Sunday, January 22, 2012

A realistic wedding timeline

I had almost two years to plan my wedding. Now that we are married, I can reflect on when things got done along with what things I should have done and when. I will write them all in this timeline.

I find the timelines in wedding magazines include things that you do not need: for example, you don't need a videographer or a wedding planner. So, here's a timeline put together from my own experience as a recent bride.

12 months before wedding:
  • Decide on your wedding colours and theme (if you are having one)
  • Decide on your wedding party (maids or matrons of honour, best man, groomsmen, etc.).
  • Decide on a wedding day.
  • Decide on a wedding venue - and book it.
  • Decide on a reception venue - and book it. Don't worry about the details like the meal or guest list yet, just book the room that holds a good number (ex. 100 seats).
  • Shop around for a photographer and book.
  • Book a florist for the wedding flowers.
Finances for 12 months:
  • Save for confirmation payment on reception, photographer and florist.
11 months before wedding:
  • Fill out the contract and make the confirmation payments for reception, photographer and florist.
  • Brainstorm a venue for the photo session. Talk to your photographer for ideas.
  • Brainstorm what you want to do for wedding favours.
  • Brainstorm any activities you want to do for your reception (games, activities, etc.).
  • Book your transportation for the day of the wedding. Get an appoximate quote and the preferred payment method.
  • Shop around for a wedding dress. Have your first (first of many) "Oh my god, I can't believe this is happening" moment.
Finances for 11 months:
  • Make confirmation payment for reception, photographer and florist (about $800 total). If this is required for your transportation, then do that as well.
10 months before wedding:
  • If you are making anything for your wedding, time to finalize what you want to make, what it looks like and what you need to buy in order to make it happen. Buy all of that now (paper, boxes, ribbon, etc.).
  • Brainstorm what you want to give for attendant gifts.
  • Purchase a wedding dress no later than this date because it usually takes at between 4-6 months to make and ship to the wedding store.
Finances for 10 months:
  • Buy wedding dress.
  • Buy anything that you are planning to put together yourself: paper for invitations, boxes, ribbon, etc.
9 months before wedding:
  • Decide on text and design for your wedding invitations.
  • Meet with your officiant and fill out any forms that you need to (if you need to). 
8 months before wedding:
  • Make wedding invitations (if you are making them). If you are ordering them, then send the text and design out now.
  • Talk to the groom about his wedding attire: does he need a new suit? New shoes?
  • Talk to your officiant about if you have to do marriage classes or a session. 
Finances for 8 months:
  • If you are ordering your invitations, you may have to pay for them up-front now.
6 months before wedding:
  • Go to marriage classes with your officiant. Depending on which religion you are (or which church you are getting married in), this may be a one-evening sit-down session or a two-day session.
5 months before wedding:
  • Send out wedding invitations.
  • If your wedding dress has arrived, go in for your fitting. Bring your wedding shoes.
  • If the groom needs any new clothing (suit, shoes, tie, etc.), get it now so that he can have it fitted.
  • Confirm the meal for your reception.
  • Start designing the programs for the wedding ceremony. If you need supplies to make these, buy it now.
  • Confirm the design for wedding favours and buy all materials that you will need to either make them or buy them. 
Finances for 5 months:
  • Buy postage for invitations.
  • Buy supplies for wedding ceremony programs.
  • Buy supplies for wedding favours.
  • Buy groom's attire.
  • Save money for down payment for reception. 

