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18-Month Wedding Planning Calendar

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The following schedule is meant to help you organize the weeks and months before your wedding. You will find that being organized will not only help to save you money, but will significantly reduce the stress and anxiety surrounding your special occasion. Keep in mind that this schedule is meant as a guide. Those professionals and the locations that have the best reputations are most sought after and tend to be booked early, sometimes even more than a year in advance. So the sooner you can make your decisions and commitments, the better. Ideally, start a year and a half before your wedding and schedule tasks right down to the last day, and ever thereafter. Work at your own pace, and keep remembering that this is should be fun!

FROM 18 MONTHS OR AT LEAST A YEAR BEFORE . . .
1- Announce your engagement.
2- Arrange for both sets of parents to meet, unless they already have.
3- Work out a budget and promise yourself to stick to it.
4- Review the budget with your folks, if they'll be paying for any part of the event.

Talk to them about an engagement party.
5- Interview and hire an event planner if you are using one.
6- Decide on the style of wedding you want.
7- Make a preliminary guest list.
8- Determine whom you want to have in your wedding party. Make the calls and get their acceptances.
9- Select and book dates for the wedding, engagement party, bridesmaids' luncheon, rehearsal dinner
and after-wedding breakfast.
10- Select and book a caterer, a location for the ceremony, and a reception location.
11- Decide at which local hotel/motel you want to book a block of rooms for your out-of-town guests.
12- Find out on what date the lodging management is willing to set aside your rooms.
In most cases they will block no more than 12 months in advance.
13- Make arrangements with the person(s) who will officiate at your wedding.
14- Where necessary, book the House of Worship.
15- Interview all your wedding professionals (e.g., photographers, florists, musicians) and make your choices.
16- Make reservations for vehicles (e.g., limo, carriage).
17- Make plans for your honeymoon.
18- Select your wedding gown, accessories and associated events clothing.
Set a schedule with the shop(s) for subsequent fittings and pick up.
19- Remember to select shoes (ballet slippers, sandals) for the reception.
20- Put together directions to be included, as needed, in Save-the-Date cards
and/or in your invitations.
21- Drive the route from lodging to reception and from House of Worship to the reception venue,
to double check distances and landmarks.
22- Mail "Save-the-Date" cards to your "A" list guests.
23- Arrange for group or private dance lessons. Practice dancing to the wedding song for your first dance.

NINE MONTHS BEFORE . . .
1- Confirm with the members of your wedding party.
2- Order invitations, announcements, programs and any other printed materials.
3- Register at several stores, choosing items in a broad range of prices,
including china, flatware and other household items.
4- Start a list for gifts received and thank you notes sent.
Mail thank you notes as soon after receiving a gift as possible.
5- Have a black and white engagement picture taken and submit it to your local, and/or other newspapers.
6- Go for genetic testing, if appropriate.
7- Make or purchase any wedding-related items that you will not be borrowing, or have received as a gift,\
e.g., ring bearer pillow, money bag, flower girl basket, guest book.
8- Create a wedding chart/schedule for your wedding day.
9- Create schematics (drawings and schedules) for the processional, recessional, at the altar,
or under the chuppah, and for reserved seating.
10- If you are not hiring a wedding consultant, arrange for someone to be in charge of keeping everyone
on schedule and coaching the processional.
11- If you so choose, write wedding toasts for the rehearsal dinner and your wedding reception,
or make a source for toasts available to those who will need one.
12- Write the bride's speech.
13- Select guests for honors (e.g., toasts, speeches, blessings on bread and wine, etc.).
14- Make arrangements for child care at your ceremony and/or reception.
15- Create a personal web site
16- Order rentals (e.g., tents, portable toilets, lighting, dance floor, etc.)

FIVE TO THREE MONTHS BEFORE . . .
1- Make up your final guest list. Begin to address invitations or take them to your calligrapher.
2- Select a jeweler. Look at a selection of wedding bands.
Order your wedding bands and make arrangements for engraving, if any.
3- Select the wedding clothing for your attendants. Set yourself a reminder to check back again (second fittings) about eight weeks before the wedding.
4- Relay clothing information to your attendants and if you wish, set up a schedule
to go with them when they try on dresses.
5- Have the groom select and order tuxedos for himself, his groomsmen and the dads.
If people are in different locations, get measurements mailed.
6- If you have not already done so, order your wedding gown and accessories.
7- Discuss wedding attire with the mothers of the bride and groom.
8- Call the wedding professionals and anyone from whom you have ordered supplies and reconfirm your bookings.
9- Select gifts for your attendants, ushers, flower girl, ring bearer and parents.
10- Bride, select your wedding gift for the groom.
11- Groom, select your wedding gift for the bride.
12- Make arrangements to find a place to live, if you will be moving.
13- Get change of address cards from the post office and get them ready to mail.
14- Shop for and order party favors.
15- Decide who will ride with whom and where people need to be when.
16- Make reservations for guests who are coming from out of town.
17- Find a hairdresser and do a trial run with your veil.
18- Prepare programs for the wedding and assign someone to distribute them.
19- Send a Save-the-Date card to anyone else on your list that you feel needs one.
20- Meet with the caterer to set the menu. Order a cake if the caterer doesn't supply it.
21- For a Jewish wedding, select and order a ketubbah.
22- Order table cameras. Make or buy a receptacle for them. Assign someone to the task of collecting the cameras.
23- Arrange your rehearsal and notify those who will participate.
24- Go for a wedding gown fitting.
25- Get your attendants together to try on their gowns and see if alterations are necessary.
26- Send your event schedule to the vendors.

