A Bride’s Timeline
(or what do I do when????)
First Things First ~ after you become engaged, you need to start thinking about a few “preliminary” details regarding your wedding. One of the main things to consider is a budget! No one will be happy if they are still paying wedding expenses two years down the road ~ it is not necessary to “keep up with the Joneses”. Your guests will remember how beautiful you looked long after they’ve forgotten the food from the reception! This is also a good time to decide upon and confirm the ceremony date, time and place, as well as the reception location. You should also begin choosing your attendants as soon as possible, in case someone would have to make arrangements from out of town. Find a wedding planner or consultant who can help you with all the details, and let them do some of the “leg work” for you. Begin to make up a guest list, choose and order your dress and accessories, call and interview potential caterers, florists, photographers and any other professionals who will be involved in your wedding. Begin to think about your honeymoon, ask friends for ideas, check out magazines and travel books, then use the internet to find the best deals for the area you are considering.
Secondly, talk with the minister or officiant who will be presiding over your ceremony to see if there are premarital classes you need to attend. Go ahead and register for gifts at your favorite places, and think about where you will be living after your married, check out apartments or consider buying a house.
Now We’re Getting Somewhere ~ Somewhere around 5 or 6 months prior to the ceremony, you should start putting down your deposits and sign contracts for the various services you have enlisted for your wedding and reception. You should have decided upon bridesmaids dresses (and any accessories) and put in the order, along with the dress for the flower girl. Make the final arrangements for the honeymoon and make sure your passport is current, if you will be traveling. Start thinking about the rehearsal dinner and what it will involve.
Your Order, Please ~ When you get about 3 or 4 months away, you want to call and verify that everything has been ordered. This means everything -- from the bridal gown, formalwear for the groom and groomsmen, mother’s dresses, and the invitations. If you have the rings, and they need to be engraved, go ahead and get that taken care of before it gets too late. Check with the city office to see what medical tests may be required to obtain a marriage license. If guests need directions to the wedding or reception, design a basic map to distribute.
It’s Just Around the Corner! Once you get to six weeks to two months away, you want to make sure you have finalized everything with caterer, photographer, reception site, florist, etc. Make sure you have completed a gift registry, and set up a final fitting for your wedding gown. Go shopping for gifts for the wedding party, and any accessories you have not already purchased for the honeymoon or wedding. Set up cake tastings and order your wedding cake once you have decided on your favorite. Double check addresses for invitations and put them in the mail. Make sure wedding party has been properly fitted for their dresses and tuexdos. Decide on the reception menu, advise everyone about the rehearsal dinner who will need to be present, and call the photographer to go over final information. If you are putting an announcement in the paper beforehand, go ahead and send it off.
No ~ We’re Really Not Running Out of Time
Okay, it’s less than 2 weeks to go, and all of the sudden you feel like you’ve got a million things to do! Relax, everyone feels like this! Most of the hard work is behind you! It’s time to pick up the gown and make sure everything fits properly, pick up the rings, decide upon music selections (if you already haven’t), get necessary medical tests and marriage license taken care of, and don’t forget to give final head count to reception site and/or caterer. Another thing you might want to try is a “practice run” with your makeup and hairstyle, especially if you plan to do it on your own. Make sure wedding party knows when to pick up their formal wear (and they try it own before your wedding day). Make sure everyone knows when they are supposed to arrive at the church (or other site) and give out a map with directions, if necessary. Make arrangements for your mail and pay bills that might become due while you’re on your honeymoon. Don’t forget to SMILE…..or to report your name change to Social Security after you are married.