Free Download! The Secrets To Staying On Top of Your Wedding Planning Timeline Checklist

hitch_weddingstylingwelcomekit_coverYep, it’s Hitch Studio offering you yet another FREE resource to help with your wedding planning!

This is the official Hitch Studio “All-Inclusive Wedding Planning Timeline” to help Midwest brides stay on top of all the details that go into a wedding! What should you be doing six months before your wedding? What should you be checking off two months before your wedding? What about the week before? If it gets overwhelming, just ask Hitch Studio for some help. We’re wedding stylists who rock at the small stuff so you don’t have to worry about them. In fact, just look at this testimonial from one of our brides:

“If you’re feeling stressed with the big things, you will be completely overwhelmed with the little things. They really add up and Hitch made sure to remind me about things as we moved through the planning timeline. They are easy to get in touch with and schedule meetings with. They reply to questions/emails very quickly. I thought picking out the dress and caterer was tough, but when you get down to the little details, there are tons of decisions to make! Renee was great at making sure we knew all the options (because she knows a lot about local vendors and what they offer) and she also made sure we didn’t forget any steps. For example, “Reserved” signs for tables where you want your family to sit; pens for the guest book; making sure the venues are unlocked when vendors need to get in to set up. She just thinks of everything! Renee took care of getting everything from the ceremony to the reception, like the card box, any gifts, the guest book, and some of the decorations we were using at both locations. And at the end of the night, they packed up all the decorations, got the rentals returned for us, packed up the things that were ours, helped box up extra dessert, you name it! I honestly don’t know what we would have done without Hitch. So worth the money to have that piece of mind that your aunt or your cousin isn’t going to forget one of their duties or that your whole family will have to help tear down the stage and clean up when everyone is just exhausted! The peace of mind was something I couldn’t put a price tag on. Again, if your stressed by a few big decisions, let Hitch help you take care of the millions of little decisions.”  ~Jackie

 

So, bride-to-be, here it is! If you’d like the FREE download (as part of our full Hitch Studio Welcome Kit), click here so you can print it and check it off as you go.

 

AFTER YOU’RE ENGAGED:

  • Celebrate! Seriously, spend some good quality time together before things get busy and          stressful.
  • Call your family and friends (of course!)
  • Set up a meeting with Hitch (naturally) and fill out these worksheets!  🙂
  • Hire a wedding planner/stylist/coordinator (if you wish) (You still make all the final decisions, we just help bring you options and decorate — saving you stress and hours of research.)
  • Brainstorm your overall vision for your wedding, start a Pinterest board, start a wedding folder
  • Introduce families
  • Change your Facebook status and consider making a “We’re engaged!” video or photo to send
  • Have an engagement party (if you wish) — draft an invite list
  • Contact your officiant and ceremony location to see which dates are available
  • Set a wedding date (compare schedule with important family and friends)
  • Get organized online with sites like Pinterest, TheKnot.com, WeddingWire.com, etc.
  • Create a wedding website
  • Look up bridal shows in your area and when to attend them
  • Start a wedding binder to track vendors, payments, deposits, phone numbers, contacts, etc.
  • Start a spreadsheet of expenses, details, and a draft of guest addresses
  • Have a serious discussion with everyone who might be helping to pay for your wedding (assign expenses as best as you can estimate)
  • Set overall budget and sub-budgets
  • Start researching your vendor options (and book any high-priority vendors right away):
    • Ceremony location (*book this right away)
    • Reception location and rain-plan in case of inclement weather (*book this right away)
    • Rehearsal Dinner location
    • Officiant/Minister/Priest
    • Musicians/Vocalists
    • Florist
    • Music/Band/DJ/Lighting
    • Transportation/Limo
    • Cake/Desserts
    • Caterer
    • Rentals (if needed)
    • Dishes (tableware, dinnerware, glassware)
    • Tables and linens (check sizes and quantities of each)
    • Chairs (reception and ceremony) and chair covers/sashes if you wish
    • Skirting for head table, gift table and cake table
    • Punch fountain, chocolate fountain, cupcake tiers, cake stands, popcorn machine
    • Backdrop behind head table
    • Centerpieces
    • Outdoor signage, chalkboard signs, large statement-worthy rentals
    • Portable toilets
    • Photographer (*book this right away)
    • Videographer
    • Liquor/Alcohol supplier and bartenders (and staffing for clean-up)
    • Makeup/Hair
    • Photo booth
    • Decorator
    • Stationery (wedding invitations, save the dates, programs, thank you notes, etc.)
    • Bridal gown and tux attire
  • Schedule vacation from work
  • Take a deep breath — it’s going to be a lot of planning, but you got this!
  •  __________________________________________________________
  • __________________________________________________________

