Your Ultimate Wedding Countdown Checklist!

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Anyone who has ever planned their wedding knows how stressful and exciting it can be. You have a thousand things to take care of, plan, arrange, and hopefully pull off the best wedding ever! Because there are so many tasks that a couple will have to deal with, it’s really helpful if you can start off being organized. You will be dealing with vendors, caterers, photographers, bridal boutiques, makeup artists, and, don’t forget, planning your honeymoon.

The list seems endless but if you stay focused and take one step at a time, it will all work out in your favour. Bring in family members and friends to help out with some of these tasks and get advice from experts in various aspects of wedding planning. We have put together a list of tasks that will help you get from point A to point B. As you complete each task and check it off, you will discover everything is coming together really well and you will have an absolutely wonderful wedding. You will also have incredible memories that will last a lifetime.

So, you are planning your wedding day but are at a total loss organizing your to -do list, what should be taken care of before other things. It can be stressful and confusing so we’ve put together a checklist to ensure you enjoy the very best wedding celebration anywhere! Having a really good checklist will ensure you do not miss something and arranging the order certain tasks should be in.

Obviously, your first decision is setting the date and then start gathering everything needed to ensure you have a wonderful day. Some people can actually plan a wedding in a matter of weeks, but most people have other obligations such as a job. Quite honestly, most people should plan at least a year ahead of time.

Setting The Date Ahead Of Time:

It is advisable that you set the date of your wedding a good twelve months ahead of time. This will give you time to search for and book where your wedding will take place, find the right vendors and supplies required, at prices that fit into your budget and have the time to save the needed funds to make sure everything is covered in a timely manner. Unless you are rolling in money, most experts advise you set the date of your wedding during the work week vs the weekend.

Enlist A Professional Wedding Planner:

Although there are people who prefer to plan their own weddings, hiring a professional will make things run much more smoothly and help you plan the perfect wedding for your taste. Professional planners have the experience, connections, and know-how to save you unneeded waste of time and stress. These people are well-worth their weight in gold!

Start Your Guest List & Send Out Notices:

There are certain family members and friends that you want at your wedding, first a foremost. You want to be sure they will be available for your wedding. Send out early notices to make sure they do not go on holiday or plan other events on that date.

You and your future spouse should sit down and balance your guest list. You both want family members and close friends to attend your special day but will only be able to invite just so many. You might have an evening reception where you can invite colleagues and friends that you might not know well enough to invite to the wedding but would love to have them join in on the reception. You could speak with associates and co-workers and see if they would be interested in coming to the reception. Those who are interested can give you their addresses and phone numbers so you can stay in communication and see that their invitations arrive at the correct address.

Book Your Place For The Ceremony And/Or Reception:

The sooner you get this out of the way, the easier it will be to take care of everything else. Will your wedding ceremony take place at a church, registry office, or a special wedding facility? Where will your reception take place? If at a church, they usually have areas that are specific for these events. If a resort or other facility that caters to weddings, start looking around to find the place that will work the best for you.

If you want to hire the services of a place that caters to wedding receptions, you should find out specific details that will be required:

• Do they have rooms for guests who will be traveling from somewhere else?
• Do they provide for a dinner, music, party, and other evening entertainment?
• What is their capacity level for catering?
• How much will it cost for a separate room for the reception?
• The catering costs and if they have in-house, professional photographers?

You should make a list of things you want to be incorporated into your event and keep it with you when interviewing various venues. Also, find out if they have outdoor and indoor locations for taking photographs and what seasons are busier then others. If you ask the right questions, you could save a great deal of money and still have an amazing wedding reception!

Choose Your Maid-Of-Honor, Best Man, and Bridesmaids:

Most brides and grooms have a pretty good idea who they would like to fill these roles. These people are usually their closest and best friends. Just in case, make sure this is good for them and they will be more than happy to join in to make sure everything goes off without a glitch.

Your Wedding Dress:

This is not only critical but can be very stressful! Many brides will get the assistance of their best friend or a family member, such as mum, to help find the perfect dress. This is your big day so get a dress that will become a part of many years of memories. Meet up with a couture bridal gown expert and start working on this as soon as possible. Keep in mind, if you choose a designer gown, it will take approximately 4 to 6 months to have your gown. If you are buying from a bridal shop, allow 4 to 6 weeks. The time frame for both options should include alterations, fittings, etc.

Your Accessories:

You should get your shoes and other accessories such as hair adornments like a tiara before your dress fitting. Also, get the jewelry you want that will work best with your gown. If you have purchased new shoes, wear them around inside to make sure they are broken in. Do Not Wear Them Outside!

