NINE MONTHS AND EARLIER
- Choose a date.
- Announce your engagement. Send photo and announcements to your hometown newspaper.
- Decide what type of wedding you want.
- Create a wedding folder.
- Make a budget.
- Create a calendar of important dates.
- Start, and organize, your guest list.
Ask family and friends to help you make sure that you don’t forget anyone.
- Choose your ceremony site.
- Make an appointment with your officiate.
- Reserve the date and time of the ceremony.
- Choose and reserve a reception site.
- Select a theme and define your colors.
- Start shopping for your gown. If you are special-ordering a gown, place your order now to allow time for fitting or alteration.
- Find a photographer.
- Start thinking about honeymoon spots. Planning well in advance will assure you better prices on hotel and airfare.
- Order or update your passport.
- Send your guests “save the date” cards.
- Check the requirements for a marriage license at the location of your ceremony. Some might require a blood test, birth certificates or other documents.
SIX TO NINE MONTHS
- Pick out the bridesmaids’ gowns and order their accessories
- Hire a caterer.
- Select the ceremony music and hire musicians.
- Decide on a florist.
- Choose a videographer.
- If you plan to rent equipment for your reception or ceremony, book a rental provider now.
- Research accommodations for out-of-town guest and look for your bridal suite.
FOUR TO SIX MONTHS
- Order invitations and stationery items.
- Shop for the groom’s party formal wear.
- Choose your wedding-day transportation. Reserve limos; shop for rental cars.
- Plan the rehearsal dinner.
- Finalize the reception menu.
- Register at gift registries.
- Book out-of-town guest rooms.
- Shop for wedding rings.
TWO TO FOUR MONTHS
- Finalize guest list. Ask the people whom you want to become members of the wedding party, and explain their roles.
- Choose a wedding-cake style (and bakery).
- Confirm your decorating details.
- Schedule your bridal portrait.
SIX TO EIGHT WEEKS
- Mail out invitations.
- Meet your stylist and choose your hairstyle and make-up.
FOUR TO SIX WEEKS
- Organize the reception seating. Fill out place cards.
- Confirm the playlist with musicians.
- Plan and hold the bridesmaids’, bachelor and bachelorette parties.
- Pick the wedding rings.
- Confirm times and dates with all wedding vendors. Give all vendors a copy of the wedding-day schedule.
- Call any guest who has not RSVP’d; confirm their attendance.
- Make sure you have all the marriage documents you need.
- Pick up all the wedding attire. Make sure everything fits.
- Give the final guest list to your caterer and to the reception site.
- Confirm the details of your honeymoon.
- Pack for the honeymoon.
- Stop delivery of mail and newspaper for the time you will be on your honeymoon.
DAY BEFORE THE WEDDING
- Confirm that members of the wedding party have all necessary accessories.
- If someone is helping you pay for vendors and gratuities, prepare the envelopes.
- Put someone you can trust in charge of bringing everything you will need: guestbook, pen, ring bearing pillow, etc.
- Pass out schedules to members of the wedding party.
- Meet with ushers and discuss seating.
- Go to rehearsal.
- Go to rehearsal dinner. Smile!
DAY OF THE WEDDING
- Give the groom’s ring to the maid of honor and the bride’s ring to the best man.
- Bring the wedding license. You’ll need it for the officiant to sign.
- Eat something. Have the caterer pack you a to-go box, in case you don’t actually get to eat at the reception.
- Take a deep breath, and remember to be grateful and have fun on your special day!
AFTER THE WEDDING
- Arrange for someone to return rental items after the wedding.
- Have the gown cleaned and bowed.
- File your name change with the Social Security, banks and important institutions.
- Send out change-of-address cards.