Planning Timeline Calendar
A Step-by-Step Wedding Planner!
By looking at each step one at a time, you will be able to break down the planning process into easy manageable pieces as opposed to having a huge grey area of unfinished tasks hanging over your head for months. Even Bridal Consultants have lists that they refer to when planning weddings, to make sure they cover all the bases. Certainly don't feel bound to the timeline of this Calendar. Your time line may vary depending on the date of your wedding.
12 to 24 months before
If at all possible, it would be ideal to accomplish these steps 12 months or earlier. If you're looking at 12 months or sooner, it simply means that you'll need to be running through these steps a bit faster!
Announce Your Engagement. This is your moment to shout it from the roof tops!! Tell your family (parents first), friends, and co-workers. Then show off the rock, because you know you're dying to...
Select a Date & Back-drop For Your Wedding. You may want to pick your favourite season (keeping in mind that it could rule out the possibility of an outdoor wedding), consider the schedules of family and friends who you definitely want to attend or be a part of the special day, decide whether you picture yourself in a horse-drawn carriage in the snow or in the sun. Even your favourite flower may have a bit of control over your date, because it will be less expensive if it is in season when you marry. This is the time to sit down with your soon-to-be-hubby and discuss what you see in the big picture. These decisions or thoughts will definitely come into play when discussing budget as well, so take notes girls.
The BIG Picture:
Determine the Type of Wedding You Want.
Going hand in hand with choosing your wedding date, you will want to decide on several of the major elements of your wedding. Location, formality, day, night, size, indoor, outdoor, number of guests... This is another major part of that big picture mentioned above. These details will affect all parts of your wedding - from your budget to the vendors you include to the location. Best idea is to sit back, relax with a glass of wine and your favourite man, and talk details. Picture your perfect wedding, then pick out which parts of that picture are the most important to you. Write them down. Afterward, you'll see which parts of it are realistic and which parts you can do without. We're getting to that part...
Hire a Professional Wedding Consultant?
You'll So Thank Yourself For it Later.
While this web site, many of your vendors, and probably your mom/friends/family will be able to help you plan all of the details, wedding consultants can often make life in general easier. Wedding consultants can either help plan the entire event or often just be hired to attend the day of the wedding. They can make sure that everything goes as planned, bring bobby-pins for hair crises and hair spray for nylon runs, and, well, basically deal with any of the problems that may arise - and trust us, there are always problems. The earlier you hire a consultant, the more of these steps he or she can help you with. Otherwise, bookmark this site and email for advice when you're stuck. Check out local wedding consultants!
Prepare to Delegate!
If you don't hire a consultant or it just isn't in the budget, your second option is to put some of your most trusted friend or family member in charge of these duties (as seen above). Handling everything single-handedly is not possible. Picture yourself running around in two inch heels, wearing a ten pound gown with a twenty foot train sporting hair spray and bobby-pins... If that's not enough to make the delegation of tasks to friends OR the hiring of a consultant your number one priority, we don't know what is!
The Budget. (cue music from Nightmare on Elm Street)
Determining your budget and how expenses will be shared is a scary thought, but it doesn't have to be. Simply sit down with your man and look at how much you think you can save over the months leading up to the wedding. Check out out Best Guesstimate Savings Chart for a good start. Then look at how much you already have. Then, the last step is sitting down with parents and discuss the wedding plans you're thinking of so that you can open the discussion of their possible contributions. In this day and age, the old traditions of who pays for what are very seldom upheld, so there is no guarantee that parents will be able to contribute a lot or at all. Once you have added up all of these amounts, you have your budget! (cue big sigh of relief) From here on in, its just a matter of details. The brand new Budgeter giving basic price ranges for absolutely everything, so you can use this as a rule of thumb for planning your wedding. At this time, find or make a record-keeping book to record payments made and balances due as your get closer to the Wedding Day.
The Guest List.
If your family goes up in arms about anything, it may end up being about this. The best way to avoid problems, is to take everyone's suggestions and then break it down into a number that your budget and sanity can handle. Collect Lists from Everyone: Bride, Groom, Bride’s Family, Groom’s Family. Then add a little perspective:
• Decide if you want to include any children among the guests
• Choose who must be invited
• Choose who should be invited
• Choose who it would be nice to invite
Make Some BIG Decisions. Do a Little Shoppin'.
• Decide On, select and reserve ceremony site
• Select and reserve your officiant
• Select and reserve reception site
• Select and order your bridal gown and headpiece
• Determine your colour scheme
• Select and book photographer
• Select maid of honour, best man, bridesmaids and ushers (approximately one usher for every 50 guests)
Announce your Engagement in the Newspaper.
Your photographer often includes an engagement photo in the package you've selected. You can use this professional shot or simply choose a favourite candid pic from the your personal photo album.
• Buy A Calendar or Planner to write down all important activities: showers, luncheons, parties, get-togethers, etc.
• If ceremony or reception is at home, arrange for home or garden improvements as needed.
• Order passport, visa or birth certificate, if needed for your honeymoon or marriage license.
6 to 12 months before
• Select flower girl and ring bearer (consider closeness to the family, age, maturity, shyness and, of course, cuteness!)
• Decide (WITH them, not for them) on the individual responsibilities of each member of the wedding party and then make sure everyone is clear on the final decisions of who does what.
