1. Choose a Venue:
This is perhaps the most important step in planning a wedding, so it should be done as early as possible. There are many factors to consider when choosing a venue, such as size, budget, location, amenities, and atmosphere. Couples should research local venues to find one that fits their needs and meets their expectations.
2. Finalize Details with Vendors:
Once the venue is chosen, couples should start getting in touch with their preferred vendors to discuss details and finalize agreements. This includes photographers, videographers, caterers, florists, and any other vendors for which contracts need to be signed. It’s important to read over all contracts carefully before signing.
3. Create a Wedding Website:
Creating an informative website about the wedding can make it easier for guests to find information about the ceremony and reception. The website should include a detailed schedule of events, directions to the venue or locations of other activities, hotel room blocks, gift registry information, and other pertinent details that guests need to know.
4. Send Save-the-Date Cards:
Once a date is set for the wedding, it’s important to send out save-the-date cards so that guests can plan ahead and make arrangements for travel if necessary. Save-the-date cards should be sent 8 months prior to the wedding day and should include the names of both partners, the location of the ceremony and reception, and other important details.
5. Confirm Rehearsal Dinner Plans and Location:
The rehearsal dinner is typically held one or two nights before the wedding. Couples should decide on a location as well as any other details that need to be finalized such as menu options and decorations.
6. Meet with Florist to Choose Bouquet, Centerpieces, and Other Decorations:
Flowers are an essential part of any wedding day. Couples should meet with a florist to discuss their vision for the ceremony and reception decorations in order to select the right types of flowers, colors schemes, and arrangements.
7. Finalize Menu Options with Caterer:
The menu should be discussed and finalized with the caterer at least two months before the wedding day. This will give them enough time to prepare all the food that will be served on the big day. Couples should also consider dietary restrictions when finalizing their menu options.
8. Purchase or Rent Bridal Party Attire:
The bridal party should have their attire picked out at least 6 months before the wedding day. This will give them enough time to get fitted for alterations or rentals if necessary.
9. Mail Invitations 8 Weeks in Advance:
Invitations should be sent out 8 weeks prior to the wedding day so that guests have plenty of time to RSVP and make travel arrangements if necessary. Couples can choose from a variety of invitation designs, but it’s important that all information is included such as the names of both partners, the date and location of the ceremony and reception, and any special instructions or requests.
10. Book Hotel Room Blocks for Guests if Necessary:
If guests will be travelling from out of town, couples should book hotel room blocks to secure discounted rates. It’s important to do this at least 6 months in advance so that rooms can be reserved in time.
11. Arrange Transportation for Guests and the Wedding Party:
Couples should arrange transportation for guests to and from the venue as well as for themselves, the wedding party, and any other VIPs. This includes limos, shuttles, buses, or even horse-drawn carriages depending on the couple’s style and budget.
12. Schedule Hair & Makeup Appointments for the Big Day:
The bride and bridal party should make an appointment with a hair stylist and makeup artist at least 4 months before the wedding day. This will ensure that everyone looks their best on the big day.
13. Finalize Seating Chart & Place Cards:
The seating chart should be finalized at least 2 weeks prior to the wedding day so that place cards can be printed and any last-minute changes can be made. Couples should also consider any dietary restrictions or special requests when creating the seating chart.
14. Have Final Dress Rehearsal Day of Wedding:
A final dress rehearsal for the ceremony and reception is a good idea for couples who have not had extensive practice with their wedding party before the big day. This will give everyone a chance to work out any kinks in the plan, practice walking down the aisle, and get comfortable with their role on the wedding day.