Planning your wedding

Planning your wedding

Don’t panic if this seems like a huge amount of stuff – a lot of weddings take much less planning.

Important considerations

  • Get an old cellphone and a “pay-as-you-go” card. Give this number to service providers only.
  • Invitations should be posted 6 weeks before the wedding.
  • Wedding dress should be ordered at least 6 months before the wedding.
  • Bridesmaids’ dresses should be ordered at least 6 months before the wedding.
  • Bride’s hair should be cut and coloured about 2 weeks before the wedding.
  • Groom’s hair should be cut 2 weeks before the wedding.

12 or More Months Before the Wedding

  • Pick a date! Look at your calendar with your fiancé (don’t forget to confer with parents on both sides) and provisionally set the date. Be sure to have an alternate date or two in case the venue is already booked.
  • Start thinking about whether you will plan a formal or informal wedding.
  • Creating a preliminary guest list now will really help when it’s time to create a budget.

10 to 12 Months Before the Wedding

  • Select wedding date and time.
  • Determine who will officiate at the ceremony – and book the date.
  • Reserve your ceremony and reception locations.
  • Announce your engagement and have engagement photos taken.
  • Discuss and create a preliminary wedding budget with all involved.
  • Determine how expenses will be shared.
  • Determine your wedding theme or style.
  • If you choose to use a professional planner you should begin interviewing now.
  • If your reception or wedding is planned for outdoors have an alternate plan in place.

8 to 10 Months Before the Wedding

  • Decide on your wedding colours.
  • Determine the size of your guest list.
  • Begin compiling list of names, numbers and addresses.
  • Send out “Save the Date” cards or emails.
  • Select bridal attendants and get their measurements and shoe size.
  • Select Groomsmen and get their measurements and shoe size.
  • Plan the reception.
  • Select the caterer.
  • Select the photographer/s.
  • Select the videographer.
  • Select the florist.
  • Select the band or DJ.
  • Select soloists, organists – musicians for ceremony.
  • Select and order invitations, napkins, thank-you notes and programs.
  • Start addressing invitations and announcements (once you get them).
  • Pre-address thank-you note envelopes while addressing invitations and announcements.
  • Prepare maps and directions to include in your invitations for ceremony and reception.
  • Check with the post office for the cost of postage when all the pieces are in the envelope.
  • Register with bridal registries.
  • Reserve the rehearsal dinner location – if there is one.

4 to 6 Months Before the Wedding

  • Check with your local newspaper for the form and timing of your wedding announcement.
  • Reserve block accommodations for out-of-town guests.
  • Go shopping for wedding shoes
  • Select your dress and order if necessary.
  • Select your headpiece, shoes petticoat and jewellery and order if necessary.
  • Select bridesmaids’ dresses and order if necessary.
  • Ask mothers to select their dresses.
  • Choose songs that you would like for the band or DJ to play at your wedding.
  • Reserve limousines, cars and/or other transportation.
  • Shop for wedding rings.
  • Start planning your honeymoon.
  • If you’re traveling overseas, get your passport and other important documents together.
  • Select a baker for the cake – if not supplied by the caterer.

2 Months Before the Wedding

  • Finish addressing invitations.
  • Prepare wedding vows and speeches to be made.
  • Finalise all details with the caterer, photographer, florist, reception co-ordinator, musicians, etc.
  • Order the wedding cake – if not supplied by the caterer.
  • Purchase gifts for out-of-town guests to be left in hotel rooms.
  • Finalise the ceremony details with the Officiant.
  • Purchase guest book.
  • Purchase or make place cards.
  • Purchase cake and knife server.
  • Select and purchase garter.
  • Make rehearsal and rehearsal dinner arrangements.
  • Plan your “Something Old, Something New, Something Borrowed and Something Blue”.
  • Make appointments with your hairdresser and make-up artist.
  • Finalise your honeymoon plans.
  • Send out invitations.

1 Month Before the Wedding

  • Have a final fitting of the wedding and bridesmaids’ dresses.
  • Have a formal portrait done.
  • Finalise transportation arrangements for the wedding day.
  • Purchase gifts for all of your attendants.
  • Purchase gift for your fiancé.
  • Keep careful records of advance gifts you receive and write thank-you notes as you receive them.
  • Select responsible person to handle your guest book.
  • Make sure that all of the men’s attire has been ordered.
  • Pick up wedding rings and make sure they fit.
  • Reconfirm the accommodations for out-of-town guests.
  • Prepare wedding announcements to be sent to the newspaper.
  • Send out reminders for those who have not yet replied.

2 Weeks Before the Wedding

  • Contact guests who have not responded.
  • Plan bachelor and bachelorette parties.
  • Get a copy of the time schedule for your wedding day. Make any changes immediately.
  • Plan the seating arrangements for the wedding.
  • Have maid or matron of honour contact attendants about final fittings for all participants.
  • Arrange to have wedding gifts moved to your new home.
  • Make sure the groom has his hair cut.
  • The bride should also have her hair cut and coloured if necessary.

1 Week Before the Wedding

  • Give the final count to the caterer and review the details.
  • Go over any final details with all wedding professionals you have hired.
  • Give place cards, seating chart and time schedule to reception manager.
  • Prepare envelopes for any payments/tips for vendors on the day of the wedding.
  • Ensure that a trusted person will carry a “wedding day emergency kit”.
  • Make sure you have a charged cell phone (with airtime), schedules and important phone numbers and vendor contracts.
  • Instruct the caterer to put together a food basket (don’t forget some wedding cake!) and have it delivered to your getaway car 30 minutes before you leave.
  • Give the photographer a list of pictures you would like.
  • Give the videographer a list of shots you would like included in the video.
  • Give all musicians the lists of music for the ceremony and reception.
  • Finalize the seating arrangements.
  • Pack your suitcase for the honeymoon.
  • Make sure that you have your wedding rings and that they fit.
  • Make sure that all wedding attire is picked up and it fits.
  • Reconfirm all honeymoon reservations.
  • Make sure that you have your plane tickets – if you’re flying.

The Day Before the Wedding

  • Don’t plan a wild late night party!
  • Have your nails done.
  • Have rehearsal with all participants, reviewing their duties at least twice.
  • Go over special seating or pew cards with ushers.
  • Give any instructions about the wedding such as what time everyone should arrive at the church for pictures, transportation plan, reception locations etc.

The Day of the Wedding

  • Eat a light Breakfast.
  • Ensure that you have something to nibble and drink with you at all times.
  • If at all possible, make sure someone else is driving you to your morning appointments.
  • Have your hair and make up done.
  • Make sure that your designated ring-bearer has the rings.
  • If not already done, Place the balance of the officiant’s fee in an envelope (should this not already be paid) and give it to the best man to take care of.
  • Relax and enjoy your magical day!