When planning your wedding you have so much to do and think about that it can be impossible to keep it all straight. By following the wedding planning timeline below you can stay organized and on task and make the most important day of your life dream come true.
6 to 12 months before the wedding
- Celebrate taking the next step in your relationship and gather the people you want around you on your wedding day.
- Announce your engagement to your friends and family, you can even submit an announcement in the local paper.
- Throw an engagement party to celebrate with your friends and family.
- Choose a time and date for your wedding.
- Select a wedding party, maid or matron of honor and a best man.
- Make up a guest list, making sure to invite people important to both families.
- Send out save-the-date cards to guests.
- Begin the planning process. You only have a few short months to get everything together!
- Choose a style for your wedding - there are numerous options these days, from traditional to informal and specially themed. It can be fun to celebrate ethnic heritages at your wedding. Research traditional ethnic weddings.
- Design and set a wedding budget. Talk to both sets of parents to see if they are willing to help out with the budget. Keep in mind that most couples go over their budget by 10-12%, so set your budget 15% below what you ultimately can spend to give yourselves some breathing room for unexpected expenses.
- If you are going to use a wedding consultant, now is the time to hire one.
- Find and book a venue for the ceremony and reception.
- Ask a religious leader or justice of the peace to lead the wedding ceremony. It can be fun to ask someone who knows you as a couple well.
- Start looking for a dress and tuxedo.
- Select and order bridesmaid dresses and groomsmen tuxedos.
- Get ready to enjoy yourself.
- Start planning your honeymoon!
- Begin a gift registry with at least 3 retailers.
3 to 6 months before the wedding
- Select and order wedding invitations and RSVP cards.
- Design place cards and menus, have them printed.
- Choose thank-you notes and order them now so you can send them off as soon as you get back from the honey moon.
- Plan the rehearsal and rehearsal dinner and make invitations. Chose the rehearsal dinner time, location, guest list and send the invitations out.
- Make the final arrangements.
- Chose wedding bands.
- Decide on and order flower arrangements and decorations for the wedding party, ceremony and reception.
- Select music for your ceremony and reception.
- Hire a caterer, photographer and videographer and other service providers.
- Arrange transportation for the bride and groom and wedding party.
- Provide for your out-of-town guests.
- Arrange transportation for out of town guests to your area, be brought to the wedding ceremony, and to return home.
- Reserve hotel rooms.
- Put together a list of nearby attractions and restaurants for your guests to check out while in town for the wedding.
2 to 3 months before the wedding
- Put the final pieces together.
- Put together the program for the wedding.
- Finalize details with the caterer, florist, musicians, photographer, videographer and any other vendors. Give them a copy of the wedding program.
- Order a wedding cake.
- Get the official paperwork out of the way.
- Start the process of getting your marriage license. There are various processes you must go through, like blood tests, before you may be issued a wedding license. It is good to get started with the process ahead of time.
- Start the process of changing the bride's name on bank statements, her social security card, driver's license, insurance, and everything else official.
6 to 8 weeks before the wedding
- Think of the people involved.
- Address and send out the wedding invitations.
- Chose and order wedding favors for the guests.
- Buy thank-you gifts for people who are in your wedding and helping you plan and pay for it.
- Ask people to serve punch, receive gifts, usher, hand out programs and help set up and clean up afterwards.
- Get the bride glamorous, and the wedding party too.
- Begin tanning if you wish to do so, and schedule hair and makeup consultations so you can plan to look your best!
- Have your final dress and tuxedo fittings for all the wedding party.
- Break in your wedding shoes.
The week of the wedding
- Pack for your honeymoon.
- Confirm transportation for the wedding party and out-of-town guests.
- Pick up all wedding attire.
- Pay bills that will be due while you are on your honeymoon.
- Put payments to vendors in envelopes and assign someone in the wedding party to pay for them.