First things first
• Before announcing your engagement, inform your families. Traditionally, the Bride’s parents are told first, then the Groom’s parents. If they have not yet met, a get-together should be arranged by the Groom’s family.
Nine to twelve months prior
• Establish your budget early, with maximum amounts for each event/activity. Consider hiring a wedding consultant to help with your plans. Determine expense responsibilities for specific events.
• Shop for engagement and wedding rings. If you want custom-made rings, plan this early in your schedule.
• Decide on the style, formality and size of your wedding, then set your tentative wedding date.
• Choose your wedding consultant.
• Prepare your tentative guest list and determine the size of your wedding events.
• Choose your attendants; get a firm commitment to each event. Determine all pertinent sizes for each.
• Select your ceremony location and consult with the officiant who will perform the ceremony, then choose a firm wedding date. Begin planning your ceremony, and determine any pre-marital requirements.
• Choose a reception location.
• Plan rehearsal dates and times with your officiant and location choices.
• Choose and reserve the location for your rehearsal dinner.
• Choose the color scheme and any appropriate style for your ceremony and wedding attire.
• Begin shopping for the bridal gown, headpiece, and attendants’ attire.
• Schedule fittings, alteration fittings and delivery dates.
• Choose your attendants’ dresses and accessories. Schedule fittings and delivery dates, and notify your attendants.
• Start the selection process for your wedding professionals: Contact a photographer/videographer early; some are booked as much as a year in advance. Decide your type of entertainment and choose the right professional. Choose your caterer if not included with your reception site. Select your mode of transportation.
• Begin the selection of your florist, balloonist and/or ice sculptor. Determine any party rental needs and select an appropriate professional.
• Select your stationer, style of invitations, thank you notes and any other stationery.
• Consult a travel agent or visit web-sites for honeymoon plans.
Six to nine months prior
• Begin compiling guest list names and addresses.
• Locate and choose your gift registry and begin recording your selections.
• Get engagement photographs taken by your photographer and set up your engagement announcement with your local newspaper.
• Finalize your wedding professional choices and secure with a deposit: Photographer, Videographer, Caterer, Florist, Ceremony Music, Reception Entertainment, Party Rentals, Stationer, Others
• Select Groom’s attire. Set up fittings, alterations and delivery or pickup dates.
• Select and order the Groom’s attendants’ attire. Schedule fittings and delivery or pickup dates, and notify the attendants.
Four to six months prior
• Meet with each of your vendors and continue to plan each event. Finalize ordering and reservations for all your event needs.
• Meet with your florist and complete your selections for bouquets, boutonnieres, table arrangements, etc. and confirm delivery times.
• Finalize guest list.
• Choose and reserve accommodations for all of your out-of-town guests. Compile a list of local activities during their stay.
• Finalize selection and order your invitations and all related stationery.
• Set up and maintain records of gifts and begin sending thank you notes.
• Select a baker, order wedding cake, groom’s cake and any other confectionery needs.
• Shop for and purchase trousseau.
• Help parents select and coordinate their formal attire.
• Research all legal requirements – blood tests and marriage license.
• Don’t forget … begin your beauty regimen early.
Two to three months prior
• Make a list of who you want to speak at each event and in what order, and contact each person.
• Order favors and gifts. Purchase cake knives, ring pillow, toasting goblets, and other accessories.
• Address invitations and announcements and mail out-of-town invitations. Continue writing thank you notes.
• Finalize honeymoon and travel plans.
Four to six weeks prior
• Reserve wedding day appointments with your hair stylist for you and your attendants. Get any perms, color, cut or new style done early.
• Make pre-wedding beauty appointments for you and your attendants for manicure, massage, spa, etc.
• Select a makeup artist for your wedding day and your bridal portrait session.
• Get bridal portrait taken and framed for reception.
• Make plans and reservations for an attendants’ party.
• Address and mail all local invitations. Begin RSVP counts. Include maps to all event sites with invitations.
• Begin addressing wedding announcements.
• Finalize all attire fittings. Pick up wedding rings.
• Select and purchase attendants’ gifts and a wedding gift for your new spouse.
• Obtain your marriage license.
• If you are moving, finalize all moving details.
One to two weeks prior
• Confirm all appointments.
• Confirm all ceremony and rehearsal details.
• Confirm all counts with food and beverage caterers.
• Plan seating arrangements.
• Finalize all rehearsal dinner details.
• Finalize all song lists and entertainment details.
• Finalize photographer and videographer details.
• Finalize arrangements for all professional services and transportation needs. Confirm guest accommodations.
• Plan honeymoon wardrobes and luggage needs. Obtain all travel tickets and confirm reservations.
• Arrange for gowns, bouquet and/or cake preservation.
The last week
• Arrange for pickup of bridal ensemble. Best Man should confirm final fittings for the Groom and Ushers; and schedule return of Groom’s tuxedo and rental equipment.
• Assign post-wedding tasks to wedding party.
• Prepare envelopes for payments or donations to ceremony officials and musicians.
• Give gifts to wedding party, family and fiancé.
• Attend the rehearsal dinner and attendants’ party.
The day before
• Finish packing for the wedding night and honeymoon.
• Gather all wedding day items. Entrust payment envelopes to the Best Man for tomorrow.
• Assure that the “getaway” car will be at the reception site – packed and ready to go.
Your wedding day (This is it!)
• See hairdresser and makeup artist early.
• The Bride should transfer engagement ring to the right hand. Be dressed and ready about two hours before ceremony for picture-taking.
• Relax … if you followed your planned schedule, the rest of the day should be easy.
After the wedding
• Write and mail thank you notes.
• Take care of business, banking, change of address, etc.
Article courtesy of Akron-Canton Weddings Magazine
A 12 Month Countdown to Your Wedding