IDEAS FOR CHECKLISTS
6 - 12 months before the big day
Decide on a date
Make an appointment with Clergyman / Officiant Determine a budget.
Compose a guest list.
Set time, location of Ceremony, Rehearsal & Reception Venue.
Choose Professional Photographer / Videographer.
Shop for wedding gown: Several fittings will be required.
Obtain Floral & Music estimates; book services if possible.
Register with gift registry.
Select brides maids.
Pick a honeymoon destination: (renew passports & inoculations
Begin selection of a Caterer.
Set a date to order dresses for bridesmaids.
5 months before the big day
Finalize guest lists.
Order invitations & announcements.
Order personal stationary & thank you notes.
Men choose attire.
Make honeymoon reservations.
Confirm delivery of bridal gown.
Make appointment for bridal portrait.
Order wedding cake.
Arrange transportation for all members of bridal party to &
from ceremony & reception locations.
Go over details of reception with caterer / hotel manager.
If you are renting any equipment, reserve it now. (arch way, floral
2 months before the big day
Inform clergyman of all the details of your ceremony.
Keep a gift diary - send thank you notes as gifts arrive.
Fine tune guest list.
Plan rehearsal dinner.
Select attendants' gifts, grooms gift.
Check all services.
Make moving arrangements.
Final gown fitting.
Bridal portrait setting.
1 month before the big day
Choose wedding bands.
Make room reservations for out of town guests.
Check wedding party apparel.
Confirm music arrangements & check selections.
Make reservations for bridesmaids' luncheon.
Discuss rehearsal dinner with hosts.
Apply for marriage license.
2 weeks before the big day
Plan your wedding day hair style. (bring headpiece & veil).
Schedule hair appointment for day of wedding.
Final check on bridal party clothing.
Arrange for name & address change.
Check with caterer / reception venue with last minute changes.
1 week before the big day.
Remind rehearsal dinner guests of time / location.
Start honeymoon packing.
Wrap groom's & attendants' gifts.
Check wedding announcements, stamped & ready to mail day after
Schedule rehearsal for 1 - 2 days prior to wedding.
Remind wedding party of exact time & place.
Go over final details of ceremony & reception with all parties
1 day before the big day
Have manicure & pedicure done.
Attend wedding rehearsal & dinner.
Give ushers guest list.
Hair & make-up.
Check wedding dress. (pressing/steaming).
Appoint family member to check ceremony & reception for left
Change of clothes. (if leaving for honeymoon).
Breath ! Enjoy your day.
Make an emergency kit: Include. . .
Make-up, extra panty hose, bobby pins, safety pins, clear nail
polish, comb, hair spray, hanky or tissues,
needle & thread (white), aspirins, saltine crackers, band
aid, toothpaste & brush, dental floss, breath
mints. Sounds funny, but stranger things have happened.......
Get a swatch of fabric of dress to match shoes and accessories
Take picture of front and back of dress
1. Indicate a start and end time for the officiant's
2. Determine whether a fee is required for this additional time commitment.
3. Let the officiant know if you
want her or him to go through the entire text of the ceremony or just the transition parts - beginning, vows, rings, conclusion.
If you intend to critique the diction, etc. of the officiant, please be sure he or she realizes you are testing whether the
ceremony will be easy to understand for guests in the back of the room or with hearing difficulty.
1. Write down the order in which people will go in and come out of the ceremony.
Designate someone to supervise any child participating in the ceremony (one supervisor per child). That person needs to be
prepared for anything -- such as temper tantrums, refusal to walk down the aisle, etc. The designated supervisor should be
prepared to do whatever is needed to deal with the situation, including taking the child outside to calm him or her down.
You need to be prepared to go ahead without the child or children, if necessary.
3. Know where the rings will be. (Usually bride's
ring is with the Best Man and groom's ring with the Maid of Honor.) The Ringbearer may prove unreliable, etc. If the
Ringbearer brings in the actual rings, be sure that child's "supervisor" understands the task includes keeping track of the
pillow and the rings.