Your Wedding Party:

This is the time to buy the gowns and suits for your bridesmaids, maid-of-honor, best man, flower girls, ushers, page boys, etc. Select gowns and suits that fit with your theme and colour scheme. In many cases, the bridal party will pay for their gowns and suits, so get with them to come up with something everyone will be happy to wear.

Choosing Your Photographer And/Or Videographer:

Professional photographers and videographers have their own style. You should choose someone who meets your wedding theme such as traditional, vintage, or contemporary. You should sit down with them personally, ask to view their portfolio, and possibly a wedding album that shows photos of past weddings they were involved with.

Your Minister Or Registrar:

You should meet with them to answer any questions you have about the ceremony, including your music and vows you want to be incorporated into the ceremony.

Hire A Band Or DJ:

When planning your reception, you need to be sure your taste in music will be met so guests will have a really great time. Some couples prefer live entertainers while others might have a different twist including comedians, dancers, or even a juggler! You both should agree on what kind of entertainment will work best for you and for your guests.

Your Caterers:

Depending on the resort or facility that caters for receptions, you will have to decide if you will be hiring your own caterers or if they will be doing this for you. If your budget is a little on the tight side, consider a buffet set up vs separate plate meals. You could easily purchase platters of food from your local supermarket that will be beautifully arranged and offer wonderful selections of food.

Your Car Service:

You should find a fleet service and hire just a few limos for the couple and their parents. Another car could be rented for the wedding party – maid-of-honor, best man, bridesmaids, etc. Don’t go overboard, just a few cars for that added touch. Most other guests will have their own transportation, or friends can offer to pick them up and bring them home. If you have guests coming from out of town and will be flying to your locations, make sure you can provide transportation for them.

Your Florist:

First off, as the bride, decide what your favorite choice in flowers will be and what kind of bouquets and arrangements you want at the wedding and the reception. Again, is the theme of your wedding traditional, contemporary, Victorian, etc? Professional florists will be able to help you select what will work beautifully with your theme. You might want to look into silk flowers if you are on a budget, but in some cases, they could cost more than fresh flowers. This could come into play if your favorite flower is not available during the season of your wedding.

Hiring A Master Of Ceremonies:

Finding the perfect toastmaster will be well worth your time and money! They will make sure everything moves along as planned and at the right time. These people are professional orators who cater many weddings and will work with your style. They are flexible to help you get that very formal atmosphere or something more casual.

Your Honeymoon:

When booking your reservations, always use your maiden name and if you are traveling abroad, your current passport. Even if this is a year in advance, you cannot apply for a new passport with your future name until the name is legal and documented. Once you return, you can then change all your documents to your married name. Also, make sure you have all needed vaccinations before leaving on your honeymoon. This is not optional, it’s mandatory.

Also, make sure you have foreign currency before leaving on your honeymoon and any other last-minute things you should take of before departing.

You might want to set up an appointment to have a waxing or facial before leaving on your trip. Consider a tanning treatment that will look great during your wedding as well as on your honeymoon. Any other little details such as caring for your eyebrows or any tiny hair removal.

Once you have set up your accommodations for your honeymoon, ask the facility if they would arrange for rose petals or other petals to be scattered on the bed and around the room. This is just a nice romantic touch!

Get Wedding Insurance:

This might sound cold but it’s not. What if vendors or supplier does not show up? You need some form of protection and peace of mind.

Start Your Diet:

Every bride on earth wants to look her very best on that special day. You want to either lose some weight or just get in shape. You should plan a good 6 months in advance and start your diet or workout at a gym or daily workout on equipment in your home. Involve a friend and/or family member! This will give you motivation and will have a good time along the way. Should your diet become a huge, success, get with your dressmaker or alterations expert to make any necessary changes.

Advice For DIY Weddings & A Little Inspiration:

Whether you are ambitious enough to take on the majority of your wedding arrangements or just a few, you might need a little helpful assistance. You might want to create your own wedding invitations, table settings, and centerpieces, your wedding cake, or small favours for the guests. You want to start working on these projects a good deal of time ahead of the wedding.

Ordering Or Creating Your Invitations:

Make sure you have all needed stationary including place cards, thank you notes, and of course, the actual invitation.

Your Wedding Cake:

Most brides will opt for ordering a wedding cake vs doing it themselves. On the other hand, you might have a friend or family member that is absolutely fabulous at baking and designing cakes! If that’s the case, you are in luck! Decide what kind of cake you want, sit down with them and come up with the perfect homemade cake!

Your Hairdresser & Makeup:

Find someone who can work with you to give you the look you want. Set up an appointment for a trial run for your makeup and hairstyle along with any hair accessory such as a tiara and veil if possible.

