Wedding Structure


Wedding Checklist information

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wedding checklist

wedding checklist

This is a basic checklist, with a list of tasks to complete before the wedding. Each item is listed in chronological order with recommended dates to complete activities by.

Wedding Checklist – The First Steps

• Decide on a date.
• Get clarity as to whether the groom’s family or bride’s family is contributing to the wedding or if the engaged couple is paying for everything. This will determine the available funds for the wedding. Don’t assume anyone will pay anything.
• Decide the type of wedding you will have, such as a religious ceremony or a civil one. Do you want to be married on the beach, in a church, at your parent’s house or at the courthouse?
• Set a budget for the entire affair.
• Create an initial guest list.
• Compare the guest list to your budget. Expect to spend at least $20 per person if you’re having a fancy wedding. You might manage $5 per person if having a small reception after a courthouse wedding.
• After you have secured a venue and set plans for the activities, send out invitations so that selected guests know about the upcoming wedding.

Wedding Checklist – Clothing

  • Set a budget for the wedding dress before you go shopping.
  • Select a style that you like before you go shopping, such as traditional or modern, sleeveless or sleeved. This will simplify the shopping experience by winnowing the number you look at.
  • Determine if your bridesmaids will be wearing bridesmaid dresses or if they can wear their own, finest dresses.
  • Try on every dress you are seriously considering. Only buy a dress that fits you well. The only exception is if you are using an inherited dress.
  • Have the men try on tuxedos and book the tuxedo rentals for the wedding.
  • Try on the dress a month before the wedding to make sure it fits, so you have time to lose weight or get it altered in time.
  • Schedule a hair dresser for the day before your wedding. You may want to schedule a makeup artist, too.
  • Put on your makeup before you put on the dress on your wedding day to avoid getting lipstick or blush on the gown.

Wedding Checklist – Jewelry

  • Set a budget for the wedding rings, if you are not using inherited wedding rings.
  • Shop for the wedding rings.
  • At least a month before the wedding, try on the wedding rings to make sure they fit. This gives you ample time to re size the rings if necessary.

Wedding Checklist – Venue

  • Book the venue at least six months in advance for popular venues, at least four months for most others. Plan six to twelve months in advance if you want the venue in February or June.
  • Pay the initial deposit by the due date.
  • Find out if you must use their officiant for the wedding or if you can bring in someone else. Pay the deposit for their officiant, if required.
  • Verify that the venue doesn’t require additional fees or payments prior to the wedding.
  • Verify that the venue has no conflicts, rule changes or issues on site the week before the wedding.

Wedding Checklist – Food

  • Decide if you are having a formal sit down dinner or array of finger foods at a reception. Sit down meals are more expensive, but they are seen as a necessity for large parties that last late into the night.
  • Determine any restrictions on the food selection before you order it.
    For example, is anyone in the wedding party allergic to shellfish? Tell the caterer no shrimp or clams. Are there religious restrictions like Kosher or Halal? Find out for sure before you plan the menu.
  • Plan the menu or select from the caterer’s options.
  • Pay the deposit for the catering.
  • Order the cake at least two months before the wedding. Allow more time if getting married in February or June, or if you want a particularly elaborate cake.
  • Review the catering options and number of meals or portions to be served, relative to the number of people on the guest list. Increase the number of items if the headcount has grown.
  • Pay any other deposits or fees before the wedding. For example, will you owe money for any alcohol or drinks served? Do you need to pay extra for rented wine glasses or place settings?
  • Make sure the caterer is paid before the wedding.

Wedding Checklist – Reception

  • Find out the rules for the reception venue, such as prohibitions on pets or alcohol. Plan your wedding based on the rules of the reception location, unless the venue has rules you don’t like, at which point you need to find another location.
  • Book the venue for the reception, if separate from the wedding venue.
  • Pay the deposit for the date you want.
  • Decide the outline of the seating plan.
  • Make certain that you pay any other deposits before the wedding.
  • Arrange a rehearsal for the wedding at least a week before hand.
  • Have the rehearsal at least a day before the wedding. Plan on more than one rehearsal if toddlers are involved.
  • Have someone verify that the reception venue is prepared the morning of the reception so that the area can be spot cleaned or organized before the wedding party arrives

Wedding Checklist – Entertainment

  • Set a budget for entertainment.
  • Plan on the type of entertainment. Are you going to hire a band or a DJ? Or will you simply have soft music playing along with a slideshow of the couple’s favorite moments during the reception.
  • Choose the music for the wedding and reception.
  • Pay the deposit for any entertainment you may be hiring.

Wedding Checklist – Legal Matters

  • Complete all necessary medical exams before the deadline; some states still require blood tests for various diseases before you can get a marriage license.
  • Get the marriage license within the necessary time frame before the wedding.
  • Decide if you will get a pre-nuptial agreement. If you do want one, get independent legal representation for each partner and hammer out an agreement.
  • Make sure the officiant signs the marriage certificate before he leaves.
  • Turn in the marriage certificate before the deadline, after the ceremony.

Wedding Checklist – the Honeymoon

  • Decide if you are going to stay local or travel for the honeymoon.
  • Set a budget for the honeymoon.
  • Plan the trip, providing enough time after the wedding to get to the train station or airport to not rush the wedding reception.
  • Arrange travel insurance if the trip is more than a thousand dollars.

Wedding Checklist – Everything Else

  • Book the photographer about the time you book the venue, if you won’t be using a family member or friend to document the event.
  • Book the florist around the time you book the venue.
  • Sign up for a wedding registry around the time you send out invitations; ideally, you can send the invitations out with the information of where you are registered.
  • Select the flower arrangements within a month of booking the florist.
  • Plan the bachelor party and bachelorette parties, if holding one. And do not schedule these parties for the night before the wedding.

Wedding Checklist information posters

Wedding checklist information

Wedding checklist information

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Wedding planning checklist

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Groom checklist – Wedding checklist

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