wedding timeline: the ultimate guide to getting the marriage started off right

Planning a wedding is hard work. I didn’t mind it one bit! In fact, I think I really liked it! One of my best friends is getting married next month, and darn it, HE IS SO GOOD AT GETTING STUFF DONE that he barely needs me. But alas, I do have some girlfriends who are asking me questions about when to send out save the dates vs invites. I got you, girls! This is the ULTIMATE LIST!wedding

12 months

  • draw up a budget.
  • Pick a wedding date and time.
  • Think about reception and ceremony sites. Book as soon as possible.
  • Start planning the guest list.
  • Ask friends and relatives to be in the wedding party.
  • Research a wedding insurance policy to protect your deposits.

8 months

  • Bride: Buy wedding gown.
  • Research and book your wedding professionals. Interview vendors: photographer, videographer, reception band or DJ, and florist.
  • Think about your decorations.
  • Research and reserve hotels for out-of-town guests.
  • Register for gifts.
  • Take engagement pictures.
  • Make payment

6 months

  • Send save-the-date cards.
  • Book ceremony musicians.
  • Book catering.
  • Order bridesmaid dresses.
  • Select your flower girl and ring bearer.
  • Start planning honeymoon.
  • Contact rental vendors about transport, tables, chairs, or other miscellaneous needs.
  • Attend pre-wedding counseling. (if required or desired, I STRONGLY RECOMMEND)

4 months

  • Groom: Rent the men’s formal wear.
  • Shop for and order invitations and wedding rings.
  • Shop for formal wear with mothers and fathers.
  • Renew or get passports, if necessary.
  • Order wedding cake.
  • Decide what traditions you want to follow. (garter toss, unity candle, father/daughter dance, etc)

wedding timeline

2 months

  • Mail your invitations.
  • Confirm your vows.
  • Apply for marriage license.
  • Purchase gifts for parents, attendants and each other.
  • Book your hair stylist.
  • Confirm make-up look.

1 month

  • Bride: Have final gown fitting.
  • Call wedding party to make sure they have their wedding clothes.( including flower girl and ring bearer)
  • Create a wedding program to hand out to guests.
  • Confirm music for ceremony and reception
  • Review final RSVP list and call any guests who have not yet sent a response.

2 weeks

  • Confirm dates and times with all vendors (photographers, cake, drivers, etc)
  • Supply location manager with a list of vendor requests such as a table for DJ or setup space needed for a florist.
  • Plan reception seating chart.
  • Print place and table cards.
  • Determine wedding party positions during the ceremony and the order of the party in the processional and recessional.
  • Give ceremony and reception site managers a schedule of vendor delivery and setup times, plus contact numbers.

1 week

  • Bride: Prepare gown (pressed or steamed).
  • Give reception site/caterer final guest head count. Include vendors, such as the photographer or band members, who will expect a meal. Ask how many extra plates the caterer will prepare.
  • Groom: Go for final fitting and pick up your formal wear.
  • Re-confirm final details with all vendors. Discuss any necessary last-minute substitutions.

day before

  • Rehearse ceremony. Include wedding party, ceremony readers, musicians, immediate family and your officiant.
  • Bring ceremony decorations and equipment.
  • Give your marriage license to your officiant.
  • Attend rehearsal dinner.
  • Present attendants with gifts at the rehearsal dinner. You’ll want to do this especially if the gifts are accessories to be worn during the wedding.
  • Hand off place cards, table cards, menus, disposable cameras, favors and any other items for setting the tables to wedding day crew.

wedding day

  • Present parents and each other with gifts.
  • Give wedding bands to the best man and maid of honor to hold during the ceremony.
  • Give best man the officiant’s fee envelope, to be handed off after the ceremony.
  • Confirm duties for best man and maid of honor for questions or problems during the reception.
  • Assign a family member or attendant to be the photographer’s contact so he/she knows who’s who.
  • (if you want) Stay in the loop on reception developments as people are decorating and


  • Arrange for someone to return any rentals.
  • Take bride’s gown for cleaning and return the groom’s tux to the rental shop.
  • Write and send thank-you notes to gift-bearing guests and vendors.
  • Confirm all vendor’s equipment is returned and deposits are re-reimbursed.
  • Deposit money and open gifts.
  • Honeymoon with your love.
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2 thoughts on “wedding timeline: the ultimate guide to getting the marriage started off right

  1. Greetings from Florida! I’m bored to tears at work so I decided to
    browse your site on my iphone during lunch break.
    I love the information you present here and can’t wait to take
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    1. Thank you so much for reading! Sorry you are bored at work. I can totally relate. It’s great that it’s loading well for you. I have been learning so much lately trying to make it more user friendly! Let me know if you have any topics you are interested in, and let me know where I have to go next time I’m in FLA!

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