How to... Plan Your Wedding Timeline

Part of our How To Series of Wedding Articles

How to… Create Your Wedding Planning Timeline

Planning a wedding in Pittsburgh, or anywhere, is a huge undertaking. We’ve put together a Wedding Planning Timeline to create a wedding checklist.

There are endless options for items you do want, traditions you don’t want, and expenses you’ve haven’t even thought of. The challenge is deciding what’s right for you and your fiancé, and getting it done in a timely and organized fashion. Every woman, theoretically, spends years thinking about every detail of her wedding. However, if you are like most of us, the particulars which need to be addressed have not yet crossed your mind. So, take a deep breath, grab your sister, maid of honor, and mother, and check out our wedding timeline step by step, filling in the details to come up with your dream wedding. Our timeline serves as a perfect wedding planning checklist of what and when things should generally be done within the wedding planning process.


Nine to Twelve Months Before Your Wedding

  • Announce your engagement.
  • Set a budget.
  • Decide on a wedding date and time of day.
  • Decide on the type of wedding you want (Local or destination; elegant or casual; indoor or outdoor; just close friends and family or everyone you know!)
  • Choose and reserve the location of your wedding ceremony.
  • Reserve an Officiant for your ceremony, if not provided.
  • Decide on your theme.
  • Plan your color scheme.
  • Decide on the size of your guest list and start compiling the list
  • Select and reserve the caterer, musicians, disc jockey, florist, photographer, and videographer. They get booked up quickly, so begin searching right away. Also, be sure to obtain contracts from any vendors you hire.
  • Start planning your reception and reserve the hall or hotel you choose. Remember to keep weather in mind, and have a back up plan, if necessary.
  • If you are going to be using a wedding consultant or a party planner, start interviewing them now.
  • If you plan on attending premarital counseling, set that up.
  • Start to research bridal gowns and bridesmaid’s dresses.

Six to Nine Months Before Your Wedding

  • Select your bridal party, and invite them to be a part of your special day.
  • Collect measurements and sizes from your attendants, and select and order the bridal party’s dresses.
  • Start planning your honeymoon!
  • Select and order your bridal gown, headpiece, shoes, and lingerie for the wedding night.
  • Select and order groom’s tuxedo.
  • Arrange for all groomsmen to be measured and reserve tuxedos.
  • Set aside a block of hotel rooms for out of town guests.
  • Attend any bridal shows in your area. (See Bridal Shows in Pittsburgh for the dates & locations of upcoming bridal shows.)
  • Register for wedding and engagement gifts!!!
  • Select and order wedding rings, and if you plan to, engrave them.
  • Send your engagement announcement to the newspaper.
  • Select and order your invitations, as well as any other personal stationary.
  • Schedule tastings and select a baker for your cake.
  • Send out “Save the Date” cards, if desired.
  • Schedule any beauty treatments you plan to have, such as waxing, facials, and teeth whitening.
  • Have the parents of the groom begin to arrange the rehearsal dinner (See Rehearsal Dinner Locations for a list of great restaurant options!)
  • Discuss transportation to your ceremony and reception, such as limousines, horse and carriage, vans, etc.

Four to Six Months Before Your Wedding

  • Complete the guest list, and begin addressing invitations. (When writing invitations, it may be a good idea to pre-address thank you notes as you go. This will save you time later).
  • Check requirements for blood work and marriage license and set an appointment to obtain your marriage license about two weeks before the wedding.
  • Make doctors and dentist appointments for physicals, immunizations, etc.
  • Decide where to live after the wedding.
  • Plan to have mothers select attire.
  • Start compiling your trousseau.
  • Make reservations for your honeymoon. (Flights, car, hotel)
  • Confirm the delivery of your dress.
  • Select and order your cake.
  • Order attire for the groomsmen.

