Arrange for your families to meet (if they haven’t already).
Do a little early planning. Determine the kind of wedding you want: location, formality, time of day,
number of guests, etc.
Set the date. Have backup dates in mind in case the site, caterer, or officiant is already booked.
Set an initial budget and determine how expenses will be shared.
Create a preliminary guest list.
Reserve wedding and reception sites.
Nine or more months ahead
Announce your engagement.
Buy a calendar to note all important activities: showers, luncheons, parties, get-togethers, etc.
Hire a professional wedding consultant.
Consolidate all guest lists (bride’s, groom’s, bride’s family, groom’s family) and organize as follows: those who must be invited; those who should be invited; and those who would be nice to invite. Decide if you want to include children among guests.
Determine your color scheme.
Select maid or matron of honor, best man,
bridesmaids, and ushers.
Select and order your bridal gown and accessories, including headpiece, jewelry, gloves, and shoes.
Select attendants’ gowns. Let both mothers know about the color selection so that they can plan their
If ceremony or reception is at home, arrange for home or garden improvements as needed.
Order passport, visa, or birth certificate (if needed) for your honeymoon and marriage license.
Reserve blocks of hotel rooms for out-of-town guests.
Reserve a band or DJ and select music.
Make appointments with florists to review their work.
Create a bridal and/or engagement registry.
Six to nine months ahead
Reserve a florist and choose arrangements. Order bouquets and boutonnieres for the wedding party and corsages for the mothers.
Make appointments with cake designers to review their work and sample their cakes.
Select and book videographer.
Choose flower girl and ring bearer.
Select attire for flower girl and ring bearer.
Schedule gown fittings and attire delivery dates for yourself, attendants, flower girl, and ring bearer.
Plan and book honeymoon.
Order save-the-date cards, invitations,
stationery, and thank-you cards. Order maps to the
ceremony and reception for guests.
Book stylists for hair and makeup.
The parents of the groom should begin to arrange the location and details of the rehearsal dinner.
Four to six months ahead
Reserve any rental equipment, such as tables, chairs, tents, etc.
Order wedding cake.
Purchase or reserve groom’s, groomsmen’s, and ushers’ attire.
Purchase wedding rings.
Choose favors. If you’re making something or
wrapping the favors, start as soon as possible.
Book hotel room for your wedding night.
Make appointments for physical exams if required for marriage license.
Finalize guest list.
Address save-the-date cards and invitations or hire a calligrapher.
Select and book all miscellaneous services, e.g., gift attendant, valet parking, etc.
Begin a monthly facial or beauty treatment
Two to four months ahead
Mail save-the-date cards (especially for out-of-town guests who need to make travel arrangements).
Confirm details of menu and décor with caterer—get all confirmations in writing.
Check in with bridal salon, florist, photographer, musicians, and other vendors to confirm arrangements.
Discuss service with officiant.
Buy stockings and any special undergarments your dress requires.
Choose readings for ceremony. Give copies to
those whom you’ve asked to read so they’ll have time
If you’re writing your own vows, do so now.
Schedule rehearsal time and rehearsal dinner.
Plan the bridesmaids’ luncheon and any other
wedding weekend activities.
Determine your resources for designing and
printing the program for the ceremony.
Select and book transportation for wedding day.
Purchase gifts for groom and wedding attendants.
Begin to break in your shoes at home.
Find “something old, something new, something
borrowed, something blue, and a sixpence (or shiny penny) for your shoe.”
Six to eight weeks ahead of time
Mail invitations for wedding and rehearsal dinner. Include accommodation choices and a map to assist guests in finding the ceremony and reception sites.
Have programs printed.
Arrange final fitting of your gown and headpiece.
Have makeup artist do a trial run.
Have your hairstylist do a trial run of your chosen hairstyle with the headpiece.
Schedule to have your hair, makeup, and nails done for the day of the wedding.
Have your formal wedding portrait taken.
Send wedding announcement and photograph to local newspapers.
