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The Countdown to Your Big Day Begins!
FIRST THINGS FIRST:
-Tell friends and family.
-Set the date.
-Choose the type of wedding you want (formal, semi-formal, informal; which Set a wedding budget and decide who able to contribute and how much.
-Visit, choose and book your ceremony and reception sites.
-Pick a photographer/videographer. Have engagement photos taken.
-Start shopping for your gown.
Start working on your guest list. Arrange for both sets of parents to get together.
9 TO 12 MONTHS BEFORE:
-Sign up for any pre-marital counseling or classes.
-Announce your engagement in local newspapers, if desired.
-Choose your wedding party members.
-Arrange the first meeting with your minister, priest, rabbi or officiant and wedding planner (if using one).
-Throw an engagement party.
-Gather wedding inspiration. Start a Pinterest board. Search magazines and websites for ideas. Begin adding the names of vendors and their contact information into a master contact list.
6 TO 9 MONTHS BEFORE:
-Select a caterer.
-Choose a baker, schedule cake tastings. Order your gown and schedule fittings (remember to bring your shoes).
-Shop for bridesmaid dresses.
-Hire a florist.
-Book a band/DJ.
-Start researching honeymoon spots. Finalize the guest list.
-Book a stationer (and calligrapher, if using one).
-Mail save-the-date cards.
-Purchase your shoes, headpiece, jewelry and lingerie for the big day.
-Book hair and makeup artists for the big day. Reserve event necessities. Book portable toilets for outdoor events, extra chairs, linens, lighting and so on.
-Start making a day-of timeline, determining what should happen when (speeches, first dance, etc).
-Book a block of hotel rooms near the reception site for out-of-town guests.
-Register for gifts at two to three places.
-Start to keep track of favorite songs.
4 TO 6 MONTHS BEFORE:
-Order all wedding stationery (invitations, envelopes, thank-you notes) and work out pricing for programs, menus and place cards, which will be printed closer to the date.
-Hire wedding-day transportation.
-Book flights and hotel reservations for your honeymoon.
-Arrange the rehearsal dinner.
-Schedule any beauty treatments (brow-waxing, facials, teeth-whitening) that you’d like to have done before the wedding.
-Send a guest list to the host of your bridal shower.
-Order passport, if necessary.
-Purchase wedding rings; order engraving. Remind mother and mother-in-law to start shopping for their dresses.
2 TO 4 MONTHS BEFORE:
-Order the suits for the groom and groomsmen.
-Meet with the caterer or facility manager to discuss menus, wine selections, serving style, etc.
-Choose and order wedding favors and welcome baskets, if desired.
-Order the wedding cake.
-Meet with your officiant to discuss your ceremony; invite loved ones to perform readings, if appropriate.
-Choose songs for the ceremony and reception. Buy thank-you gifts for your attendants.
-Confirm group hotel rates for out-of-town guests.
-Book your pre-wedding and wedding-night hotel.
-Finalize your honeymoon plans.
-Send invitations to the calligrapher if you’re using one.
-Plan your bachelorette party with your attendants.
-Send a day-of timeline to your vendors so they’ll have ample time for tweaks and feedback.
-Sign up for dance lessons, if desired.
1 TO 2 MONTHS BEFORE:
-Do a hair and makeup run-through (with headpiece).
-Meet with the caterer to finalize a menu. Send programs, menus and escort cards to the stationer to be printed (if not using a calligrapher).
-Send your wedding announcement to local newspapers, if desired.
-Write thank-you notes as you receive gifts. Maintain a list of all presents received and thank-yous written.
2 TO 4 WEEKS BEFORE:
-Plot the seating for the reception.
-Confirm times with all vendors.
-Have your final dress fitting.
-Write your rehearsal dinner toast.
-Compose your vows, if desired.
-Visit the salon for one last cut and color.
-Send escort cards and the seating chart to your calligrapher to fill in guests’ names and table numbers.
-Enter RSVPs into a guest-list database, and call invitees who haven’t yet responded.
-Get your marriage license. If you’re changing your name, order several extra copies.
-If changing your name, make arrangements with Social Security, Department of Motor Vehicles, credit card companies and your bank.
-Mail the rehearsal dinner invitations, if applicable.
-Stock the bar using your final head count as a guide.
-Send out as many final vendor payments as you can.
-Provide addresses for drivers of transport vehicles.
-Create a must-take “shot list” and discuss it with your photographer.
1 WEEK BEFORE:
-Compile the fees that will be due on the wedding day.
-Give the caterer a final head count.
-Appoint a reliable pal to transport the cake knife, toasting glasses, etc. to and from the reception site.
-Get final beauty treatments (facial, waxing, brow-shaping, etc.).
-Pack for the honeymoon. Ask someone to bring your luggage to the reception if you’re leaving from there.
-Give your honeymoon itinerary to a friend or family member in case of emergency.
-Pick up your dress or make arrangements for it to be fetched or delivered.
-Arrange for the cake to be delivered to the reception venue.
-Buy a guest book, if you choose to use one.
-Delegate small wedding-day tasks: someone to carry your things; someone to bustle your dress; someone to manage the gifts; someone to hand out tips; and so on.
-Send a timeline to the bridal party, including every member’s contact information.
-Break in your shoes.
-Assemble and distribute welcome baskets to out-of-town guests, if desired.
-Pick up wedding rings, check engravings and sizes.
-Remind men to pick up formalwear and shoes, and check them for fit.
-If you don’t have a personal attendant, ask a friend to help you get dressed on the big day. Talk to head usher about any special seating arrangements.
-Arrange for a light snack for the wedding party to eat while getting ready for the ceremony.
LAST 24 HOURS:
-Help decorate the venue, if necessary.
-Have a manicure, pedicure and any other last-minute pampering treatments.
-Distribute thank-you gifts to the wedding party, special attendants and parents.
-Organize for a note or gift to be delivered to your fiancé on the wedding day.
-Take a relaxing bath, go to bed early and start getting excited. You’re about to get married!