You got the ring! Now what? What’s next? When can you finally say, “I do”? Planning a wedding can seem overwhelming. Let’s face it—the whole process will be every form of whelming other than “under,” but that’s alright. Fortunately, we’ve handled most of the preparation for you. Follow this wedding planning checklist, pour yourself a glass of celebratory champagne and let everything fall into place.
You finally get to dive into planning everything you’ve been dreaming of for your entire life. But hang on tight, there’s a lot to do.
Collect every magazine clipping and Pinterest article you’ve gawked at over the past year or so and organize them all into a binder or folder. Having the ability to flip through some loose pages for inspiration will help fuel your creative juices. Additionally, figure out your budget. Collect your cash and decide which areas you’d like to splurge on.
Divide & Conquer
It’s going to be important to determine who is doing what and when at this stage of planning. If you’re hiring a planner, do so now. In fact, the earlier you hire your planner, the better. But planner or not, you’ll need to figure out what you and your partner will be responsible for. This means clear-cut, opposite-of-vague job assignments.
Design the Guest List
Selecting and agreeing on a guest list is vital. Are you doing family only? A giant, blowout guest list which includes your ninth-grade lab partner? Get started on this as early as possible.
Toast Your Engagement
If you haven’t had an engagement party, do it! If money is tight, invite friends and family over for a vegan potluck. It’s your happy time—don’t be afraid to let others contribute. If money isn’t tight, however, book a party boat and let your hair down! The next few months are going to be a tad stressful.
We’ll go ahead and say it: six to nine months out is going to be tough. A lot of decisions are being made. Amid all of the moving parts, try to remain
calm—you’re planning the most important day of your life, but you’re in charge.
Say Yes to the Dress
It’s quite possible you’ve already had your dress picked out for months (if not years), and you can finally make the big purchase. Shop now—you do not want to be four months away from your wedding and dressless. Find the dress of your dreams, and avoid doing it how they do on the show. This is your dress, not your partner’s and definitely not your mother’s. Pencil in time for more than one fitting, and when you find your glass slipper of sorts, order it!
Say Yes to Your Friends’ Dresses, Too
Bridesmaids need dresses, too! After selecting a look that results in the least amount of whining from your gal pals, order away. You want to make sure that everyone feels pretty, but that no one is as beautiful as you. This is your day, and don’t forget it.
Make Your Musical Selection
Entertainment needs to be considered. Whether you’re looking for a string quartet or a strictly-‘90s DJ, you’ll want to book them before someone else does. Consider all the times entertainment may be necessary: cocktail hour, reception, ceremony…don’t leave out any details.
Flowers. Save the date cards. Wedding registry. Power sources. Transportation. Rentals (chairs, tables, etc.). Where will everyone be staying? Have you blocked out hotel rooms? Yeah, go ahead—reach for the vino. It will help.
Plan Your Getaway
It’s never too soon to plan your honeymoon. Details, details, details, yet again.
Things are starting to slow down and, luckily or terrifyingly, are becoming very real. Your new life is mere weeks away.
Prep Your Wardrobe
Get your shoes and bring them to your first fitting—if not, the tailor won’t know how long your dress should be. You’ll also want to make sure you know what your plan is for hair and makeup. Don’t forget about your partner, either! If it’s a man, formalwear for his groomsmen will be required. Keep him on a tight leash and make sure that he gets it done!
Plan Your Rehearsal Dinner
Where will it be? What’s on the menu? Any surprises or fun themes in store?
You’ve put a ring on it, now it’s time to pick your cake. (If you haven’t put a ring on it, as in you haven’t gotten your rings resized and engraved, get on it!) This can be a fun process, so make sure that you and your new partner take advantage of tasty tasting opportunities. Once you agree on a varietal of cake, order it.
Take a deep breath. The end is near, and you’re doing fine. Wait, what about invitations!? We’ll take care of those now.
Send Your Invitations
You have a little wiggle room over the next two to four months to get invitations out. If you want the letters professionally addressed, hire a calligrapher. If not, don’t fret. Typed invites or your partner’s chicken scratch will work—it’s whatever you’re comfortable with. Check and double-check the ever-growing guest list one last time and mail your invites out. Be reasonable—don’t mail them out three weeks before the big day, but there’s no reason to mail them out more than four months in advance.
Cross Your T’s and Dot Your I’s
Check in with everyone you booked months ago. Call the caterer. Call the guitarist. Call the venue. You have some time for emergency changes, but (hopefully) you won’t need those. Touching base with the people making your wedding day special will leave you with either a sense of ease and comfort or let you know that you need to get moving and make adjustments. Either way, it’s no biggie.
Let Your Hair Down
Bachelor and bachelorette parties can happen now. The dirty details are up to you—just make sure that someone handles them.
Wrap Your Gifts
Purchase the gifts you’ll be dishing out to your guests, parents, each other and whomever else you desire.
You can taste it. You can smell it. It’s here! Oh no, it’s here…
Stock Your Bar
Your RSVPs should have arrived and you’ll be able to booze accordingly.
Apply for a Marriage License
Details vary, so check your county’s requirements.
Call everyone involved in the wedding and make sure that they have no issues. Does your dress still fit? Are your shoes OK?
Groom Your Groom
A week or so out, make sure that men are getting groomed and that bachelor (and bachelorette) parties are underway. Have fun, or have too much fun. Whichever you choose, make sure that your hair is trimmed and you look good doing it. Once you’re close to the day, make sure everyone who needs to pick up clothing has done it.
That’s it! You’ve survived. There are a million ways to plan a wedding, but if you stick to these basics and keep a positive attitude, you’ll be sure to make it out alive. Wait, did we tell you that wine helps? Don’t forget the wine—it’s a very, very pivotal element to success.