The Wedding Planning Checklist Every Bride (and Groom) Needs

Here’s everything you need to do to prepare for your big day.

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From 12 months before to the day of, here’s everything you need to do to prepare for your big day in the Hudson Valley.

12+ Months Before

♦ Set a budget.

♦ Look for and book ceremony and reception sites.

♦ Pick a wedding date and time, then check with all the major vendors (reception venue, ceremony site, etc.) and close family and friends to make sure that date works.

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♦ Put together a planning team. Decide whether you will have a wedding planner or if you will tackle things on your own or with a few trusted friends.

♦ Start putting together your guest list.

♦ Choose your wedding party.

♦ Throw an engagement party.

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9 Months Before

♦ Register for gifts.

♦ Shop for and order your gown.

♦ Book your caterer, band or DJ, and photographer and/or videographer.

♦ Meet with florists to determine your floral décor.

♦ Research and reserve hotel room blocks for out-of-town guests.

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♦ Order stationery.

♦ Choose an officiant.

6-8 Months Before

♦ Make a wedding website.

♦ Book musicians for your ceremony.

♦ Order bridesmaid dresses.

♦ Start planning your honeymoon.

♦ Send save-the-date cards.

4-6 Months Before

♦ Arrange for rentals if you need tents, tables, chairs, furniture, etc.

♦ Attend pre-wedding counseling, if required.

♦ Shop for wedding rings.

♦ Shop for the groom’s and groomsmen’s attire.

♦ Meet with bakers, and order your wedding cake.

♦ Hire wedding-day transportation.

♦ Have your first dress fitting. Remember to bring the shoes and lingerie you will wear on the big day.

♦ Plan your rehearsal and rehearsal dinner.

♦ Renew passport for your honeymoon, if necessary.

♦ Research and book transportation for the day of.

4 Months Before

♦ Hire a calligrapher for your invitations. Your stationer may have someone they recommend or use regularly.

♦ Book your stylist and try out your wedding-day look.

♦ Book a makeup artist and do a trial.

2-3 Months Before

♦ Attend your shower.

♦ Mail your invitations.

♦ Write your vows and/or meet with your officiant to discuss the run of the ceremony.

♦ Purchase gifts for your parents, bridal party, and each other.

♦ Send your rehearsal invitations.

1 Month Before

♦ Apply for a marriage license in the town you will be marrying. Check with the town clerk to see what information/documents are needed.

♦ Attend your final gown fitting. Have someone present to learn how to bustle your dress the day of the wedding.

♦ Check in with your bridal party to make sure they have everything they need.

♦ Make last-minute adjustments with vendors.

♦ Create a wedding program to hand out at the ceremony.

♦ Plan and put together welcome baskets for out-of-town guests.

♦ Attend bachelor/bachelorette parties.

2 Weeks Before

♦ Book spa and mani/pedi appointments.

♦ Review final RSVP list and call any guests who have not responded.

♦ Put together a shot list for the photographer and videographer, including a list of formal shots and when they will be taken.

♦ Deliver final song list to your band/DJ, including songs on your “do not play” list.

♦ Break in your shoes.

1 Week Before

♦ Give reception site/caterer the final head count, including vendors like the photographer, videographer and band/DJ to ensure plates will be made for them.

♦ Supply location manager with a list of requests from other vendors.

♦ Create reception seating chart.

♦ Print place and table cards or give to calligrapher.

♦ Put together a timeline for the day of (when vendors will arrive, who is doing what) and share with the ceremony and reception-site managers and vendors.

♦ Call wedding vendors to confirm details.

♦ Groom: Get haircut.

♦ Start packing for your honeymoon.

2-3 Days Before

♦ If needed, have your dress pressed or steamed.

♦ Groom and groomsmen: Go for final fittings and pick up formalwear.

♦ Give place cards, table cards, favors, menus, etc., to the reception site manager.

♦ Call the limousine or car rental company to confirm pickup times and locations.

♦ Deliver welcome baskets to the hotel.

1 Day Before

♦ Get manicure and pedicure.

♦ Provide emergency contact information to the vendors.

♦ Write checks or coordinate with wedding hosts about final balances due.

The Night Before

♦ Bring unity candle, aisle runner, yarmulkes, or other ceremony accessories to site.

♦ Rehearse the ceremony.

♦ Give marriage license to the officiant.

♦ Attend rehearsal dinner.

♦ Present bridal party with gifts.

♦ Give wedding bands to the best man and maid of honor.

♦ Assign a family member or attendant to be an emergency contact person for the ceremony- and reception site managers and photographer.

Day of

♦ Present parents and each other with gifts.

♦ Make sure to stay hydrated and eat something.

♦ Enjoy!

Post Wedding

♦ Arrange for rentals to be picked up.

♦ Have someone take your gown for safe keeping and return groom’s attire (if rented).

♦ Write and send thank-you notes for guests and vendors who were helpful.

♦ Change your name. For help with this, sign up for the name-change service at

Related: Fabulous Weddings at 4 Different Price Points

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