Time Line

The whole wedding planning process might initially look like a massive project but if break it into smaller pieces you will see how easy it is to organise.

Below is the full timeline for the wedding. Every section is also available as a downloadable, printer friendly checklist page.

Nine to Twelve Months Before the Wedding

Get a file to keep track of all the wedding details.

If you need a wedding consultant you need to hire one now.

Select a date and time for the wedding. (It might be a good idea to see whether all the venues are available before you finalise this date.)

Decide on the type of wedding you want, e.g. classic, formal, informal, etc. This decision will be based on your budget, personalities and lifestyle.

Choose a colour scheme and wedding theme.

Determine whether it will be a religious ceremony or not.

Determine who will officiate at the ceremony.

Make an appointment with the officiant and book / hire him or her for the wedding.

Put an announcement of your engagement in the newspaper.

Determine an approximate amount of guest who will attend the wedding.

Start shopping for a wedding dress, headpiece, veil, lingerie as well as bridesmaid's dresses. If you find the perfect wedding dress then you need to order it - some dresses may take up to 5 months to be made. Often there are no refunds for wedding dresses so you need to be sure that this is the dress you want.

Establish an initial budget as well as who will be paying for what. Traditionally, the bride's family takes care of the wedding expenses while the groom's takes care of the rings, the rehearsal dinner and the honeymoon. However, these days a lot of this has changed. Rather meet with both families and come to an agreement.

Select and reserve a ceremony location. Some venues are booked a year in advance so put a security deposit down if you find one you like. (Check the cancellation / refund policies first and get it in writing.)

Select and reserve a reception venue. Some venues are booked a year in advance so put a security deposit down if you find one you like. (Check the cancellation / refund policies first and get it in writing.) Remember to make sure that both the ceremony and reception locations are booked for the same day!

Select the different suppliers - once you have decided on someone be sure to pay a security deposit and obtain a signed contract. (Check the cancellation / refund policies first and get it in writing.)

Florist.

Photographer.

Caterer.

Wedding cake baker.

Videographer.

Musicians.

Limousine service.

printer friendly checklist

Six to Nine Months Before the Wedding

Start compiling the guest list. Give both families an equal number of people that they can invite. Combine these lists with the bride and groom's lists in order to get to a final list.

Determine the number of invitations that need to be ordered.

Select the wedding attendants, i.e. maid of honour, best man, etc, and request their participation in your special day.

Select a wedding dress and arrange dates for fittings.

Select bridesmaids' dresses and arrange dates for fittings.

Select your wedding cake (keep it in line with the overall theme of the wedding).

Sign up for a gift registry at your favourite store(s).

Start to plan the honeymoon. Consult a travel agent and discuss possible destinations and prices.

printer friendly checklist

Four to Six Months Before the Wedding

Start to shop for wedding rings and order it if you find what you like.

Order the wedding invitations, thank you cards, napkins, guestbook and personal stationary.

Select and order the men's attire and arrange dates for fittings.

Finalise the guest list.

Remind the mothers to select their dresses.

Order gifts and favours.

Confirm dates and arrangements for the following:

Delivery date of wedding dress.

Florist.

Photographer.

Caterer.

Wedding cake baker.

Videographer.

Musicians.

Limousine service.

Finalise the honeymoon details and make the necessary reservations through the travel agent.

Decide where to live after the wedding and / or plan your new home.

printer friendly checklist

Two to Four Months Before the Wedding

Prepare maps and directions for the both the ceremony and reception venues.

Start to shop for your wedding rings.

Finalise the date and time with the officiant for the rehearsal.

Finalise and confirm all details with the:

Florist.

Photographer.

Caterer.

Wedding cake baker.

Videographer.

Musicians.

Limousine service.

Arrange accommodation for out-of-town guests.

Plan the date and time of the rehearsal dinner and book a restaurant (if applicable).

Apply for the marriage license.

Make an appointment with a beauty professional and hairdresser for the bride and bridesmaids on the wedding day.

Arrange for all rental items that might be needed at the ceremony and reception, e.g. crystal, silver, arches, candelabras.

Shop for bridal party gifts.

printer friendly checklist

Six to Eight Weeks Before the Wedding

Address and mail all the invitations and announcements. Remember to include the maps and directions.

Make an appointment with the photographer for a formal bridal portrait.

Select gifts for all the wedding attendants.

Finalise and order your program for the ceremony.

Prepare a music selection list for band or DJ.

Confirm with the formal wear shop that they have received all the measurements for the male attendant.

Finalise alterations and make an appointment for the final fitting of the gown.

Schedule fittings for the bridesmaids and flower girl.

Make arrangements for all ‘Pre-Wedding Parties’.

printer friendly checklist

Four to Six Weeks Before the Wedding

Collect the wedding rings.

Give the final number of guests to the caterer.

The groom needs to buy his gift for the bride.

The bride needs to buy her gift for the groom.

Select and / or purchase the going away outfit.

Purchase (or borrow) all the wedding accessories such as the ring pillow, candles, etc.

Confirm the delivery time and details with the florist.

Finalise the seating for the reception and start to write the placement cards.

Make sure all the bridesmaids' have gone for a final fitting.

Go for the final wedding dress fitting.

Plan the Bachelor and Bachelorette parties.

Submit the wedding announcement to the local newspaper.

Visit you're the hairdresser and decide on a style with your veil.

Make the necessary arrangements in terms of transportation for your honeymoon as well as when you return.

Confirm the final honeymoon plans with the travel agent.

printer friendly checklist

Two Weeks Before the Wedding

Prepare the wedding announcement for the newspaper.

Confirm the accommodation for any out-of-town guests.

Make sure all dresses, clothing and accessories for the bridal party are ready.

Collect the marriage license.

Start making a list of companies and institutions that need to be informed of the bride's new surname (e.g. Banks, identity document, passport, driver's license, etc).

Complete the floor and seating plan for reception.

Confirm all delivery dates with the different suppliers.

Confirm the arrival time for all attendants.

Check parking arrangements - take any elderly or disabled guests' needs into account.

printer friendly checklist

One Week Before the Wedding

Review the seating details with the ushers.

Contact guests who have not responded yet.

Finish all the place cards for the reception.

Give the final head count to the caterer.

Confirm the reservation for the rehearsal dinner.

Give the band or DJ a list of songs you would like to have played on your wedding day.

Pick up all the formalwear and ensure that everything fits.

Bachelor and Bachelorette parties will be during this week.

Send out Thank You notes to guests that won't be attending the wedding but have sent you a gift.

Collect the plane tickets and passports (if applicable) for the honeymoon.

Start to pack for you honeymoon.

printer friendly checklist

One Day Before the Wedding

Decorate the different venue venues or make sure that the decorating is happening.

Get a manicure, pedicure and massage to relax.

Try to be early at the rehearsal dinner to greet the guests.

Hand out the bridal party gifts at the rehearsal dinner.

The officiant's fee needs to be handed to the best man in a sealed envelope in order for him to discreetly hand it over after the ceremony.

Get enough sleep before the big day.

printer friendly checklist

On the Wedding Day

Eat something to settle the stomach.

Ask someone to check that everything is ready at the reception venue.

The bride needs at least 3 hours to get ready.

Prepare for the hairdresser and makeup appointments.

Remember the rings and the wedding license.

Make sure that the best man and maid of honour sign the wedding certificate as witnesses.

Allow time for photos if this has been arranged with the photographer.

Remember to enjoy the day!

printer friendly checklist

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