The Engagement12 Month Countdown

Twelve months (or more) ahead

  • Announce your engagement
  • Discuss with your fiance/fiancee the wedding you’ve imagined
  • Hire a wedding planner to handle the stressful details. This will ease many of your concerns about your wedding.
  • Establish a tentative wedding budget (discuss with all who will be contributing)
  • Set a wedding date or at least a season (keeping the actual date open can be beneficial when selecting a site)
  • Compile an initial guest list
  • Begin visiting ceremony and reception locations. Go on deposit to reserve as soon as you’ve made your decision (This will also determine the date and time of your wedding)

Eleven months ahead

  • Start shopping and find the perfect wedding gown and accessories
  • Choose your attendants
  • Shop together for your wedding rings (if you haven’t already bought them)

Ten months ahead

  • Interview and contract your photographer and videographer
  • Decide your color scheme and theme
  • Choose your bridesmaids’ and flower girls dresses
  • Discuss bridal apparel selections with mothers and assist them with selections

Nine months ahead

  • Select a caterer
  • Select clergy or officiant and determine any pre-marital counseling requirements
  • Finalize wedding budget with all contributing people and wedding coordinator
  • Select florist and decorator
  • Start a health and fitness program together – it helps relieve stress and gets you looking your best for you wedding day

Eight months ahead

  • Select musicians/entertainment for ceremony and reception
  • Plan food tasting session with caterer
  • Confirm, place deposits and review contracts with the wedding professionals whom you wish to engage
  • Start collecting wedding accessories as your find the perfect ones (ring pillow, toasting goblets, cake knife, guest book, cake top, candles)

Seven months ahead

  • Select designs of wedding stationary and place orders for invitations, announcements and accessories
  • Plan cake tastings and select and place deposit on a bakery
  • Choose and order wedding day transportation

Six months aheadPhoto by True Love Photo

  • Complete your wedding registry at a retail store
  • Select accommodations and transportation for out-of-town guests
  • Finalize your guest list
  • Send out “Save this date” letters and travel information to guests that will need to make travel plans
  • Finalize your reception menu
  • Order any additional rental items (linens, china, furniture, decor)
  • Order grooms, groomsmen and ring bearer attire – tuxedos
  • Visit your travel agent and make your honeymoon plans
  • Have engagement or bridal portraits taken and ready two weeks before the wedding date

Five months ahead

  • Select calligrapher
  • Select liquor caterer, selections and delivery (if necessary)
  • If giving a wedding souvenir to guests, choose favor and order
  • Bride – Select hair and makeup artist and schedule trial run

Four months ahead

  • Write any personal vows to be included in your ceremony
  • Plan and arrange your rehearsal dinner
  • Inform your employer that you will be requesting time-off for the wedding and honeymoon
  • Schedule wedding dress fitting
  • Consider preservation of bridal bouquet and wedding gown and select preservation specialist
  • Finalize your theme and decorations with decorator and florist
  • If your honeymoon is abroad, make sure you have necessary visas, vaccinations and passports
  • Collect addresses and address invitation envelopes

Three months ahead

  • Meet with your officiant to discuss wedding ceremony and vows
  • Select attendants to be in charge of the guest book, gifts and programs
  • Select and purchase gifts for your wedding party and each other
  • Choose your music for ceremony and reception and inform musicians/dj
  • Purchase postage stamps and prepare invitations for mailing
  • Confirm honeymoon plans
  • Make appointments for wedding day (massage, manicure, pedicure, hair and makeup)

Two months ahead

  • Get your marriage license and make sure it is in order
  • Send invitations to guests and wedding party (6 weeks in advance)
  • Record gifts as received and send thank-you notes as gifts arrive
  • Organize gathering for wedding party (bridesmaid luncheon, groomsmen night, etc.)
  • Purchase any other wedding accessories (ring pillow, toasting goblets, cake knife, cake top, guest book and pen, candles, garter, under garments, jewelry)
  • Have your final gown fitting and “break in” your wedding shoes
  • Arrange for your wedding party to have final fittings
  • Pick up wedding rings from jeweler and ensure correct size and inscriptions
  • Prepare list for photographer/videographer of specific special pictures, events or people you would like featured
  • Purchase disposable cameras (if needed)

One month ahead

  • Organize seating plan for ceremony (front rows) and reception
  • Make placecards (if necessary)
  • Prepare announcements
  • Contact your guests who have yet to respond to your invitation
  • Have your bachelor (stag night)or bridal shower if you are game
  • Create program, wedding schedule, and movement chart for the wedding day
  • Handle legal matters (name change, social security, driver’s license, insurance, bank accounts)

Two weeks ahead

  • Place your wedding announcement in the newspaper
  • Contact all service providers and confirm date, time, locations and expectations
  • Pick up wedding gown and bridemaids’ dresses
  • Present wedding party with gifts at gathering (bridesmaids’ luncheon)
  • Inform caterer/reception venue of final guest count and confirm rehearsal
  • Finalize rehearsal dinner
  • Confirm tuxedo rental
  • Assign someone to transport wedding gift from reception to home
  • Pack for the honeymoon – confirm hotels and flights
  • Ensure you have all the proper travel documents needed
  • Make sure all wedding attire fits properly
  • Pack all items to be taken to ceremony and reception site (Two separate marked boxes -reception/ceremony)
  • Prepare emergency kit for the wedding day (aspirin, nylons, tape, safety pins, etc.)

The Day Before

  • Send announcements
  • Get massage, manicure and pedicure
  • Attend your wedding ceremony rehearsal and dinner
  • Remind wedding party of time and location of pre-wedding photography
  • Give any final payments to responsible person for delivery on the wedding day (coordinator)
  • Remain calm, try to relax and get a good night of sleep

The Big Day

  • Give yourself plenty of time
  • Have hair and makeup done
  • Eat regular meals
  • Make sure marriage license, wedding rings, and accessories go to ceremony and reception locations
  • Take a deep breath, relax and remember to smile (this is fun!)

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