TWO MONTHS BEFORE . . .
1- Get blood tests (where required) and a marriage license.
2- Make an appointment for your hair and nails for as close to the wedding day as possible.
3- Meet or speak with your caterer to confirm the menu.
4- Select the music for your ceremony, cocktail hour and reception (first dance, etc.) and discuss your choices with the people who will be providing your entertainment.
5- Distribute schematics, schedule and any other information to your attendants
and anyone else who will be participating in your wedding.
6- Select religious items such as skullcaps, unity candles, kneeling pillows, etc.
7- Make arrangements for customization (e.g., imprinting).
8- Meet with the florist to discuss requirements and place the order.
9- Ask the florist if a sample centerpiece can be ordered.
10- Review your needs with your photographer and videographer.
11- Mail the invitations. If you will have an "A" and "B" list, then mail your first round
of invitations earlier (three months before), so you have time two months before to send out a second round.
12- Review documentation and make changes as needed (e.g., insurance, lease, Health Care Proxy, Living Will, etc.)
13- Put Guest Baskets together and assign someone the task of distributing them.
14- Arrange for someone to deposit your check and cash gifts in the bank, while you are away on your honeymoon.
15- Shop for your honeymoon clothes (hers and his).
16- Go for a wedding gown fitting and arrange for your final fitting.
17- Arrange for someone, after the wedding, to take your wedding gown to the cleaners for cleaning and preservation.
18- Arrange for someone to take your bridal bouquet for preservation.
19- Review the toasts for content and approval
20- Review the playlist with the band or deejay.

ONE MONTH BEFORE . . .
1- Reconfirm all the reservations and accommodations.
2- Check again on clothing for yourself and attendants.
3- Confirm honeymoon plans.
4- Throw attendant parties.
5- Do the seating plan for the reception.
6- Make or buy "Reserved For" cards for the church/ceremony.
7- Assign someone the task of cordoning off (ribbon?) the reserved seats at the ceremony and/or taping the cards to the seats.
8- Make sure, if necessary, that your attendants go for a final fitting on their gowns.
9- Mail your rehearsal dinner invitations.
10- E-mail and print directions for vehicle drivers.
11- Write your wedding vows, if you're doing your own.

THREE WEEKS BEFORE, DOWN TO THE WIRE AND AFTER . . .
1- Hold your rehearsal and the rehearsal dinner.
2- Pick up your wedding bands.
3- Give your caterer the final head count.
4- Write out the table cards.
5- Put the fees and tips in envelopes (officiant, soloist, maitre d' etc.)
and give it to whomever you put in charge of making the payments (usually the Best Man).
6- Arrange with someone to bring items to the wedding venue . . .
cake knife, toasting glasses, programs, votive candles, unity candles, ribbons, "Reserved For" cards,
ring bearer pillow, flower girl baskets, emergency kit for the bride, wedding license, etc. and to take them home.
7- For a Jewish wedding, include skullcaps, object made of glass, e.g., light bulb, wine goblet.
8- Arrange for someone to return the rentals (tuxedos, chairs, etc.).
9- Get a "test" manicure and/or pedicure and/or other beauty services.
Then schedule each service for before, or on your wedding day.
10- Pack for your honeymoon.
11- Design a "day of the Wedding" schedule with times and tasks and share it with the key "players" in your wedding,
such as your Maid of Honor and Best Man.
12- Pick up your wedding gown.
13- Write the checks for your vendors and hand them off to the people you have delegated to handle them.

You will find that the months have slipped by, sometimes not quickly enough, sometimes too quickly to savor the precious, special moments. You have planned and interviewed, met and reviewed, asked questions and had them answered.

Now it has all come down to the last few minutes before THE moment of your ceremony arrives. Take an extra big breath and a last push for on organizing, planning and handling the last minute details. Don't give up now that you're in the home stretch. You'll do your last bit of planning "homework" and, no doubt, your ceremony and reception will be seamless as a result of your efforts.

Congratulations. It's your wedding day!
HERE COMES THE BRIDE . . . right on schedule!


AFTER YOUR WEDDING DAY
1- Go on and enjoy your honeymoon.
2- Write thank you notes and/or send gifts to the special people who made your wedding "happen."
3- Pick up your preserved wedding gown and/or bouquet.
4- Send wedding photo and announcement to the newspaper(s).
5- Enjoy your life together.

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