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Countdown to Bliss

Your year-long checklist for a trouble-free wedding

Published in the November 2022 Issue Published online: Nov 04, 2022 wedding
Viewed 1005 time(s)

By Steve Smede

Even the most meticulous plans can get derailed by surprises, but that’s hardly an argument for skirting the planning process itself. With a simple checklist, you can be well-equipped to make the most of your wedding experience.

One Year Before

*Choose a date 
*Set your budget and decide on who is footing the bill
*Settle on a style or theme
*Choose participants for your wedding party:
     Maid of Honor, Best Man, Ring Bearer, etc.
*Start checking out ceremony and reception venue options
*Select your hired help: planner, photographer,
     caterer, florist, entertainment, etc.
*Decide on crowd size and compile a guest list
*Shop for your wedding dress
*Get engagement photos

10 Months Before

*Select and secure an officiant
*Choose colors and bridal party attire
*Reserve venues for the ceremony and reception
*Mail out your announcements
*Hire service providers (caterer, photographer, etc)

8 Months Before

*Select lodging options for guests
*Create gift registries
*Finalize your list for wedding invitations
*Plan your honeymoon

6 Months Before

*Meet with officiant
*Reserve equipment rentals as needed
*Pick out a style of cake
*Shop for wedding invitations
*Select your music for the reception
*Book transportation for guests as needed

4 Months Before

*Book room for wedding night
*Set order and pickup for wedding cake
*Pick out flowers for wedding party, attendees, etc.
*Book honeymoon flights and hotels
*Plan place and time for rehearsal dinner

3 Months Before

*Finalize honeymoon plans and ensure all documents are in order.
*Plan ceremony and reception seating.
*Experiment with hair and veil with stylist.
*Finalize readers and readings.
*Purchase guestbook, flower basket and ring bearer pillow
*Finalize reception menu
*Order wedding favors

2 Months Before

*Send out wedding invitations
*Write your vows
*Review script and ceremony details with officiant
*Apply for marriage license
*Finalize seating arrangements
*Check for special access arrangements for disabled guests
*Book spa treatments for bridal party
*Purchase gifts for attendants and wedding party

1 Month Before

*Call vendors to confirm date, times and location
*Confirm travel bookings for honeymoon
*Order wedding programs
*Write Thank You notes for early gifts

2 Weeks Before

*Follow up with guests who have not RSVP’d
*Send final playlists to DJ
*Delegate wedding day duties as needed:
     gift table, guestbook, etc.
*Plan for return of all rental equipment
*Send directions to wedding day limo/transportation driver.

1 Week Before

*Secure payments to vendors
*Meet with the photographer/videographer for specific requests
*Prepare a wedding day emergency kit
*Make arrangements for tips to service personnel
*Attend wedding rehearsal and dinner

If you’ve been diligent up to this point, everything from now until the end of the honeymoon should unfold like clockwork. Be sure to focus your energies on your family and guests. Eat a good breakfast, relax and enjoy every unforgettable moment that follows.


We get it. The myriad of emotions and responsibilities of getting married can easily tie your brain into knots. Just don’t forget these 6 commonly overlooked tasks on your wedding checklist.

Buy Some Wedding Insurance

Special events insurance is easy to find and more affordable than you might expect. It’s just one more little headache you can cross off your list in case your big day gets hit by an unexpected storm or accident. Policies can be secured well in advance or even up to the day prior to the event.

Create Your Own Wedding Website

It sounds almost outlandish, but personalized wedding websites are now as common as honeymoons and bridal showers. Site templates are available from numerous wedding planner resources. For starters, try, theknot. com or

Light the Scene

One of the most important details for a spectacular wedding and reception is the lighting. A good professional photographer will make the most out of any situation, but they’ll definitely appreciate some added light if possible. Images aside, creative lighting can also do wonders for the festive atmosphere. For ideas and setups, chat with your photographer and venue manager.

Get into Premarital Counseling

Most couples are acutely aware of their compatibility well before the big day. But marriages last a lifetime, so why not get a jump on it with some constructive guidance? An objective third party can help resolve issues large and small. The process can also encourage you to learn critical relationship tactics that will help you long after the honeymoon is over.

Set Up a Seating Chart

Open seating might seem well and good for a large gathering, but beyond the key attendees in the front row, you still might want to make some extra assignments. Think long and hard about possible problems between challenging personalities and egos. The last thing you want is strife in the pews before you walk down the aisle.

Loosen Up Your Wedding Shoes

This seems like an especially trivial matter, but a stiff pair of shoes chafing your heels could put a serious downer on your day. In a worst-case scenario, the discomfort could hit a crescendo right as you walk down the aisle. Take a few days to march around the house. If the shoes are causing problems, at least you’ll know in advance and will be able to resolve the issue before it’s too late.


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