Creating a wedding checklist is a great way for a couple to plan out the long list of items that need to be taken care of prior to the wedding day. A lot of planning goes into the wedding itself, rehearsals, engagement parties and dinners, and the honeymoon. In order to avoid a potentially serious oversight and to ensure that all of the details are taken care of in the smoothest, timeliest manner, the bride and groom should consider putting together a thorough wedding checklist. The following checklist provides sample details that are often important aspects of wedding planning.
12 Months Before the Wedding
Although a year prior to the wedding may seem a little early to start wedding planning, it is actually the perfect time to start securing major details. Many brides and grooms have been crushed to discover, only too late, that the waiting list for their ideal venue doesn’t have an opening for several months. Twelve months prior to the date of the wedding is the best time to start looking for a wedding venue as well as a place to hold the reception, if it will be in a location other than the wedding venue. Early booking not only ensure that the bride and groom get the location that they want but it also allows a little leeway regarding the date of the booking, which is great if the couple hasn’t yet decided on a date for the ceremony.
This is also a great time to create a guest list and to start planning the budget. Realistically, most couples have a limit on how much they are willing and able to spend on engagement events, the wedding, and the honeymoon. Once an overall budget has been determined, the couple can then begin to divide the funds into major categories such as wedding venue, reception, honeymoon, etc.
This is also a good time to pick the wedding party, such as bridesmaids, groomsmen, etc. The people who will participate in the wedding should be given as much notice as possible to ensure that they can work their schedules around the big day. If one wishes to hire a wedding planner then this would be the best time to make a decision on the company or individual. If not then the couple should start researching photographers, caterers, reception halls, bands, florists, and decorators. This is also a great time to hire an engagement party, if the couple wishes to do so.
9 Months Before the Wedding
This is the time that the real planning can begin! By this time the couple should have made some major decisions regarding the reception hall, florist, caterer, photographer, wedding theme colors, etc. These details should be booked quickly to ensure that the companies are given enough time to prepare for the event. This will also allow the couple to conduct several meetings before the wedding to convey ideas and confirm details.
This is also a good time to reserve hotel rooms for guests coming in from out-of-town. This would be an appropriate time to start shopping for clothing for the bride, groom, groomsmen, and bridesmaids. It is important to leave enough time to schedule fittings, especially the final fitting which should take place within a month of the wedding day. The couple might also want to take a few moments to hop on the computer and create a wedding registry with a few stores. It would be appropriate to give the guests at least six months to purchase gifts.
The couple should begin making honeymoon reservations and paying deposits, if required. This is also a good time to purchase invitations and schedule the priest/pastor/justice of the peace. The couple may also need to secure a reservation for structural facilities. This can include portable toilets and a canopy for outdoor events, tables and chairs, lighting fixtures, fountains, a stage or dance platform, and any other large items that may require advanced booking. It would be prudent to book transportation, such as a limousine or carriage for the bride and groom as well as transportation for guests who will be flying in for the occasion.
3 Months Before the Wedding
The wedding day will be drawing near so it’s time to start thinking about a rehearsal dinner. Decide on a venue and make the booking. Send out a notification to the wedding party notifying them of the time and location of the rehearsal dinner. If there will be a wedding shower then it may be a good idea to provide the host or hostess with the guest list for the wedding. This is a good time to shop around for a cake design, taste-test samples, and place the order. The bride should begin shopping for wedding shoes and a veil. Hair and makeup stylists will need to be booked and party favors should be decided upon and ordered.
If the rings haven’t been purchased yet then this is the time to do so. Jewelers will need time to create the rings or make any changes to existing rings, if necessary. The couple will also need to allow time for engravings and final fittings. If individuals are going to be asked to present a toast at the reception then this is a great time to make requests.
2 Months Before the Wedding
Things will probably start to get a bit stressful at this point. A fun yet productive task for the wedding couple is to sit down and create a music playlist for the wedding and reception. If there will be a band or a DJ at the reception then they will need to receive a copy of the playlist. This will be an appropriate time to make a final draft regarding the order of the ceremony and reception. If the couple wishes, they can send a copy over to the venue staff. Submit wedding announcements and mail out the invitations. This is also a great time to have bachelor and bachelorette parties.
1 Month Before the Wedding
It’s time to pick up the marriage license and attend the final fittings for gowns and tuxedoes. This is a good time for the couple to review their budget to make sure that they are on track with expenditures and that final payments are being taken care of. If alcohol will be provided at the reception then it’s definitely a good idea to start stocking up on spirits, beer, wine, and champagne. Guests and transportation companies should be given copies of directions to all venues as well as a schedule denoting estimated arrival and departure times. The couple begin to create seating lists for the ceremony and the reception, if necessary, and purchasing gifts for the bridesmaids and groomsmen. If the couple will be creating their own vows then they should start doing so now.
The Week of the Wedding
The wedding checklist is looking pretty slim by this point but there are still many things left to do! This may be a good time to enlist the help of family and friends to arrange for pick-ups and begin decorating the venues. Delegate all of the little tasks to several people so that the bride and groom aren’t swamped with tons of easy-to-forget tasks. Wedding garments and rings should be picked up and a pick up or delivery time for the cake(s) should be confirmed. Checks for the vendors should be organized and, if desired, tips may be secured in an envelope to be handed out after the event. Touch base with the photographer and the videographer as well as the band or DJ. The couple will also need to make time to relax before the big day. A trip to the spa or a picnic and a long walk will help to calm frazzled nerves! Finally, the couple will need to pack for the honeymoon, being sure to gather important documentation such as itineraries and passports.