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Bridal Guide: Wedding planning checklist
Nine to 12 Months Before
❑ Start a wedding folder or binder.
❑ Begin leafing through bridal, lifestyle, fashion, gardening, design, and food magazines for inspiration.
❑ Determine how much you have to spend.
❑ Choose your wedding party.
❑ Start the guest list.
❑ Make a head count database to use throughout your planning process, with columns for contact info, RSVPs, gifts, and any other relevant information. (Want to keep costs low? It may be brutal, but the best way to do it is to reduce your guest list.)
❑ Reserve your date and venues.
❑ Book your officiant.
❑ Research photographers, bands, florists, and caterers. Keep their contact information in your binder.
❑ Throw an engagement party, if you wish.
Eight Months Before
❑ Hire the photographer and the videographer.
❑ Book the entertainment.
❑ If your wedding venue doesn’t offer its own catering service, look for one now and hire the service this month or early next.
❑ Purchase a dress.
❑ Reserve a block of hotel rooms for out-of-town guests.
❑ Sign up for a bridal registry at a minimum of three retailers.
❑ Launch a wedding website.
Six to Seven Months Before
❑ Select and purchase invitations.
❑ Start planning a honeymoon.
❑ Shop for bridesmaids’ dresses.
❑ Meet with the officiant.
❑ Send save-the-date cards.
❑ Reserve structural and electrical necessities. Book extra chairs, lighting components, and so on.
❑ Book a florist.
❑ Arrange transportation.
❑ Start composing a day-of timeline. Draw up a schedule of the event and slot in each component (the cake-cutting, the first dance).
Five to Four Months Before
❑ Book the rehearsal and rehearsal-dinner venues.
❑ Check on the wedding invitations.
❑ Select and order the cake.
❑ Send your guest list to the host of your shower.
❑ Purchase wedding shoes and start dress fittings.
❑ Schedule hair and makeup artists.
❑ Choose the music for ceremony and reception.
Three Months Before
❑ Finalize the menu and flowers.
❑ Order favors, if desired.
❑ Make a list of the people giving toasts.
❑ Finalize the readings.
❑ Purchase your undergarments.
❑ Schedule your second fitting.
❑ Finalize the order of events for the ceremony and reception.
❑ Print menu cards, if you like, as well as programs.
❑ Purchase the rings.
❑ Send your event schedule to the vendors.
Two Months Before
❑ Touch base again with all the vendors.
❑ Meet with the photographer.
❑ Review the playlist with the band or deejay.
❑ Send out the invitations.
❑ Submit a newspaper wedding announcement.
❑ Enjoy a bachelorette party.
One Month Before
❑ Enter RSVPs into your guest-list database. Phone people who have not yet responded.
❑ Get your marriage license.
❑ Mail the rehearsal-dinner invitations.
❑ Visit the dressmaker for your last dress fitting.
❑ Stock the bar.
❑ Send out as many final payments as you can.
❑ Confirm times for hair and makeup and all vendors.
❑ Assign seating.
❑ Purchase bridesmaids’ gifts.
❑ Write vows, if necessary.
❑ Get your hair cut and colored, if desired.
Week of the Wedding
❑ Reconfirm arrival times with vendors.
❑ Delegate small wedding-day tasks. Choose someone to bustle your dress, someone to carry your things, someone to be in charge of gifts (especially the enveloped sort), and someone to be the point person for each vendor.
❑ Send a timeline to the bridal party.
❑ Pick up your dress.
❑ Check in one last time with the photographer.
❑ Set aside checks for the vendors.
❑ Make an appontment for a manicure and a pedicure the day before the wedding. (You might want to get a stress-relieving massage, too.)
❑ Send the final guest list to the caterer and all venues hosting your wedding-related events.
❑ Break in your shoes.
❑ Assemble and distribute the welcome baskets.
❑ Pack for your honeymoon.
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