Have Regular Facials:

You want your skin to glow and look its very best. Plan a month or so ahead of time to start your facials. Set up an appointment to have a final facial a few days before your wedding or, if on a Monday, the previous Thursday or Friday.

Your Wedding Bands/Rings:

Most couples will take care of this shortly after their engagement but some will wait awhile. Go to your jeweler and make sure the rings or bands are the right sizes and if your engagement ring and wedding band fit well together if you plan on wearing them both.

Sending Your Invitations:

Normally, you should send out your wedding invitation between 6 and 12 weeks – at the latest, before the event. This gives guests enough time to return the enclosed reply cards. Make sure you include any additional information such as transportation, accommodations, parking, dress codes (if applicable). You should also inquire if anyone has certain dietary needs. Do No Forget To Include The Reply Cards!

Order Your Décor & Table Settings:

Make sure everything is just as you want them to be and make sure you include your wedding favours and centerpieces.

Your Gift List:

Make sure this list is available to your guests either through their invitation or if you have a website.

Gifts For The Best Man, Maid-Of-Honor, & Bridesmaids:

Choose something that shows how appreciative you are. Buy bouquets for the mothers of the bride and groom.

Plan For The Bride’s Party & Grooms Stag Party:

Sometimes, both parties are arranged by the maid-of-honor, a bridesmaid, and the best man. These people are probably your best friends and should know what you consider acceptable and what is not. This should be set up a good month before the wedding.

Your Final Fitting:

This will be the last time you will try on your gown to make sure everything has been altered properly and fits perfectly. Bring some friends or your mum and have a good time!

Reconfirm All Arrangements & Supplies Are Ready:

Check with everyone involved that the arrangements and supplies are going to ready for your wedding day and delivered on time.

Seating Plan:

Go over your seating arrangements for guests and relatives. You should sit down with your wedding planner t go over all these arrangements and everything is just right.

2 Weeks Before

Contact Guests:

If there are people who have not responded to your invitation, now is the time to contact them to confirm if they will be attending or not. You are going to need approximately 2 weeks ahead of time to make your final arrangements.

Your Wedding Rehearsal:

Your wedding rehearsal should take place a few days before your wedding. Generally, rehearsals are performed in the evening and all members of the bridal party should be present. This is like a dress rehearsal for actors in a play. Everyone needs to know where they should be located during the ceremony and everyone knows what they are supposed to do. Offer dinner after the rehearsal to just chat and have a great get together before the big day.

Wedding Vows & Speeches:

If you are planning on making speeches or have created your own wedding vows, make sure everything is ready for the big day. Any wedding vows should be ready during your wedding rehearsal to ensure everything goes really smoothly.

Returning Suits For Hire:

After the ceremony has ended, make sure if you have hired tuxedos or other suits they are returned on time. The last thing you need is going on your honeymoon and then find out no one returned the suits! You will be socked with a late charge adding to all other expenses you will be paying off.

A Week Before

Hair Treatments Or Trimmings:

Do Not have your hair dyed or trimmed the day before your wedding. If anything goes wrong with the colouring, you will not be happy. Plan a week before to take care of your hair. Hair trimmings never looks great directly afterward, so get it trimmed well before so it looks natural.

The Bride’s Wedding Backup Kit:

This kit should include lipstick, makeup, a compact, powder, tissues, etc. Include anything you might need on that day. Ask someone in your wedding party to hold on to it.

Other Backups:

Have umbrellas available should the weather turn against you.
Ask those in your wedding party to look around for something borrowed – something blue. What wedding is complete without them! Mums are really good at running down these items!

Your Designated List Keeper:

You should have someone who will be in charge of your supplier list. This list should have the suppliers’ contact information, the times they are to arrive, etc. You are going to have enough on your mind getting ready for the ceremony. The best man, bridesmaids, or a family member should be able to put out any small fires that might pop up.

The Day & Night Before:

Spend the day relaxing. You have worked hard enough pulling this wedding celebration together. Take this time to be with family and friends and just sit back and take a deep breath – you deserve it!

Make it an early night. After all, you are getting married the next day and should get plenty of rest! All the facials, manicures, and makeup are not going to be all that great if you look tired and stressed out.

In Conclusion:

As you can see, if you take one step at a time, stay organized, ask important questions when hiring someone to help you out with catering or hiring entertainment for your reception, everything will come together in your favour.

Your wedding day is going to be a wonderful event that you will remember for the rest of your life. Should something happen, turn it into something funny that you will talk about for years to come, do not stress. If everything has been thoughtfully planned out, you will enjoy the entire day. Keep in mind, this is not the end, this is the beginning of a whole new life!


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