Twelve to nine months before

● Propose
● Announce engagement
● Determine the type of wedding you want, setting, size and degree of formality.
● Select a date and time. Consider time of day, as this affects formality and catering choices.
● Select a location for the ceremony, taking into consideration season and weather.
● Book a reception site.
● Consider having a web page.
● Determine who will officiate
the ceremony.
● Set an initial budget and decide who is contributing.
● Decide how expenses will be shared.
● Shop together for rings. Appraise and insure the engagement ring.
● Determine guest list size.
● Select and book a caterer, photographer, videographer and/or wedding planner.
● Determine wedding attendants.
● Choose your colors; they will affect your flowers, invitations, attire, linens and cake.
● Choose your bridal gown and headpiece.
● Select and book entertainment for reception as well as music for ceremony.

Nine to six months before

● Announce your engagement in the newspaper.
● Send out “Save the Date” cards.
● Choose dresses and accessories for bridesmaids and flower girls.
● Start compiling names and addresses of guests.
● Begin your bridal registry.
● Maintain records of all gifts received and send thank-you notes immediately for shower gifts. Wedding gift thank-you notes should not be mailed until after the wedding.
● Select florist.
● Begin shopping for men’s attire. For out-of-town groomsmen note that their local formal wear shops will often take measurements as
a courtesy.

Six to four months before

● Select and order invitations.
● Plan honeymoon.
● Help mothers select and coordinate their dresses.
● Ensure that all bridal attire has been ordered.
● Begin shopping for trousseau.
● Check requirements for blood test and
marriage license.
● Discuss where you will live after the wedding.
● Experiment with hair styles and makeup.
● Select baker and order wedding cake.

Four to two months before

● Arrange transportation, limousines, horse and carriage, vans, etc.
● Choose and reserve men’s wedding attire.
● Start addressing invitations and announcements. Invitations should be mailed six weeks prior to the ceremony.
● Design a map to direct guests to the ceremony and reception site for an insertion with the invitations.
● Arrange accommodations for out-of-town attendants and guests.
● Plan and collect information packets with maps and brochures for out-of-town guests.
● Confirm all details with your hired professionals.
● Confirm ceremony details with your officiant.
● Arrange rehearsal details.
● Plan rehearsal dinner.
● Purchase accessories such as ring pillow, toasting goblets, guest registry.
● Plan attendants’ parties.
● Make appointment with your hairdresser
and makeup artist.
● Schedule final fitting.
● Schedule attendants’ final fitting.
● Finalize honeymoon plans.
● Have physical exam.

One month before

● Get blood test and marriage license.
● Have your final dress fitting.
● Have formal bridal portrait done.
● Have final fitting for wedding attendants.
● Select gifts for wedding participants.
● Purchase gift for fiancé(e).
● Have attendants’ parties.
● Finalize rehearsal dinner details.
● Decide menu for reception.
● Purchase a going away outfit.

Two weeks before

● Arrange to have names changed on driver’s license, social security card, etc.
● Finish addressing announcements to be mailed the day of your wedding.
● Contact guests who have not responded.
● Pick up rings and confirm that they fit.
● Meet with your photographer and decide on special photos you want taken.
● Meet with videographer and decide on special events or people your want videotaped.
● Meet with entertainer and determine music to be played during special events (i.e., garter/bouquet toss, cutting of cake, first dance, parents’ dance, etc.)
● Continue writing thank-you notes

On the day

● Remain calm and relaxed.
● Eat well.
● Don’t forget the rings and marriage license.
● Start dressing 1 1/2 hours before the ceremony.
● If pictures are taken prior to the ceremony, the entire wedding party needs to be dressed and ready 2 hours before the ceremony.
● Mail wedding announcements and thank-you notes.
● Have music start 30 minutes prior to the start of the ceremony.
● Have ushers seat guests upon arrival.
● Have groom’s parents seated 5 minutes prior
to the start of the ceremony.
● Have bride’s mother seated immediately
before processional.
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Judy Hodgson

Judy Hodgson is a co-founder of the North Coast Journal.
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