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Free Wedding Guide.. What to do

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Free Wedding Guide.. What to do

WHEN YOU’RE NEWLY ENGAGED

  • You’re engaged!—Congrat!!
  • Tell people the big news
  • Avoid jumping right into planning if you can possibly avoid it; chill out and enjoy
  • Sit down and figure out what your wedding priorities are
  • Have an engagement party or a super casual engagement toast
  • Pick a target date (12-18 months)

12 MONTHS BEFORE YOUR WEDDING

  • Launch your master plan binder, notebook, or Google Doc
  • Sit down and have your first of many guest lists chats (way more info on that here)—and don’t forget to ask your parents for their lists
  • Figure out your target wedding budget
  • Narrow your venue search (ceremony and reception) to your favorite options
  • Start looking at vendors.. DJs, Photo booths, Photographers & florists

 

11 MONTHS BEFORE YOUR WEDDING

  • Begin touring your preferred reception and ceremony venues (Ask questions!)
  • Pick your wedding date
  • Book a venue
  • Begin your wedding photographer search: set up meetings and book

 

10 MONTHS BEFORE YOUR WEDDING

  • Start shopping for wedding attire. Make appointments at bridal and clothing shops as needed. Remember traditional wedding dress shops will have long lead times on ordering dresses. (Check out advice on plus-sized dress shopping too.)
  • Research what kind of food you want to have, and begin to interview and book caterers
  • If you don’t want a caterer, start to look into self-catering or having a potluck wedding
  • Once you’ve booked your wedding photographer, shoot engagement photos (especially if you’re using them for save the dates)
  • Finalize your guest list before sending save the dates (and read up on everything you need to know about guest lists). Hot tip: Our spreadsheets can help you do this.
  • Create a basic version of your wedding website, especially if you want to include it in your save the dates
  • Design and order your save the dates

 

9 MONTHS BEFORE YOUR WEDDING

  • Send save the dates
  • Research wedding invitations and associated paper goods
  • If you want to DIY your wedding invitations, come up with a plan
  • If you can afford a day-of coordinator, hire one; if you can’t, ask a friend to be your wedding stage manager

 

8 MONTHS BEFORE YOUR WEDDING

  • Decide what kind of music you want to have: Do you need a DJ? A band? A DIY music plan? (Psst: check APW’s wedding playlists)
  • Begin thinking about your officiant: Who will it be?
  • If you want a bridal shower, peruse these ideas (we even have game ideas) and ask a bestie if they’ll plan it for you

7 MONTHS BEFORE YOUR WEDDING

  • Book a florist, if you’re using one (here are tips!)
  • If you’ve decided on a band or a DJ, book one now
  • If you want a videographer, book one now
  • Research hair and makeup artists, if needed
  • Begin researching honeymoon destinations (because you KNOW you need a beak)

 

6 MONTHS BEFORE YOUR WEDDING

  • Think about rehearsal dinner options
  • Start to plan any extra events associated with the wedding (after party, brunch, welcome party)
  • Finalize your guest list (we’ve got spreadsheets for that.)
  • Set up a meeting with your officiant to discuss the ceremony and start marital counseling (if relevant)
  • Start thinking about your wedding vows and ceremony plan
  • If you’re having a friend officiate your wedding, now is a good time to ask them about doing so
  • If you’re not having a friend officiate your wedding, make sure you’ve booked someone (or the church/shul/mosque/temple)
  • Set up your wedding registry. (Even if you don’t want one, it’s wise to register for a few things so you don’t get a fugly vase made out of a tree #truestory.)
  • Have a meeting with everyone who is helping (or start sharing those Google Docs!) and make sure they all understand what is expected
  • Find a baker for your wedding cake, and if you can schedule cake tastings, do so
  • If someone is throwing you a bridal shower, send that person these tips

 

5 MONTHS BEFORE YOUR WEDDING

  • Book that honeymoon!
  • If someone in your wedding is wearing suits, start figuring out if you want to rent or buy
  • Check out wedding rings and decide what you want
  • Decide if you need party rentals, and figure out what you need; put together an order (Adjustments can be made later, so book now!)
  • If you need a wedding tent, research and reserve one
  • Schedule your hair and makeup trials, if you’re hiring a stylist (also make sure you coordinate with your wedding party or friends)
  • Reserve hotel blocks for your wedding
  • Make wedding night reservations as needed

4 MONTHS BEFORE YOUR WEDDING

  • Finalize rehearsal dinner, and book anything you might need to book
  • Buy your wedding rings
  • Make sure your passport is up to date, if you’re leaving the country for your honeymoon
  • Book wedding transportation
  • Create a spreadsheet for RSVPs and guest list addresses.
  • Talk to whoever is planning your bachelorette party, and hook them up with this checklist (same goes for any wedding showers)

