WEDDING PLANNING RESOURCES
Careful planning will enable you to enjoy every moment of your wedding day. This timeline has been put together for you to give you the necessary steps to accomplish your special day. Large formal wedding planning ideally begin at least 8-12 months in advance, however, many beautiful weddings are put together in less time. Share the planning with your fiancé, your families, and your attendant so they can enjoy the fun too!
NINE TO TWELVE MONTHS
- Announce your engagement!
- Arrange for both sets of parents to meet if they haven't already.
- Decide on a date.
- Begin interviewing potential reception locations
- Interview & select a wedding coordinator
- Create a budget and discuss sharing of expenses
- What type of wedding? Formal? Semi-Formal? Informal?
- Choose location of ceremony and visit with officiant
- Compile combined families guest list to get a rough head count
- Contract your reception location
SIX TO NINE MONTHS
- Choose your wedding party
- Interview caterers, sample foods, decide on menu
- Plan all details of reception
- Shop and select gown, veil, and accessories
- Select bridesmaids apparel
- Interview and select a photographer
- Interview and select a florist
- Schedule engagement photo session
- Interview and select a videographer
- Select ceremony music and musicians
- Select type of music for reception DJ or Live
- Register gift preferences with one or more bridal registries
FOUR TO SIX MONTHS
- Select and order men's formal wear
- Order invitations, personal stationary, and wedding programs
- Professionally prepare and print map (include in invitations)
- Secure reservations for honeymoon
- Shop for wedding rings
- Complete guest list (assume 20% of invitees can't come)
- Decide on new living arrangements
- Begin to plan home decorating, colors, etc.
- Schedule physical exams and update immunizations
- Reserve limousine, carriage, trolley, or coach transporations
- Select make up artist
- Reserve hotel rooms for out of town guests
TWO TO FOUR MONTHS
- Reserve rental items; candelabras, arches, linens, chocolate fountains
- Send local newspaper wedding announcement and photograph
- Shop for trousseau wardrobe for honeymoon, parties
- Arrange professional addressing of invitations
- Plan attendant's gifts; gifts for each other
- Review floral and decorating arrangements and finalize
- Experiment with hairstyles and makeup with veil/hat
- Buy all wedding party shoes at the same time and send to dyer
- Sample and order wedding and groom's cake
ONE TO TWO MONTHS
- Mail invitations four to six weeks before wedding
- Send activity information to out-of-town guests from Chamber of Commerce
- Confirm all professional services, in writing
- Schedule and have final gown fitting
- Schedule and have final attendant's fitting
- Make reservations for rehearsal dinner
- Schedule bridal portrait (remember make-up artist)
- Arrange ice sculptures and chocolate fountains
- Make reservations for bridesmaid's brunch/luncheon
- Confirm honeymoon reservations, select luggage
- Select reception decorations, balloons, candies, etc.
- Select ceremony accessories; unity candle, ring pillow, etc.
- Secure marriage license
- Schedule appointments for hair stylist, facial, massage, pedicure and manicure, makeup artist
- Write thank you notes for showers
- Record gifts as you receive them, write thank you notes
- Invite wedding party and guests to rehearsal dinner
- Confirm time and wedding rehearsal schedule with everyone
- Review reception seating; order place cards from calligrapher
- Confirm wedding party transportation and arrival times
- Confirm out of town guests lodging with reserved hotels
- Arrange for professional gown and bouquet preservation
- Arrange name/address changes on bank account, credit cards, driver's license, social security
- Move your personal and mutual belongings to new home
ONE TO TWO WEEKS
- Pick up wedding rings, check sizes and engravings
- Final consultations, wedding consultant, florist, musicians, photographer, video, decorators,
rental company, etc.
- Final guest count to reception facility and caterers
- Schedule men to pick up formal wear/shoes and check for fit
- Complete a wedding day schedule, including schedule from photographer, give everyone a copy at the rehearsal dinner
- Relax the day before; keep personal appointments, finish honeymoon packing
- Place fees in envelopes to be given to the organist, soloist, officiant, etc. on the big day
- Your planning is complete! Enjoy your day!
Ceremony Sequence of Events
1. Seating of the Guests
Pre-ceremony music plays as the ushers seat the guests. Music usually begins 15 minutes before the ceremony.
2. Seating of the Parents
After the guests are present and seated, the groom's parents are escorted to their seats. The bride's mother is the last to be seated. The bride's father is waiting with the bride.
3. The Groom Takes His Place
The officiant, ushers, best man, and groom take their positions.
4. Attendant's Procession
The processional music begins and the bridesmaid, maid or matron of honor, flower girl, and ring bearer proceed down the aisle.
5. Bridal Procession
Following the attendants, the bride's father and the bride begin down the aisle. Specific music is played and the guest rise in honor of the bride.
6. The Exchange of Vows
Traditional vows may be exchanged or you may write your own personal vows to recite.
7. Music with Ceremony
Music is played during the candle-lighting or other non-verbal portion of the ceremony.
8. The Ring Exchange
Be sure to know where your rings are before the ceremony begins.
9. The Kiss
10. The Introductions
At the end of the ceremony, the officiator may introduce the newlyweds to the guests, as the new Mr. And Mrs.
11. The Recessional
The bride and groom lead the wedding party back down the aisle.
Reception Sequence of Events
1. Before the Bride & Groom Arrive
Background music plays, refreshments, a gift table, the guestbook (from the ceremony), and decorations await the guests.
2. The Formal Introduction
Review all of the names and roles with the announcer. Have each person in the wedding party know where they are to go upon entering the reception. Remind them to not enter until they are certain the announcer knows you are entering.
3. The Receiving Line
After the introductions, you may wish for time with the guests.
4. The Traditional First Dance
5. The Invocation
You may wish to have someone offer a blessing for the meal.
6. The Meal Service
Background music continues as buffet or formal dinner is served. Remember the wedding party and families should be served first.
7. The Toast to the Bride & Groom
To be given by the best man and maid of honor. Make sure they are aware of their responsibilities.
8. The Cake Cutting
The newlyweds feed simultaneously or one at a time.
9. The Bouquet Toss
All single ladies are assembled to the dance floor. Bride throws the bouquet. The one who catches is thought to be the next to marry/
10. The Garter Toss
Single men are assembled to the dance floor. Groom removes garter from the bride's leg. The Groom throws the garter to the single men assembled on the dance floor. The one who catches is thought to be the next marry.
11. The Recessional
The bride and groom head out to their life together. Rose petals or birdseed can be tossed or sparklers can be held by guests to wish them good luck!
WEDDING DAY APPAREL
WEDDING DAY ACCESSORIES
- Gown pick-up and pressing
LAST BUT NOT LEAST
- Guest book and pen
- Ring Pillow
- Cake knife and server
- Toasting flutes/goblets
- Marriage License
- Groom's Ring
- A list of phone numbers for bridal party and vendors
- Sewing kit: matching thread, safety pins, and scissors
- Something old, something new, something borrowed and something blue
- Skin cleanser, moisturizer, makeup remover
- Toothbrush, toothpaste, and mouthwash
- Fingernail polish: color to match nails, clear to stop nylon runs
- Hairstyling items: hair dryer, curlers, comb, brush, hand mirror, hairspray, bobby pins
- Extra pair of hosiery for bride and bridesmaids
- Handi-wipes, Kleenex
- Portable iron or steamer
- Anti-cling spray
- Extra cash, coins and bills
- Camera with film