Every bride and groom’s situation is different, and not everyone has a full year to plan their wedding. If you’re expecting a short engagement, this checklist can help you make sure you don’t miss a single detail.
4-5 Months Before:
- Get organized. Put together a binder for all your wedding information. It also helps to create a wedding email to keep all vendor information and details from getting lost in your personal email account.
- Create a budget. Talk to your families, if they’re contributing funds, and sit down and figure out how much you can spend.
- Pick the date. Only choose a date and time once you’ve cleared it with your most important guests, like immediate family.
- Book ceremony and reception sites.
- Book your photographer.
- Book your videographer.
- Book an officiant.
- Find good food. Book a caterer and figure out an estimated cost per person.
- Figure out flowers. Interview florists in your area to discuss flower options. These will vary depending on the season.
- Book your DJ or reception band.
- Build your wedding website. You can start with the “How We Met” story and the story of your engagement and add more details, like venue and hotel information, as you have them.
- Choose outfits for the men.
- Interview and choose a wedding coordinator. This may seem non-essential, but a coordinator can be a huge help when it comes to booking vendors and keeping everything running smoothly.
- Figure out who’s in. Choose bridesmaids and groomsmen, as well as the flower girl and ring bearer, and any other roles for family and friends, like ushers or guest book attendants.
- Purchase bridesmaid dresses.
- Create a guest list.
- Send out save-the-dates. If you don’t have enough time to order and mail cards, consider emailing an announcement.
- Order invitations.
- Book hotel rooms. Make sure to reserve some rooms at several hotels for out-of-town guests. This info should also go on your wedding website.
3 Months Before:
- Register for gifts. Create a registry at a minimum of three different stores to give your guests options.
- Order wedding bands.
- Get your engagement photos taken.
- Determine ceremony details. Talk to your officiant about how you want the ceremony to go. This is also a great time to set up premarital counseling, if that’s required.
- Start researching and planning the honeymoon.
- Purchase your wedding dress and make fitting appointments.
2 Months Before:
- Mail invitations. These should go out 6-8 weeks before the ceremony.
- Finalize your rehearsal menu. And enjoy a tasting to make sure the food is just as you want it.
- Book a hair and makeup artist.
- Finalize flowers. Make sure all your blooms are set with your florist.
- Book your honeymoon. Make all your travel reservations, from flights to hotel rooms. And be sure your passports are up to date, if needed.
- Choose shoes and sparkle. Make sure your bridesmaids have their footwear and any jewelry.
- Book a wedding night hotel room.
- Buy gifts for your wedding party.
- Choose wedding favors.
1 Month Before:
- Get your marriage license. Check with the local bureau in the town where you’re getting married
- Pick up wedding rings.
- Go to final dress fitting. Bring your shoes and accessories to get the full look.
- Create and print programs.
- Track down anyone who hasn’t responded to your invite.
2 Weeks Before:
- Choose your must-have shots. Give your photographer and videographer a list of shots you want to make sure they catch. You should also include a list of who should be in formal family portraits.
- Pin down the music. Give your song list to your DJ or band. Be sure to include special song requests and any specific songs you don’t want to hear on your big day.
1 Week Before:
- Know the number of guests. Make sure your caterer has the final head count. Don’t forget to include vendors like your photographer who will expect a meal.
- Choose the seats. Create a seating chart for the reception and print place and table cards.
- Confirm everything. Contact all your vendors and make sure everything is set.