Congratulations! You’ve just said yes! to the man of your dreams. You’ve proudly changed your Facebook status to “engaged,” your friends are all swooning over the Instagram pic of your shiny new sparkler, and you and your handsome groom-to-be are beginning your exciting and rewarding journey toward eternal bliss.
But in the midst of all that excitement, you’re probably wondering “What’s next?” The answer? Plenty!
There are so many things that need doing to plan your special day and keep the festivities running smoothly, and it’s time now for you and your soon-to-be husband to make sure you’re on the same page. There are myriad factors and many unknowns, and the list begins with the budget. Then there are rings for the two of you, your gorgeous gown, a guest list that keeps both families happy, a theme for your wedding, a venue for your reception, entertainment, photography, flowers… And don’t forget that delightfully romantic honeymoon! The list just goes on and on.
Daunting, isn’t it? But we’re here to help you get through it all and keep the planning fun and exciting.
Here’s a start: a handy month-by-month checklist to get you going and to make sure you have the smoothest ride possible!
At least 12 months before
- If you plan to hire a wedding coordinator, choose the one with the most positive reviews.
- Draw up your agreed upon budget.
- Choose the wedding date and time.
- Research potential suppliers for both ceremony and reception.
- Consider wedding insurance options.
- Personally visit chosen venues (both ceremony and reception) and book.
- Start watching for wedding dress inspirations.
- Select the style of entertainment for the ceremony and reception.
- Consider options for venue and ceremony decorations.
- Begin posting your Save-the-Date invites on social media and/or mail cards.
- Finalize your wedding gown and groom’s apparel.
- Book your entertainment (ceremony and DJ or bands)
- Reception food: Schedule taste tests and begin planning.
- Wedding cake: Schedule taste tests and select.
- Research vendors for ceremony and reception decorations then book.
- Honeymoon date and venue: select and book.
- Photographer, videographer, florist: select and book.
- Register for gifts: May be done in-store and/or online.
- Finalize selections for and order bridesmaids’ dresses and groomsmen attire.
- Order wedding rings.
- Book ceremony musicians.
- Wedding day hair and makeup: Explore styles and book your artist now to prevent mishaps.
- Have your best man and maid-of-honor plan your bachelor and bachelorette parties.
- Meet with clergy or officiant regarding ceremony details.
- Book transportation.
- Order wedding invitations and thank you cards.
- Schedule dress fittings.
- Book rooms for wedding night inc. immediate family and close friends.
- Finalize wedding guest list.
- Prepare song list for DJ/band.
- Book rehearsal dinner if desired.
- Attend pre-wedding counseling (mandatory for Catholic and some other religious ceremonies).
- Arrange hotel or resort welcome baskets for out-of-towners.
- Formalize legalities and paperwork.
- Gather addresses for guest list.
- All honeymoon plans must be finalized and all documents in order.
- Finalize ceremony and reception seating.
- Finalize ceremony readings and participants.
- Prepare gifts for parents, bridesmaids, groomsmen (and each other!).
- Finalize reception menu.
- Mail personalized wedding invitations to guests if desired.
- Consult with makeup artist/stylist regarding hair and veil – book trial runs.
- Coordinate with your wedding planner (if hired) regarding RSVPs, wedding day timeline and content layout for wedding programs.
- Start writing your vows.
- Apply for your marriage license.
- Finalize seating arrangements for ceremony and reception.
- Finalize playlists for hired musicians.
- Finalize fittings for the wedding party and parents.
- Book wedding day transportation e.g. the bridal car.
- Have your final wedding gown fitting with your maid of honor (she needs to know the details on how to bustle your dress or otherwise assist on the big day).
- Confirm honeymoon reservations.
- Start packing for your honeymoon.
- Coordinate with vendors to confirm the date, location, and time of the big day.
- Wedding rings must be ready.
- Confirm that bridesmaids have their gowns ready for wedding day.
- Deal with last-minute adjustments with suppliers/vendors.
- Pick up your marriage license.
- Follow up on guests who have not yet responded.
- Update your gift registries.
- Finalize desired lists for photographer and videographer.
- Start breaking in your wedding shoes (especially if they’re high heels).
- Get your final haircut and coloring if desired.
- Assign helpers to return clothing rentals (if any) and to tend to your wedding dress.
- Give caterer your final headcount for the reception.
- Deliver the final song list to DJ or band inc. special requests (songs to play/not play).
- Give final directions to wedding transportation driver.
- Prepare final payments to vendors/suppliers.
- Get spa treatments for yourself and the bridal party if desired.
- Arrange groom’s hair trimming.
- Groom attends the bachelor party.
- Finish preparing all place cards and decorations.
- Have a full wedding attire rehearsal for yourself, everything from lingerie to veil.
- Pack an overnight bag for the reception.
- Give final scripts to designated ceremony readers.
- Layout your wedding clothes at home.
- Prepare your Wedding Day Emergency Kit.
2-4 days before
- Bride: have your wedding gown steamed or pressed.
- Groom: have your final tuxedo fitting and/or have your suit cleaned and ready.
- Groomsmen: Make sure all have their outfits at hand.
- Make all last minute changes to seating/table plan if needed.
- Confirm pickup times with wedding transportation driver.
- Re-confirm final details with all hired vendors.
- Determine all party and ceremony positions and order.
- Coordinate with relatives and close friends regarding car arrangements for those to be picked up from the airport or sea terminals.
1 day before
- Deliver welcome baskets to guests.
- Provide all wedding planners/professionals with an emergency phone/contact number list for the wedding day.
- Finalize payment plans for balances to be paid at the end of the reception.
- Make sure the cake is on schedule and will be delivered on time to the reception venue.
- Enjoy your rehearsal dinner with loved ones.
- Have a good night’s rest!
- Eat a balanced breakfast (don’t skimp too much).
- Allow yourself plenty of time to get ready.
- Give your wedding rings and officiant fee to your best man and maid of honor.
- Give gifts to each other and your parents.
- Assign a family member or attendant to assist photographer regarding who is who during the wedding.
- Relax, smile, and enjoy the moment!
- Check that any clothing rentals have been returned.
- Arrange for your wedding dress to be cleaned and preserved if desired.
- Write and send Thank You notes to all guests and vendors who have made your special day awesome.
Congratulations, best of luck, and have a wonderful time!