- Gender and Relationships
The Wedding Calendar
"The biggest reward for a thing well done is to have done it.”~Voltaire
A good time to start arrangements for your wedding is about one year before the big day. Every good Wedding Planner will always have a "timeline" or "wedding planning calendar" to handle the details of a client's wedding. You can avoid many potentially costly mistakes by keeping a well organized calendar. It is a great way to keep on track and it will take the stress out of the preparation process. This will allow you to deal with every element of your wedding successfully.
I am providing you with a sample of a detailed planning calendar in this segment. For the 12 or more months before your wedding, this will become your daily "bible". It will help you to stay organized and on top of every detail just like a pro.
12 to 14 Months Before
-It's time to let your folks know that you have both decided to get married.
- Now is is a good time to think about whether or not you are having a formal or informal affair. Also, think about your style, theme and colour scheme.
-Think about your budget. You can achieve the right dollar amount if you sit down and make a realistic list of what's truly important to both of you. Also, both you and your fiancé need to have a chat, together, with your parents and find out who is paying for what. Many couples end up paying for their own wedding.
-It is time to contact an officiant or your clergy and go over church or synagogue requirements.
-Now is the time to produce your guest list. Don't worry, you can always change it later on to suit your size requirements and budget.
-Think about 2 to 3 potential wedding dates. Once you have done this, start searching for your ceremony and reception venues. If you like something and it works with one of your dates, book it.. You would be surprised to know that many ceremony and reception sites book as early as 1 to 2 years in advance.
-Have you decided to go solo on this one or are you thinking about hiring a Wedding and Event Consultant? If you are, then now is the time to book one.
-It's time to figure out and choose your bridal party. Once you ask them and they accept, ensure that you fill them in on their duties and what you expect of them.
-It is not written in stone that you have to have one, but, if you would like to have an Engagement Party, now is the time to do it.
9 to 11 Months Before
-Now the fun part begins! It's time to start the search for the ultimate wedding gown. You should also be looking for your veil and accessories. Also, your bridesmaids should start looking for their dresses as well.
-It may seem a little early but trust me, now is the time to give some consideration to the type of food you want to serve to your guests at the reception. Also, some couples choose to serve a wedding breakfast or lunch following the ceremony, (depending on your budget). You need to think about that as well. My opinion, don't go overboard!
-Regardless of whether you are a disco queen or king, or diva of the ballroom scene, now is the time to choose the type of entertainment you want to serve up at your reception. There are so many choices and genres to choose from. You could go with a DJ, Live Band, Pianist, Mariachi Band, Steel Drum Band, Strolling Violinist, String Quartet, Harpsichordist and the list goes on and on. Remember, just because you like to line dance, doesn't mean your guests do so select a variety of music styles.
-Start checking out florists online or contact your favorite floral designer so that you can figure out what kind of floral décor will work with your theme. If you want to make your own artificial floral décor you can start those anytime. In fact, invite your bridal party over and family members for a D.I.Y. party. Another excuse for a party is a good thing!
-This is an appropriate time to hire your wedding pros such as the Photographer, Videographer, Caterer (if venue doesn't have one or you prefer your own), etc. If you are interested in a particular vendor, book them as soon as possible. As with everything else, quality professionals are booked up well in advance.
-Did you know that there is such a thing as wedding insurance? Well there is and it is a good thing too because you never know if something happens and you must cancel or postpone the wedding. (I will go into more detail about wedding insurance in another one of my Wedding Planning segments later on.) It is a good idea to go on line and research wedding insurance policies in order to protect your deposits.
-Nothing says "I'm married" like a blinged out wedding ring. Now is the time to visit your favourite jeweler to select and purchase your wedding rings.
-One of the best parts of planning your wedding is deciding on your honeymoon destination. Now is the time to go online or visit your favourite travel consultant for honeymoon options.
-What's a wedding without out-of-town guests? If you don't live in a mansion you will have to research and reserve accommodations for these guests.
-If you don't already reside with your significant other, you will want to consider what you will need to stock your nest following the nuptials. Yes, this is the time to register for your gifts. Remember, although you will want designer sheets and the finest china, be considerate of your guest's budgets.
-If you have chosen a ceremony or reception venue that is void of chairs, tables, tents and so on, now is the time to look around and contact party rental companies.
6 to 8 Months Before
-You should start thinking about the music selections for both the ceremony and reception.
-So, at this point, if you haven't purchased your wedding gown, headpiece and accessories, you are cutting it close. Make sure to do this now if you haven't already.
-This is not the greatest topic to throw around over dinner, but, if you and your partner have decided on a prenuptial agreement, you should take care of that now.
-This is a good time to finalize the attire for your bridal party.
-You should check with your clergy because if it is a requirement, now is the time to commence your pre-marriage counseling or classes.
-We are coming down to the crunch so start searching for those perfect invitations. Also, if you are making your own, now is also the time.-Save-the-date cards or newsletters are always a wonderful idea, especially if you are getting married during a busy holiday season or you are planning on a destination wedding.
4 to 6 Months Before
-You should go over the final arrangements with your florist.
-You will want the world to know about the good news so this is the time to place your wedding announcement in your local newspaper.
-This is a great time to order your wedding stationary such as invitations, envelopes, programs, etc.
-This is a good time to start thinking about what kind of transportation you want and book it.
-You may want to start thinking about wedding décor.
-You might want to think about what type of wedding cake you want. Look through magazines, do some online research or ask around. Once you have an idea, it's time to interview and book your cake designer/baker.
-You will need to decide on a location and make arrangements for the rehearsal dinner.
-Depending on your budget now is the time to shop around for wedding favors.
-Make sure that your passport is current, if it's not, you better renew it or your dreams of Bora Bora will remain a dream.
3 Months Before
-At this point, you really have to finalize your guest list.
