A Wedding Guide for the Disorganized Bride
Some brides love the wedding planning process, and dive into making idea boards, lists and charts from day one of the engagement. But if you’re not one of them, that’s OK too. If you’re overwhelmed at the thought of figuring out everything on your own, then it’s a great idea to choose a wedding planner. And if you’re just a free spirit looking for an easy wedding planning checklist to make sure you don’t miss any major points, we’ve got you covered. Here’s a basic wedding guide that can work for nearly any bride:
10-18 Months in Advance:
The first thing you should do is work out a rough budget. Also draft your guest list to get an estimate of how many guests your venue will need to accommodate. If you have your heart set on a particular venue, find out when bookings open; for popular venues, you may need to put a deposit down a year in advance to secure your date. As soon as a venue has been secured, you can get started on finding a caterer, officiant and photographer. You may also want to start looking for a wedding dress, since ordering and alterations can take months.
6-9 Months in Advance:
This is the time to book your second round of vendors (rental company, wedding cake designer, floral designer, DJ, bartender). Keep a close eye on your budget, as you’ve probably underestimated some costs; four hours of an open bar, for example, costs $2,800 on average. You should also order some sample wedding invitations, decide on the wording and have them printed — which will give plenty of time for recovery if there’s a printing mistake. Choose the wardrobe for the wedding party. Start creating your gift registry as a couple.
3-5 Months in Advance:
Book a location for the rehearsal dinner. Set a menu with your caterer, and make a final decision on cake flavor and design. Talk with your officiant about the wording and structure of the ceremony, and start thinking about your vows (today, only slightly more than half of couples, 53%, decide on traditional vows). Purchase your wedding rings and make sure your honeymoon plans are fully booked.
6-8 Weeks in Advance:
If you haven’t already mailed your invitations, this is the time to do so (some wedding guides might recommend a little earlier, some a little later — use your judgment based on whether guests will need to travel). Figure out marriage license requirements in your state, and confirm reservations with your vendors. Make sure your dress fits.
3-5 Weeks in Advance:
This is the time to hammer out the details of the day, including a full timeline. Make sure several people, including your maid of honor and best man, have copies. Follow up with anyone who hasn’t RSVP’d.
1-2 Weeks in Advance:
Give your final guest count to the venue and caterer (136 guests is the average for weddings) and create a seating chart. Check the weather and make sure any necessary contingency plans are in place.
A Day Before “I Do”:
Get packed and ready to go (and don’t forget the marriage license). Have tips in pre-marked envelopes and give them to a wedding party member to distribute on the day. And above all, relax and get some rest!
Have we left anything vital off our condensed wedding guide? Share your wedding planning tips in the comments.