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

Dreams
Envision your wedding, look for inspiration, and organize your dreams and ideas (in a binder, folder, on a bulletin board: however you want!)

Reality
Set your budget. Figure out what your dream day looks like and make decisions. Give yourself some wiggle room and set your priorities.

Support
Do you have close friend or relative who can help you plan? Form a power team that can share the work.

VIPs
Decide on who will be your witnesses and who you'd like in the bridal party.

Guests
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.

Date
Agree on a date and time, then make the announcement!

Venue
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.

Ceremony
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.

Venue (continued)
Book the venues for your ceremony and reception.

 

8 TO 10 MONTHS BEFORE WALKING DOWN THE AISLE

The Dress
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.

Menu
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.).

Entertainment
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.

Decor
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.

Wedding Vendors
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

Invitations
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.

Schedule
Write up a schedule for the ceremony and the reception. Look at it as scheduling in your daily agenda to you to visualize everything.

VIPs (continued)
Choose dresses for the maid/matron of honour and bridesmaids, if needed.

Honeymoon
Start planning your honeymoon! This will give you time to dream and exhale a little.

 

4 TO 6 MONTHS BEFORE EXCHANGING YOUR VOWS

Guests (continued)
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.

Meetings
Attend premarital counselling, if needed.

The Suit
Shop for the groom's formalwear!

Shoes and fitting
Shop for and buy your shoes and bring them to your first dress fitting.

Music
Choose your playlist and send it to whoever is in charge (band, host, DJ).

Cake
Envision your wedding cake and shop around for a cake designer. Taste, then hire!

Passports
Do you need to renew them before your post-wedding getaway? Apply now and skip the stress later.

 

3 MONTHS BEFORE THE PARTY

Invitations (continued)
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.

Rings
Shop for and order your rings.

Organizing
Finalize the schedule for the ceremony and reception and send it to your vendors.

Food
Finalize the menu with your caterer.

Readings
Choose the wedding readings for the ceremony as well as the readers.

Groom
Groom: time to reserve your suit.

Lingerie
Shop for and buy your wedding night lingerie!

Gifts
Decide on wedding favours for your guests. Designate a place at the reception site for guests to leave wedding gifts.

The Trip
Something fun: finalize your honeymoon arrangements!

 

2 MONTHS BEFORE TAKING THE PLUNGE

Meetings (continued)
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.

Vows
It's time to start thinking about your vows!

Hair
Make appointments with your respective stylists. Bride: try out different stylists!

Makeup
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

RSVPs
Review and take note of the guest RSVPs and get in touch with anyone who hasn't replied yet.

Your Team
Find someone to keep everything running smoothly on the big day; don't be afraid to ask for help!

Finishing Touches
Finalize your vows. Rehearse.

Adjustments
Discuss any requests or changes with your vendors.

Guest Book
Have a book that guests can write their best wishes in. You can place it near where the guests will be leaving their gifts.

Appointments
Book and confirm appointments with your stylists, makeup artists and any other professionals.

 

 2 WEEKS BEFORE THE BOUQUET TOSS

Contact
Designate a contact person for the wedding day from among your trusted support team and give the professionals this person's contact information.

Catering
Send the final guest list to your caterer.

Reception Seating
Plan the reception seating. Figuring out where to seat the guests can be tricky!

Requirements
Give the reception site manager a list of any special requirements the vendors have.

Places
Determine where the families will be for the ceremony and procession.

Outstanding Payments
Write the cheques for all your vendors. Don’t forget to take tips into account.

Bride
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!

 First Dance

1 WEEK BEFORE THE FIRST DANCE

Details
Confirm arrangements with your vendors.

Table Cards
Print table cards with guests' names, as well as the menu, if you wish.

Groom
Your turn for a haircut!

Fiesta
Attend your bachelor/ette parties!

 

A FEW DAYS BEFORE TYING THE KNOT

Bridegroom
Go for fitting and pick up your suit.

Your Team
Confirm tasks with friends and relatives who are helping out on the big day.

Luggage
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

Enjoy!
Bravo! You made it! You've put so much care into planning this memorable day—now enjoy the celebrations!

Wedding Favours
Give your guests something they can take home.

 

POST-WEDDING

Honeymoon
It's finally time for the honeymoon!

Memories
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.

Thank Yous
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!