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Wedding Planning Checklist

Words by Jennifer Stein
Destination Wedding Planning Time Line 

9-12 months before the wedding (or as soon as you are able):

  • Decide on a location for your destination wedding
  • Draw up a wedding budget
  • Decide on the size of your wedding and begin developing a guest list
  • Gather information about potential ceremony and reception sites, set a date and book as soon as you are sure of your location
  • Gather information about marriage requirements for your destination
  • Hire your wedding coordinator
  • Invite close friends and family to be part of your wedding party
  • Choose and book the officiant
  • Develop your wedding website
  • Research group room rates and reserve blocks of rooms for your wedding party and guests. Update your website with the information.
  • Bride-be shopping for your bridal gown
  • Begin researching wedding vendors including photographers, videopgraphers, florist, reception bands & DJ’s
  • Book your caterer
 

9 months:

  • Order your wedding dress
  • Book your photographer
  • Book your videographer
  • Book your reception band or DJ
  • Book your florist
  • Send out your Save the Date cards
 

8 months:

  • Decide on menu for reception
  • Begin shopping for bridesmaids attire
  • Decide on flower
  • Make travel arrangements for wedding and honeymoon (if in a different location)
 

7 months:

  • Order bridesmaids dresses
  • Begin exploring music selections for your ceremony and reception
 

6 months:

  • Begin attending pre-marital counseling
  • Show for wedding invitations
  • Groom-begin shopping for attire for you and your groomsmen
  • Register for gifts
 

5 months:

  • Gather all of the documentation you will need in order to be married at your destination
  • Apply for passport if you do not have one. If you have a passport, be sure it is still valid.
  • Obtain a visa if your destination requires one.
  • Obtain translations for your documents if required by your destination
  • Shop for wedding rings
  • Research cake designers
 

4 months:

  • Order your wedding invitations
  • Order your wedding cake
  • Order your wedding rings
  • Make arrangements for limousine or other wedding day transportation
 

3 months:

  • Address your wedding invitations
  • Begin writing your wedding vows
  • Begin designing wedding program if you intend to have one
 

2 months:

  • Send out your wedding invitations
  • Begin deciding on your hairstyle and try different hair do’s
  • Purchase gifts for attendants, parents & each other
  • Purchase items for gift baskets
  • Begin assembling packets for your guests
  • Prepare a packing lists for travel to your destination and honeymoon
 

1 month:

  • Have your final dress fitting
  • Check in with bridesmaids to be sure their alterations are on schedule
  • Finalize the order with your florist
  • Assemble gift baskets
  • Meet with your photographer to discuss the pictures that are important to you
  • Contact your ceremony and reception musicians to finalize the music that will (and will not!) be played
 

2 weeks:

  • Call guests who have not returned their RSVP
  • Bride-get your hair trimmed and colored
  • Prepare your reception seating chart
 

When you arrive at your destination:

  • Meet with your wedding coordinator to go over last minute details
  • If you do not have a wedding coordinator, contact each of the wedding vendors to confirm all arrangements
  • Get your marriage license
  • Bride-have your dress pressed
  • Bride-get manicure and pedicure
  • Meet with your hairstylist if you’re having one

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