Recently got engaged? Wondering when to send save-the-dates or meet with your florist? Follow this helpful planning calendar with detailed timelines and recommendations from local wedding planning firm Ashley Baber Weddings. For a printable PDF version, click here.
Nine to Twelve Months Before
❑ Set an initial budget. Fill out budget spreadsheet to determine how much you have to spend on each item and vendor for your wedding.
❑ Select a wedding date and time.
❑ Announce your engagement in the newspaper.
❑ Determine the type of wedding you want (day/night, indoor/outdoor, formal/casual).
❑ CORE VENDOR. Research availability of reception locations. Book reception location.
❑ Find a caterer if not already provided by the reception facility.
❑ Research availability of ceremony locations, if not included with your reception site. Select and book your ceremony location. If it is a church, determine if pre-marital counseling is required.
❑ Determine who will officiate at the ceremony, if not provided with the ceremony location. Again, determine if your officiant has specific requirements (such as pre-marital counseling) prior to marrying you.
❑ Research and decide upon a color palette, theme or overall look for your wedding.
❑ Determine how many guests you wish to invite.
❑ Block hotel rooms for out-of-town guests. Book your suite for the night of your wedding.
❑ CORE VENDOR: Decide if you would like a band or a DJ (see which fits the budget). Start interviewing recommended vendors.
❑ Start researching bridal gowns. Purchase bridal gown.
❑ Start to research the groom’s formal wear/tuxedo.
❑ Select your attendants, if you plan on having any. Start to research bridesmaids’ dresses and formal wear for groomsmen.
❑ Start to research wedding stationery. Decide if you will send save-the-dates. Select and order invitations and stationery.
❑ CORE VENDOR: Compare and find a photographer. Book an engagement photo session if you want one.
❑ Compare and find a videographer (If desired).
❑ Meet with florists. Choose a florist who fits your style and budget.
❑ Create a bridal registry, and/or an engagement registry.
Six to Nine Months Before
❑ Start compiling the guest list (inform your families to do the same).
❑ Purchase/rent the groom’s tuxedo. Most tuxedo rental companies will offer the groom’s tuxedo rental for free with the rental of a certain number of groomsmen’s tuxedos.
❑ Arrange for your groomsmen to be measured and reserve the tuxedos. ABW Tip: If your groomsmen do not live close to the formal wear shop you choose, tell them to go to a local shop – most shops will measure them as a courtesy.
❑ Have bridesmaids get measured and purchase their gowns. ABW Tip: All bridesmaid gowns must be ordered from the same store at the same time to ensure the dye lot (color of the gowns) is the same.
❑ Shop for headpiece, veil, and other bridal accessories.
❑ Start planning for honeymoon. Research possible destinations (ie: ensure it is not hurricane season where you would like to go). Need help? Ashley Baber Weddings can recommend a travel concierge.
❑ Select hair and make-up professionals. ABW Tips: Set appointment for a trial run roughly two months from the wedding date. Bring pictures of hair and make-up styles you like to the trial, as well as a camera to take pictures of the final look.
❑ Taste and order the wedding cake, if not provided by the caterer or reception venue.
❑ The parents of the groom should begin to arrange the rehearsal dinner, and reserve a restaurant or make other arrangements.
❑ Arrange for exit transportation for the wedding. ABW Tip: For an affordable option, consider Town Car point-to-point service for around $100.
❑ Determine if you will need any additional vendors for chairs, linens, china, etc. If so, select vendors and place the order for the items needed.
Four to Six Months Before
❑ Plan the bridesmaids’ luncheon and any other parties.
❑ Shop for and purchase wedding rings.
❑ If you plan to exchange wedding gifts with each other, purchase wedding gifts.
Two to Four Months Before
❑ Purchase wedding accessories such as guest book, ring bearer pillow, flower girl basket, cake knives, toasting glasses and garter (if applicable).
❑ Determine if you plan to have welcome bags for your out of town guests staying in hotels. If so, decide what you would like to be in the bags. Start purchasing what you would like to go in the welcome bags (non-perishable items) as well as the bags themselves.
