The following timeline is just a guideline. Allow yourself time to spare to compensate for the unexpected delays.
It is imperative that you have an organized system.
This can be a folder, binder, shoebox, etc. Keep all your receipts.
[for any disputed claims.]
Note: Keeping your receipts as a momento is a nice idea. When your own children are planning their weddings you will be able to share some humourous and touching moments as well as compare the prices and traditions.
Note: You can hire a wedding consultant to handle many of the details for you.
Start six to twelve months in advance.Considerations:
Putting a wedding together in six months may not guarantee your first choice in all vendor catagories, (esp. if you are renting a hall for your reception. Some are booked almost two years in advance!!!) If you are particular on your choice of vendors, start earlier, it will save you frustration if you have time to spare.
- How much am I willing to spend on this wedding? [Consider others who are sharing in your wedding expenses.]
- How formal do I want the wedding to be?
- How many attendants do I want to be in the wedding party?
When selecting vendors, ask a few of your married friends who they hired for their wedding and why. Were they were satisfied with the services or products?. Every business will tell you they do a great job but you don't need any "surprises" at the wedding ceremony or the reception so ask for references and then decide what you want to do for your own wedding. Remember - this is your wedding and all final decisions should be made by you and your fiance.
- Set a wedding date
- Reserve your ceremony site and talk to the clergy or other officiant. [Some require pre-marital counseling]
- Reserve your reception location. Pay a deposit.
- Select and reserve your caterer. Pay a deposit.
- Select a photographer and (if desired) a videographer. Pay a deposit.
- Select a florist. Pay a deposit.
- Book musicians for the ceremony. Pay a deposit.
Many times this honor is given to talented friends of the family.
Another possibility, (but please -only for the truely talently), is to tape in advance the bride and groom singing a love song together ...or participants in the wedding party singing who may not be able to keep their composure if asked to sing at the wedding ceremony.
- Book entertainment for the reception. This can be a live band, a DJ, kararoke, music on CD's, or other tasteful entertainment.
Pay a deposit.
- Ask your friends to be in your wedding party. Be considerate of the costs when you select their apparrel unless you are planning to pay for their rentals and gowns.
Six to nine months before the wedding:
Shop for and order the wedding gown.
If you are unusually fussy, better start before six months.
Note: Don't let them order an over-sized gown. I've heard of shops that will do this to ensure they can get more money in alteration fees.
Four months before the wedding:
Order your invitations, Thank you's, napkins, decorations and paper supplies.
Three months before the wedding:
Order the wedding cake and the groom's cake.
Select the tuxedos or other formal wear for the men in the wedding.
Make reservations for your honeymoon.
Note: If you have chosen a popular month, you might consider honeymoon reservations nearer to six months before the wedding.
Two months to six weeks before the wedding:
Re-confirm the time and arrangements for the rehearsal.
Make reservations for the rehearsal dinner.
Arrange for special transportation on the wedding day.
Purchase small "thank you gifts" for the members in your wedding party.
A day or two before the wedding
Rehearsal and Rehearsal Dinner
The rehearsal is customarily held the day before the wedding.
A special note about bachelor and bachelorette parties
Don't blow it! If you are planning to drink or stay out late - don't schedule it the night before the wedding. Don't get carried away with "the last time to be free" and don't do anything that would embarrass or hurt the person you've chosen to marry. Stand your ground and remember your commitment. Your behavior at your pre-wedding party speaks volumes on your respect for each other.
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