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Time Management

You’ve waited a long time to get married. Many reception facilities are reserved a year in advance during the summer months and December. The size and formality of your wedding will play an important part in determining your date and schedule. Even if your wedding is small and less formal, allow yourself a minimum of three months. The more time you have to plan, the better your chances of reserving your first choices. With all you have to do, time will fly quicker than you think!

The following schedule and checklist will provide you with a general timeline to ensure all the details will be handled. These are only recommendations to start your planning process.

Time Managment

After engagement — Six Months & Before:

  • Buy a wedding notebook, such as the Bravo! Wedding Organizer. Email
    [email protected] to order.
  • Start compiling names and addresses of guests and send Save the Date or engagement announcement
  • Determine if you will be hiring a wedding coordinator and select one
  • Decide on the ceremony site and make an appointment with the officiant (if it is a religious ceremony, required pre-marital counseling and church availability may determine your date options)
  • Select a wedding date and time – be flexible if you can
  • Figure out your budget and write it down
  • Determine size, theme and colors of reception
  • Reserve a reception facility; if there’s no in-house catering, you will need to find a caterer
  • Decide on wedding attendants – bridesmaids and groomsmen
  • Shop for your wedding gown and headpiece
  • Select a photographer & videographer
  • Start collecting favorite photographs from both of your childhoods through present that you’ll want to use in your wedding video
  • Select dresses for your bridesmaids
  • Find a florist
  • Create a wedding website & send an announcement to your local paper
  • Register at the bridal registry stores of your choice
  • Reserve a band, DJ, or Photo booth for your reception
  • Decide on honeymoon destination; if it’s a popular area, make reservations now


Four to Five Months Before:

  • Begin planning ceremony (choose readings, songs, etc.)
  • Compile the final guest list; delete or correct as needed
  • Arrange a discounted room-block for out-of-town guests
  • Make sure all deposits are paid for services reserved
  • Finish planning the honeymoon
  • Order bridal attire; some manufacturers require up to six months for delivery
  • Order the wedding cake
  • Have groom, groomsmen and ushers fitted for formal wear
  • Purchase your wedding rings
  • Order invitations, thank-you notes, imprinted napkins and programs
  • Ask people to handle certain duties like candle lighting, guest book, cake serving
  • Select musicians for ceremony


Two to three Months Before:

  • Plan ceremony rehearsal and rehearsal dinner
  • Address invitations (mail six to eight weeks prior to wedding – be sure to include any accommodation information)
  • Organize details with service providers: reception facility, photographer, etc.
  • Make beauty appointments: hair, nails, massage, facial and makeup
  • Arrange for final fittings for your gown and bridesmaids dresses
  • Make your transportation arrangements for the wedding day
  • Purchase gifts for wedding attendants
  • Shop for your lingerie and going-away outfit
  • Give a bridesmaids’ luncheon or bachelor/ bachelorette party (optional)
  • Send thank you cards for gifts received early
  • Get accessories: garter, unity candle, toasting goblets, ring-bearer pillow, cake knife, flip-flops, etc.


One week to a month Before:

  • Create a day-of wedding timeline
  • Meet with your wedding coordinator or designated point of contact to go over final details – give them a list of who and what is supposed to be where and when
  • Get your final count of guests to caterer
  • Delegate last-minute errands and details
  • Make any necessary lists for your vendors
  • Pack for honeymoon
  • Get your marriage license **Note: if you were married before, you’ll need to know the date and place of the divorce or annulment. You may also need to have paperwork proof of divorce or annulment
  • Pick up your wedding rings; make sure they are the correct sizes
  • Pick up wedding attire; try everything on one last time to make sure it fits
  • Make sure bridesmaids have their dresses and they all fit
  • Keep up on writing thank-you notes; don’t let them pile up
  • Put all the accessories you will need for dressing in one place
  • Rehearsal and rehearsal dinner
  • Pamper yourself and make sure you eat right and get enough sleep


The Wedding Day:

  • Eat a good breakfast
  • Relax and enjoy getting ready for your big day
  • Go to hairdresser or start fixing your hair and make-up a few hours prior to the time you are required to be at the ceremony or photo site
  • If pictures are being taken before ceremony, wrap up 45-minutes prior to guest arrival
  • Just enjoy the day! All your months of planning will make your day perfect!


After Honeymoon:

  • Change your name (if you choose) on your driver’s license and Social Security card; organize which credit cards and bank accounts will be used
  • Send change-of-address cards to the post office

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