 3 months before wedding:
  • Work on the design for the wedding programs. Figure out how to print it and what it will look like. 
  • If you are a real eager beaver, start designing the Thank You cards as well.
  • If you are changing your name, time to research what needs to be updated (bank accounts and cards, health cards, SIN number, etc.).
  • If you have a will, time to talk to a lawyer about updating it. If you want a prenuptial agreement, time to start planning that as well. 
Finances for 3 months:
  • If you are talking to a lawyer about a will or a prenuptial agreement, you will most likely be discussing fees for this. Expect about $1000 total for each transaction (will and agreement).
2 months before wedding:
  • Research how you go about getting a marriage license. Who do you need to contact, how much is it, how much time does it take for you to actually get it back (ours was five days from the day that it was filled out).
  • Put together a prototype for your wedding favours and talk to friends about an assembly line to make them. Even if you've bought them, you might have some assembly or labeling required. 
Finances for 2 months:
  • Continue to save money for down payment for reception.
1 month before wedding:
  • Get all of your medical appointments (dentist, the doctor, the optometrist, etc) out of the way, that is, if you haven't done so already.
  • Think about what shots you want during the photo session. Write them all down as you think of them. Send to the photographer once the list is complete. 
  • Write down the venues for the ceremony, photo session and reception for out-of-town guests, the transportation and anyone else who asks. Send it to them now.
  • Make your hair and make-up appointment. If you are getting married during the summer, you may need to do this 2 months before the wedding.
  • Continue your RSVP list for the reception.
  • Make attendant gifts (or buy them).
  • Designate someone to pick up the flowers on the day of the wedding and drop them off to the groom and yourself.
  • If you are changing your name, time to fill out some forms.
Finances for 1 month:
  • Make first down payment for your reception. This should be half of the total bill.
  • Make first down payment for your photographer. This should be half of the remaining bill.
  • Buy attendant gifts or the materials required to make them.
  • If you are changing your name, you may have to pay a fee to change your health card, bank cards, etc.
2 weeks before wedding:
  • Fill out forms for the marriage license.
  • Start whitening strips for your teeth. Go for the 14-day whitening strips or have the procedure done at the dentist.
  • Get your highlights and haircut done. Also, if the groom needs the same thing it's time to get it done.
  • Continue your RSVP list for the reception.
  • Check the ceremony program with your officiant one more time.
  • Make your wedding favours (if you are making them) with an assembly line. 
Finances for 2 weeks:
  • Your highlights and haircut. The groom's haircut.
  • Any beauty items: whitestrips, long-lasting make-up, etc.
 1 week before wedding:
  • Pick up marriage license.
  • Do a run-through of your hair with the hair dresser.
  • Finish the program for the ceremony and print off. Assemble. Designate someone to take these to the ceremony and (if there are leftovers) take them to your house after the wedding.
  • Make any signs that you want to display at your house, ceremony, photo shoot and/or reception. Designate someone to put up these signs and to take them down.
  • Submit RSVP list for your reception. Confirm the menu for your reception as well.
  • Designate someone to pick up flowers at the florist and drop them off for the groom and bride. Call the florist to inform them who this person is so that they give the flowers to the right person.
  • Call and confirm details with the limo or transportation that you have hired. Confirm pick-up time, locations (church, photo shoot, reception), drop-off time and method of payment.
Finances for 1 week:
  • Pay for marriage license.
  • Pay for wedding hair and make-up at the run-through so that you don't have to on the day of the wedding.
  • Make second and last payment for the flowers.
 Two days before wedding:
  • Pick up wedding dress and get all bridesmaid's dresses steamed. Hang dress up in a room that is closed off from kitchen and bathroom odors (and peeking grooms).
 Day before wedding:
  • Do a rehearsal with the officiant, wedding party and musician.
  • Have a rehearsal supper with closest family, friends and the wedding party.
  • Have a manicure or pedicure.
  • Prepare food for the wedding day (think of breakfast, lunch and a snack).
Finances for one day:
  • Pay musician(s).
  • Pay officiant with a thank you card.
  • Pay for manicure or pedicure (unless you are doing it at home).
  • Pay for food at the rehearsal supper (if it is at home). If it is in a restaurant, everyone pays for their own food.
Wedding day:
  • Get hair and make-up done. 
  • Flowers are dropped off.
  • Put dresses on.
  • Get married!
  • Photo shoot
  • Reception
 Finances for wedding day:
  • Pay limo or transportation (most likely in cash).
4-6 weeks after wedding:
  • Confirm and update your will with a lawyer.
  • View photo proofs and decide on which ones to develop.
  • Start Thank You cards.
  • Update your accounts with the status "married". You may need to update information at work, at the bank, etc.
  • Get your marriage certificate in the mail. You might need it for your will or prenuptial agreement, or to change your name.
Finances for 4-6 weeks after wedding:
  • Make last payment for the reception.
  • Make last payment for photographer.
  • Pay for photo development.
  • Buy postage for Thank You cards.
  • Lawyer fees for a will and/or prenuptial agreement. 
  • Fees may be needed for changing your name.

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