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Pre-Wedding Checklist

‘Good Times Only’ Checklist:

2-3 months before:

1-2 months before:

2-4 weeks before:

1 week before:

One to Two Years Before:

First decide on the basics…

* Choose wedding date
* Decide type of wedding desired (traditional, big/small, etc.)
* Determine what religion the service will be performed in, if any
* Decide time of wedding and reception
* Choose desired location for wedding ceremony
* Choose desired location for reception
* Set wedding budget and decide how wedding will be financed

Then hire the individuals from whom you will need their services on the wedding day…

* See if ceremony and reception locations are available and book them
* Choose/hire individual who will perform your wedding ceremony if this is not included with your choice of ceremony site
* Interview/Choose photographer and then book him/her
* Interview/Choose Videographer and then book him/her
* Interview/Choose Florist and then book him/her
* Interview/Choose Baker (for cake) and then book him/her
* Decide type of music desired for reception, if any
* Interview/Choose Band/DJ for reception and then book him/her/them
* Choose reception format: buffet or sit-down dinner etc.
* Interview/Choose caterer and then book him/her/them

Ten to Twelve Months in Advance

* Ensure home/renter’s insurance covers engagement ring or buy additional jewelry insurance
* Determine a color scheme for the wedding/reception if desired
* Decide if all/part/any of vows will be written by bride/groom
* Decide how large/small wedding party will be
* Choose/order wedding dress and veil
* Buy wedding shoes
* Buy undergarments for wedding attire (need prior to fittings)
* Begin looking at invitations
* Set honeymoon budget
* Announce engagement to friends and family
* Put engagement announcement in local paper

Six to Ten Months in Advance

* Decide if unity candle ceremony is desired
* First meeting with minister/officiant
* Begin writing vows
* Choose ceremony music (prelude, processional, solos, recessional, postlude, etc.)
* Choose and hire soloist(s) for ceremony/reception/rehearsal dinner
* Choose attendants and ask if they’ll accept the position
* Begin looking for bridesmaid dresses
* Pick out tuxes for groom and groomsmen/ushers/fathers
* Choose/book desired location for rehearsal dinner
* Look for and book (reserve) block of rooms at nearby hotel for out-of-town guests
* Choose invitations
* Decide if programs and/or personalized napkins will be purchased and select them
* Make first draft of invite list
* Get directions to church, from church to reception, and from church to rehearsal dinner
* Make list of attractions/things to do (in town where wedding is) to include with directions
* Plan honeymoon and book all lodgings/transportation/event tickets
* Check passports/visas
* Discuss if a bridal registry is desired and what items would be on it
* Choose china/crystal/flatware/cookware patterns for bridal registry if desired

Four to Six Months in Advance

* Make appointment for bridal portrait
* Make hair/nail appointment for bridal portrait
* Choose prose/poetry/scripture readings for ceremony
* Choose readers for ceremony and ask if they’ll accept the position
* Ask minister if it mattters which version of the Bible (King James, Good News, etc.) you use for the scripture reading
* Find out from minister if flower girl can drop flower petals on floor in sanctuary
* Find out from reception hall if guests can throw birdseed or rice
* Decide how you want your exit at the reception/ceremony (guests throwing birdseed, etc. or just a casual exit?)
* Buy/make favors to give guests, if desired
* Buy/make centerpieces for guest tables at reception
* Order bridesmaid dresses
* Hire limo driver or arrange other transportation to/from ceremony and reception
* Buy wedding attire accessories such as gloves, earrings, necklace, purse, shoes, cufflinks, etc.
* Pick out/order wedding bands
* Select reception decorations such as candles, flowers, balloons, arches, etc.
* Meet with florist to choose amount and type of flowers for ceremony and reception and any other accessories (ex. pew bows, candleabras, etc)
* Ask mothers if they want to wear a flower corsage or carry a single flower instead and inform florist
* Decide if roses will be given to the mothers at the end of/during the ceremony
* Buy/make basket for flower girl
* Buy/make pillow for ringbearer
* Meet with baker to choose flavor(s) and style of wedding cake
* Decide if a groom’s cake is desired; if so, choose flavor and style and inform baker
* Make/print directions and map for ceremony and reception to include with all wedding invitations
* Make/print maps to rehearsal dinner to include with rehearsal dinner invitations and send to groom’s mom (if his parents are hosting rehearsal dinner)
* Make 2nd draft of invite list
* Register gift preferences with one or more bridal registries at nearby and/or nationwide store
* Get measurements from groom/ushers/fathers/groomsmen for tuxedos