4. Determine where everyone will stand and what direction they will be facing. Don’t ask the
officiant to stand with his or her back to the audience.
5. Decide if you want the officiant to have a microphone. Microphones
are particularly helpful outdoors where there is traffic noise, airplanes, noisy yard equipment or noisy fans. Indoors, it
depends on the acoustics of the room and the number of guests, as well as the issue of noisy ventilation systems. Also, consider
how many guests have hearing difficulties.
6. If you have recorded music, make sure someone knows how to work it and that
the equipment is reliable. The music operator should practice setting the correct volume, starting and stopping, etc. Make
it very easy for the person playing the music to find the correct piece. Brides often get very upset when the wrong piece
of music is played, which can easily happen. If you have a DJ or live music, this should not be a problem.
someone to decide when the ceremony actually starts. The bride is usually hidden just before the ceremony and not in a position
to decide. Someone needs to tell people to be seated and make sure everything is ready to go and then get people lined up
and give the signal to start. (Due to late arriving guests, it is common for ceremonies to start a few minutes late. More
than 15 minutes late might be considered disrespectful to the guests who were there on time.)
8. Make sure someone knows
how to pin flowers on dresses and men's jackets. Have someone check at the last minute to make sure anyone wearing flowers
has them pinned securely in a way that looks nice.
9. Decide on what will happen immediately after the ceremony. If there
will be a receiving line, decide who will be in it and where it will be located. Wedding guests will all want to greet
the bride and groom after the ceremony, so the receiving line is a good idea. If you don't have a formal receiving line, be
prepared for people to gather around in an effort to extend their greetings.
10. Decide if the seating of parents and
grandparents will be done as part of the ceremony. Often there is formal seating just before or just after the officiant enters
the room. While it is nice to honor these family members in this way, it can also be a bit of a problem, since they are not
able to take their seats until the last minute and must wait somewhere out of the way.
At the Rehearsal
Make sure everyone knows his or her assigned role.
walking in and out.
3. Have everyone stand in the designated locations for the ceremony and have someone look to see how
it looks. Consider marking the locations where people will stand with tape or something else.
4. If someone will be walking
down the aisle with the bride, practice saying good-by and having him (or her) sit down. Make sure that it is clear whether
or not there will be any questions for the person to respond to (such as who gives the bride in marriage?).
5. The groom is usually at the front of the room before the bride comes in. As she approaches, he walks toward her and then
walks with her to join the officiant.
6. When facing toward the front of the room from the back, the bride and her attendants
are usually on the left. The groom and his attendants are usually on the right. If you do it another way, that's fine too
- it's your wedding.
7. Practice going to the location of the receiving line, if any, and taking your places there.
Typically the bride and groom are not holding hands at the beginning of the ceremony and the bride is holding her flowers.
When it is time for the vows, the bride gives her flowers to her bridesmaid and takes the hands of the groom.
sure the aisle will be wide enough for the bride, her dress and the person accompanying her down the aisle. If there might
be a problem, see if the chairs can be set to create a wider aisle.
10. If there are any steps in the path of the bride
and the attendants, they should practice how they will walk up and down carrying flowers and in their dresses.
11. In my
opinion, the bridal party should walk in and out slowly but with normal strides, except that the bride may have to take very
small steps and kick her dress out of the way so she doesn't trip on it. Everyone should practice walking to make sure no
one is walking in a way that does not blend in.
12. The bride should practice how she will hold the arm of the person accompanying
her during the processional and the groom at the end. Traditionally, a man extends his elbow, which the woman holds with her
fingers around his arm.
13. The bride should remember to get her flowers from the bridesmaid before walking out with the
groom after the kiss. There need be no hurry to walk out. Usually there are many people snapping pictures as the bride and
groom turn around to look at everyone. It's OK to stand there a few moments and let people get their photos.