Check it out

Wedding guide checklist

Even if you choose to hop on a plane and head out of the country or jump off a dock in Lake Tahoe for your wedding, like some of the couples featured in our guide, you still need to plan ahead. Weddings are costly and involve more than just you and your betrothed. But don’t stress—we got you covered. Go purchase a new calendar or fire up your smartphone and enter these dates.

Two years to 12 months before

Break the news of your engagement to friends and family. Give ’em a quick call before you blast the news on Facebook. It’s just common courtesy.

Start planning a budget with your fiancé. Consider all expenses, including small ones.

Get your finances in order—if possible, pay off existing debt and get a savings account started. Keep this money for after the wedding to get your marriage off on a good start.

Grab your betrothed and hit the gym if fitness goals are on your wishlist.

12 to nine months

Select the members of your wedding party and establish a budget on clothes and accessories.

Set up accounts on wedding forums or websites to get ideas for themes or to ask advice.

Visit venues and select one. Many venues require a deposit early on.

Book any live entertainment, including DJs and bands.

Nine to six months

Get engagement photographs taken.

Mail save-the-date cards.

Set up a gift registry.

Hire a wedding photographer. If you plan to get married in the summer, particularly June, you may want to do this closer to the nine-month mark because photographers are booked fast.

Purchase the wedding rings (and check out our suggestions on page 5 for what to look for in your rings).

Start planning the honeymoon.

Six to three months

Apply for a passport. This process can be arduous so it’s best to start early.

Purchase the necessary expenses for your honeymoon—book plane tickets, hotels, rental cars, etc.

If you’re going somewhere really exotic, you might need to get vaccinated before you leave, so make a doctor’s appointment.

Three months to one month

If you plan to cut or dye your hair, do it now to avoid any last minute emergencies.

Visit a hair and/or makeup stylist to discuss your options for the wedding day. Experiment with makeup ahead of time to ensure that you don’t have an allergic reaction to any of the cosmetics.

Book a spa appointment for the day before your wedding.

Host or attend parties, including your bridal party and bachelorette/bachelor party.

Week of

Double check all honeymoon plans—check the weather forecast, ensure that passports are up to date.

Do laundry and clean the house. Even if you aren’t going on a honeymoon, having clean clothes to change to after the wedding is one less thing to worry about.

Pack for honeymoon.

Break in your wedding shoes. Even if you plan to wear funky sneakers, you don’t want blisters after the walk down the aisle.

Day before

Hold rehearsal and rehearsal dinner.

Give your wedding party a small but special gift.

Head to the spa and get a manicure and pedicure.

Have tip money ready for the vendors.

Wedding day

Relax and remember to slow down and take in the day. Everything will go by very fast.

Take time to try some of your food and get a piece of your wedding cake.

Mingle with guests and thank them for attending your special day.

The most important part: Have fun!

Wedding night

Well … you know what to do.