by admin on September 6, 2007

This timeline is specifically designed for a 4-6 month long engagement. Engagements less than six months require a significant amount of organization and contracting for services to be done as soon as possible after the date has been set.  Many vendors such as caterers and photographers, particularly the popular or good ones, are booked a year in advance.  Consider a wedding scheduled on an atypical day such as a Friday evening or a Sunday afternoon to get a greater variety of vendors to choose from.  Also, dress shop as soon as possible since many dresses require weeks or even months when ordered and to have time for alterations.

Please note that this timeline is only a suggestion.   For a printable PDF version of this Timeline, click HERE.

For a detailed checklist for managing people and details, check out this custom list

5 to 6 months before your wedding

____ Read church wedding policies
____ Wedding date and time reserved
____ Arrange and confirm with officiating pastor his ability to perform wedding
____ Set dates and times for pre-marital counseling
____Select and reserve your ceremony site
____ Select and reserve your reception site
____ Envision the theme and atmosphere of your wedding: Formal or casual? Day or evening? 
___ Determine your preliminary budget. Be prepared for the reality that most people exceed their estimated wedding budget by 25%
____Decide who’s paying for the wedding, or who’s going to contribute.  
____ Immediately start wedding gown shopping
____ Start your guest list
____Hire a wedding consultant, if you’re using one
____Choose bridesmaids, groomsmen, and ushers
____ Shop for bridesmaids dresses.  If you need to order them, do this soon
____ Choose men’s attire and reserve tuxedos if necessary
____Meet and then contract with florist
____ Meet and then contract with caterer
____ Meet and then contract with photographer/videographer
____Book your musicians and/or DJ for both ceremony and reception
____ Select your wedding cake designer, and order your wedding cake
____ Arrange with Sound Technician to attend and work sound board
____ Arrange for a tasting with your caterer
____ Reserve blocks of hotel rooms for out of town guests and wedding party
____Parents meet parents.  Traditionally the groom’s parents make the first move to introduce themselves and extend the invitation to meet.  However, if they do not do this, parents of bride need not stand on ceremony waiting but can make the first move.  
____ Announce your engagement– either in the newspaper, on a wedding website with an email sent out to all your friends, or in the most traditional way, with mailed engagement announcements

2 to 4 months before your wedding

____ Finalize guest list
____Send save-the-date announcements or call out of town guests to let them know the final date, time, and location of the wedding.
____Meet with florist and choose arrangements, corsages, boutonnieres, bouquets
____Plan your honeymoon
____If you’re making your own favors, start doing so now.
____If you’re purchasing favors, do so now
____Meet with wedding cake designers or bakers and arrange for a tasting
____Order groom’s cake
____Start planning your rehearsal dinner. Give the host(s) your guest list
____If your caterer isn’t doing it for you, reserve any rental equipment you’ll need, including dishes, tables, chairs, linens, tents
____Register for gifts
____ Meet with musicians to select music for ceremony (prelude, processional, worship, recessional, postlude)

6 weeks to 2 months before your wedding

____ Mail your invitations 6 weeks prior to wedding date
____ Arrange transportation
____Purchase your wedding rings
____Buy gifts for your wedding party, parents, and each other
____If you’re changing into “going away outfits” before you leave the reception, purchase those now
____ Choose a greeter/guest book attendants
____Arrange who will hand out programs, readers 
____ Apply for your marriage license (good for 60 days)

4 to 6 weeks before your wedding

____Give a list of “important shots” to your wedding photographer
____Discuss your menu with your caterer
____Meet with your officiant to discuss the order of ceremony service
____Write your vows
____Attend any wedding showers
____Think about your hair and makeup – If you’re doing your own, try out hairstyles, purchase any extra makeup, think about having a “makeover party” with your girlfriends.
____Book your hairstylist and/or makeup artist, if you’re using them. Meet with each of them to experiment with styles and colors
____Schedule your wedding rehearsal and rehearsal dinner
____If your state requires it, make blood test appointments
____Plan bridesmaids’ luncheon
____ Choose ceremony readings
____Buy guest registration book, cake knife, champagne toasting glasses
____ Arrange childcare for ceremony (for out of town guests only)

4 weeks to 1 week before your wedding

____ Have your final gown fitting at least 2 weeks before wedding. It’s helpful to have a bridesmaid with you to learn how to bustle your train and fasten any tricky buttons (and help you go to the bathroom, if you’ve got a big dress!)
____Check with your bridesmaids and groomsmen to make sure they’ve gotten their attire
____ Decide on reception order of events (toasts, dancing, cakecutting, food service, introductions, etc)
____ Have final meeting with officiating pastor to go over specifics of the wedding day
____ Meet with DJ to finalize music selections for reception; if he/she is also the Master of Ceremonies, give him/her the reception order as well as list of names of wedding party and the order they are to be introduced
____ If DJ is not the MC, select a confident, articulate person to do this job and give the appropriate information on reception events
____Contact your vendors (caterer, officiant, cake baker, photographer, videographer, florist, musicians, transportation, hotels) to confirm date, arrival and delivery times.
____ Give coordinator all copies of vendor contracts
____Write and print your wedding program at least one week prior to wedding.
____Create welcome baskets for out-of-town guests; arrange for someone to deliver to hotels the day before the wedding
____Send change-of-address information to post office
____Write thank you notes as you receive gifts
____ Host bridesmaids luncheon
____ Create and finalize “responsibility cards”  (what are these things?) for all members of the wedding party, family members, all significant volunteers. These cards detail what each person’s responsibilities are the day of the wedding such as lighting candles, which car they are riding in to ceremony/reception, time and location of rehearsal and dinner, any after reception “jobs” such as retrieving the groom’s tuxedo and returning it to store, removing the bride’s wedding gown, putting gifts in a specific car. Give these cards no later than 1 week before the wedding and be sure to give a master copy to your coordinator so she can answer any questions if someone forgets their card, etc.

One week ahead  (Whee!  It’s almost here!)

____ Finalize reception guest seating chart , and write place cards
____Give your final head count to your caterer
____Try on your wedding shoes, and wear them on carpeted surfaces around the house
____Arrange for a plant waterer/pet sitter/babysitter while you are on your honeymoon
____Pick up wedding gown from seamstress
____Make sure you have panty hose (2 pairs) and all necessary foundation garments for wedding
____Attend your bachelor/bachelorette parties, if you’re having them
____Send your travel plans and contact information to a family member and your house sitter (in case of emergency)
____ Last minute confirmation of details with all vendors
____Send attendants and family notification of rehearsal time and location
____ Pack for honeymoon
____ Arrange for someone to purchase communion elements and bring to ceremony. Same person should be responsible for chalice and serving plate, both bringing it and removing it after the ceremony
____ Bride submits name change form to Social Security Administration
____If the bride is changing her surname to her husband’s, complete all change of name documentation on bills, utilities, credit cards, driver’s license
____ Pay all appropriate building use fees for church to church office

The day before your wedding

____Do something to relax and enjoy the company of your out-of-town friends
____Confirm transportation
____Have a manicure and pedicure
____Rehearse ceremony
____ Print out readings and give to readers at rehearsal
____ Pay all appropriate honorariums to officiant, sound technician, coordinator and any others at rehearsal
____Attend rehearsal dinner
____Give your wedding party gifts at dinner
____Make sure you have the marriage license and give it the pastor

Day of Wedding

____ In the midst of the excitement, be sure to eat
____ Have fun! Everything has been planned and now is the time to relax and let people do their jobs.

After the Honeymoon

_____ Promptly write any and all thank you notes for wedding gifts and services people gave to make your wedding day special

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