Visit a Premier Bridal show for information on wedding professionals
Set the wedding date and time
Determine the wedding location
Send engagement announcement to the newspaper
Set up interviews with wedding professionals
Hire caterer, band, photographer, videographer, and florist
Select your bridal party
Register gift preferences
Begin shopping for a wedding dress
Meet with officiant to determine ceremony content
plan accommodations for out-of-town guests
Finalize guest list
Shop for Bridesmaid dresses
Order wedding gown
Order your bridesmaid gowns
Select your Bridal shoes, lingerie. Handbag, hosiery & accessories
Order your headpiece
Arrange wedding day transportation
select wedding favors
4 Months  Make arrangements for groom’s attire  Coordinate groomsmen attire  Book your honeymoon  Order wedding invitations & related stationary  Purchase a wedding gift for your groom
3 Months  Choose wedding rings  Finalize floral arrangements  Plan reception menu  Buy clothing wedding night and honeymoon  Assemble, address & stamp invitations
2 Months  Send invitations  Order the wedding cake  Attend a bridal shower given in your honor  Write your own vows  Purchase a guest book  Get name-change forms for social security. Drivers license. Credit cards, & banks
1 Month  Finalize ceremony plan  Purchase gifts for the bridal party  Attend your final dress fitting  Send change of address form to post office  Write shower thank you notes  Give band leader list of requests
3 weeks  Call guests who have not yet responded  plan reception seating arrangements  Meet with hairstylist & makeup artist to try out your wedding day look  Prepare wedding announcements for the newspaper  Get your marriage license
 confirm directions & pickup/ drop-off points with the limousine services
1 Week  Give your final guest count to caterer  Pack your honeymoon suitcase  Create a detailed schedule of your wedding day activities to give to your wedding professionals  select someone to be in charge of this schedule  Pick up your wedding rings  Pick up your wedding dress  Host bridesmaids’ luncheon
1 Day  Get a manicure  Wedding rehearsal & rehearsal dinner  Confirm honeymoon travel reservations  Pack an emergency kit with extra pantyhose, Safety pins, safety pins, a brush & makeup to put in your purse  Get a good night’s sleep
Your wedding day!  Eat a good breakfast  attend hairstyle appointment  Give yourself plenty of time to get ready  Relax and have fun!
Wedding Budget Setting a realistic budget for your wedding will lay the groundwork for every other planning decision you will make, from the size of your guest list to the extravagance of your dress. That is why the first thing you need to do is meet with everyone who is contributing to the cost of your wedding and find out exactly how much they can contribute. Once you have tallied your resources and arrived at a total figure, you will want to take a careful look at how much each aspect of your wedding will cost before you begin spending money. Some things, such as the reception or honeymoon, will take a significant amount of your budget, while others, such as invitations or clergy fees are a minimal expense. Decide which areas mean the most to you and allocate your funds accordingly. And remember, a beautiful wedding can be arranged on any budget. All it takes is a little creativity and accounting of every dollar spent. Planning your ceremony Your wedding ceremony should reflect you and your fiancé’s feelings and beliefs about marriage. Some couples like traditional religious ceremony officiated by a clergy member. Others prefer a civic or nondenominational service. Interfaith couples may choose an ecumenical ceremony in which a clergy member from each faith is present. A wedding ceremony can be held anywhere, from a church to your reception site to a judge chambers to a remote mountaintop. Many sites are available for a small donation or fee. Find out whether you need to hire an officiant separately. Be sure to choose a site large enough to accommodate all of your guests. Also, ask about any restrictions on Photography or music, as well as what kinds of services the facility provides. In most cases, you will need to arrange for details, such as the ceremony music, flowers for the altar, and pew decorations. Remember to discuss your plans with the manager to make sure they are in compliance with the house rules.
