Sunday, February 21, 2010

The Checklist

Taken from Ariel of

Finally, a checklist for offbeat brides! Obviously, no checklist can work for everyone, but this one is hopefully a bit more slanted toward offbeat concerns. That said, it assumes you're got about a seven month engagement — some of you are waaay longer, and some of you manage to do it all in three months. Your mileage may vary. So, now it's time to print this out and start checking the boxes!

First things first:
  • Sit down with your partner and figure out general vision for wedding. Indoors? Outdoors? Silly? Formal?
  • Decide on a budget and figure who might be helping. Choose wisely, grasshopper, and remember that if family pays, family may want to control.
  • If you're going for a potluck-style wedding, start talking to friends and family about who might want to help with different parts of the wedding.
  • Pick wedding date and time, and finalize after okaying with important guests, location, or officiant.
  • If you're hiring vendors, start doing your homework on what services you'll need, and who can provide it.
  • Buy a copy of Offbeat Bride: Creative Alternatives for Independent Brides :)
As soon as you know what you're doing:
  • Scout out venues and book one as soon as you can.
  • Make preliminary guest list and decide on your wedding's approximate size. Get lists from both sets of parents, too.
  • Start talking to caterers, if you're using one.
  • Start a notebook/file folder to house all your wedding-planning paperwork in one place.
  • If you're doing a wedding party, choose your peeps.
  • If you're doing a caterer, pick one and determine price per head and menu.
  • Start looking at dresses.
  • Start investigating any ethnic customs or cultural traditions you might want to incorporate into your ceremony or reception.
  • Decide on and meet with your officiant to discuss ceremony structure.
  • If you plan to use frequent flyer miles to travel to your honeymoon destination, book your flight now.
Six months before wedding (or something similar)
  • Finalize the guest list.
  • Find an officiant who suits your style and spirit.
  • Consider music at your reception. Even if you're not doing dancing, some background tunes are nice.
  • Narrow down your gown choices and make a final decision.
  • If you're doing a gift registry, start registering for gifts.
  • Think about how you might want to wear your hair.
  • Figure out who's making your cake, cupcakes, wedding pie, etc.
  • Lock down photography — even if it's a friend, get a solid commitment.
  • Figure out if you're doing bridesmaid dresses (color, style, etc).
  • Figure out flowers. If you're hiring someone, send a deposit to reserve their services.
  • Make sure everyone helping with the wedding knows what you're expecting of them.
  • Send Save the Dates (aka STD's) to guests via postcard or email or even just calling.
Several months before wedding
  • Confirm your cake (or non-cake, cupcake, etc) plans.
  • If you're doing a wedding party, figure out what everyone's wearing.
  • Lock down your wedding dress and your partner's attire
  • Book ceremony musicians and send deposit.
  • Work on invitation wording and design.
  • Finalize menu and service details with caterer.
  • Launch your wedsite, if you're doing one.
A couple months before your wedding
  • If you're doing flowers with a florist, lock it down with them.
  • If you're renting stuff (tables, chairs, tents, farm animals) confirm it with the vendors.
  • Book rehearsal-dinner site, if you're doing one.
  • Figure out where you're sleeping on your wedding night, and make reservations if necessary.
  • Compile packages for out-of-town guests with hotel reservation and city information, and send 'em out via snail mail or email.
  • Book your honeymoon flights (if not using frequent flyer miles) and make all your other travel reservations.
  • If you haven't registered yet, be sure to do so before any upcoming prewedding parties.
  • Consider specific ceremony and reception decoration needs like a huppah, aisle runner, etc.
  • Purchase or make your invitations.
  • Start addressing invitations — aim to send them out at the two-month mark.
  • Talk to people you’d want to do special performances or readings as part of the ceremony.
  • Get anything you need for an international honeymoon (passport, birth certificate, visas, vaccinations, etc.).
  • Send out invitations.
Two months before your wedding:
  • Work on vows, particularly if you're writing your own.
  • Research local marriage license requirements.
  • Make sure the wedding party has purchased their outfits and accessories.
  • Arrange wedding-day transportation for you, your wedding party, and guests (as needed).
  • Snag wedding bands.
  • If you're doing favors, buy them now or else get crafting!
Six weeks out
  • As you receive presents, be sure to update and/or add items to your registry list and record the gifts you get.
  • Confirm reservations for out-of-town guests.
  • Arrange parking for the reception.