❑ Confirm all men’s attire has been ordered.
❑ Determine ceremony details with officiant. Will you have any readers of soloists? Determine your resource for designing and printing the programs for the ceremony.
❑ Finalize honeymoon details and make the necessary reservations. Shop for honeymoon clothing. Confirm whether or not you need a passport to travel. If you do, ensure your passport is up to date and that you know where it is.
❑ Finalize details with vendors:
❑ Get “must-take” photo list to photographer.
❑ Decide on music for ceremony (prelude, processionals, recessional, etc.) and reception (first dance, father-daughter / mother-son dance, last dance, etc.) with musicians.
❑ Make your final menu choices with the caterer (approximately eight weeks before the wedding)
Six to Eight Weeks Before
❑ Start alterations on your wedding gown. ABW Tips: If you need an alterations professional, ABW highly recommends Rodica Lazarian: 480 E Paces Ferry Road NE #9, Atlanta, GA 30305, 404-240- 0109. For your first fitting, you will need to bring the shoes you will wear on your wedding day, as well as your undergarments. If you are having trouble finding the right undergarments, visit Intimacy at Phipps Plaza (myintimacy.com).
❑ Select gifts for your attendants.
❑ Finalize room diagram and seating plan for reception with planner and venue/catering staff. If you are having assigned seating, discuss escort cards with your stationer.
❑ Make sure all bridesmaids’ and mothers’ attire has been fitted.
Four to Six Weeks Before
❑ Contact the county clerk’s office in the county you will be married in to get your marriage license.
❑ Schedule a final fitting for your gown. Determine who will pick up your gown and when it will be picked up. ABW Tip: Have your gown pressed after the final alterations (Inquire about pressing with your bridal salon or alterations professional).
❑ If you plan to give a toast the night of your rehearsal dinner or wedding, write out those toasts and/ or practice them. If you would like anyone else to give a toast (father of the bride, father of the groom, best man, maid of honor, etc.), let them know so that they can be prepared. Let your coordinator and DJ/musician know who will be giving toasts.
❑ Mail invitations and announcements.
❑ Have a plan to have all of your luggage for your honeymoon in your suite the morning of the wedding. If you need to have transportation from your hotel to the airport, be sure you have a car parked at the hotel or have arranged for transportation through your hotel.
Two Weeks Before
❑ Determine who will be responsible for wedding gifts after the wedding. Let them know they are responsible. Give that person’s name to your coordinator.
❑ Call any guests you have not received an RSVP from that you thought would be in attendance to confirm numbers.
❑ Finalize seating arrangements and complete escort cards, if applicable.
❑ Get your marriage license if you have not already done so. Have it ready to give to the officiant or coordinator at the rehearsal.
One Week Before
❑ Make sure all wedding attire fits. ABW Tip: Be sure all groomsmen try on their entire tuxedo (shoes, shirts – everything!) when picking up rentals.
❑ Reconfirm your honeymoon reservations. Ensure you have any necessary plane tickets, passports, travelers checks, etc. Pack for the honeymoon.
❑ Review and confirm details, including arrival times on the day of the wedding, with all vendors (or ensure your coordinator will do so).
❑ Give a final head count to the caterer. Confirm if you will need any children’s meals.
❑ Finalize and confirm your rehearsal dinner and bridesmaids luncheon arrangements or other plans.
One Day Before
❑ If you plan on having your nails or any spa treatments, have them done the week or day before the wedding, as it is not likely there will be time for such services on the day of your wedding.
❑ Review and rehearse all the details of your wedding with immediate family and attendants. ABW Tip: Limit the people attending the rehearsal to those who are in the wedding to streamline the process.
❑ Relax and enjoy your time with your friends and family. Head to bed early.
The Big Day
❑ Be sure you AND your attendants eat properly (protein, carbohydrates and a little sugar; limit alcohol, LOTS of water) throughout the day.
❑ Follow the timeline as established by your coordinator.
❑ Enjoy your wonderful wedding and cherish each and every moment!