Planning your Reception Like your ceremony, your wedding reception should reflect the way you wish to celebrate your marriage. Select a size and style that suits you both, a formal, sit-down dinner, a semi-formal buffet luncheon, or an intimate gathering. Typically, a wedding reception involves a receiving line, a toast to the couple, music and dancing, and a meal. However, the only two requirements for a wedding reception are a cake and a toast to the bride and groom. Feel free to be creative. When it comes to reception sites, the possibilities are endless. A hotel or country club is a good choice, since they will generally have a banquet manager experienced in planning weddings. Such establishments know how to cater to large crowds and often offer extras, such as valet parking and a place for the bride to change. Other options include renting a Victorian mansion, erecting a tent in your favorite location and bringing in a caterer or even having your reception on a boat and yacht. Regardless of the type of site you ultimately choose, make certain it is large enough to accommodate the size of your guest and provides adequate parking and restroom facilities.
Bride’s Attire The wedding gown you select will be the most meaningful and probably the most expensive piece of clothing you’ll ever own. It should bring out all of your best features and make you feel beautiful. You will want to give yourself plenty of time, at least six months, to shop around for the gown of your dreams. Where you shop will depend on your time frame and your budget. The options include department store bridal boutiques, full-service bridal salons, and discount stores. Consider the formality of your wedding first when selecting a style. Generally, the more formal the wedding, the more formal the bride’s attire. Keep the season of your wedding in mind, since some fabrics might be too heavy or light. Experiment with different styles to see what suits your figure. Once you have chosen a gown, the salon will order it and custom-fit it to your body when it arrives. Typically. You will need three fittings before your gown is ready. You will also want to choose a headpiece when you order your gown. Its best to bring the lingerie and shoes you’ll wear with your wedding dress to your dress fittings so any alterations can be made specifically for your wedding dat. If your dress is ready early, it is better not to pick it up until the week of your wedding; bridal salons are better equipped to store your dress properly. Don’t forget to choose accessories to complete your bridal look. Gloves are an elegant addition to many dress styles, and a dainty purse is the perfect way to conceal an “emergency kit” of safety pins, extra hosiery, and a brush. Jewelry can add that finishing touch to any bridal, as well as become that element of something old or of something new that every bride searches for.
Wedding day beauty Every bride wants to look and feel great when she walks down the aisle, so why not hire a professional hairstylist, and makeup artist and aesthetician to help you look your wedding day best? Choose professionals you feel comfortable with. Arrange for appointments with these professionals about a month before your wedding to try out your bridal look. Attendant’s attire From patterns to colors to accessories, your wedding party’s style should reflect your own. Bridesmaids might achieve a look complementary to the bride’s by wearing dresses similar in style and formality or by including some elements of the bride’s gown, such as a lace pattern or beading, into the bridesmaids’ dresses. Matching accessories is another way to create a unified look. Likewise, the groomsmen’s outfits should reflect the grooms attire. Most grooms will choose to buy or rent a tuxedo, and the groomsmen should follow suit, renting tuxedos in the same style by the same manufacturer. OF course, there should be some element of the groom’s outfit that allows him to stand out, such as a different cummerbund and tie, a fancier boutonniere, or different cufflinks and studs. Photography and Videography Your wedding day will be over sooner than you realize, but high-quality pictures and videos of your big day can make memories last a lifetime. The best way to ensure good results is to hire a professional photographer who is experienced in taking wedding pictures. Ask friends, relatives and wedding professionals for recommendations. Call photographers to check availability and prices and set up meeting with those you like so that you can review their portfolios. To judge quality, look for technical skill, well lit, clear pictures and the photographers abut to capture the moment. View posed photos and candids to make sure he is equally competent at taking both. Apply the same requirements to prospective videographers and discuss the specifics of what might be in your final tape: full ceremony coverage, a childhood photomontage or special effects. Once you decide o a photographer, be sure to provide him with a detailed list of formal and candid shots you want taken at your wedding. Be sure to find out from your site manager if there are any photography restrictions at your ceremony or reception site.
