Planning Tools

Our month-by-month checklist will help you plan your big day

A good wedding planner breaks wedding planning into steps, supplies helpful advice and provides worksheets for estimates from different businesses. A bride should have the planner with her at all times for note-taking, quick reference and recording estimates.

Whether you decide to use a wedding planner or not, you may want to use this list as a guideline, too, checking items off as you complete each task. To aid you in planning, this calendar lists some tasks that the bride and groom can do together as well as those that traditionally fall on the bride's or groom's to-do list.

Click on any section of the timeline below to reveal the to-do list for that section.

A year or more before the wedding

Together

Select a wedding date and a backup date in case your wedding reception site is unavailable for your first choice.
Consult parents on budget and financial support.
Set a budget and decide how many guests to invite.
Decide if you want a formal or informal wedding.
Buy wedding rings.

Bride

Choose and secure wedding site.
Choose and book officiant.
Choose and secure reception location.
Choose a wedding consultant or planner if needed.

Groom

Discuss division of financial obligations with fiancé and parents.
Select and purchase bride's rings.

Nine to 12 months before the wedding

Together

Complete guest lists. Begin gathering names and addresses for invitations.
Arrange for families to meet if they havent already.
Have engagement photos taken.
Arrange accommodations for out-of-town guests and members of the bridal party.
Reserve a place and time for the rehearsal dinner.
Check marriage license requirements for your state.
Set appointment for blood tests if required in your state. (Blood tests are not required in Missouri or Kansas.)
Begin planning honeymoon.

Bride

Purchase bridal gown, and schedule fittings and delivery date.
Select wedding attendants, including maid/matron of honor, bridesmaids, flower girl, ring bearer, gift table and guest book attendants.
Select and book caterer, photographer, videographer, reception entertainment, florist and decorator, if needed.
Choose color scheme for wedding and reception.
Choose attendants attire.

Groom

Choose your best man, groomsmen and ushers. Ideally, plan for one usher per 50 guests.
Begin planning honeymoon.

Four to six months before the wedding

Together

Discuss ceremony and any prewedding requirements with officiant.
Finalize guest list.
Register for gifts.

Bride

Order bridesmaids' dresses and arrange fittings and delivery date.
Help mothers coordinate and select their dresses.
Order invitations, announcements, thank you notes and stationery.
Select baker. Order wedding cake, groom's cake and mints.
Order any reception favors.
Schedule rehearsal at wedding site.
Announce engagement in newspaper.
Check passport and visa, if necessary, for honeymoon.
Begin shopping for trousseau.
Plan bouquet and gown preservation.

Groom

Book hotel room for wedding night.
Select and order formalwear for men in bridal party.
Choose and book limousine or wedding-day transportation for bridal party.
Start planning rehearsal dinner with your parents.
Make reservations for honeymoon: airline, cruise ship, accommodations, etc.
Check passport and visa, if necessary, for honeymoon.

Two to three months before the wedding

Together

Choose readings and vows for ceremony.
If necessary, arrange to move to new home.
Write thank you notes as gifts arrive.

Bride

Mail invitations.
Plan attendants parties.
Finalize plans with photographer, videographer, baker, florist, reception entertainment, decorators and caterer.
Finalize ceremony details, including music, scripture readings, order of ceremony, etc.
Choose gifts for groom and brides attendants.
Purchase accessories such as toasting goblets, cake knives and servers, ring pillow, garter and candles.
Schedule consultation and appointment with makeup artist, hair stylist, manicurist and pedicurist for yourself and, if necessary, your attendants.

Groom

Confirm rehearsal dinner arrangements.
Purchase gifts for the bride and groomsmen/ushers.

One month before the wedding

Together

Pick up wedding rings and check any engraving for accuracy.

Bride

Purchase gifts for attendants.
Print wedding programs and any other items being personalized, such as napkins, matchbooks, etc.
Have final fittings for bride and attendants.
Pick up gown or have it delivered.
Make name change to proper documents, including drivers license, Social Security card, car registration, credit cards, deeds, employee records, IRS and post office records, passport, savings accounts, voter registration, checking accounts, etc.

Two weeks before the wedding

Bride

Meet with photographer and give him/her a list of specific pictures you want taken.
Meet with videographer and give him/her a list of specific people you want included in the video.
Meet with reception entertainment and give list of music to be played during special events, such as bouquet-tossing, garter-tossing, first dance, father/daughter dance, etc.
Confirm rehearsal and rehearsal dinner dates and times with bridal party.
Arrange reception seating, and prepare place cards if needed.

Groom

Arrange with best man for transportation from reception to airport or hotel.
Schedule hair cut/styling appointment.
Double-check your wedding attire, and confirm sizes and pick-up times for groomsmen/ushers.
Confirm honeymoon details: tickets, reservations, passports, rental cars, etc.
Send change of address information to post office if necessary.

One week before the wedding

Together

Pick up travelers checks for honeymoon expenses.

Bride

Give caterer final guest count and confirm all details.
Review details and last-minute arrangements with photographer, video-grapher, entertainment and florist.
Pick up all wedding attire and make sure it fits.
Confirm time/place for rehearsal, rehearsal dinner and wedding with attendants. If pictures will be taken before the ceremony, arrange for wedding party to be dressed and at site two hours before ceremony.
Assign tasks to be done on the wedding day to your wedding party.
Pack suitcase for honeymoon.

Groom

Confirm reservation at hotel for wedding night.
Confirm time/place for rehearsal, rehearsal dinner and wedding with attendants. If pictures will be taken before the ceremony, arrange for wedding party to be dressed and at site two hours before ceremony.
Assign tasks to be done on the wedding day to your wedding party.

The day before the wedding

Bride

Present gifts to attendants.

Groom

Pick up formalwear.
Confirm pickup times with limousine or other transportation.
Explain special seating arrangements for family and guests to your head usher.
Present gifts to groomsmen and ushers.
Pack suitcase for honeymoon.

The wedding day

Bride

Leave plenty of time for getting ready.
Have someone else mail wedding announcements, if necessary.

Groom

Remember to take wedding rings and license to ceremony.
Give best man officiants fee in a sealed envelope.
Leave plenty of time for getting ready.

After the honeymoon

Together

Write and mail thank you notes for gifts received at wedding and after.
Make arrangements to receive wedding photos.

Bride

Have bridal gown professionally cleaned and preserved.

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