My husband and I are photographers in Durango CO and we love to photograph weddings.
Christmas, New Years, and Valentine’s Day are the most popular time for couples to become engaged. Planning a wedding can be time consuming and stressful for some couples. Since most couples have never planned a wedding before, I put together a helpful checklist to plan the big day.
This timeline is mostly for larger weddings. If you’re planning a small wedding, these tips will still help, but can be pared down to fit the size of your wedding.
When You Get Engaged:
Choose several dates so you can be flexible with the venue of your choice.
Talk budget with your fiance and family, and decide who is contributing to what.
Research locations for your wedding venue.
12 Months Before:
Choose your wedding party: Maid of Honor, Bridesmaids, Best Man, Groomsmen, Flower Girl, Ring Bearer.
Begin shopping for the wedding dress (leave lots of time because if you need alterations, those can take months).
Get your wedding ring insured and consider getting wedding insurance if you’re spending a lot of money.
Hire a photographer. Yeah, I know, I’m biased, but we can get booked up to a year in advance.
If you’re going to hire a full planner or “day of” planner, do that now also.
Get engagement photos taken. These help you and your photographer get to know each other, and you can use the engagement photos for a guest signing album.
11 Months Before:
Put together your guest list.
Book your caterer.
Book your DJ or band.
Set up an appointment with several florists to decide what types of bouquets and centerpieces you need.
10 Months Before:
Set up gift registries.
Get your save the date cards printed and mailed.
Put together a play list for the DJ or band and send it to them. They can give you suggestions for best dance music.
Book your officiant.
Start a fitness routine if you aren’t already working out.
Treat your skin to a beauty routine. Both you and your fiance should wear sun block ALL THE TIME. Red skin does not look good in photographs.
8-9 Months Before:
Research hotels for out of town guests and book rooms if needed. If the guests are paying for their rooms, send them 3-4 suggestions at different price points in the area.
Start planning your honeymoon.
Help your wedding party choose their attire and accessories.
Order jewelry and hair accessories for yourself.
6-7 Months Before:
Book an appointment with your hair and makeup artist to do some testing on hair styles and makeup choices.
Prepare and mail out the wedding invitations.
Make appointments with bakers to taste cakes and look at designs.
If you need to rent chairs, linens, lighting, decor, sound equipment, or anything else, do that now.
If you need to arrange for transportation for guests or yourselves, do that now.
Purchase wedding bands.
4-5 Months Before:
Schedule dress fittings.
Purchase bridal accessories including shoes, lingerie, and garter.
Book honeymoon flights and hotels.
Book room for wedding night.
Book rehearsal dinner venue.
Order wedding cake.
2-3 Months Before:
Finalize the menu with your caterer, including drinks. If alcohol is not included in your catering bill, ask about bringing your own.
Plan ceremony and reception seating.
Finalize readers and readings and who will do toasts at the reception.
Purchase toasting flutes, serving pieces, guestbook, flower basket, and ring bearer pillow.
Order menu cards.
Order wedding favors.
1 Month Before:
Begin writing wedding vows.
Review ceremony details with officiant.
Lay out the content for wedding programs.
Apply for marriage license: order 2-3 extras.
Finish any DIY projects.
Create a wedding day timeline and email it to important parties including photographer and DJ. Sometimes I put together the timeline for the couple because I know the order of the wedding day events. Sometimes the DJ puts together a timeline and then we coordinate.
2-3 Weeks Before:
Follow up with guests who have not RSVP’d.
Get a finalized guest head count to the caterer.
Confirm all vendors arrival or delivery times on the wedding day.
Begin breaking in your wedding shoes (men and women).
Make arrangements for the care of pets and plants while on your honeymoon.
Delegate someone to return tuxes, rentals, and tend to wedding dress.
1 Week Before:
Make final payments to vendors and cash tips for service personnel.
Prepare wedding day emergency kit.
Get spa treatments for you and the bridal party.
The Day Before:
Attend wedding rehearsal dinner.
Get to bed at a decent hour.
Happy Wedding Day:
Eat a good breakfast. Allow yourself at least an hour more than you think it’s going to take to get ready.
Get wedding rings and officiant fee to the best man.
Relax, smile, and soak in every moment.
After the Wedding Day:
Order Thank You cards.
Make prints or canvases of your favorite wedding photos.
Phew! That’s a lot of stuff to do, but that’s why you start early so you get everything completed with very little stress.
Need help with your wedding day? Get in touch –
Karen Skelly Photography
Photographers in Durango CO