 

9-12 MONTHS BEFORE YOUR WEDDING:

  • Start your workout program (if you wish!)
  • Book your engagement photos
  • Choose and tell your bridal party:
    • Bridesmaids (and maid/matron of honor)
    • Groomsmen (and best man)
    • Ushers
    • Personal attendant(s)
    • Flower girl
    • Ring bearer
    • Consider roles for other important friends and family (if you wish) (all optional)
    • Ceremony readers/lectors
    • Guest book attendants
    • Altar servers (if a full mass)
    • Vocalists/Musicians
    • Flower attendants
    • Punch servers
    • Cake cutters/servers
    • Gift attendants
    • Hosts/Hostesses
  • Pick your wedding colors and theme/style
  • Book an appointment to go dress shopping
  • Start guest list (request from both sets of parents as well)
  • Start dreaming and planning your honeymoon (contact a travel agent if you wish)
  • Apply for a passport (if needed)
  • Meet with officiant and schedule premarital classes (if you wish)
  • __________________________________________________________
  • __________________________________________________________

 

6-9 MONTHS BEFORE YOUR WEDDING:

  • Send engagement announcement to local papers with photo (if you wish)
  • Narrow down the guest list
  • Gather any missing/unknown addresses
  • Apply for permits needed (if any) such as parking, fireworks, alcohol, check into music ordinances, etc.
  • Take engagement photos (leave enough time for your photographer to edit them before you want to send save the dates if you want to include photos)
  • Send save the dates
  • Order wedding dress (allow time for a few fittings)
  • Choose bridesmaids dresses (and get a swatch of fabric for coordinating colors)
  • Shop for accessories:
    • Veil
    • Bra and undergarments
    • Hair accessories
    • Gloves/shawl
    • Handbag
    • Garter
    • Jewelry (necklace, earrings, bracelet)
    • Shoes
    • Something old, something new, something borrowed, something blue
  • Look for tuxes (and match the ties to your dress swatch)
  • Purchase groom’s wedding band (get re-sized if needed)
  • Purchase bride’s wedding band (get re-sized if needed)
  • Buy additional insurance for wedding rings
  • Purchase/order wedding day gifts for bridal party (jewelry, etc.) and parents and spouse
  • Finalize your plan for centerpieces and ceremony decorations
  • Schedule a tasting with your caterer
  • Book rehearsal with your ceremony site
  • Book rehearsal dinner plans
  • Send all deposits due to vendors
  • Reserve wedding night suite
  • Block guest rooms at hotels of your choice
  • Book your vendor options:
    • Musicians/Vocalists ____________________________________ Cost: __________
    • Florist  ____________________________________  Cost: __________
    • Music/Band/DJ/Lighting  ____________________________________  Cost: __________
    • Transportation/Limo  ____________________________________  Cost: __________
    • Cake/Desserts  ____________________________________  Cost: __________
    • Caterer  ____________________________________  Cost: __________
    • Rentals (if needed)  ____________________________________  Cost: __________
    • Photographer  ____________________________________  Cost: __________
    • Videographer  ____________________________________  Cost: __________
    • Liquor/Alcohol supplier and bartenders  _____________________________  Cost: __________
    • Makeup/Hair  ____________________________________ Cost: __________

 

4-6 MONTHS BEFORE YOUR WEDDING:

