You’ve said yes to the big question, now what?
If you’re starting to become overwhelmed with the thought of planning your big day, sit down, take a deep breath and look over this 12-month planning guide. You’ll see that planning a wedding is simply a matter of getting organized. You can do it!
11-12 Months Before the Wedding
Officially announce your engagement.
Your own personal wedding site is a great way to share the plans as they develop. Your out of town family and friends will definitely appreciate it!
Set a time and date for the wedding.
Decide style of ceremony (size, setting, formality, etc.)
Contact wedding a officiate.
Arrange for your families to meet if they haven’t met before.
Develop a budget and decide who will pay for what.
Begin compiling your guest list.
Visit and reserve your reception site.
9-10 Months Before the Wedding
Order your wedding gown and determine who will make any necessary alterations.
Choose your wedding party.
Decide on a color scheme (consider the reception site).
Meet with potential wedding professionals for your ceremony & reception. Interview local videographers, photographers, florists, DJs & Musicians, caterers, and bakeries. Be sure to get a contract that states wedding date, time, and location for each vendor, as well as the schedule for payments.
Scout out accommodations for out-of-town guests.
7-8 Months Before the Wedding
Start shopping for wedding rings.
Decide on honeymoon plans and take care of any special travel requirements such as passports or visas.
Decide on and order attendants gowns.
Order invitations and other stationery needs.
Register for wedding gifts at select stores and online outlets. Don’t forget to register for shower and engagement party gifts as well!
5-6 Months Before the Wedding
Let your out-of-town guests know the date of your wedding so that they reserve the date and make any necessary travel plans.
Complete guest list.
Shop for and taste test the wedding cake.
Select and reserve attire for men in the wedding.
Determine marriage license requirements for the state in which you are getting married. (If in the US, contact the county clerks office; if abroad, the wedding coordinator will have this information.)
3-4 Months Before the Wedding
Finalize the menu with your caterer.
Order wine, champagne, liquor, etc., if not included in the caterers service.
Finalize flowers, including those needed for the reception decorations.
Mail out information about hotels and city attractions to your out-of-town guests so they can make their plans.
Order wedding favors.
Order wedding rings to allow time for engraving.
Begin working on vows, especially if you are writing your own.
2 Months Before Wedding
Finalize and book honeymoon.
Mail out invitations.
Do hair/make-up dry run, complete with your veil or headpiece.
Book wedding day beauty appointments.
Complete name change paperwork for bank accounts, insurance, etc.
Finalize music play list.
Finalize order of service and write the wedding program.
Touch base with your florist, caterer, and DJ to confirm date and times, etc. Get their cell phone number if you don’t already have them.
Book rehearsal dinner.
Order wedding cake, if not ordered already.
1 Month Before
Order any rental items needed such as chairs, tents, lighting, if not included at wedding/reception sites.
Purchase bridesmaid gifts.
Purchase groomsmen gifts.
Schedule final fitting for wedding gown. Remember to bring wedding shoes, veil, and proper lingerie needed.
Purchase your accessories: guest book and pen set, ring pillow, flower girl baskets, unity candle, etc.
Arrange for transportation needs for wedding party and out-of-town guests for the rehearsal and wedding day. Be sure to give the driver the addresses and schedules for all who will need transportation.
2-3 Weeks Before
Get marriage license. Call ahead to make sure you know what is required to bring.
Organize any accessories needed such as ring pillow, flower girl basket, garter, and “something old, new, borrowed, and blue.”
Contact guests who haven’t sent in RSVPs so that you can give the caterer a final headcount.
Pick up wedding rings and check engraving before leaving the store. Store in a safe place!
Confirm honeymoon hotel, airline reservations, and wedding night reservations, if not leaving until the next day.
1 Week Before
Pack for honeymoon.
Host attendants party and give out gifts along with a thoughtful thank you note to each bridesmaid.
Order your Wedding Chart from us.
Make final payments to vendors. Put gratuities in envelopes and arrange to have a trusted friend distribute the envelopes on the big day.
1 Day Before
Take a long walk or schedule a massage to reduce stress. Gather your thoughts and mentally prepare yourself!
Greet out-of-town guests.
Make some time for each other to exchange gifts and a congratulatory kiss (or several)!
Attend rehearsal and rehearsal dinner.
Get in bed at a reasonable hour so that you’ll look and feel your best for your wedding.
Awake early and eat a good breakfast.
Go to beauty appointments.
Arrive at wedding site early enough to dress and to visit with bridesmaids.
Allow enough time for photography.
Relax, smile, and enjoy your well-organized day!