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Planning Checklist – The 12 Month Countdown

Planning a wedding is a huge undertaking. It may seem like there are endless choices and decisions to make, refine and finalize. With all the details which need to be addressed during the course of planning a wedding it’s hard to keep track of what’s already been done, what’s coming up, and when you are going to do it all! The solution is deciding what’s right for you and your fiancé, and then getting everything done in a timely and organized fashion.

So, let’s make this simple! Here is a helpful timeline and checklist of what and when things should generally be done within the wedding planning process. Remember, it’s never too early to start planning!

Nine Months to One Year before Your Wedding

  • Announce your engagement!!!

  • Set a date.

  • Hire a wedding planner.

  • Decide on the type of wedding you want. (Local or destination; elegant or casual; indoor or outdoor;
    just close friends and family or everyone you know!)

  • Decide on the time of day.

  • Set a budget.

  • Attend bridal shows in your area.

  • Reserve ceremony and reception venues.
    Remember to keep weather in mind, and have a backup plan if necessary.

  • Decide on the number of guests and start compiling the guest list.

  • Select your bridal party, and invite them to be a part of your special day.

  • Book your Officiant, have your first meeting with him or her.

  • Book your photographer.

  • Book musicians or disc jockey.

  • Book your florist.

  • If you plan on attending premarital counseling, set that up.

  • Order your wedding dress, headpiece, shoes, and lingerie for the wedding night.

  • Schedule tasting and select a baker for your cake.

Six to Nine Months before Your Wedding

  • Start planning your honeymoon.

  • Collect measurements and sizes from your attendants, and order the bridal party’s dresses.

  • Set aside a block of hotel rooms for out of town guests.

  • Register for wedding and engagement gifts.

  • Select and order wedding rings.

  • Send your engagement announcement to the newspaper.

  • Order your invitations and personal stationery.

  • Order your wedding cake.

  • Send out “Save the Date” cards.

  • Have the parents of the groom begin to arrange the rehearsal dinner.

  • Book transportation to your ceremony and reception, such as limousines, horse and carriage, or vans.

  • Order or begin to assemble wedding favors.

Four to Six Months before Your Wedding

  • Book your caterer.

  • Schedule any beauty treatments you plan to have, such as waxing, facials, and teeth whitening.

  • Select emcee, speakers, and readers.

  • Finalize the guest list and begin addressing invitations.

  • When writing invitations pre-address thank you notes as you go. This will save you time later.

  • Check marriage license requirements in your state. Make an appointment to obtain your marriage
    license two to four weeks before the wedding.

  • Make doctors and dentist appointments for physicals, immunizations, etc.

  • Decide where to live after the wedding.

  • Plan to have mothers select attire.

  • Start compiling your trousseau.

  • Make reservations for your honeymoon. (Flights, car, hotel)

  • Order groom’s tuxedo.

  • Arrange for all groomsmen to be measured and reserve tuxedos.

Two to Four Months before Your Wedding

  • Finalize reception arrangements and set up rentals for tables, linens, chairs, etc.

  • Start compiling a song list for the DJ. Choose music for your ceremony, first dance, parent dances, etc.

  • Buy a guest book.

  • Finalize accommodations for out of town guests.

  • Confirm time and details with caterer, baker, musicians, florist, photographer, videographer, and church.

  • Finalize all your honeymoon arrangements.

  • Have engagement photos taken.

  • Go over the final details with the Officiant. Make sure he is aware of your rehearsal date.

  • Make reservations for your wedding night.

  • Send programs and menus to the stationer to be printed.

  • Schedule hair, make-up and nail appointments for you and your bridesmaids, as well as a run-through 2 to 4 weeks before the wedding.

Six to Eight Weeks before Your Wedding

  • Mail all invitations to allow time for RSVP’s.

  • Schedule a final fitting for your wedding gown and attendants, including accessories and shoes.

  • Purchase gifts for your bridal party.

  • Purchase gift for your fiancé, if you will be exchanging gifts.

  • Finalize plans for the rehearsal and the rehearsal dinner.

  • Schedule bridesmaid’s luncheon or party.

  • Obtain wedding props, such as pillow for ring bearer, candles, etc.

  • Confirm that all men’s attire has been reserved and ordered.

  • Put your vows in writing, if you will be doing your own.

  • Make sure all transportation details are coordinated and finalized.

Four to Six Weeks before Your Wedding

  • Estimate the number of guests which will be attending.

  • Plan your seating arrangements for the reception.

  • Finalize all the details with your vendors.

  • Prepare wedding announcements to be mailed after the wedding.

  • Arrange for placement of guest book and select a responsible person to be in charge of it on your wedding day.

  • Begin to record gifts received and send thank you notes.

  • Do a test run with your hair, including any head pieces you might be wearing.

  • Make sure rings are picked up and properly fitted.

  • Apply for your marriage license.

  • Purchase liquor, if you are providing your own.

Two Weeks before Your Wedding

  • Have the groom get his hair cut, and cut and color yours.

  • Have a facial.

  • Submit a change of address form, if necessary.

  • Finalize your seating arrangements.

  • Create seating chart and place cards.

  • Contact guests who haven’t responded.

  • Make sure bridesmaids have their dresses.

  • Confirm any desired pictures with the photographer.

  • Deliver song lists to DJ or band.

  • Reconfirm your guests’ accommodations.

  • Create an itinerary with your Master of Ceremonies.

  • Provide itineraries to wedding party members and parents.

  • Provide itineraries to photographer, caterer, DJ or band.

  • Confirm honeymoon & wedding night reservations

1 Week before Your Wedding

  • Pack for your honeymoon.

  • Finalize the number of guests with the caterer, venue and rental company.

  • Confirm delivery details for cake and flowers.

  • Ask someone to return rentals after your wedding.

  • Practice applying makeup in the proper light.

  • Arrange for one last fitting of your wedding dress.

  • Have the rehearsal and rehearsal dinner one or two days before wedding.

  • Give your wedding party their gifts.

  • Write checks you will need for final payments on the day of the wedding.

  • Make sure your bank account has sufficient funds to cover those checks
    and other expenses while you are on your honeymoon.

  • Pick up tuxes.

  • Pick up wedding dress.

  • Deliver favors and décor items to reception venue.

Day of Your Wedding!

  • Relax and pamper yourself! Take a long bath, get a manicure, etc.

  • Make sure to eat at least one small meal and drink plenty of water.

  • Have your hair and makeup done a few hours before ceremony.

  • Start dressing one to two hours before ceremony.

  • Confirm that you have the rings and marriage license.

  • Place any payments in envelopes and give them to the person who will be distributing them.

  • Be calm, enjoy yourself and treasure every moment!


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