Want to keep costs low? It may be brutal, but the best way to do it is to reduce your guest list. Decide whether to have separate locations for the ceremony and the reception, factoring in travel time between the two places. No need to talk specifics yet, but be sure that the people you hire are open to doing the shots that you want. Attend gigs of potential acts to see how they perform in front of audiences, then reserve your favorite. Veil shopping can be postponed for another two to three months. Create your personal page through a free provider such as weddingchannel. Note the date of the wedding, travel information, and accommodations.
Then send the link to invitees. Hire a calligrapher, if desired. Addressing cards is time-consuming, so you need to budget accordingly. Map out the ceremony and confirm that you have all the official documents for the wedding these vary by county and religion. Book portable toilets for outdoor events, extra chairs if you need them, lighting components, and so on. Florists can serve multiple clients on one day, which is why you can wait a little longer to engage one. Consider limos, minibuses, trolleys, and town cars.
Draw up a schedule of the event and slot in each component the cake-cutting, the first dance. Negotiate the cost and the menu. Ask the stationer for samples of the finished invitations and revise them to suit your needs. Some bakers require a long lead time. Attend several tastings before committing to any baker. Bring the shoes along to your first fitting so the tailor can choose the appropriate length for your gown.
Make a few appointments with local experts to try them out. Snap a photo at each so you can compare results. What should be playing when the wedding party is announced? To kick off the dancing? Keep a running list of what you want—and do not want—played. Determine what you would like to have read at the ceremony—and whom you wish to do the readings.
You can easily create these on your computer. Discuss specific shots, and walk through the locations to note spots that appeal to you. The rule of thumb: Mail invitations six to eight weeks before the ceremony, setting the RSVP cutoff at three weeks after the postmark date. Some have strict rules about how the photo should look. Arranging a night out with your girlfriends generally falls to the maid of honor.
If you are changing your name, order several copies. For peace of mind, you may want to schedule a fitting the week of your wedding. You can always cancel the appointment if you try on the dress then and it fits perfectly. Draw out table shapes on a layout of the room to help plan place settings. Write the names of female guests on pink sticky notes and the names of male guests on blue sticky notes so you can move people about without resketching the entire setting.
Choose someone to bustle your dress, someone to carry your things, someone to be in charge of gifts especially the enveloped sort , someone to hand out tips, and someone to be the point person for each vendor. Make an appontment for a manicure and a pedicure the day before the wedding. You might want to get a stress-relieving massage, too. Check Start a wedding folder or binder.
Check Work out your budget. Check Pick your wedding party. Check Start the guest list.
Ultimate Wedding Planning Checklist
Check Hire a planner, if desired. A planner will have relationships with—and insights about—vendors. Check Reserve your date and venues. Check Book your officiant. Check Research photographers, bands, florists, and caterers. Keep their contact information in your binder. Check Throw an engagement party, if you wish.
But remember that your invitees should be on your wedding guest list as well. Check Hire the photographer and the videographer. Check Book the entertainment. Check Purchase a dress. Check Reserve a block of hotel rooms for out-of-town guests. Pick three hotels at different price points close to the reception venue.
Check Launch a wedding website.
Check Select and purchase invitations. Check Start planning a honeymoon. Allow at least six months for the dresses to be ordered and sized. Use this website to promote your wedding date, travel info, accommodations, RSVP info, places you're registered, etc. Share this website with your potential guests!
Bridesmaids' Dresses - Shop with your bridesmaids and get their dresses ordered. Keep in mind that you might need up to 6 months for their dresses to be ordered and fitted. Prenup - Are you going to have a prenuptial agreement? If so, now's the time to take care of it. Counseling - Do you need to have pre-marriage counseling before the I Do day? If so, arrange for your counseling now. Officiant - Meet again with your chosen officiant. This is a great time to map out your ceremony as you'll want it - and coordinate which official documents you'll need to have with you on the wedding day.
Invitations - Select and purchase your invitations. Consider also the addressing - if you'd like professional calligraphy then add that into your budget. Save the Date - Send out your save the date cards or even a newsletter could be from your wedding website. Transportation - Consider what types of transportation you'll need for the wedding party and guests. You might need limos, trolleys, town cars, mini buses, etc.
Get them booked now.