Two to Four Months Before Your Wedding

  • Finalize reception arrangements and set up rentals, if necessary, for tables, linens, chairs, etc.
  • Start compiling a song list for the DJ. Choose music for your ceremony, first dance, parent dances, etc.
  • Buy a guest book.
  • Finalize accommodations for out of town guests.
  • Confirm time and details with caterer, baker, musicians, florist, photographer, videographer, and church.
  • Finalize all your honeymoon arrangements, make reservations and purchase tickets.
  • Finalize plans for the rehearsal and the rehearsal dinner.
  • Go over the final details with the Officiant. Make sure he is aware of your rehearsal date.
  • Make reservations for the wedding night.
  • Send programs and menus to the stationer to be printed.
  • Schedule appointments for hair and make-up for you and your bridesmaids, as well as a run-through 2 to 4 weeks before the wedding.

Six to Eight Weeks Before Your Wedding

  • Schedule a time for your bridal portrait.
  • Mail all invitations to allow time for RSVP’s.
  • Finalize all the details with your vendors.
  • Schedule a final fitting for your wedding gown, making sure it is ready for your bridal portrait.
  • Schedule final fittings for your attendants, including accessories and shoes.
  • Purchase gifts for your bridal party.
  • Schedule bridesmaid’s luncheon or party.
  • Arrange for placement of guest book and select a responsible person to be in charge of it on your wedding day.
  • Obtain wedding props, such as pillow for ring bearer, candles, etc.
  • Confirm that all men’s attire has been ordered.
  • Put your vows in writing, if you will be doing your own.
  • Make sure all transportation details are coordinated and finalized.

Four to Six Weeks Before Your Wedding

  • Estimate the number of guests which will be attending.
  • Plan your seating arrangements for the reception.
  • Mail your bridal portrait and announcement to the newspaper.
  • Prepare wedding announcements to be mailed after the wedding.
  • Begin to record gifts received and send thank you notes.
  • Purchase gift for your fiancé, if you will be exchanging gifts.
  • Complete all physicals and dental appointments.
  • Make sure rings are picked up and properly fitted.

Two Weeks Before Your Wedding

  • Arrange for gifts to be moved to your new home, if necessary.
  • Have the groom get his hair cut, and cut and color yours, if desired.
  • Submit a change of address form, if necessary.
  • Arrange to change your name on driver’s license, social security card, etc.
  • Get your marriage license and any necessary blood tests.
  • Reconfirm your guests’ accommodations.
  • Do a test run with your hair, including any head pieces you might be wearing.

1 Week Before Your Wedding

  • Start packing for your honeymoon.
  • Finalize the number of guests with the caterer.
  • Finalize all details with your vendors.
  • Finalize your seating arrangements.
  • Confirm any desired pictures with the photographer.
  • Practice applying makeup in the proper light.
  • Arrange for one last fitting of all wedding attire.
  • Confirm receipt of your marriage license.
  • Have the rehearsal and dinner one or two days before wedding. (Make sure to have everyone go through their part at least twice.)
  • Arrange to have the photographer and attendants arrive 2 hours before ceremony for pre-wedding pictures.
  • Arrange for the music to start one half hour before ceremony.
  • Arrange to have the mother of the groom seated 5 minutes before the ceremony.
  • Arrange to have the mother of the bride seated immediately before the processional.
  • Arrange for an aisle runner to be rolled out by the ushers immediately before the processional.
  • Contact guests who haven’t responded.
  • Arrange for someone to transport all heirlooms (unity candle, toasting glasses, etc.) from the ceremony to the reception.

Day of Your Wedding

  • Relax and pamper yourself! Take a long bath, get a manicure, etc.
  • Make sure to eat at least one small meal and drink plenty of water.
  • Have your hair and makeup done a few hours before ceremony.
  • Start dressing one to two hours before ceremony.
  • Confirm that you have the rings and marriage license.
  • Place any payments in envelopes and give them to the person who will be distributing them.
  • Be calm, enjoy yourself and treasure every moment!
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