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A 12 Month Countdown to Your Wedding


First things first
• Before announcing your engagement, inform your families. Traditionally, the Bride’s parents are told first, then the Groom’s parents. If they have not yet met, a get-together should be arranged by the Groom’s family.

    Nine to twelve months prior
    • Establish your budget early, with maximum amounts for each event/activity. Consider hiring a wedding consultant to help with your plans. Determine expense responsibilities for specific events.
    • Shop for engagement and wedding rings. If you want custom-made rings, plan this early in your schedule.
    • Decide on the style, formality and size of your wedding, then set your tentative wedding date.
    • Choose your wedding consultant.
    • Prepare your tentative guest list and determine the size of your wedding events.
    • Choose your attendants; get a firm commitment to each event. Determine all pertinent sizes for each.
    • Select your ceremony location and consult with the officiant who will perform the ceremony, then choose a firm wedding date. Begin planning your ceremony, and determine any pre-marital requirements.
    • Choose a reception location.
    • Plan rehearsal dates and times with your officiant and location choices.
    • Choose and reserve the location for your rehearsal dinner.
    • Choose the color scheme and any appropriate style for your ceremony and wedding attire.
    • Begin shopping for the bridal gown, headpiece, and attendants’ attire.
    • Schedule fittings, alteration fittings and delivery dates.
    • Choose your attendants’ dresses and accessories. Schedule fittings and delivery dates, and notify your attendants.
    • Start the selection process for your wedding professionals: Contact a photographer/videographer early; some are booked as much as a year in advance. Decide your type of entertainment and choose the right professional. Choose your caterer if not included with your reception site. Select your mode of transportation.
    • Begin the selection of your florist, balloonist and/or ice sculptor. Determine any party rental needs and select an appropriate professional.
    • Select your stationer, style of invitations, thank you notes and any other stationery.
    • Consult a travel agent or visit web-sites for honeymoon plans.
    Six to nine months prior
    • Begin compiling guest list names and addresses.
    • Locate and choose your gift registry and begin recording your selections.
    • Get engagement photographs taken by your photographer and set up your engagement announcement with your local newspaper.
    • Finalize your wedding professional choices and secure with a deposit: Photographer, Videographer, Caterer, Florist, Ceremony Music, Reception Entertainment, Party Rentals, Stationer, Others
    • Select Groom’s attire. Set up fittings, alterations and delivery or pickup dates.
    • Select and order the Groom’s attendants’ attire. Schedule fittings and delivery or pickup dates, and notify the attendants.

    Four to six months prior
    • Meet with each of your vendors and continue to plan each event. Finalize ordering and reservations for all your event needs.
    • Meet with your florist and complete your selections for bouquets, boutonnieres, table arrangements, etc. and confirm delivery times.
    • Finalize guest list.
    • Choose and reserve accommodations for all of your out-of-town guests. Compile a list of local activities during their stay.
    • Finalize selection and order your invitations and all related stationery.
    • Set up and maintain records of gifts and begin sending thank you notes.
    • Select a baker, order wedding cake, groom’s cake and any other confectionery needs.
    • Shop for and purchase trousseau.
    • Help parents select and coordinate their formal attire.
    • Research all legal requirements – blood tests and marriage license.
    • Don’t forget … begin your beauty regimen early.

    Two to three months prior
    • Make a list of who you want to speak at each event and in what order, and contact each person.
    • Order favors and gifts. Purchase cake knives, ring pillow, toasting goblets, and other accessories.
    • Address invitations and announcements and mail out-of-town invitations. Continue writing thank you notes.
    • Finalize honeymoon and travel plans.

    Four to six weeks prior
    • Reserve wedding day appointments with your hair stylist for you and your attendants. Get any perms, color, cut or new style done early.
    • Make pre-wedding beauty appointments for you and your attendants for manicure, massage, spa, etc.
    • Select a makeup artist for your wedding day and your bridal portrait session.
    • Get bridal portrait taken and framed for reception.
    • Make plans and reservations for an attendants’ party.
    • Address and mail all local invitations. Begin RSVP counts. Include maps to all event sites with invitations.
    • Begin addressing wedding announcements.
    • Finalize all attire fittings. Pick up wedding rings.
    • Select and purchase attendants’ gifts and a wedding gift for your new spouse.
    • Obtain your marriage license.
    • If you are moving, finalize all moving details.

    One to two weeks prior
    • Confirm all appointments.
    • Confirm all ceremony and rehearsal details.
    • Confirm all counts with food and beverage caterers.
    • Plan seating arrangements.
    • Finalize all rehearsal dinner details.
    • Finalize all song lists and entertainment details.
    • Finalize photographer and videographer details.
    • Finalize arrangements for all professional services and transportation needs. Confirm guest accommodations.
    • Plan honeymoon wardrobes and luggage needs. Obtain all travel tickets and confirm reservations.
    • Arrange for gowns, bouquet and/or cake preservation.

    The last week
    • Arrange for pickup of bridal ensemble. Best Man should confirm final fittings for the Groom and Ushers; and schedule return of Groom’s tuxedo and rental equipment.
    • Assign post-wedding tasks to wedding party.
    • Prepare envelopes for payments or donations to ceremony officials and musicians.
    • Give gifts to wedding party, family and fiancé.
    • Attend the rehearsal dinner and attendants’ party.

    The day before
    • Finish packing for the wedding night and honeymoon.
    • Gather all wedding day items. Entrust payment envelopes to the Best Man for tomorrow.
    • Assure that the “getaway” car will be at the reception site – packed and ready to go.

    Your wedding day (This is it!)
    • See hairdresser and makeup artist early.
    • The Bride should transfer engagement ring to the right hand. Be dressed and ready about two hours before ceremony for picture-taking.
    • Relax … if you followed your planned schedule, the rest of the day should be easy.

    After the wedding
    • Write and mail thank you notes.
    • Take care of business, banking, change of address, etc.

    Article courtesy of Akron-Canton Weddings Magazine
    A 12 Month Countdown to Your Wedding

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