Mini-Guide to the Perfect Wedding
Not every wedding timeline is exactly the same. Depending on your religion and the
length of time between your engagement and the actual wedding date, you might have
more time or less time to complete wedding planning essentials. Planning a wedding,
even a simple one, can be stressful. It is important to make a list and a timeline of what
you expect to accomplish and set specific goals and deadlines. Here is a sample,
simplified mini-guide to the perfect wedding timeline.
Up to One Year Before
• Engagement Party. Some couples forgo this party, but family members may
appreciate an engagement party to celebrate the event.
• Set the Date. Once you set the date, you can start making actual plans. Therefore,
setting a date should be a priority after you are engaged.
• Choose the Wedding Party. The sooner you do this, the better. Your wedding party,
particularly the maid of honor and best man, should be put in charge of specific tasks to
alleviate the stress on the bride or groom.
• Establish Colors and Themes. Choosing these early on will save you stress. When
you choose your colors early, you can also start hunting for sales with decorations,
stationery, and anything else you need with your colors or themes.
• Start Shopping Around for a Venue and Decorations. Many venues will allow
you to at least put down a deposit for use on a specific date up to a year in advance. Try
to limit the amount of deposits you make, however, as many are non-refundable.
• Start Wedding Dress Shopping. While it’s true that a lot can happen in a year, the
wedding dress shopping can take a while. Keep your eyes open for that perfect gown
8 Months Before
• Shop for Bridesmaids Dresses. Whether you’re making your own or purchasing
from a designer, get your bridesmaids together for fittings and get this taken care of well
• Plan Honeymoon. If you’re going somewhere exotic for your honeymoon, now is a
good time to jump on purchasing tickets, reserving hotels, applying for passports, and
anything else you need to do to make the experience go smoother.
• Send Out Save-the-Date Cards. While these are common for most weddings, Save-
the-Date cards traditionally go out six to eight months before the big day. This gives your
guests ample time to prepare for your big day.
3 Months Before
• Send Out Invitations. Official wedding invitations should go out two to three months
before the wedding day, but you can always send them out a bit earlier. Always give your
guests the plenty of time to prepare
• Order Cake. Your cake designer will want to sit down with you to discuss your
expectations and make plans for delivery and setup.
• Take Care of Wedding Day Transportation. Whether you’re arriving and leaving
in a carriage or limo, make sure you know how you’re getting to and from the wedding
venue, including transportation to the salon if you’re getting your hair styled.
• Arrange for Tuxedo Rentals. Ideally, the groom should take care of this.
Groomsmen should be fitted for their tuxedos. Arrangements should be made to ensure
the tuxedos get to where they need to be on time.
• Hire a Photographer. You can hire a photographer sooner, but you definitely want to
have one booked by the time you’re three months from your wedding date.
1 Month Before
• Bridal Gown Fitting. Have your final fitting and any last alterations made to your
• Create Wedding Program and Timeline. This will help you to visualize how and
when everything should happen on your big day.
• Take Care of Marriage License. Find out what you need to do to apply for a
marriage license. Some areas require drug testing or a waiting period before the license
is granted, so it is important to take care of this in advance.
1 Week Before
• Confirm Reservations, Guest Count, Caterer, and Everything Else. With one
week to go, you need to make sure that the venue will be ready, the caterer will have food
there, and who is and is not coming. Confirm all other important events as well,
including honeymoon arrangements, transportation, and roles of the wedding party
• Create a Guest Seating Chart. Make a visual chart of who will sit where so there is
no confusion and everyone has a place.
• Arrange for Post-Wedding Cleanup and Returns. You and your spouse should
be able to focus on the honeymoon after the party is said and done. Arrange for someone
else to clean up the venue and return any rental items.
1 Day Before
• Go to Rehearsal. If you are having a rehearsal, go to it and enjoy.
• Make Sure You Have Rings, Marriage License, and Other Essential Items.
The maid of honor and best man should hold onto the rings on the big day. The night
before your wedding, ensure that you have the rings with you, the marriage license, and
any other essential items such as passports for honeymoon travel.
The Big Day
• Enjoy. You’ve spent the last year planning for this big day, so let it all unfold and try to
enjoy it. It can be a whirlwind of emotions, but it will also be satisfying to see all of your
careful planning come to fruition.
Bryan Passanisi is an online marketer, he currently writes for Shutterfly