Wedding Checklist

Planning your wedding starts the moment he says "Will you?" and you say "I will". Work together so the decision-making and responsibilities are shared.

1 year before the wedding

❏  Get your engagement ring insured.
❏  Set up a wedding folder in your email and online.
❏  Buy a binder to save important documents and collect fresh ideas.
❏  Decide whether to use the services of a wedding planner.
❏  Start to assemble approximate costs of every element.
❏  Discuss the wedding budget with all who will be contributing financially.
❏  Send this initial budget to all contributors as a reference.
❏  Choose your wedding date (have a second choice in mind).
❏  Visit potential wedding venues for both the service and reception and be sure to ask these important questions.
❏  Make a decision and book the reception facility.
❏  Arrange to meet with the ceremony officiant to get available dates.
❏  Collect tear sheets for your binder of bride and bridesmaids dresses.
❏  Avoid stress by eating right, joining a gym, and perhaps hiring a personal trainer. Read about five common dieting mistakes.

MEMO: In this early stage, pay closest attention to selecting and booking the service and reception site. Major sites are often totally booked a year ahead – especially if you plan to have a Saturday wedding.

9 to 12 months

❏  Start visiting bridal gown shops to check out dress options. Choose your gown and be prepared to make a deposit.
❏  Order your wedding invitations and remember these tips for sending them out.
❏  Visit with the clergy (again) to finalize the date and time of the ceremony and discuss any vows or religious requirements.
❏  Make a decision on a wedding caterer to book.
❏  Arrange for the soloist, organist or other musicians.
❏  Choose your wedding theme, style and wedding colours.  Get inspiration from our real weddings and photo galleries.
❏  Set up appointments with wedding florists to discuss options.
❏  Choose your bridal party.

MEMO: The first months are all about doing your homework, collecting information, getting comparative costs and reviewing options and ideas. But it changed this past month. It was time to begin making decisions.

6 months

❏  Book your wedding photographer and videographer.
❏  Start your guest list.
❏  Think about bridesmaid dresses and what you want them to look like.
❏  Order invitations and other stationery. (Don’t forget a guest book.)
❏  Register for china, crystal, flatware, linens and other gifts.
❏  Discuss honeymoon plans, visit a travel agent and send away for brochures.
❏  Send out save-the-dates.

Here's a secret. The hardest job, when planning a wedding, is arriving at a guest list that meets your budget and also satisfies bride, groom and parents! Initiate an approximate list in this time period and, next month, finalize it. Good luck!

4 months

❏  Order bridesmaids' dresses.
❏  Finalize the guest list.
❏  Get pass-ports in order and get any vaccinations that may be required for travel.
❏  Order flowers.
❏  Check out wedding cake options and visit bakers.
❏  Decide on formalwear (tux, suit, casual button-down and slacks) for the guys.
❏  Register for premarital classes.
❏  Shop for wedding bands.
❏  Choose musicians and DJ and then meet with them to select music.

MEMO: As you negotiate with your vendors, see that everything is in writing. This protects both parties. A verbal request doesn't carry any weight.  If you make deletions or additions, confirm via email and print and keep copies.

3 months before the wedding

❏  Who is hosting the rehearsal dinner?
❏  Address invitations.
❏  Find a hair stylist and makeup artist.  Read our tips for picking and managing a hairstyle.
❏  Groom: Order wedding attire for yourself and your attendants. Remember accessories: shoes, shirt stays, cuff links, pocket squares.
❏  Arrange honeymoon. Are your visas and passports in order?
❏  If you are having a marriage contract, do it now and get it done!

MEMO: In a traditional wedding, the groom's parents host the rehearsal dinner. Today, with many couples hosting their own wedding or with both sets of parents making equal contributions, this is no longer the case. So the hosting is up for grabs!

2 months before the wedding

❏  Order the wedding cake.
❏  Bride: Have makeup and hair consultations.
❏  Finalize the reception menu.
❏  Mail invitations to arrive six weeks before the wedding.
❏  Arrange for limousines or alternate transportation.
❏  Bride: Attend gown fittings and make appointments for attendants’ fittings.

MEMO: All of the major decisions have been made. And, to save your sanity, once a decision is made, don't revisit it. Move on.

1 month before (Bride)

❏  Get the marriage license and make appointments for blood tests (if necessary). Check when the license expires.
❏  Have your final dress fitting.
❏  Buy gifts for the groom and your attendants.
❏  Write thank-you notes as shower and wedding gifts are received. (Keep a list.)
❏  Confirm details with all the vendors, such as the caterer, florist, photographer and musicians.

1 month before (Groom)

❏  Buy gifts for the bride and your attendants.
❏  Arrange overnight accommodation for out-of-town attendants and guests.
❏  Schedule a rehearsal, preferably a few days or the week before the wedding.
❏  Confirm honeymoon reservations.  Leave a copy of your honeymoon itinerary with someone in case of emergency.

2 weeks before the wedding

❏  Give a final head count to the caterer. This will involve calling guests who have not RSVP'd.
❏  Review all transportation arrangements.
❏  Continue with thank-you notes. 
❏  Host a lunch or dinner for the bridesmaids and give them their gifts.
❏  Email your bridal party with details (date of rehearsal, times for every event, directions and transportation arrangements).
❏  Groom: have a dinner and give gifts to your attendants. 

1 week before the wedding

❏  Once again, check final details and confirm times with all of your vendors.
❏  Bride & Groom: Pick up your wedding attire.
❏  Advise best man and ushers regarding the rehearsal and any special seating arrangements at the service.
❏  Give the clergy’s honorarium to the best man.
❏  Pack clothes for the honeymoon.

Your wedding day (Bride)

❏  Start the day with breakfast. Food will help you keep calm.
❏  Check in with your attendants.
❏  Have hair and makeup done.
❏  Have pre-wedding pictures taken of you and your own family.
❏  Arrive at the site five minutes before the ceremony. If you are travelling some distance, give yourself extra time.
❏  Be prepared to respond to a toast and don't forget to thank the parents.

Your wedding day (Groom)

❏  Speak with the best man and review his obligations – he must have in hand the ring, clergyman’s honourarium and timing for the day.
❏  Arrive 20 minutes prior to the ceremony.
❏  Be prepared to respond to a toast and don't forget to thank the parents.
❏  Perhaps phone the next day to thank all the parents.

Memo: Don't expect perfection. Something wil go wrong, but no-one will notice except you. Just decide that you are going to relax and savour all of it. This is your once-in-a-lifetime moment.




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