Marriage & Wedding Information

Free Wedding Planning Guide and Checklist

With so much to do, every bride needs a surefire way to get organized and stay on track as she countsdown toward that all-important day. Here's a guide and checklist you won't want to be without.

12 Months Before

*Buy a wedding planner and organizer, which is one of the true bargains for brides. (The only realistic alternative to not being well organized is hiring a wedding consultant to manage the details for you.)

*Talk with your fiancÚ (and parents if they will be paying the bill and adding to the guest list) about the size and a budget, possible date, and location for the wedding.

*Reserve the ceremony and reception sites. (If the wedding will take place in a large city, don't dilly dally on this one. Wedding venues can be booked up solid for a year.)

*Begin shopping for your dress. (You could be looking for that perfect gown for months, and most shops need at least four months to fill an order. Look for styles appropriate for the wedding venue and time of day.)

*Shop for or begin making save-the-date cards.

*Send your engagement announcement to newspapers.

10 Months Before

*Make an appointment to meet with your clergyman. (At the time you make your appointment, let him know your wedding date. You and your fiance should arrange to meet with him as soon as possible, especially if you live in a large city or are planning to write your own wedding vows.)

*Begin scouting around for a baker, caterer, florist, musicians, and photographers. (Once you have found them, ask about and review price options.)

8 Months Before

*Research honeymoon destinations and prices.

*Begin the guest list. (Generally, half of the invited guests are the bride's and half are the groom's.)

*Order your dress.

*Book vendors and musicians or a dj.

*Choose bridal registries and gifts you would like to receive.

*Reserve a block of rooms for out-of-town guests.

6 Months Before

*Mail save-the-day notices.
*Select menu and flower arrangements.
*Order wedding stationery.
*Shop for bridesmaids' dresses.
*Reserve rentals (tents, fans, etc.).
*Make honeymoon and flight reservations.
*Reserve hotel room for your wedding night.

4 Months Before

*Finalize guest list.
*Have first dress fitting.
*Order wedding rings.
*Schedule rehearsals.
*Find out if blood tests will be required.
*Get change-of-name forms.
*Visit the formalwear shop.

2 Months Before

*Shop for lingerie and honeymoon clothes.
*Pick out shoes. (When you get them home, don't forget to scuff up soles to prevent slipping.)
*Mail wedding invitations.
*Finalize vows and give copies to clergyman and groom.
*Select gifts for attendants.
*If necessary, get change of address forms from post office.

1 Month Before

*Have final dress fitting.
*Pick up rings.
*Have programs printed.
*Confirm all reservations.
*Send announcement to newspapers.

2 Weeks Before

*Get marriage license.
*Make final arrangements with photographer.
*Organize seating plans.
*Begin writing thank-you notes.
*Type up toasts for the rehearsal dinner and reception.
*Give final guest count to caterer.

1 Week Before

*Pack for the honeymoon.
*Make necessary banking arrangements.
*Host bridesmaids' party and distribute gifts.
*Pick up wedding dress.
*Confirm rehearsal dinner plans with attendants.

1 Day Before

*Have manicure and pedicure.
*Attend rehearsal and dinner.
*Mail announcements.

Wedding Day

*Eat breakfast.
*Visit hairstylist and have nails touched up.

Best Wishes!

About the Author

Jean Bachcroft is a former public relations director, founder of Bachcroft and Aloha Labels, and the publisher and editor-in-chief of Town and Country Shopping Bargains Magazine. For designer wedding, holiday, and year-round mailing and return address labels, visit Bachcroft Mailing and Return Address Labels and Aloha Return Address Labels.

Forbargains and bargain shopping articles, visit Town and Country Shopping Bargains.

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