Don't panic if this seems like a huge amount of stuff - a lot of weddings take much less planning.

Important considerations

  • Get an old cellphone and a "pay-as-you-go" card. Give this number to service providers only.
  • Invitations should be posted 6 weeks before the wedding.
  • Wedding dress should be ordered at least 6 months before the wedding.
  • Bridesmaids' dresses should be ordered at least 6 months before the wedding.
  • Bride's hair should be cut and coloured about 2 weeks before the wedding.
  • Groom's hair should be cut 2 weeks before the wedding.

12 or More Months Before the Wedding

  • Pick a date! Look at your calendar with your fiancĂ© (don't forget to confer with parents on both sides) and provisionally set the date. Be sure to have an alternate date or two in case the venue is already booked.
  • Start thinking about whether you will plan a formal or informal wedding.
  • Creating a preliminary guest list now will really help when it's time to create a budget.

10 to 12 Months Before the Wedding

  • Select wedding date and time.
  • Determine who will officiate at the ceremony - and book the date.
  • Reserve your ceremony and reception locations.
  • Announce your engagement and have engagement photos taken.
  • Discuss and create a preliminary wedding budget with all involved.
  • Determine how expenses will be shared.
  • Determine your wedding theme or style.
  • If you choose to use a professional planner you should begin interviewing now.
  • If your reception or wedding is planned for outdoors have an alternate plan in place.

8 to 10 Months Before the Wedding

  • Decide on your wedding colours.
  • Determine the size of your guest list.
  • Begin compiling list of names, numbers and addresses.
  • Send out "Save the Date" cards or emails.
  • Select bridal attendants and get their measurements and shoe size.
  • Select Groomsmen and get their measurements and shoe size.
  • Plan the reception.
  • Select the caterer.
  • Select the photographer/s.
  • Select the videographer.
  • Select the florist.
  • Select the band or DJ.
  • Select soloists, organists - musicians for ceremony.
  • Select and order invitations, napkins, thank-you notes and programs.
  • Start addressing invitations and announcements (once you get them).
  • Pre-address thank-you note envelopes while addressing invitations and announcements.
  • Prepare maps and directions to include in your invitations for ceremony and reception.
  • Check with the post office for the cost of postage when all the pieces are in the envelope.
  • Register with bridal registries.
  • Reserve the rehearsal dinner location - if there is one.

4 to 6 Months Before the Wedding

  • Check with your local newspaper for the form and timing of your wedding announcement.
  • Reserve block accommodations for out-of-town guests.
  • Go shopping for Wedding Shoes!
  • Select your dress and order if necessary.
  • Select your headpiece, shoes petticoat and jewellery and order if necessary.
  • Select bridesmaids' dresses and order if necessary.
  • Ask mothers to select their dresses.
  • Choose songs that you would like for the band or DJ to play at your wedding.
  • Reserve limousines, cars and/or other transportation.
  • Shop for wedding rings.
  • Start planning your honeymoon.
  • If you're travelling overseas, get your passport and other important documents together.
  • Select a baker for the cake - if not supplied by the caterer.

2 Months Before the Wedding

  • Finish addressing invitations.
  • Prepare wedding vows and speeches to be made.
  • Finalise all details with the caterer, photographer, florist, reception co-ordinator, musicians, etc.
  • Order the wedding cake - if not supplied by the caterer.
  • Purchase gifts for out-of-town guests to be left in hotel rooms.
  • Finalise the ceremony details with the officiant.
  • Purchase guest book.
  • Purchase or make place cards.
  • Purchase cake and knife server.
  • Select and purchase garter.
  • Make rehearsal and rehearsal dinner arrangements.
  • Plan your "Something Old, Something New, Something Borrowed and Something Blue".
  • Make appointments with your hairdresser and make-up artist.
  • Finalise your honeymoon plans.
  • Send out invitations.

1 Month Before the Wedding

  • Have a final fitting of the wedding and bridesmaids' dresses.
  • Have a formal portrait done.
  • Finalise transportation arrangements for the wedding day.
  • Purchase gifts for all of your attendants.
  • Purchase gift for your fiancĂ©.
  • Keep careful records of advance gifts you receive and write thank-you notes as you receive them.
  • Select responsible person to handle your guest book.
  • Make sure that all of the men's attire has been ordered.
  • Pick up wedding rings and make sure they fit.
  • Reconfirm the accommodations for out-of-town guests.
  • Prepare wedding announcements to be sent to the newspaper.
  • Send out reminders for those who have not yet replied.

2 Weeks Before the Wedding

  • Contact guests who have not responded.
  • Plan bachelor and bachelorette parties.
  • Get a copy of the time schedule for your wedding day. Make any changes immediately.
  • Plan the seating arrangements for the wedding.
  • Have maid or matron of honour contact attendants about final fittings for all participants.
  • Arrange to have wedding gifts moved to your new home.
  • Make sure the groom has his hair cut.
  • The bride should also have her hair cut and coloured if necessary.

1 Week Before the Wedding

  • Give the final count to the caterer and review the details.
  • Go over any final details with all wedding professionals you have hired.
  • Give place cards, seating chart and time schedule to reception manager.
  • Prepare envelopes for any payments/tips for vendors on the day of the wedding.
  • Ensure that a trusted person will carry a "wedding day emergency kit"
    (see Wedding Emergency Kit) with her at all times.
  • Make sure you have a charged cell phone (with airtime), schedules and important phone numbers and vendor contracts.
  • Instruct the caterer to put together a food basket (don't forget some wedding cake!) and have it delivered to your getaway car 30 minutes before you leave.
  • Give the photographer a list of pictures you would like.
  • Give the videographer a list of shots you would like included in the video.
  • Give all musicians the lists of music for the ceremony and reception.
  • Finalise the seating arrangements.
  • Pack your suitcase for the honeymoon.
  • Make sure that you have your wedding rings and that they fit.
  • Make sure that all wedding attire is picked up and it fits.
  • Reconfirm all honeymoon reservations.
  • Make sure that you have your plane tickets - if you're flying.

The Day Before the Wedding

  • Don't plan a wild late night party!
  • Have your nails done.
  • Have rehearsal with all participants, reviewing their duties at least twice.
  • Go over special seating or pew cards with ushers.
  • Give any instructions about the wedding such as what time everyone should arrive at the church for pictures, transportation plan, reception locations etc.

The Day of the Wedding

  • Eat a light Breakfast.
  • Ensure that you have something to nibble and drink with you at all times.
  • If at all possible, make sure someone else is driving you to your morning appointments.
  • Have your hair and make up done.
  • Make sure that your designated ring-bearer has the rings.
  • If not already done, Place the balance of the officiant's fee in an envelope and give it to the best man to take care of.
  • Relax and enjoy your magical day!