THE PERFECT MARRIAGE IN 12 MONTHS - Your Planning Guide
You've said yes to the big question! Congratulations!
To help you plan this much-anticipated day, here's Le Windsor's timeline for the perfect wedding!
While some couples tackle all the details for the big day together, others separate the tasks according to their interests, or decide to hire a wedding planner.
To make things easier, here's a month-by-month countdown of all the wedding to-dos from now till the nuptials. We hope this timeline means you'll be walking to the alter relaxed, fulfilled and over the moon!
Ready to get started? Read on!
12 MONTHS BEFORE THE BIG DAY
Envision your wedding, look for inspiration, and organize your dreams and ideas (in a binder, folder, on a bulletin board: however you want!)
Set your budget. Figure out what your dream day looks like and make decisions. Give yourself some wiggle room and set your priorities.
Do you have close friend or relative who can help you plan? Form a power team that can share the work.
Decide on who will be your witnesses and who you'd like in the bridal party.
Start thinking about your guest list. Think about people close to you, who are important to you and who you'd like to share your special day with.
Agree on a date and time, then make the announcement!
Research ceremony and reception venues. Depending on whether it's a civil or religious ceremony, you can look at churches or other places of worship: city halls, courthouses, banquet halls, parks, museums, etc.
Hire an officiant. Whether it be the priest from your parish, someone close to you who is able perform the marriage, or an official, you should "reserve" this person for the date you've set.
Book the venues for your ceremony and reception.
8 TO 10 MONTHS BEFORE WALKING DOWN THE AISLE
That's right, it's already time to start thinking about your dress and looking for the right one! Bring along someone who can give you an honest opinion. Expect several fittings for adjustments.
Think about the menu for your reception. Don't forget about drinks for your guests (beer, wine, signature cocktail, etc.). Also take into account food restrictions and allergies your guests might have (vegetarian, etc.).
Decide on what kind of entertainment and ambiance you want during the celebrations. Do you want a DJ, host, band or singer? You could even consider hiring a musician for the ceremony.
Envision decor that fits your venue. Will you have flowers, garlands, lights, a theme...? Make a list of what you'll need and delegate the buying to someone you trust.
Research and hire the various vendors who will help with the wedding, such as the photographer, videographer, DJ, host, band, florist, caterer and wedding day transportation provider. Be sure to look at their portfolios and check with friends and family to see if they have recommendations—they'll likely have good advice. Write down everything discussed and decided on with these vendors for future reference.
6 TO 8 MONTHS BEFORE SAYING YES
Shop for, choose and buy your invitations. This might be the perfect time to put that creative friend to work!
Meeting with the Officiant
Meet with your officiant and plan the details of the wedding day.
Write up a schedule for the ceremony and the reception. Look at it as scheduling in your daily agenda to you to visualize everything.
Choose dresses for the maid/matron of honour and bridesmaids, if needed.
Start planning your honeymoon! This will give you time to dream and exhale a little.
4 TO 6 MONTHS BEFORE EXCHANGING YOUR VOWS
Finalize the guest list and get the invitations ready. Whether you're sending the invitations via snail mail or email, you'll need everyone's address.
Attend premarital counselling, if needed.
Shop for the groom's formalwear!
Shoes and fitting
Shop for and buy your shoes and bring them to your first dress fitting.
Choose your playlist and send it to whoever is in charge (band, host, DJ).
Envision your wedding cake and shop around for a cake designer. Taste, then hire!
Do you need to renew them before your post-wedding getaway? Apply now and skip the stress later.
3 MONTHS BEFORE THE PARTY
Send out your invites (don't forget to include a return envelope for the RSVP) and create a system to keep track of the replies.
Shop for and order your rings.
Finalize the schedule for the ceremony and reception and send it to your vendors.
Finalize the menu with your caterer.
Choose the wedding readings for the ceremony as well as the readers.
Groom: time to reserve your suit.
Shop for and buy your wedding night lingerie!
Decide on wedding favours for your guests. Designate a place at the reception site for guests to leave wedding gifts.
Something fun: finalize your honeymoon arrangements!
2 MONTHS BEFORE TAKING THE PLUNGE
Meet with the photographer (and videographer, if applicable) to discuss your needs and which memories you want to capture on your wedding day.
Review and confirm your playlist with the person in charge of the music.
It's time to start thinking about your vows!
Make appointments with your respective stylists. Bride: try out different stylists!
Meet with several professional makeup artists and let them know what you have in mind—they'll exceed your expectations! Do a few trial runs, take photos, and then choose.
1 MONTH BEFORE THE FIRST DAY OF THE REST OF YOUR LIFE
Review and take note of the guest RSVPs and get in touch with anyone who hasn't replied yet.
Find someone to keep everything running smoothly on the big day; don't be afraid to ask for help!
Finalize your vows. Rehearse.
Discuss any requests or changes with your vendors.
Have a book that guests can write their best wishes in. You can place it near where the guests will be leaving their gifts.
Book and confirm appointments with your stylists, makeup artists and any other professionals.
2 WEEKS BEFORE THE BOUQUET TOSS
Designate a contact person for the wedding day from among your trusted support team and give the professionals this person's contact information.
Send the final guest list to your caterer.
Plan the reception seating. Figuring out where to seat the guests can be tricky!
Give the reception site manager a list of any special requirements the vendors have.
Determine where the families will be for the ceremony and procession.
Write the cheques for all your vendors. Don’t forget to take tips into account.
Go for your final gown fitting and bring home the dress. Find a good spot to hide it!
This is also the time to get your hair cut!
1 WEEK BEFORE THE FIRST DANCE
Confirm arrangements with your vendors.
Print table cards with guests' names, as well as the menu, if you wish.
Your turn for a haircut!
Attend your bachelor/ette parties!
A FEW DAYS BEFORE TYING THE KNOT
Go for fitting and pick up your suit.
Confirm tasks with friends and relatives who are helping out on the big day.
Pack your bags for the honeymoon. Yippee!
THE NIGHT BEFORE STARTING MARRIED LIFE
Relaxation and Well-being
You worked really hard. Now it's time to relax and stop planning. Treat yourself to a manicure, pedicure, massage or trip to the spa. And if any last minute snags come up, delegate!
THE WEDDING DAY
Bravo! You made it! You've put so much care into planning this memorable day—now enjoy the celebrations!
Give your guests something they can take home.
It's finally time for the honeymoon!
When you get back from your honeymoon, meet with your photographer and choose the shots you'll add to your album. If you hired a videographer, follow up with him or her.
Your photo album is beautiful. The wedding day video is amazing. Now's the time to share all this with your guests! Send them a card or email with the best moment(s) from the amazing day!