How do we get there from here?

Countdown to the big day

Every wedding is different, so you may have fewer or more things to do than what’s offered here. Some may be unnecessary for you. But these are the most common checkpoints brides and grooms need to keep track of as the wedding day draws closer.

Six or more months ahead

• Think about the type of wedding you want—fancy or rustic, big or small— and where you want to do it.
• Set a budget after discussing your ideas with those contributing to the wedding.
• Set a date.
• Hire a wedding planner.
• Work on a guest list to get a good head count for future planning.
• Select your wedding party.
• Order your wedding gown and accessories.
• Shop for attendants’ dresses.
• Book the venue.
• Choose an officiant (or have a friend ordained free online).
• Book a caterer.
• Book a florist.
• Book music for ceremony and reception.
• Book photographer and videographer.
• Send save-the-date cards, either formally or electronically.

Four to six months ahead

• Reserve rental equipment (chairs, tables, linens, tents, etc.)
• Order the wedding cake.
• Complete the guest list.
• Plan and book the honeymoon.
• Enroll in a gift registry.
• Order wedding invitations.
• Scout out accommodations for out-of-towners.
• Hire wedding day transportation (potentially for guest transport from a hotel, as well as getaway car).
• Set up hair, nail and other beauty appointments you may want.
• Arrange the rehearsal dinner.
• Buy wedding rings.
• Book a room for the wedding night.
• Choose gifts for the wedding party.

Two to four months ahead

• Find out about marriage license requirements from the county clerk’s office.
• Reserve groom and groomsmen attire.
• Meet with caterer to discuss menu, service, etc.
• Select ceremony and reception music.
• Discuss service with the officiant.
• If making own centerpieces, get materials.
• If you’d like, make a slide show of the bride and groom’s lives leading up to this day to show at rehearsal dinner, or hire someone to create this for you.
• Mail invitations.

One to two months ahead

• Write your wedding vows, if you’d like. <brp>• Choose readings for the ceremony.
• Buy a guest book.
• Get a flower girl basket and ring bearer pillow.
• Have programs printed.
• Get the marriage license and request certified copies of it.
• If changing your name, prepare the required documents.

HOME STRETCH: Two weeks ahead

• Have the final dress fitting with accessories.
• If creating one, make a seating plan and write place cards.
• Confirm details with photographer, videographer, florist, etc.
• Write rehearsal dinner and wedding reception toasts.
• Find out where guests are staying if you plan to send welcome notes or a gift to their room.
• Make decorative elements, if doing any yourself.

One week ahead

• Designate responsibilities to wedding party.
• Pick up the dress or have it delivered.
• Give caterer a final head count.

One day ahead

• Get manicure and pedicure.
• Have rehearsal.
• Have rehearsal dinner.
• Prepare tip and payment envelope for vendors and officiant.
• Confirm transportation for getting guests and couple to the ceremony and reception.

Your wedding day

• Have hair done.
• Enjoy yourself. The day will blur by.