Planning Your Dream Wedding
Although this Wedding Checklists is spread over 12 months, please shorten the time frame as needed. Simply start at the top of the list and move through as appropriate. This list of ideas is not intended to be comprehensive. Please modify to create your ideal dream wedding plans!
Step 1: 9 to 12 months before Wedding Day
☐ Arrange a meeting with parents or benefactors to determine shared budget and expenses.
☐ Brainstorm size, style, location, and scope of the wedding.
☐ Create a binder to organize contacts, vendors, ideas, checklists, receipts, menus, brochures, etc.
☐ Book an engagement photo session for save-the-date cards and/or newspaper announcement.
☐ Formally announce your engagement.
☐ Appoint a Wedding Coordinator & Leadership Team to help you plan your wedding; you may decide to select family & friends to help you.
☐ Choose wedding and reception locations.
☐ Choose a target wedding date and time.
☐ Visit the wedding/reception location sites. Final date will often depend upon venue availability.
☐ Reserve wedding and reception sites.
☐ Interview and hire photographer and videographer.
☐ Meet with your minister or officiant.
☐ Begin creating a guest list to estimate head count.
☐ Shop for your wedding gown.
☐ Appoint the caterer.
☐ Employ the florist. Consider bridal bouquet, boutonnieres, throw away bouquet, corsages, alter arrangements, bridesmaid bouquets, head pieces, centerpieces, pew decorations, flower girl, etc.
☐ Reserve rental items, such as tents, tables, chairs, flatware, toasting flutes, chair covers, table linens, napkins, dinner ware, serving trays, punch bowls.
☐ Hire musicians/entertainment for the ceremony and reception.
☐ Schedule Bridal Salon for you and your party.
☐ Reserve accomodations for out-of-town guests. (Ask about group rates.)
☐ Consider wedding insurance to protect deposits.
☐ Compile a Wedding Contact List, consisting of contact information for all wedding vendors, coordinators, appointees, Leadership Team, wedding party, etc.
Step 2: 6 to 9 months before Wedding Day
☐ Choose your wedding party.
☐ Enroll in wedding/shower gift registries.
☐ Mail save-the-date cards (include lodging information, maps, engagment photo).
☐ Select wedding rings.
☐ Purchase wedding gown, begin choosing shoes, accessories, fittings, and alterations.
☐ Select bridesmaids’ dresses
☐ Select groom and groomsmen attire.
☐ Arrange for fittings for wedding party.
☐ Schedule wedding cake tastings and select design.
☐ List music selections for ceremony.
☐ List music selections for reception, including "first dance."
☐ Start planning your honeymoon.
Step 3: 4 to 6 months before Wedding Day:
☐ Attend premarital counseling (required in some states, check on your local requirements).
☐ Finalize your wedding and reception guest lists.
☐ Order invitations and other wedding stationery (thank you notes, post-wedding announcements, rehearsal dinner invitations, etc.). Order extra.
☐ Purchase postage stamps.
☐ Hire a calligrapher, friend, or family member to help address envelopes.
☐ Plan dress, veil, makeup, jewelry, hose, shoes, undergarments, nail, and hair preparations for wedding day.
☐ Visit dentist to plan for teeth whitening treatments, if desired.
☐ Order tuxedoes for the groom and groomsmen.
☐ Attend fitting for bridal gown, be sure to bring shoes you plan to wear, hoops, accrenelins, bra, or other accessories to ensure proper fitting, etc.
☐ Finalize all honeymoon plans.
☐ If traveling outside the country, arrange for passports, visas, and vaccinations.
☐ Book a hotel suite near the wedding location for bridal preparation before the wedding, if desired.
☐ Plan order of wedding ceremony, inlcluding lighting of candles, speeches, songs, etc.
☐ Plan order of reception, including cutting of cake, toasts, dances, first dance, photos, etc.
☐ Submit wedding program information to be printed for guests.
☐ Plan and finalize the rehearsal dinner, including reservations, guest list, and menu.
☐ Review and finalize overall budget.
☐ Purchase disposable cameras, favors, guest book, sign-in pen, bird seed, ring pillow, goblets, garter belt, candles, and any other wedding-day extras.
Step 4: 2 to 4 months prior:
☐ Obtain a marriage license.
☐ Review and finalize wedding vows, special readings, etc. with the minister/officiant.
☐ Meet with the caterer to go over menu.
☐ Order the wedding cake.
☐ Order your wedding rings.
☐ Confirm wedding ceremony and reception music.
☐ Schedule the final fitting for wedding gown and bridesmaids dresses. Bring shoes, veil, undergarments, slip, bra, etc.
☐ Schedule appointments for trial run & final beauty treatments (hair, nails, waxing, brows, etc.)
☐ Order in-room welcome baskets for out-of-town guests.
☐ Purchase small gift for each other--bride & groom.
☐ Purchase gifts for wedding party, leadership team, in-laws, and parents.
☐ Finalize menu and beverage selections to caterer.
☐ Visit photographer for bridal portrait.
☐ For the wedding ceremony, many brides select an item to wear that is: something old, something new, something borrowed, something blue:
Old--Symbolizing continuity with family and heritage
New--Symbolizing optimism and hope for the new life ahead
Borrowed--An item from a happily married friend or family member
Blue--Symbolizing love and fidelity
Step 5: 4 to 8 weeks prior:
☐ Mail the wedding invitations 8 weeks before your wedding date.
