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 a wedding 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. Send out Save-the-Date cards & magnets.
- 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.
- 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!