If you’re going to change your name, complete proper documents. Change name and address (if you’re moving) on driver’s license, social security card, insurance policies, bank and credit card accounts, subscriptions, memberships, etc.
If you’re moving after the wedding, send change-of-address information to post office.
Maintain a record of RSVPs and all gifts received.
Write thank-you notes as you receive gifts.
Obtain marriage license.
Finish shopping for wedding-day accessories, such as toasting glasses, ring pillow, guestbook, etc.
Set up an area or a table in your home to display gifts as you receive them.
Decide if you would like to have a guestbook attendant and where and when to have guests sign in.
Finalize the reception menu and estimate the expected number of guests. Finalize the beverage and alcohol order.
Purchase a going-away outfit if you’ll be changing out of your dress.
Pick up your wedding rings and check fit.
Confirm florist details and delivery times.
Plan reception room layout and seating with your reception site manager or caterer. Write names on place cards for arranged seating.
Two to six weeks ahead of time
Confirm ceremony details with your officiant.
Schedule final fitting of bridesmaids’ dresses.
Finalize rehearsal dinner plans. Arrange seating and write place cards.
Choose the music for your ceremony, first dance, parent dances, and party, and give information to band, DJ, and other musicians.
Decide if you want to have a receiving line. If so, determine when and where to form the line.
Meet with photographer and confirm any special photos you want.
Meet with videographer and confirm special events or people you want videotaped.
Make a detailed timeline for your wedding party and service providers.
Confirm details with all service providers.
Contact guests who haven’t responded.
Continue writing thank-you notes as gifts arrive.
Remind bridesmaids of when and where to pick up their wedding attire.
Purchase lipstick, nail polish, and any other accessories you want your bridesmaids to wear.
Start packing for your honeymoon.
Determine ceremony seating for special guests. Give a list to the ushers.
Write toasts for rehearsal dinner and reception.
Continue breaking in wedding shoes at home.
Delegate duties to friends and family for the wedding.
One to two weeks ahead
Finish packing for honeymoon.
Confirm travel arrangements. Pick up tickets and traveler’s checks.
Arrange for the post office or a neighbor to hold your mail while you’re away on your honeymoon.
Make sure all wedding attire fits properly.
Make sure all clothing and accessories—including makeup and jewelry—for the bridal party are ready.
Do final guest count and notify your caterer or reception site manager.
Gather everything you will need for the rehearsal and wedding day.
Arrange for someone to drive the getaway car.
Give timeline to service providers. Review the schedule of events and last minute arrangements with your service providers.
Familiarize yourself with guests’ names. It will help during the receiving line and reception.
Make arrangements to have your wedding gifts delivered to your home.
Reconfirm your guests’ accommodations.
Wrap the wedding-party gifts.
One day before
Relax with a manicure and massage.
Assign different responsibilities, such as handing out corsages and boutonnieres, to members of bridal party.
Arrange for someone to bring accessories, such as flower basket, ring pillow, guestbook and pen, toasting glasses, cake knife, etc., to the ceremony and/or reception site.
Provide each member of your bridal party with the detailed timeline for the wedding day.
Remind the best man and maid or matron of honor to sign the wedding certificate.
Review list of things to bring to the rehearsal.
Confirm limousines or other transportation.
Put suitcases in getaway car.
Review the schedule of events with your service providers.
Give each member of the bridal party a gift, along with a personal note, if you haven’t already done so.
Give best man the officiant’s fee and any other checks for service providers. Instruct him to deliver these checks the day of the wedding.
Arrange for someone to mail announcements the day after the wedding.
Arrange for someone to return rental items, such as tuxedos and cake stand, after the wedding.
Rehearse ceremony and all other details with those who will participate in the wedding.
Hold rehearsal dinner.
Review list of things to bring to the ceremony.
Give the groom’s ring to the maid or matron of honor. Give the bride’s ring to the best man.
Follow your detailed schedule of events.
Thank your parents and your guests.
Take a deep breath, smile, and enjoy your day.
Click here to download a pdf version of the planner!