Big Day Coming Up? Use This Simple Wedding Planning Checklist To Prepare

by jeffbenson - Date: 2010-09-21 - Word Count: 827 Share This!

The average American wedding takes about sixteen months to plan. But with the help of this comprehensive checklist, it will feel like a lot less.

1. Calculate your Budget: Sit down with your future partner and determine exactly how much you can comfortably spend on your big day. If your families have expressed a willingness to contribute, it may be a good idea to include them.

2. Open a Wedding Folder: For many women, the wedding folder or binder will have been years in the making. It should include all of your favorite designs and dress ideas, as well as any contacts in the wedding industry you have made.

3. Select the Wedding Party: This is arguably the most nerve-racking decision you will have to make, but it is important to address it ahead of schedule. Remember, gown fittings take time, often several months. And if you are staying overnight at a resort, it is important to know how many rooms you will need.

4. Begin the Guest List: Because abiding by the budget is a constant concern, it is important to get at least a general idea of how many people will be attending. In the end, the number may be twenty fewer or twenty more guests, but you should have a somewhat accurate head count months in advance.

Quick tip: We know it's brutal, but about sixty percent of wedding costs are spent on the reception, which means that if you are trying to cut back, it may be necessary to cross a few names off your list.

5. Hire a Qualified Wedding Planner: If you determine that you do not have the time or experience to handle the job on your own, it may be necessary to hire a wedding planner. This should be done as soon as possible, since their contacts and insights can actually help save you money in the end.

6. Choose a Date and Venue: Decide together whether you want separate locations for the ceremony and reception. Travel time and transportation costs should also be considered.

7. Research Bands, Caterers, Florists and Photographers: If you have hired a wedding planner, you obviously won't have to complete this step. That's their job. If you have not, make sure you give yourself at least a week to interview and investigate potential candidates.

8. Find a Dress: The average bride-to-be tries on at least a dozen dresses before she finds the right one. Not to mention the fact that designer dresses take between three and five months to complete. Then there are the inevitable alterations. In short, you should order your dress at least six months before the ceremony.

9. Buy the Wedding Invitations: If you are hiring a calligrapher or professional designer, it can take months to produce a few hundred invitations by hand. Just make sure you leave yourself enough time.

10. Plan the Honeymoon: If you are traveling overseas, make certain that your passports are up-to-date and that you have received any shots you may need.

11. Go Shopping for the Bridesmaids' Dresses: While not as complicated a process as the selecting the wedding dress, it is important to leave at least three months for any alterations that must be made.

12. Meet with the Priest, Rabbi, Judge, etc.: Make certain that all of your documents are in order and that there will be no unexpected surprises on the wedding day.

13. Set a Firm Date with All of the Wedding Service Professionals: This includes the florist, the photographer or videographer, the caterer, the cake maker and the band.

14. Arrange Transportation: Remember to provide limo or town car service for members outside of the wedding party, if needed.

15. Order the Cake: Depending on the size, most bakeries will require at least a few weeks to prepare a proper wedding cake.

16. Schedule a Final Dress Fitting: Try to leave at least a month for alterations.

17. Agree On a Final Menu: Since food choices are affected by the season and the market, it is always a good idea to wait until a few weeks out to make your final selections.

18. Buy the Rings: Leave at least two weeks for resizing or engravings.

19. Schedule a Meeting with the Photographer: Let him know exactly what types of shot you would like-staged, action, etc.-and whether you prefer color, black and white or a mix.

20. Send the Invitations: A good rule of thumb is to mail them at least six weeks before the wedding.

21. Obtain your Marriage License: On average, the process takes about a week.

22. Assign the Seating: Make sure to seat guests at the tables where they will be comfortable, if possible.

23. Pick up the Wedding Dress: Or have it delivered.

24. Send the Final Guest Numbers to the Reception Hall and the Caterer: This should be done about three to five days before the ceremony.

25. Pack your Bags for your Honeymoon!

A bit of planning ahead can help you pull off the flawless wedding of your dreams. A handy checklist couldn't hurt things, either.

Related Tags: wedding planning, wedding dresses

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