  • Plan your ceremony music and song selections (and the order of your program)
  • Register for gifts (two places minimum) (cookware, bakeware, barware, decor, have some fun stuff too!)
  • Start any health routines you wish (skin care treatments, dental work, teeth whitening, tanning)
  • Look for favors
  • Decide if you want a groom’s cake and order it
  • Find a wedding invitation designer and order
  • Prepare needed information for wedding invitations:
    • Quantity
    • Times of ceremony, social hour, reception, dinner, dance
    • Wording for invitation (a designer can help you choose) (listing parents, how formal)
    • Style and layout
    • Reply by date for your RSVP cards
    • Addresses and names of ceremony location and reception location
    • Return address for RSVP card (yours or your parents)
    • Gift registries
    • Recommended hotels
    • Buffet or plated dinner meal options (if you want them listed)
    • Map/Driving directions
    • List of local attractions for guests to reference
    • Hire calligrapher (if you wish)
  • Order personalized items like wedding party gifts, napkins, favors, etc.
  • Schedule first dress fitting (bring shoes, undergarments and accessories)
  • Order men’s attire after fittings (ask groomsmen and ushers for sizes)
  • Reserve all wedding rentals
  • Check in with all wedding vendors to confirm your booking (and ask any questions you have)
  • Finalize menu with caterer/venue
  • __________________________________________________________
  • __________________________________________________________

 

2-4 MONTHS BEFORE YOUR WEDDING:

  • Finalize all ceremony music
    • Seating of the parents/grandparents
    • Prelude
    • Processional
    • Bride’s processional
    • Unity ceremony music
    • Recessional
    • Postlude
  • Start putting together program information (ask Hitch for some program examples and layout/wording options to help get you started)
  • Provide musicians with sheet music
  • Start song list for reception and dance for DJ/band (including must-play and do-not-play lists)
  • Finalize honeymoon plans
  • Have bridal shower(s)
  • Assign and confirm wedding responsibilities with friends and family (greeters, host and hostesses, cake cutters, flower pinners, punch pourers, guest book attendants, etc.)
  • Schedule hair and makeup appointments
  • Schedule spa day and nails for week of wedding (with your bridesmaids if you wish!)
  • Get blood tests/physicals for marriage certificate
  • Start dance lessons (if you wish)
  • Buy extras:
    • Cake server/knife (have engraved if you wish)
    • Ring bearer pillow
    • Flower girl baskets and flowers
    • Garter
    • Candles (unity ceremony)
    • Toasting glasses (have engraved if you wish)
    • Favors
    • Centerpieces
    • Card box
    • Photo booth props
    • Cake topper and cake stand
    • Guest book (and pens/markers)
    • Tablecloth for card box table and guest book table at ceremony and reception
  • Address and send wedding invitations (buy stamps for outer envelopes and RSVP postcards)
  • Send rehearsal dinner invitations
  • Create a wedding hashtag (for showers, parties, and put up signs at wedding)
  • Finalize times for rehearsal with officiant and restaurant/rehearsal caterer
  • Choose readings and readers (provide for practice)
  • Put together photos for wedding slideshow and choose music (if you wish)
  • Make list of photos you want taken with both families
  • Make lunch plans for wedding day (who will deliver, when to eat, who will remove extras, etc.)
  • Get any immunizations you need for honeymoon
  • Confirm any hotel reservations (yours and guests) and make sure you don’t need to add more rooms to your block)
  • 5 Arrange for day-of transportation for you, wedding party and guests (Consider older guests, getting up stairs, long distances, etc. (Destination brides­ ­— think about how your guests will get around. Do you need to book a shuttle? Transportation of any kind?)
  • __________________________________________________________
  • __________________________________________________________

 

1-2 MONTHS BEFORE YOUR WEDDING:

  • Finalize your programs and menu cards
  • Plan bachelorette party
  • Recruit friends for assembly projects (favors, garlands, invitations, kids activity packs for reception, etc.)
  • Mail wedding invitations
  • Write and mail shower and party thank you cards
  • Have your final wedding dress fitting
  • Check with all groomsmen that they were fitted for tuxes
  • Confirm all ceremony and reception details with officiant (wrap up any loose ends or questions)
  • Decide on wedding vows
  • Research local marriage license requirements
  • Confirm or make all final payments
  • Check into floral preservation and dress preservation
  • Prepare a contact info sheet (and give to all bridal party and vendors)
  • Buy gift for fiance and parents
  • Pick up wedding rings
  • Plan seating chart for reception (if you wish) and print final copies for host/hostesses
  • Decide on order of reception (introduction of bridal party, dinner start time, cake cutting,         toasts, first dance, etc.
  • Finalize song selections with DJ (first dance, father-daughter dance, etc.) and music selections
  • Get storage container for cake top (and assign someone to wrap it up for you)
  • Make a plan for kids at your reception and/or arrange for baby-sitters at reception and ceremony (if you wish)
  • Have your final dress fitting and practice bustling your dress
  • Decide if you will need any extra liability or event insurance
  • Send rehearsal dinner invitations and schedule (unless you include them in the invitations)
  • Start delegating tasks you’re getting overwhelmed with. This is supposed to be fun!
  • __________________________________________________________
  • __________________________________________________________