Invitations Your invitations will give your guests their first glimpse of your big day to come. Order your invitations four months before your wedding date so you will have plenty of time to address and assemble them. If you are hiring a calligrapher to address your envelopes, make arrangements as soon as the invitations are ordered. Mail your invitations six to eight weeks prior to your wedding date. Before posting them, take a fully assembled sample to the post office and have it weighed to confirm how much postage each one requires. Don’t forget to affix a stamp to each response envelope.
Wedding cake While many reception sites include the cost of the wedding cake in their price, you will have to decide on the size of cake you want. Ask to see pictures of wedding cakes your caterer has done in the past and see if you can arrange for a tasting. If your caterer will not be providing a cake, you will need to make special arrangements to order one from a bakery or cake specialist. Additionally, you may opt to include a special cake top such as a crystal cake tops or porcelain figure of bride and groom. Another custom is a groom’s cake which is often chocolate, in contrast to the bride’s wedding white cake. The groom’s cake is given out in take-home boxes to the guests at the reception.
Pre-wedding parties Everyone is as excited as you are about your upcoming wedding, and there are bound to be showers, bachelors and bachelorette parties, and rehearsal dinner thrown in your honor. Fortunately, the only pre-wedding party you will be responsible for planning is the bridesmaid’s luncheon or bridal tea. Traditionally, the bride hosts this event a week or two before the wedding to thank her attendants for their help and hard work.
Wedding music Nothing sets the mood of the moment like music. Music can add dignity and solemnity to the ceremony and excitement and liveliness to a reception. That is why you will want to have live or pre-recorded music at both your ceremony and reception. If you are having the ceremony and reception at the same place, you will probably be able to keep the same musicians at both. Otherwise, you may need to hire two sets of performers. Keep in mind that your ceremony and reception sites may restrict you to certain types of music or an approved list of entertainers. Listen to tapes or live performances of prospective musicians’ work and meet the band leader in person before hiring. Remember, the band leader will emcee your wedding so you should feel comfortable with his personality. Disc jockeys are a less expensive alternative to hiring a live band and can offer an even wider range of musical styles. However, just like a band leader, your disc jockey will emcee your wedding and you want to make sure he is someone you can work with.
Transportation You and your bridal party will need transportation to the ceremony and to the reception sites. A limousine service is a luxury well worth the cost. Most limousine companies charge per car, per hour, and per size of the car. Remember, unless the limousine will be bringing you two and your wedding party back home, you’ll need to arrange to park your cars at a drop-off site ahead of time.
Wedding Rings Chose your wedding rings at least three months before your wedding. The style you choose will depend on whether or not you intend to wear matching or complementary- style bands, and whether or not you will couple your wedding ring with your engagement ring.
Wedding Favors Handing out favors at your reception is a nice gesture to thank guests for coming. Additionally, these items make perfect mementos of your wedding day. Popular wedding favors include sachets filled with candy coated almonds or potpourri, tiny picture frames, and chocolate squares with the couple’s name and wedding date printed on the wrapper. Many of these items can be ordered along with your stationary, from a specialty store or they can be homemade. Planning your honeymoon Your honeymoon can consist of anything from a long weekend at a romantic county inn to a few restful weeks at an exotic tropical destination. If you are uncertain about what to expect, work with a travel agent (there’s no extra cost to you) who can help you put together a honeymoon package. Often at better prices than you might get on your own. Most hotels in destinations that are popular with honeymooners will have established honeymoon packages that generally afford newlyweds some extras, such as complementary champagne and flowers upon arrival, daily breakfast in bed, or a room upgrade. Make sure that your newlywed status is conveyed to the management ahead of time. If you will not be leaving for your honeymoon directly after the reception, you might want to find somewhere special to spend your wedding night. If you’re having your wedding reception in a hotel, ask if they can provide a discount on a honeymoon suite.