Wedding Planning Checklist

We aren’t wedding planners, but think a nice list is a necessity. If you need help planning your wedding, we would be thrilled to get you some informatin for our preferred vendors! They are the bomb. In the meantime review our checklist!

Sixteen to Nine Months Before

o Start a wedding folder or binder.

Collect inspiration from bridal, lifestyle, fashion, gardening, design, and food magazines.

o Work out your budget.

Figure out how much you have or want to spend. Keep in mind your families’ contributions and your own.

o Pick your wedding party.

As soon as you’re engaged, people will start asking.

o Start the guest list.

We recommend creating an Excel spreadsheet with columns for contact info, RSVPs, gifts, and any other relevant information. (If you want to keep costs low the best way to do so is to reduce your guest list.)

o Hire a planner (optional)

A planner will have existing relationships with vendors if you find it overwhelming to choose your own.

o Reserve your venues and date.

Decide whether to have separate locations for the ceremony and the reception and factor in travel time. Make sure the venue(s) has your desired date open before you start sharing with family and friends (who will already be asking you of course).

o Book your officiant.

o Research photographers, bands, florists, and caterers.

o Throw an engagement party. (optional)

Eight Months Before

o Hire the photographer and the videographer.

Just to make sure that the vendors you want are available.

o Book the entertainment.

Attend gigs of groups/acts you are interested in to see how they perform in front of audiences, then book your favorite.

o Select a caterer.

If your wedding venue doesn’t offer its own catering service, look for one now and hire the service this month or early next.

o Purchase a dress.

You’ll need to schedule time for at least three fittings.

o Reserve a block of hotel rooms for out-of-town guests.

Keep in mind the cost and proximity to the reception venue.

o Register.

Suggestion: sign up at a minimum of two retailers.

o Launch a wedding website. (optional)

Seven to Six Months Before

o Select and purchase invitations.

o Start planning a honeymoon.

Make sure that your passports are up-to-date, and schedule doctors’ appointments for any shots you may need.

o Shop for bridesmaids’ dresses.

Allow at least six months for the dresses to be ordered and sized.

o Meet with the officiant.

Map out the ceremony and confirm that you have all the necessary official documents.

o Send save-the-date cards.

o Equipment rentals.

Book portable toilets for outdoor events, extra chairs if you need them, lighting components, and so on.

o Book a florist.

o Arrange transportation.

Consider limos, minibuses, trolleys, and town cars.

o Start composing a day-of-timeline.

Include the time and location of where the bride and groom are getting ready in addition to the essentials such as ceremony start time and reception start time.

Five to Four Months Before

o Book the rehearsal and rehearsal-dinner venues.

Negotiate the cost and the menu.

o Check on the wedding invitations.

View printer’s proofs and revise them if needed.

o Select and order the cake.

Attend several tastings and ask about lead time before committing.

o Purchase wedding shoes and undergarments before your first dress fitting. Bring these items along to your first fitting so the tailor can make any adjustments.

o Schedule hair and makeup artists.

Make an appointment to do a “test-run” with hair and makeup. Snap a photo of each so that you can refer back to the images on your wedding day..

o Choose your music.

Keep a running list of what you want and do not want played.

Three Months Before

o Finalize the menu and flowers.

See what will be available since food and flowers are affected by season.

o Order/make favors. (optional)

o Make a list of the people giving toasts.

Make sure to ask your loved ones, don’t assume that they know that you want them to give a toast.

o Finalize the readings.

Determine what you would like to have read at the ceremony—and whom you wish to do the readings. Provide readers with a copy so that they can practice.

o Schedule your second fitting.

o Finalize the order of the ceremony and the reception.

o Print programs and menu cards. (optional)

Save money by printing these on your home computer.

o Purchase the rings.

This will give you time for resizing and engraving.

o Send your day-of-timeline to the vendors.

Two Months Before

o Touch base again with all the vendors.

Make sure any questions you or they had on your day-of-timeline have been answered.

o Meet with the photographer.

Discuss specific shots and provide a shot list if this is helpful to the photographer. You may also want to take them to the venue(s) to discuss the best photo locations.

o Review the playlist with the band or deejay.

Though you probably won’t be able to dictate every single song played, you should come prepared with a wish list.

o Send out the invitations.

The rule of thumb: Mail invitations six to eight weeks before the ceremony, setting the RSVP cutoff at three weeks after the postmark date.

o Submit a newspaper wedding announcement. (optional)

o Enjoy a bachelorette party. (optional)

One Month Before

o Enter RSVPs into your guest-list Excel sheet.

Phone or email people who have not yet responded.

o Get your marriage license.

The process can take up to six days. If you are changing your name, order several copies.

o Mail/Email the rehearsal-dinner invitations.

o Visit the dressmaker for your last dress fitting.

Be sure to confirm when you can come pick it up.

o Stock the bar.

o Send out as many final payments as you can.

o Confirm times for hair and makeup and all vendors.

o E-mail and print directions for drivers of transport vehicles.

o Assign seating.

Draw out table shapes on a layout of the room to help plan place settings. Write the names of female guests on pink sticky notes and the names of male guests on blue sticky notes so you can move people about without resketching the entire setting.

o Purchase bridesmaids’ gifts.

You’ll present them at the rehearsal dinner.

o Write vows. (optional)

Week of the Wedding

o Reconfirm arrival times with vendors.

o Delegate small wedding-day tasks.

Choose someone to bustle your dress, someone to carry your things, someone to be in charge of gifts (especially the enveloped sort), someone to hand out tips, and someone to be the point person for each vendor.

o Send the day-of-timeline to the bridal party.

Include every member’s contact information, along with the point people you’ve asked to deal with the vendors, if problems arise.

o Pick up your dress.

o Check in one last time with the photographer.

o Set aside checks for the vendors.

And put tips in envelopes to be handed out at the event.

o Send the final guest list to the caterer and all venues hosting your wedding-related events. Typically, companies close their lists 72 hours in advance.

o Break in your shoes.

o Distribute the welcome baskets. (optional)

o Pack for your honeymoon.