• Reserve wedding night bridal suite in a hotel. It is suggested that you choose a separate hotel or floor from traveling wedding guests so that you are undisturbed. You may want to choose one with brunch facilities if you plan to meet up with all guests for breakfast before leaving on your Honeymoon. Its a great way to say Thank You and to relax without a tight itinerary. No matter how hard you try, you may end up missing some of the guests during the actual wedding. This is a great way to make up for that.
• Select attendants’ dresses, shoes and accessories
• Select flower girl’s dress, shoes and accessories
• Select and book caterer, if needed
• Select and book ceremony musicians (for ideas on music selection - click here)
• Select and book reception musicians or DJ (for ideas on music selection - click here)
• Schedule fittings and delivery dates for yourself, attendants, flower girl and ring bearer
• Select and book videographer
• Select and book florist and decorator
• Register at your favourite store for wedding gifts.
4 to 6 months before
• Bride and Groom get to start shopping for each other’s wedding gifts
• Reserve rental items needed for ceremony & reception
• Finalize guest list
• Select and order wedding stationary: invitations, announcements, and additional stationary such as thank-you notes, wedding programs, and seating cards
• Set date, time and location for your rehearsal dinner
• Arrange accommodations for your out-of-town guests - by booking a group of rooms in a hotel, you can usually get a group discount, making it less expensive for your guests
• Start planning your honeymoon
• Purchase shoes & accessories
• Order party favours
2 to 4 months before
• Select bakery and order wedding cake
• Address invitations
• Select and order room decorations
• Purchase honeymoon attire & luggage
• Select and book transportation for wedding day
• Check marriage license requirements
• Shop for wedding rings and engrave them
• If you're planning something cosmetically drastic such as having your teeth bleached, cutting your hair or changing it's colour, now is the time. This also gives you lots of time to fix anything you wish you hadn't done!
• Consider writing a will and/or prenuptial agreement
• Plan activities for your out-of-town guests both before and after the wedding
• Purchase gifts for wedding attendants
• Begin to break in your shoes
6 to 8 weeks before
• Mail invitations. Include accommodation choices and a map to assist guests in finding the ceremony and reception sites
• Maintain a record of RSVP’s and all gifts received. Send thank you notes upon receipt of gifts
• Determine hair style and makeup
• Schedule to have your hair, make-up and nails done the day of the wedding, check out local spas
• Finalize shopping for wedding day accessories such as toasting glasses, ring pillow, guest book, etc.
• Set up an area or a table in your home to display gifts as you receive them
• Check your local newspapers for wedding announcement requirements
• Have your formal wedding portrait taken
• Send wedding announcement & photograph to your local newspaper
• Select and reserve wedding attire for groom, ushers, fathers and ring bearer
• Obtain marriage license
• Plan luncheon or dinner with bridesmaids. Give them their gifts at that time or at the rehearsal dinner
• Find "something old, something new, something borrowed, something blue and a six pence (or shiny penny) for your shoe"
• Finalize your menu, beverage and alcohol order
2 to 6 weeks before
• Confirm ceremony details with your officiant
• Arrange final fitting of bridesmaids’ dresses
• Have final fitting of your gown and headpiece
• Finalize rehearsal dinner plans; arrange seating and write names on place cards, if desired
• Make final floral selections at your florist and decorator
• Make a detailed timeline for your wedding party
• Make a detailed timeline for your service providers
• Confirm details with all service providers, including attire. Give them a copy of your wedding timeline
• Start packing for your honeymoon
• Finalize addressing and stamping announcements
• Decide if you want a formal receiving line. If so, determine when and where to form the line
• Contact guests who have not responded
• Pick up rings and check for fit
• Meet with photographer and confirm special photos you want
• Meet with videographer and confirm special events or people you want videotaped
• Meet with musicians and confirm music to be played during special events such as first dance
• Continue writing thank-you notes as gifts arrive
• Remind bridesmaids and ushers of when and where to pick up their wedding attire
• Purchase the lipstick, nail polish and any other accessories you want your bridesmaids to wear
• Determine ceremony seating for special guests. Give a list to the ushers
• Plan reception room layout and seating with your reception site manager or caterer. Write names on place cards for arranged seating
The week before the wedding
• Pick up wedding attire and make sure that everything fits
• Do final guest count and notify your caterer or reception site manager
• Gather everything you will need for the rehearsal and wedding day
• Arrange for someone to drive the getaway car or ensure other transportation is in place
• Review the schedule of events and last minute arrangements with your service providers
• Confirm your honeymoon reservations and accommodations. Pick up tickets and travelers cheques
• Finish packing for the honeymoon
• Familiarize yourself with guests’ names. It will help during the receiving line and reception
• Have someone collect your mail and newspaper, water plants and take care of pets while you are away on you honeymoon
The day before the wedding
• Review list of things to bring to the rehearsal
• Put suitcases in getaway car
• Give bridesmaids the lipstick, nail polish and accessories you want them to wear for the wedding
• Give best man the officiant’s fee and any other cheques for service providers to be delivered the day of the wedding
• Arrange for someone to bring accessories such as flower basket, ring pillow, guest book & pen, toasting glasses, cake cutting knife and napkins to the ceremony and reception
• Arrange for someone to mail announcements the day after the wedding
• Arrange for someone to return rental items such as tuxedos and cake pillars after the wedding
• Provide each member of your wedding party with a detailed schedule of events of the wedding day
• Review ceremony seating with the ushers theweddingday!
• Review list of things to bring to the ceremony
• Give the groom’s ring to the maid of honour, and give the bride’s ring to the best man
• Simply follow your schedule of events
• Relax and enjoy your wedding!