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Perfect Timing

A month-by-month checklist to minimize the stress of planning your wedding

By Laura Leon


12 Months Before

• Buy a wedding planner and memory album

• With fiancé, choose engagement ring

• Announce engagement

• Consult fiancé, all parents about budget, style, size of wedding and limits on number of guests

• Select attendants

• Decide on wedding and reception site; plan reception; make reservations. Depending on the location you choose, you may have to make reservations more than a year in advance

• Confirm officiant (clergyman/woman or justice)

• Book consultants, caterer, photographer, videographer, florist and musicians and/or DJ service

9 Months Before

• With fiancé, see officiant

• Choose and order dress, accessories

• Begin guest list

• Register for china, crystal, flatware, linens or other gifts

• Make travel arrangements for honeymoon

• Plan lodging for out-of-town guests (if your wedding date happens to coincide with nearby seasonal attractions, you will need to reserve rooms well in advance)

6 Months Before

• Meet with florist

• Book calligrapher, limousine and portrait photographer

• Order invitations and announcements

• Order attendants’ dresses

• Order wedding rings

• Discuss rehearsal dinner with fiancé

• Complete honeymoon plans

3 Months Before

• Finish guests list

• Shop for trousseau

• Confirm delivery dates of all dresses

• Make appointments with hair and makeup stylists

• Schedule rehearsal

6-8 Weeks Before

• Mail invitations

• Choose gifts for groom and bridesmaids

• Have final dress and headpiece fitting

• Take newspaper announcement portrait

• Pick up rings, check engravings

• Plan bridesmaids’ party

• Submit photo to newspaper

• Submit music requests to band/DJ

• Write thank-you notes for gifts already received

2 Weeks Before

• Go with fiancé to get marriage license

• Finish addressing announcements to mail

• Check honeymoon reservations

• Break in wedding shoes at home

1 Week Before

• Pack for honeymoon, get going-away outfit ready

• Purchase traveler’s checks

• Give final guest count to caterer

• Host or attend bridesmaids’ party

• Check final details with florist

• Keep up with gift acknowledgments

• Remind attendants of rehearsal dinner

The Day Before (or Of)

• Get a massage

• Get hair and nails done


12 Months Before

• Pick out bride’s engagement ring

• Discuss wedding expenses with fiancée and family

• Select ushers (1 per 50 guests)

9 Months Before

• Arrange a visit with clergy or justice

• Begin guest list

• Visit a bridal registry with fiancée

• Make arrangements for honeymoon

• If traveling out of the country, update passports, arrange for visas,international driver’s license, inoculations

• Arrange lodging for out-of-town guests (see note in Bride’s Calendar)

6 Months Before

• If you don’t already have it, pick up bride’s engagement ring

• Arrange to pay for bride’s bouquet, order boutonnieres, corsages

• Order wedding rings

• Complete honeymoon plans, reservations

• Arrange transportation for wedding party

• Plan rehearsal dinner with parents

3 Months Before

• Consult fiancée, order wedding attire

• Shop for honeymoon clothes

6-8 Weeks Before

• Select gifts for bride and ushers

• Check marriage license requirements

• Pick up rings, check engraving

• Help fiancée with thank-you notes

2 Weeks Before

• Make a date with fiancée to get marriage license (check requirements in your state—some still require blood tests, so you may need to plan further ahead)

• Arrange with best man for transportation from reception to airport or train

• Check honeymoon reservations, pack

1 Week Before

• Explain special seating to head usher

• Give officiant’s fee in envelope to best man for delivery after ceremony

• Purchase traveler’s checks

• Remind ushers of rehearsal dinner

The Day Before (or Of)

• Make final arrangements to pay photographer, caterer, musicians/DJs, etc.

• Pick up rented wedding attire, finalize plans for its return

• Double-check tickets, clothing, schedule, etc. for getaway

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