  • Order liquor, wine and/or champagne if they're not included in the catering contract.
  • Make sure you've got all your accessories like veil and shoes.
  • Begin writing the ceremony program if you are having one.
  • Tell your partner you love them at least once a day as things get increasingly crazy.
  • Do you want a guest book? 'Coz now's the time to get one.
  • Set aside some time to write thank-you notes for gifts received at the bridal shower.
  • Finalize vows.
  • Make sure your wedding outfits fit both of you.
One month out:
  • Do trial runs of various vanity routines (hair, make-up, henna, tattoos, whatever); schedule wedding-day appointments.
  • Finish and print ceremony programs, if you're doing 'em.
  • Get marriage license and make appointments for blood tests (if necessary). Check when the license expires.
  • If you're doing an iPod reception, work on your playlist. If not, work on a list of "must-play" (and "must-not play") songs for your DJ or band. Back up your music and the rest of your hard drive while you're at it.
  • Discuss music with ceremony musicians and agree on final choices.
  • Confirm wedding-night and honeymoon reservations.
  • Have a follow-up meeting or phone call with the officiant to go over ceremony timing and details.
  • Do paperwork for official documents if you and/or your partner are changing your name(s).
  • Work out wedding day timing and details (who will get the bride there, where the wedding party will dress, etc) and draw up a schedule.
  • Get final prewedding haircut, if necessary.
  • Call or email wedding party to relay critical info related to rehearsal and wedding (dates, times, directions, duties).
  • Get a head start on thank-you notes if you can.
  • Finalize any special preferences, readings, or other ceremony details with your officiant. Put it in writing if you can.
Two weeks out:
  • Harass guests who haven't RSVP'd for the wedding and rehearsal dinner.
  • Give final head count to the caterer. Confirm set-up instructions and menu items.
  • Call location manager and make sure your vendors all have access to the site when they need it.
  • Confirm head count, delivery time, and location with the cakemaker.
  • Make extra sure that everyone who's helping you with the wedding gets a special, pointed thank you.
  • Determine any wedding day assignments for members of the wedding party, and make lists/info sheets as needed.
  • If you're doing a seating chart, figure it out now.
  • Confirm all final payment amounts with your vendors.
  • Confirm location, date, and time with photographer; create your "must-take" photo list.
  • Touch base with your officiant and give him/her rehearsal details and wedding day schedule.
  • Confirm delivery locations, times, and final arrangement count with florist.
  • Make sure your partner has their wedding attire all ready to go and fitted.
  • Fax transportation providers a schedule and addresses for pickups on wedding day.
  • Prepare your toasts or thanks to friends and family.
  • Distribute wedding-day directions, schedule, and contact list to all parents, attendants, and vendors.
  • Designate who will meet, greet, and handle each vendor on the wedding day.
  • Procure sedatives for night before wedding. Give them a trial run.
The week before:
  • Put together an overnight bag for your wedding night (toothbrush, lube, condoms, meds, etc.) and designate someone to deliver it to the hotel for you.
  • If you're the froofy type, get a manicure and pedicure and confirm big-day beauty appointments.
  • Designate someone to collect the wedding gifts (and any cash) brought to the party.
  • Confirm date, location, time, and playlist with band/DJ and/or ceremony or cocktail hour musicians.
  • Leave a copy of your honeymoon itinerary with someone in case of emergency.
  • Put final payments and cash tips in marked envelopes and give to a designated family or friend to distribute on the wedding day.
  • Prepare a wedding day freakout kit (Tylenol, Claritin, makeup, safety pins, gum, Lara bar, etc.).
The day before
  • Rehearse the ceremony with officiant and wedding party.
  • Confirm all specific honeymoon travel plans (including transportation to airport, etc.).
  • Assemble both your and your partner's entire outfits.
  • Set your alarm and arrange for backup.
  • Make sure your vows are memorized/practiced/noted down
  • Take a sedative and/or any personal calming ritual. It will help you sleep.
Wedding day
  • Set aside special time during the day to step aside and breathe for a few seconds.
  • Confirm with people who you expect to give/lead toasts at the reception.
  • Take a moment to thank your parents and tell them you love them.
  • Relax, smile, and enjoy the day!
After the wedding
  • Mail special letters and/or gifts to your parents and other special helpers to thank them for their help and support.
  • Make sure all vendor bills have been paid in full.
  • Find out when you can expect wedding photos and/or video.
  • Within two months of your wedding, send all thank-you notes.

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