12 to 18 months
• Tell the family. Don’t sweat this one — they’re gonna be pumped!
• Pick a wedding date.
• Choose a system for recording wedding plans.
• Determine available funds. The traditional source (the bride’s family) isn’t the rule anymore, so if everybody can help out, they should.
• Create a budget and establish a joint bank account.
• Choose a best man and maid of honour, and discuss specific duties with them.
• Contact your officiant. Choose someone you both feel comfortable with — you don’t want to end up with a nutty Reverend Frank from License to Wed.
9 to 12 months
• Register for your gifts and let friends and family know.
• Choose a photographer and/or videographer.
• Select music for the ceremony and reception.
• Buy/make bridal gown and bridesmaids dresses.
• Pick an MC.
• Look into your state’s marriage license laws.
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6 to 9 months
• Purchase your rings.
• Make an appointment with your florist and order flowers.
• Decide if groom and groomsmen will rent or purchase formal wear.
• Determine details of the bar with your caterer.
• Plan the rehearsal dinner.
• Book wedding day appointments for makeup and hair.
• Discuss your guest list with family. Prepare to dig in your heels a little.
• Finalize and order invitations, if applicable.
• Look for wedding outfit accessories, such as cufflinks, dress shoes and jewelry.
• Order the wedding cake.
• Plan the honeymoon. Do you need passports?
• Send out invites.
• Pick speakers for the reception.
• Give your must-have song list to the DJ/band.
• Draft/finalize reception seating plan.
• Go through final round of wardrobe fittings.
• Work out receiving line essentials.
• Tally up all the RSVPs to make sure everyone is accounted for.
• Send wedding day schedule to suppliers and helpers.
• Finalize food/liquor orders.
• Pack a small bag of emergency items for the wedding day, and ask a trusted attendant to hold onto it.
• Submit your seating plan to the caterer.
• Pack for the honeymoon. Double-check that all necessary travel arrangements have been made.
• Prepare envelopes with payments for services. Ask the best man to distribute them.
• Have a wedding rehearsal. Review all duties, such as who’s seating guests.
The big day!
• Collect wedding rings, marriage license, money, travel tickets and/or itineraries (if leaving directly from the reception).
• Keep your dress white — stick to white wine, vodka and soda, gin and tonic.
• Relax and let others deal with the final (and inevitable) snags.
Not sure when to announce your wedding in the newspaper? See a more comprehensive countdown calendar at 2forcouples.com.
2: The Magazine for Couples (on the Web: 2forcouples.com; iPad: 2 FOR COUPLES on the iTunes app store; Twitter: @2magforcouples)