Planning Guide - step-by-step
Your timeline depends entirely upon the size and formality of your wedding. A less formal affair demands less preparation. Below is a schedule to make your task less daunting.
• Set your date.
Whether for religious, personal significance or seasonal reasons, it is often the most difficult decision to make. Consider your location, caterer and designer when choosing your date. Luckily, your friends and loved ones will work with your schedule.
• Set a budget.
This will determine how formal or informal, how many guests will be included in the ceremony and reception and how large your wedding party will be.
Graciously, invite the friends and family you’ve chosen to participate in the wedding party. Enlist their aid in planning. Choose a couple of trusted people in addition to the wedding party to aid in the wedding planning. Things will run more smoothly with assistance from outside the wedding party.
• Hire your wedding planner, if you’ve decided to have one.
A consultant can greatly relieve the stress of planning your wedding. He/She can manage many of the details often overlooked and deal with immediate problems as they arise.
• Select your locations for the ceremony and reception.
Be certain to visit both locations. Choosing sites from a brochure may not end up being all the advertisements boast. If you’ve chosen one location, be certain it is large enough to accommodate your event and has done so in the past. A frequently used site may need more than a year’s reservation. An outdoor location will require less but has seasonal considerations, such as tent rentals and necessary facilities. Both,, as well as seating rentals, will need to be attended to before the wedding date.
• Choose your officiant.
Many Priests, Rabbis, or Reverends, require a term of counseling before he/she will perform the ceremony. While the concept may seem unusual, a pre-marital counselor can help reduce stress and insure that you understand each other’s expectations. It may not be necessary for every couple but is certainly a beneficial option.
• Reserve your caterer if an onsite service is not available.
The more sought after the caterer, the further ahead you will have to book the date. Taste tests are one of the best elements of planning the menu, enjoy!
• If you’ve chosen to work with a designer, begin consultations on gown design.
• Choose your florist.
Seasonal considerations must be made. It will guarantee the freshest, least handled flowers possible.
• Begin dress shopping, if you are not using a designer.
Bring a couple of your closest friends. They can give an honest opinion and moral support.
• Continue to meet with your consultant to ensure the appropriate progress is being made.
• Begin organizing the details.
How many guests will be included and do you have current mailing addresses for them? What are your colors? What will be served? If you do not have a planner, you and your groom should decide the details together.
• Choose your attendants’ gowns;
It’s not necessary to help with fittings but it can be fun. Make it a girl’s day. If you have a large party, consider sizing one or two at a time.
• Begin your honeymoon planning.
• Reserve your date with the musicians or DJ you’ve chosen.
• Select transportation.
• Choose your wedding bands.
• Begin shopping for wedding favors.
• Choose your pastry chef.
Yum! Remember to bring samples of the fabric and flowers for color comparison. You can also cut out pictures of wedding cakes that have inspired you for ideas.
• Friends or family members who are not part of the wedding party may be enlisted to aid in particular tasks. Set aside gifts to thank them for their participation.
• Finalize your honeymoon travel arrangements.
Book your hotel, purchase your plane tickets and make sure you have any passports, visa’s etc in order.
• Book accommodations for out of town guests.
• Register with your favorite shops and boutiques.
• Dress fittings.
Your groom may or may not want to handle this on his own. Whether purchasing or renting, it’s not a good idea to leave it to the last minute.
• Purchase all accessories, shoes and incidentals for the wedding day.
• Choose hair and make-up boutique, reserve the date.
• Shop for wedding favors, serving sets, and guest book.
• Purchase your invitations, thank you cards, etc.
Often all these items can be found in the same shop if you’ve decided not to have them made by a calligraphy artist.
• Mail invitations.
It is often a good idea to write out thank yous for the gifts you will receive at this time. They can be ready to drop in the mail before you embark on your honeymoon.
• Dress fittings with accessories, shoes and undergarments.
Your attendants’ dresses should be properly fitted as well.
• Check in with your vendors to make sure the details have been finalized.
• Purchase your wedding party gifts.
Be sure to include a thank you note with each gift.
• Make certain your groom and groomsmen have all been fitted.
You may have to do this again as the day grows closer.
• Rehearsal dinner.
Choose the site, unless the groom’s family is handling this decision, and make reservations for one week prior to your wedding date. Be sure invitations are extended to bridal party, close family and anyone who has played an integral role in the planning.
• Finalize details with officiant.
• Final fittings.
• Create itinerary for the day.
• Seating arrangements for the reception should be made as rsvps arrive.
A final list should be given to the reception site and caterer.
• Shop for your honeymoon trousseau and finalize arrangements.
• Pick up your gown.
• Pick up the tux
• Attend rehearsal and rehearsal dinner.
• Set aside payments for all wedding vendors
Leave payments with the best man or whomever you’ve selected to have the responsibility to handle the payments.
• Relax and enjoy.
The day is almost here and you’re extraordinarily well organized. While it may seem hectic and overwhelming, all your decisions have been made. You’ve hired the best wedding vendors. Your dress is gorgeous, the tux impeccable and you have infinite support from family and friends.
Quick Planning Guide (short version of this page)