-If you have arranged a rehearsal dinner, it is time to confirm your plans.
-It's time to order the wedding cake, (and Groom's cake if you are having one).
-In most cases you will receive a cake knife, guest book and toasting glasses as gifts. However, if you have not received any, you will have to buy them yourself.
-What to buy, what to buy? Now is the time to put your thinking cap on and figure out what gifts you want to purchase for your bridal party, parents and any helpers.
-It's time for the groom and his mates including the fathers to be fitted for their tuxedos.
-You should really start addressing the invitations (or drop them off with a calligrapher).
-Depending on when it is hosted, you may have to attend bridal shower(s).
2 Months Before
-Yay, it's time to send out your invitations.
-It is a good idea to arrange a hair and make up consultation for a trial run.
-It may be time to schedule another wedding dress fitting.
-Some guests may send gifts to your home before the wedding. You should send out thank you notes to them now.
-If you are having one, begin putting together your ceremony program.
-This may not apply to you but if you plan on changing your name, it is time to complete the appropriate documents.
-Meet with your clergy or officiant to finalize the ceremony details.
-Depending on your plans, you should reserve a hotel room for your wedding night.
1 Month Before
-You will be happy to know that this is the time to finally confirm reservations for your honeymoon.
-You should discuss any last minute details or changes with your photographer and Videographer.
-If you haven't already started, now would be a good time to work on the reception seating chart.
-You should have your final wedding gown fitting.
-Now is the time to complete (and print) your wedding program.
-If you are reciting wedding vows, they should be finalized at this point.
-Make sure to contact all of your vendors and confirm all final payment amounts as well as date, time, etc.
-Okay.......we are almost there. It is time to pick up your marriage license.
2 Weeks Before
-If you haven't completed the dreaded reception seating chart, now is the time to finish it.
-You will always get a procrastinator or 2 amongst your guests. For those that have not responded by now, you will have to take time out of your busy schedule to contact them and confirm whether they are attending or not.
-E-mail, text or hand deliver mandatory photo shot lists to the photographer and videographer. It is a good idea to let them know who you want included in formal portraits and determine when they are to be taken.
-E-mail, text or hand deliver your final song selections to the DJ or Band. Be sure to include special song requests and let them know which songs you don't want played.
1 Week Before
-This is when you should pick up your gown and if they haven't done so already, the bridesmaids and maid of honour should pick up their dresses as well.
-Now is the time to provide your reception venue or caterer with the final head count. Also, if you are providing a meal to the DJ, Photographer, Videographer or Band Members, you must let the venue or caterer know. Also, it is a good idea to discuss and confirm the number of extra plates that will be provided.
-All the men in the bridal party including fathers should go for their final tuxedo fittings.
-Ensure that your place and table cards are ready.
-This is a good time to give your ceremony and reception venues a list with vendor deliveries, setup times and contact numbers.
-It's time to attend your bachelor or bachelorette party.
2 to 3 Days Before
-If necessary, you may want to have your gown pressed and steamed.
-The men need to go for their final fitting and pick up their tuxedos.
-You should make sure that anything that has to be delivered to your caterer or reception venue manager is taken care of, i.e. favors, place cards, table cards, menus and any other items.
-It's important to touch base with all your vendors so that you are all on the same page for the wedding day.
-Enlist the help of family and friends to pick up any out of town guests arriving at airports, train and bus stations.
1 Day Before
-Treat yourself to a relaxing manicure and pedicure.
-Make sure all of your final balances are paid.
-Today is a good idea to confirm appointments such as your wedding day hair and makeup.
-You don't want any surprises so if you have booked transportation for your wedding day, i.e. limo, party bus, horse drawn carriage etc., make sure you confirm.
-Nothing says, "we are almost at the finish line" like your rehearsal. This is when you will truly be able to envision your walk down the aisle.
-Once you're through with the rehearsal, you will want to let lose and attend your Rehearsal Dinner. This is where you will enjoy a good meal with the attendants, close family members and friends. Also, this is where you will give each of your attendants a gift and go over any last minute details. Remember, don't stay out too late! You will want to get your beauty sleep and be well rested for your big day.
Day of Wedding
-I know I shouldn't have to remind you but please make sure you have some breakfast. You will definitely not have much of an appetite but it is going to be a long, long day. You do not want to feel lightheaded.
-The bride is the center of attention on the wedding day so be sure to pamper yourself and have your hair and makeup done.
-Here is some work for the Best Man, now is the time to give him the wedding bands. If you are placing them on a ring bearer's pillow, ensure that they are secured prior to the ceremony. Also, make sure that you give the Best Man the envelope with the Officiant's fee as well as all other tip envelopes for your vendors.
-Today is the day you send or personally give each other a special gift. If you have gifts for the parents, you would also give it to them on this day.
-Finally............start getting ready. You should probably be dressed approximately two hours prior to the ceremony.
After The Wedding
-It's time to call in some favours and kindly ask a friend or family member to return any rentals.
-It is a good idea to remind the groomsmen to return their tuxes and the Groom's as well, if they wouldn't mind.
-Now this is super important. Please make sure that you send Thank You notes to all of your guests following the wedding. You would be surprised at how many couples find it bothersome to do so after the party is over. Remember this, if it wasn't for your guests coming to your Engagement Party, Bridal Shower(s) or Wedding Reception (with gift in hand), it wouldn't have been much of a celebration. So do your part and send out a Thank You card as soon as possible! Also, it would be a kind gesture to send one as well to the Vendors you were especially pleased with.
If you want to plan your wedding like a professional, it is essential to follow a "time line" or "wedding calendar". It's an effective way of keeping yourself organized and your wedding plans in perspective. Don't stress yourself out! As I have said before, you should be enjoying the experience not pulling your hair out over it.