If you want to be married in a large, formal wedding, you will need at least three months and as much as a year to plan it.
A wedding held in the popular summer months may need to be booked a year ahead of time to ensure the venues for the ceremony and reception, as well as the minister and caterer will be available.
In smaller centres, it is probably sufficient to start the planning six months before the wedding. If you want something specific don’t be afraid to start even earlier.
The following checklist for brides will help make the wedding go smoothly.
THREE TO SIX MONTHS BEFORE THE WEDDING
- Decide on the type of wedding and reception.
- Consult the clergyman or whoever will perform the ceremony to select the date and hour of your wedding.
- Determine the location of the reception. If it is not being held at a private home, reserve that location now.
- If the reception is to be catered, reserve the caterer now.
- Determine the number of guests.
- Choose attendants and ask them to serve.
- Make out your guest list and ask the groom and his family to send you theirs. Let them know how many guests they may invite.
- Order announcements and invitations.
THREE MONTHS BEFORE THE WEDDING
- Make an appointment, with your fiancé, for counselling with the clergyman and to discuss music, decorations and procedures during the ceremony.
- Order your gown and those of your attendants.
- Reserve a photographer.
- Hire the band or disk jockey for the reception.
- Select china, crystal and silver patterns.
- Select gifts for your bridesmaids and a gift for the groom if you intend to give him one.
TWO MONTHS BEFORE THE WEDDING
- Discuss your colour scheme with your mother and the groom’s mother so they can order their dresses.
- Hire limousines, if you want them, to transport the bridal party to the ceremony and from the ceremony to the reception.
- Notify your attendants about their fittings and accessories. If they are wearing matching shoes, arrange to have them dyed in one lot.
- Register your china, crystal and silver patterns. Let your mother and maid of honour know where you are registered so they can inform guests who inquire.
- Make the final plans for your reception - including menu, table arrangements and decorations.
- Order your wedding cake if it is not included in the catering.
- Make an appointment if you wish to have your hair done the day of the wedding.
- Prepare wedding invitations for mailing.
- Make accommodation arrangements for out-of-town attendants and obtain hotel information for out- of-town guests.
- With your fiancé, select wedding rings.
- Mail invitations four to six weeks before the wedding. (It is correct to verbally tell people when the wedding will be so they can make arrangements before you put the invitations in the mail.)
ONE MONTH BEFORE THE WEDDING
- Check with your fiancé to make sure he has the marriage licence.
- If you plan to display wedding gifts, begin setting up tables for them. You should also arrange temporary insurance for the gifts.
- Record all gifts and write the thank you cards as they arrive.
- Make a list of your honeymoon clothing and be sure it is cleaned and ready to pack. Check to make sure you have adequate luggage.
- Check on all accessories for your and your attendants.
- Make final arrangements with everyone you have hired for the wedding — the florist, photographer, reception manager or caterer.
- Arrange for a bridesmaids’ luncheon if you are giving one.
- Make arrangements for a place for your bridesmaids to dress.
- Plan the seating for the bridal table and parents’ tables at your reception and make out place cards for them.
- Send your wedding announcement to the newspapers with a portrait of you and your fiancé.
- Notify your wedding party of the time of the rehearsal.
TWO WEEKS BEFORE THE WEDDING
- Confirm hotel or other accommodations arrangements for your bridal party.
- Confirm flower order and deliveries with florist.
ONE WEEK BEFORE THE WEDDING
- Pick up gifts for your attendants.
- Give final count of guests to reception manager or caterer.
- Ensure your wedding announcements are ready to mail following the wedding for those who were not invited.
MORNING OF THE WEDDING
- Have hair done.
- Make sure any orders not being delivered — such as food or flowers — are being picked up.
TWO HOURS BEFORE THE WEDDING
- Have your attendants arrive at your home — or meet them at their hotel — to dress and to assist you with any last minute details.
ONE HOUR BEFORE THE WEDDING
- Apply makeup.
- Dress, being sure to cover your face so the makeup doesn’t get on your gown.
30 MINUTES BEFORE THE WEDDING
- Groom and best man arrive at place of ceremony.
- Background music starts.
- First guests arrive and are seated.
- You and your attendants go to the church or location of the wedding and wait in a private room.
15 MINUTES BEFORE THE WEDDING
- Family members and honoured guests arrive and are seated.
- Groom’s parents arrive and are escorted to their seats.
- The bride’s mother is escorted to her seat in the front row.
- The white carpet or aisle runner is rolled down the aisle.
- The bride’s father takes his place with the bride.
- The attendants take their places in the proper order for the processional.
- At the time stated on the invitation, the music starts and the ushers lead the procession down the aisle.