☐ List order of wedding day schedule, including when to awaken, meet hairdresser, coordinate with maid of honor, site manager, put on wedding gown, etc.
☐ Do a hair and makeup trial run-through (including veil). Make needed changes.
☐ Confirm all transportation plans (arrival of wedding party, to reception, to honeymoon, etc.).
☐ Complete final fitting for bridal gown and bridesmaids’ dresses.
☐ Bring maid of honor to final fitting to practice pinning wedding gown bustle.
☐ Confirm maid of honor and bridesmaids have gowns ready for the wedding.
☐ Confirm groomsmen have completed fittings for wedding.
☐ Confirm dates and details with vendors.
☐ Appoint someone to gather gifts at the end of the receoption for delivery to proper location
☐ Practice "First Dance" with finace.
Step 6: 2 to 4 weeks prior:
☐ Have bridal gown pressed and brought home.
☐ Determine seating arrangements for the reception. Print place cards.
☐ Finalize arrangements for out of town guests.
☐ Confirm details with the musicians, photographer, florist, minister, wedding team, & others.
☐ Deliver must-have wedding shots to photographer.
☐ Deliver final song list to musicians/DJs.
☐ Write a rehearsal dinner toast.
☐ Prepare a toast for the wedding reception.
☐ Prepare all of your outfits, including rehearsal dinner, going away attire, honeymoon, etc.
☐ Carry Wedding Contact List with you everywhere you go (just in case).
☐ Communicate rehearsal details to those who will attend the rehearsal and dinner.
☐ Plan location where bride, groom, and wedding party will dress for the ceremony.
☐ Purchase gifts for the wedding party and your Leadership Team.
☐ Confirm date, time, and details with vendors and make last minute adjustments.
☐ Review RSVP list and call any guests who have not yet responded.
☐ Complete final beauty treatments (nails, haircut, color, waxing, brow shaping, etc.)
☐ Confirm individual positions during the wedding ceremony and the order of the processinoal and recessional.
☐ Send wedding day schedule to all members of your leadership team and wedding party.
☐ Make sure all wedding day participants are aware of the schedule and their roles.
☐ Finalize seating arrangements in wedding ceremony and reception, including parents, wedding party, etc.
Step 7: 1 week prior:
☐ Give your marriage license to the minister or officiate.
☐ Enclose any fees due on the wedding day in marked envelopes for easy distribution.
☐ Give the caterer a final head count. Include vendors who will be present for the meal.
☐ Supply venue representative with final list of vendor requests, such as table for DJ, etc.
☐ Arrange for guests without cars to be picked up from airport or bus station. Ask friends or relatives to help.
☐ Appoint someone to bring important items (cake knife, toasting flutes, guest book, pen, bird seed, ring pillow, flower girl basket, candles, etc.) to the wedding/reception.
☐ Appoint someone to act as an “organizer” to handle any last-minute problems.
☐ Give ceremony and reception site managers a schedule of vendor delivery and setup times, plus contact information/phone numbers. Give all leaders on your team emergency phone numbers.
☐ Give site manager your final seating chart, table cards, programs, disposable cameras, bird seed, favors, and any other items required for table setting and distribution.
☐ Pre-arrange for someone to return any rentals, including tables, tents, grooms tux, etc.
☐ Pre-arrange for someone to take bride's gown home or to cleaners, etc.
☐ Give hotel concierge welcome baskets for out-of-town guests.
☐ Hair trim for the groom.
☐ Confirm groomsmen have formal wear.
☐ Review final details with vendors and those in the wedding party.
☐ Pack for the honeymoon, include a going-away outfit to exit the reception (so you don't have to carry your wedding dress around on your honeymoon).
Step 8: The Day Before the Wedding:
☐ Confirm honeymoon details and arrangements.
☐ Bring bridal gown, veil, hose, shoes, jewelry, accessories to bridal suite.
☐ Enjoy a relaxing day with family and friends.
☐ Attend the rehearsal and rehearsal dinner. Give gifts to wedding party.
☐ Assign family member to be photographer's contact and to show him who is family, etc.
☐ Place honeymoon suitcase and marked envelopes with vendor checks by the door.
☐ Try to get some rest.
Step 9: Wedding Day:
☐ Place post-wedding announcements in the mail to anyone who did not receive an invitation to the wedding, but would be interested in knowing of the marriage.
☐ Give the rings, and officiant’s fee, to the best man.
☐ Have someone distribute envelopes with checks for the final balances to all unpaid vendors
☐ Introduce the maid of honor and leadership team to the site manager for any questions or last minute problems that might occur during the wedding or reception.
☐ Relax and remain calm.
☐ Remember to eat a well-balanced breakfast and drink plenty of water.
☐ Allow at least three hours to get dressed. During makeup and hairstyling, wear a shirt that fully buttons up or zips up, so you don't spoil your hairdo and makeup when changing into your wedding gown.
☐ ENJOY YOUR AMAZING DAY!
Step 10: Post-Wedding:
☐ Enjoy your honeymoon!
☐ Write hand-written thank-you notes to vendors and those who gave wedding gifts.
☐ Complete forms to change your name and address on legal documents, such as your social security card, driver's license, memberships, phone company, diplomas, insurance and medical plans, bank accounts, beneficiaries, etc.