Three to Four Months in Advance

* Confirm bridal portrait appointment
* Confirm hair/nail appointments for bridal portrait
* Determine how many disposable cameras should be purchased, if any
* Write/choose disposable camera poems if desired
* First wedding gown fitting
* Sign up to donate ceremony centerpiece to flowers for Sunday’s service, if desired
* Buy/make birdseed roses/birdseed packets/bubbles/etc.
* Decide on living arrangement once married

Two to Four Months in Advance

* Choose soloist’s song(s) and get soloist’s approval to perform them
* Mail/take music to soloist
* Buy disposable cameras
* Get bridal portrait taken
* Determine wedding band inscriptions
* Choose reception food
* Design program layout (or have a printer do it)
* Determine reception layout (i.e. how many tables, chairs, etc.)
* Determine seating arrangement at reception if it’s a sit-down dinner
* Determine seating arrangement at rehearsal dinner with groom’s mother if desired
* Determine who will put suitcases in limo at reception
* Determine how attendants will process and stand at ceremony
* Choose reception music (1st dance, father/daughter dance, mother/son dance etc.)
* Find out if smoking is allowed at reception hall and how to prevent it if desired
* Make rough draft of list of duties of all involved (Mistress of Ceremonies, etc.)
* Finalize vows and memorize (if necessary)
* Make sure flower girl dress is purchased
* Make sure the mother’s dresses are purchased and are complimentary
* Determine length of bridesmaid dresses
* Determine hose color and shoes for bridesmaids
* Bride buy gifts for bridesmaids, parents, fiance, personal attendant
* Groom buy gifts for groomsmen, parents, fiance, ushers
* Buy gifts with fiance for Mistress of Ceremonies, Host/Hostess, soloist, guest book attendant, etc.
* Schedule bride’s hair appointment
* Schedule nail appointment
* Finalize invite list
* Get addresses of all people on invite list
* Ask groom’s mother if she wants rehearsal dinner invitations and/or place cards matching invitations
* Order invitations
* Order programs
* Order monogrammed napkins for reception if desired
* Reserve rental items: candelabra, linens, canopy, tables/chairs, etc.
* Set date with fiance to get marriage license (check restrictions on how long it’s valid prior to wedding)
* Get blood tests/physicals for marriage certificate if required
* Get any immunizations you will need for the honeymoon

Two Months in Advance

* Schedule groom’s hair appointment
* Give soloist’s music to organist (if he/she is accompanying)
* Book rooms for out-of-town attendants at hotel
* Go over rough draft of duties with all involved in wedding
* Choose one person to whom the groomsmen can return their tuxes, and have that person return the tuxes to the rental place if desired
* Determine who will return the groom’s tuxedo to the rental place
* Determine order/timing of events at reception (cake-cutting, garter toss, etc.)
* Second wedding gown fitting
* Buy honeymoon clothes and going away outfit if necessary
* Buy/decide on rehearsal/rehearsal dinner outfit
* Put invitation to wedding ceremony in church newsletter
* Determine the “something borrowed, …blue, …old, and …new” to wear on wedding day
* Acquire six pence for shoe
* Get wedding bands inscribed
* Get final order of prelude and processional music from organist
* Hire babysitter to watch any children during wedding ceremony
* Call to inform all people who need to be at rehearsal
* Buy guest book and pen
* Obtain marriage certificate
* Last meeting with minister/officiant
* Determine where bride and attendants will get dressed (at home/hotel or ceremony site?)
* Determine where groom and attendants will get dressed (at hotel or ceremony site?)
* Buy/make throw and keepsake garters
* Buy wrapping paper for attendant, etc. gifts
* Make itinerary of wedding day for all involved
* Choose songs for video (background music for intro/pre-wedding)
* Buy stamps for invitations, response cards, and some to get started on thank-you notes
* Ensure formal-wear shop has all tuxedo measurements
* Give addresses of rehearsal guests to groom’s mother if she is mailing rehearsal invites

