Whether you give yourself a ton of time or only have a few months, when planning a wedding, it’s all about organization and time management. You need to know your priorities, be comfortable juggling a few tasks, all while keeping your cool.
“When they have a calendar or checklist, it allows for them to focus on the task at hand, what’s important, check it off and move on,” said Jodi Gagné, wedding planner and founder of Simply Perfect. “There are some couples who come to me and we can turn a wedding around in three weeks. Anything is possible, it just depends on their personality, how flexible they are, if they’re open in terms of the venue, how quick they make decisions and whether they’re good at checking it off, don’t look back, move forward.”
Whatever your timeline, here’s how to plan a wedding in 36 weeks. You may have to do a little tinkering with your own schedule but if you follow along carefully, you’ll get the idea of what you need to do to have the best wedding imaginable.
Set a date and time for the wedding
Create a preliminary guest list
Select a ceremony venue and/or reception venue
Select a ceremony officiant
Select the bridal party
Find the wedding gown
Select a photographer
Is he/she this good, though?
Bridesmaids’ and flower girls’ attire
Prepare the Save the Dates
Send out Save the Dates
Create a preliminary timeline for the actual wedding day
Pick floral and decor companies
Select ceremony and reception musicians
Start picking your first dance song, father-daughter song and more with these top wedding songs of 2018.
Arrange hotel accommodations
Order wedding cake
She further explains, "So it would involve picking up the groom and the male attendants and get them to the church, picking up the bride and female attendants to get them to the church, then picking up the bridal party and getting them to the photo location, and from the photo location to the reception venue. And then a pickup at the end of the night, if needed."
Arrange for additional services like AV, entertainment, ice sculptures, photo booths
Square away hair and makeup
Plan a honeymoon
Purchase wedding rings
Order formalwear for groom, groomsmen, fathers, ushers and ringbearers
Plan welcome baskets and thank you notes for out-of-town guests
Purchase of accessories like ring pillows, cake accessories, knives, toasting glasses, guestbook pen, money box
Purchase gifts for those involved in planning process
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Mail out invitations
Why? "Because four weeks prior, you want your RSVPs in. Then anywhere from three weeks to one week prior, you're giving your final guest count to your florist, to your liquor rep, your caterer, to your venue, to your floral decor company." It's all in the details.
Obtain marriage license
Select music for ceremony and reception
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Final details meetings
Arrange rehearsal/rehearsal dinner
Follow up with guests who haven’t responded
Finalize guest count
Send or write thank you cards for any gifts received prior to wedding
Finalize table seating assignments
Print the day of stationery
Ensure gown and accessories are picked up
Break in shoes
Arrange refreshments for bridal party during photo session
Ready payment envelopes for vendors that need to be paid just prior or on the day
Work on wedding toast and speeches
Pack for honeymoon if going away right after
Arrange for overnight bags to get to venue or hotel
Deliver all the accessories to the reception site
Deliver welcome baskets to hotel for out-of-town guests
Have the rehearsal/rehearsal dinner
P.S. Don't forget, on the next business day you've got some leg work to do, from returning things like tuxedoes, cake stands and rental cars. Once that's all done, let married life begin!