3 MONTHS BEFORE YOUR WEDDING

  • Address and mail your wedding invitations (double check the postage!)
  • Think about what ceremony extras you might need (chuppah, aisle runners, etc.), and buy or rent them
  • Start planning out your wedding ceremony script
  • If you’re DIYing anything for your wedding, start now or cross it off your list
  • Schedule dress fittings, as needed
  • Research your local marriage license, civil union, and domestic partnership rules

 

2 MONTHS BEFORE YOUR WEDDING

  • Begin working on your wedding vows in earnest
  • Make sure everyone in your wedding party has bought what they’re wearing
  • Figure out what you’re wearing to your rehearsal dinner
  • Put together a list of what you want to pack for your honeymoon, if you’re having one

 

6 WEEKS BEFORE YOUR WEDDING

  • Start wearing your wedding shoes around the house, as needed
  • Make sure you’re updating your gift registry and spreadsheets as gifts arrive; send thank you notes now if you can
  • Confirm that out-of-town guests are set up at hotels and lodging
  • Figure out if you want a guest book, and make one happen if so (also, test your pens!)
  • Write thank you notes for your shower gifts.
  • Finalize your vows
  • Make sure your wedding outfits are still on point
  • Finalize your menu with your caterer
  • Finalize your wedding ceremony

 

1 MONTH BEFORE YOUR WEDDING

  • Put together your seating chart
  • Create your escort cards
  • Finalize your ceremony outline
  • Create a wedding timeline
  • Make any necessary nail and spa appointments
  • Confirm all vendor payments (and tip amounts)
  • Make sure your wedding party knows any critical information as it pertains to the rehearsal dinner or wedding day
  • Schedule a final dress fitting
  • Print wedding programs, if you’re having them
  • Confirm all rentals (and adjust your rental order, as needed)
  • Sit down with your wedding stage manager or day-of coordinator and walk through all the details for your wedding day
  • Get your marriage license
  • And finally, for fun, if you haven’t picked a wedding hashtag, get moving on that
  • This is also a good time to review your wedding checklist and overall plan, add stuff you missed, and remove stuff you don’t care about anymore

 

TWO WEEKS BEFORE YOUR WEDDING

  • Check in with guests who haven’t RSVP.
  • Confirm head counts, menus, and delivery with your caterers and bakers (also confirm vendor meal requests)
  • Confirm your photo requests, required family, and timeline with your photographer
  • Make sure that everyone who is delivering something to the wedding (rentals, flowers, etc.) has a confirmed, final timeline
  • Send a transportation schedule to transport providers
  • Make sure any clothing you want cleaned or pressed is taken care of
  • Ensure that there is a plan for wedding venue setup and breakdown

WEDDING CHECKLIST: ONE WEEK BEFORE YOUR WEDDING

  • Pack an overnight bag and include your toothbrush, birth control/condoms, something to sleep in, an outfit for the next day, honeymoon luggage, and your passport
  • Get your wedding manicure and pedicure (if it’s happening at all)
  • Make sure a copy of your honeymoon plans is left with family and friends
  • Put your final payments and tips for vendors in labeled envelopes, and give this to another person to manage
  • Get your wedding day “oh shit kit” put together (you’ll want aspirin, makeup, safety pins, mints, snacks, etc.)
  • Pick up your dress (if it wasn’t delivered to you)
  • Try on your entire wedding ensemble
  • Give all of your vendors an emergency number to call, just in case (note: not yours!)
  • Assign a family member to be the photographer’s point of contact
  • Hand over all of your planning docs to your wedding stage manager (including a copy of the vendor delivery schedule, set up times, and phone numbers) or DOC and take a step back to enjoy this thing!

ONE LAST WEDDING CHECKLIST: 1 DAY BEFORE YOUR WEDDING

  • Rehearse your ceremony with your officiant and wedding party
  • Confirm your honeymoon transportation, airport drop-off, etc.
  • Set your alarm (and a backup)
  • Print out your vows (or memorize them)
  • Drop off favors, menus, table plans, and place cards with your caterer or venue
  • Do a final review of your wedding checklist, and any other lists you have going

ON YOUR WEDDING DAY

  • Make sure you pause and appreciate your family, friends, and each other
  • Take a few minutes every so often to breathe and focus; smile at your friends, give hugs, be in the moment
  • GET MARRIED
  • Enjoy the Day, Relax & have a blast!!

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