One Month in Advance

* Ask florist if you can keep/buy unity candles if he/she is providing them
* Order flower arrangements for rehearsal dinner tables if desired
* Find out if reception caterers will make a basket of food for you to take to your hotel after reception
* Determine who will be in the limo (i.e. just newlyweds or attendants/parents too??)
* Determine when items needed at reception (toasting glasses, etc.) will be taken there
* Show final program to minister and organist to check for accuracy
* Box and wrap all gifts for attendants, etc.
* Decide if gown will be preserved and where
* Decide if bouquet will be preserved and make arrangements
* Figure out how to affix six pence to shoe
* Print disposable camera poems
* Ensure band/DJ has equipment/music needed tp play your chosen reception music
* Ensure groom’s mom has addressed/mailed rehearsal dinner invitations if his parents are hosting it
* Pick up wedding bands
* Ensure home/renter’s insurance covers wedding bands or buy additional jewelry insurance
* Confirm honeymoon reservations
* Check registries to make sure shower gifts and/or early wedding gifts have been marked off as purchased
* Record gifts as you receive them and send thank-you notes
* Open joint checking and savings accounts
* Change beneficiary to fiance for will and life insurance policy
* Inform car/home/renter’s insurance of marriage (discounted rates may apply)
* Make list of all places with whom bride needs to change name and submit changes

Two Weeks in Advance

* Final meeting with florist – overview and give him/her map to ceremony and reception sites
* Final meeting with reception hall/caterer – overview and tell them names of florist, band or DJ, and baker (just in case!)
* Final meeting with videographer – overview, give him/her music and map
* Final meeting with photographer – tell him/her about any specific pictures you want, choose album style and color, and give him/her map
* Final conversation with band – overview of times & special songs, mail him/her/them map
* Mail directions to limo driver and confirm times
* Meet with rehearsal dinner caterers for final details
* Print programs
* Print rehearsal dinner maps (extras in case guests forget map that came with dinner invite)
* Finalize and print list of duties for each person involved
* Print itinerary of wedding day (copies for all at rehearsal)
* Print readings and spare copies
* Confirm nail/hair appointments
* Print list of reception dances for MC/band/DJ
* Final wedding gown fitting
* Affix poems to disposable cameras
* Confirm hotel reservations for wedding night
* Confirm hotel reservations for attendants
* Determine personal wedding morning itinerary (time to wake up, … time to leave for church, etc.)
* Groom’s hair appointment
* Submit wedding announcement to local newspaper for publishing day or weekend of wedding
* Move belongings to new home

One Week in Advance

* Make bride’s emergency kit
* Pack for honeymoon
* Get traveler’s checks for honeymoon; exchange money to foreign currency now if desired
* Fill out first page of guest book
* Buy spare hose
* Fill birdseed roses
* Remind attendants about rehearsal time
* Take marriage certificate to minister/officiant
* Give best man the clergyman’s fee (if to be payed day of ceremony, otherwise pay this week)
* Finish centerpieces for guest tables at reception if it’s a last minute duty (i.e. need fresh flowers, etc.)
* Give final guest count to reception facility and/or caterer
* Remind groom/fathers/ushers/groomsmen to pick up tuxedos on day before wedding
* Ensure delivery of flower arrangements for wedding rehearsal dinner have been made

Day Before Wedding

* Pick up wedding gown and veil
* Pick up tux
* Take favors, disposable cameras, centerpieces, cake knife and server, toasting glasses, CD’s, and birdseed roses to reception hall

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