both your ceremony and reception.
Your Wedding Checklist: 7-8 months prior to your wedding
- ___ Shop for and order your wedding dress, veil, shoes, gloves, and other accessories. Allow time for specially made gowns, alterations and fittings.
- ___ Purchase the bridesmaid dresses as well as usher and groomsmen tuxedos.
- ___ Meet with wedding cake designers and bakers. Feel free to taste test!
- ___ Handmade wedding favors should be started now if necessary.
- ___ Plan your honeymoon! Though typical for the groom to make the arrangements, discuss options for locations and ideas. Remember to allow yourself time for any passport, immunization, and other travel needs.
Your Wedding Checklist: 6 months prior to your wedding
- ___ Purchase wedding favors.
- ___ Send save-the-date cards or contact out of town guests to confirm the final date, time, and location of the event.
- ___ Plan your rehearsal dinner.
- ___ Register for gifts. This can be a fun time for the couple as you start to see how your house will unfold. Be sure to read these handy registry tips!
- ___ Order wedding invitations and stationery. Select a calligrapher if necessary.
- ___ Select the groom’s attire and arrange purchase or rental options.
- ___ Arrange the wedding transportation. Horse-drawn carriages are a romantic idea while limousines add a celebrity-type amusement. Whatever your choice, book well in advance, especially if your wedding falls around any prom, homecoming, or other major event.
- ___ Order your wedding cake! You’ve tasted them all. Now is the perfect time to reserve the most delicious one.
- ___ Make a doctor’s appointment if your state requires a blood test for the marriage license. Check your state’s blood test time-line.
Your Wedding Checklist: 4-5 months prior to your wedding
- ___ Reserve hotels and other accommodations for out of town guests.
- ___ Buy gifts for your wedding party, parents, and betrothed. This is a very special way to say both "thank you" and "I love you."
- ___ Prepare a skin care regimen to ensure that you are a glowing bride on your special day!
- ___ Book any honeymoon needs. If using a travel agent, confirm accommodations with him or her.
- ___ Reserve any rental equipment such as tables, chairs, tablecloths, tents, et cetera if your caterer is not doing it for you.
- ___ Purchase your wedding rings! This is also a very special time for the couple. Remember your budget but also that this ring symbolizes a lifetime of unity and commitment. Make sure it’s something you’ll want to wear that long!
Your Wedding Checklist: 2-3 months prior to your wedding
- ___ Finalize the guest list.
- ___ Meet with your caterer and/or banquet manager to confirm any final details.
- ___ Schedule a final fitting for your gown. Having a bridesmaid along to learn to handle any tricky buttons and bustle your train may be helpful later!
- ___ Meet with the officiant if necessary.
- ___ Write your vows if exchanging less traditional ones.
- ___ Prepare arrangements for the rehearsal dinner.
- ___ Mail the wedding invitations. Allow 6-8 weeks for guests to schedule time away from work. For destination weddings, allow 12 weeks for scheduling.
- ___ Meet with stylists to determine which hair and makeup scheme works best for you. Book the appointments now for your wedding day.
- ___ Attend any bridal showers. Have fun! These are a celebration and some of your last parties as a "single" woman.
- ___ Complete any change of name documents if necessary. These may include passports, credit cards, bank account holders, and driver’s licenses. In most states you can not change your name until you have a valid marriage license, but prior planning will expedite the process.
Your Wedding Checklist: 1 month prior to your wedding
- ___ Send wedding announcements to local newspapers.
- ___ Apply for and obtain your marriage license.
- ___ Confirm that your attendants and other wedding party members have their wedding attire.
- ___ Confirm arrival times with any vendors such as caterers, bakers, photographers, etc.).
- ___Write and print your wedding program.
- ___ Send change-of-address information to the post office.
- ___ Write thank you notes as wedding gifts begin to arrive.
- ___ Arrange the seating plan and create place cards.
- ___ Compose toasts for the wedding rehearsal dinner and reception.
- ___ Determine house sitter, babysitter, and/or pet sitter needs while you are on your honeymoon.
- ___ Pick up your dress.
- ___ Give your travel plans and contact information to your house sitter and family member in case of emergency.
- ___ Pack for the honeymoon and day after your wedding.
- ___ Provide wedding party with a wedding day schedule to ensure a smooth run.
___ Wear your wedding shoes around the house on carpeted areas to "break them in."
Your Wedding Checklist: 1 day prior to your wedding
- ___ Relax with your company and out of town guests. Remember to get plenty of rest after any late-night bachelorette parties. Many brides enjoy a massage with the females of the wedding party before the wedding. Manicures and pedicures are another popular way to take a break and look beautiful while doing it!
- ___ Confirm transportation.
- ___ Rehearse the ceremony.
- ___ Hold a rehearsal dinner.
Your Wedding Checklist: Your Wedding Day!
Enjoy! This is your special day to shine.