Sixteen to Nine Months Before
Maybe you need portable toilets? If so, get them reserved now. Electrical - Are you planning creative lighting outdoors or a DJ in the middle of a field? Be sure to book someone to handle the electrical for you now. Day of Timeline - Start to detail the events as they'll happen on your actual wedding day. Ceremony start, cake cutting, first dance, etc.
FREE Wedding Planning Timeline Guideline and Checklist
Announcement - Place a wedding announcement in your local newspaper. Groomsmen - Get the tuxedos ordered for the groom and groomsmen. Fittings can come later. Decorations - Start finalizing your wedding decorations and favors. Wedding Cake - Time to pick the goodies. Visit some bakeries for tastings and samples. Don't forget a Groom's cake if you're having one. Rehearsal Dinner - Make arrangements for the date, time and location of your rehearsal dinner. Don't forget that you can negotiate the cost and menu. Calligraphy - Did you want professional calligraphy on your invitations?
Book a professional now. Invitations - Check on the wedding invitations, ask for a sample of your final piece or make sure they're on time. Bridal Shower - Provided you know about your shower, send your guest list to the coordinator. Consider how long you'll be on your feet. Do you want something stylish, comfortable or both? Once you've decided on your shoes, schedule your first dress fitting.
Go in for "test" appointments and take a photo from each so you can compare the results. Guest List - Finalize the list. Invitations - Drop off your invitations with the calligrapher or schedule an "invitation addressing" party with your close friends and family. Cake Accessories - Buy the cake knife, guest book, signing pen, toasting glasses, garter, etc. Gifts - Don't forget to take care of your parents, helpers and wedding attendants.
Choose and purchase their gifts now. Tuxedo Fittings - Get those guys in for their fittings! Honeymoon - Finalize or confirm your honeymoon arrangements now so there are no surprises. Vows - Are you writing your own wedding vows? If so, start working on them now, or work with your officiant on variations you feel comfortable with. Menu - Finalize your menu with the caterer. Wedding favors - Are you considering favors?
Maybe gift baskets for out-of-town guests? Consider something that represents you as couple or even your city or region. Get those items ordered now. Toasts - Who do you want to give toasts or make speeches at your wedding? Decide now and ask each person. Ceremony - Finalize the order of your ceremony. Also finalize any readings or special ceremonies that will take place and purchase any necessary accessories. Reception - Finalize the events that will take place at your reception, who will be speaking, etc. Make sure all those helping to run the event have the final list.
Share the Schedule - Since you've finalized your event schedule, send copies to all of your vendors so they can make sure that they're prepared to meet your timeline. License - Arrange time to go with your fiance to get the wedding license. Thank You - Write thank you notes for any gifts that have started showing up already. Name Change - If you're planning on changing your name, gather the necessary documents you'll need and complete what you can. Wedding Portrait - Have a formal wedding portrait taken, and a Bridal portrait.
This will give you a chance to test the comfort and fit of your dress and accessories - and you can display the pictures at your wedding. This will also give you a chance to meet with your photographer and finalize a shot list and timeline for what photos you want on your wedding day. Finalize Vendors - Meet with each vendor to finalize your choices and timelines. Make sure they fully understand your needs. Trade reliable contact names and numbers for any questions that might come up on the day of.
Wedding Room - Are you planning on spending your wedding night at a hotel? If so, reserve your room now. Bachelorette Party - Consider having a fun night out with your wedding party and schedule your party now! Gown Fitting - Schedule your final wedding gown fitting. If you discovered any issues during your wedding portrait, have those items taken care of at this time.
Undergarments - Time to purchase your undergarments for the day of, if you haven't already. Babysitter - Are you inviting a lot of guests who will have kids? Arrange for a reliable babysitter for the reception at this time. Vows - Finalize your wedding vows now. Payments - Confirm all final payment amounts with each vendor. Send out as many as possible right now. If payments need to happen the day of cut your checks and ask your coordinator or personal assistant to handle the vendor on your wedding day.
License - Confirm that you have your license in your possession or arrange to pick up. Rehearsal Dinner - Mail out the rehearsal dinner invitations and confirm final details. Bar - If you're having a bar at your reception, you should have a close to final head count by now. Purchase and plan accordingly.
Related The Wedding Reception Checklist (The Wedding Planning Checklist Series Book 4)
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