 

2 WEEKS BEFORE YOUR WEDDING:

  • Work out a day-of schedule to time out all the details (hour by hour) (pg. 17)
  • Arrange for someone to tend to your house while you’re on your honeymoon:
    • Pet sitter
    • Water your plants
    • Collect any gifts that may still be shipped to your front door
    • Get your mail
    • Keep an eye on the house since you have a lot of gifts and valuables inside
  • Make sure groom has hair appointment scheduled
  • Follow up with all those who have not RSVPd
  • Do your test run hair and makeup
  • Get ring soldered
  • Schedule and have facials/waxing/tanning
  • Prepare wedding announcement for newspaper
  • Assemble welcome bags to hotel for guest rooms (fruit, breads, sunscreen, activity options, etc.)
  • Write/print all name place cards for reception (or make reserved signs for those tables)
  • Plan seating chart (print large board for reference, or hand out smaller chart sheets to hosts)
  • Pick up wedding dress and try it on one last time
  • Write toasts or words of thanks for reception
  • Have your final dress fitting
  • Give caterer final meal count
  • Confirm with all vendors (hair, limo, caterer, cake, flowers, DJ, lighting, photographer, etc.)
  • Arrange for clean up after ceremony and reception (including personal items, champagne flutes, gifts, cards, cake cutting utensils, purses, veil, centerpieces, decorations, etc.)
  • Assemble wedding day emergency kit (sewing kit, hairspray, stain remover wipes, scissors, etc
  • Delegate post-wedding tux returns
  • Get information for name change
  • Visit salon for one last hair trim and color
  • Apply for marriage license
  • Put any tips or final payments in envelopes and delegate to someone to handle
  • Email/distribute final itinerary to wedding party (and those involved)
  • __________________________________________________________
  • __________________________________________________________

 

1 WEEK BEFORE YOUR WEDDING:

  • Wrap wedding party gifts and write in cards
  • Schedule time to decorate for reception
  • Shop and pack for your honeymoon
  • Break in your wedding shoes
  • Keep everyone informed. Send your bridal party a list/schedule that lists:
  • List of names, emails and phone numbers of parents and bridal party
  • The rehearsal date, time and place with directions to location
  • Rehearsal dinner arrangements, who should attend (significant others? Parents of the flower girl? Officiant? Out of town guests who arrived early?), Directions, time and place.
  • Hotel name, number and location
  • Dress code for different wedding activities and events (with times and places)
  • Plans for breakfast, lunches, or any other get-togethers before the wedding
  • Where they will get dressed and receive their bouquets and boutonnieres
  • Time and place for pre-wedding photos
  • Transportation arrangements to the ceremony and reception
  • __________________________________________________________
  • __________________________________________________________

 

1-2 DAYS BEFORE YOUR WEDDING:

  • Have groom pick up men’s attire
  • Have your dress pressed or steamed, if you still need to
  • Confirm rehearsal time (or any itinerary changes) with those involved
  • Remind parents, maid/matron of honor and best man of speeches/toasts
  • Pack and drop your overnight bag and wedding day outfits off early
  • To pack:
    • gown & veil
    • shoes
    • undergarments
    • jewelry
    • makeup
    • perfume
    • nail polish
    • emergency kit
    • toothbrush
    • mints
    • marriage license
    • wedding rings
    • suitcases
    • travel tickets and passports
  • See if you can drop decor items off early and have them in place as soon as you can
  • Bring back ups for your vows, music, speeches, and photo shot list
  • Plan what you’ll eat and drink throughout the day
  • Write a love letter to your fiance. Deliver the night before or the day of the wedding.
  • __________________________________________________________
  • __________________________________________________________

 

DAYBEFORE YOUR WEDDING:

  • Keep enjoying this amazing time in your life! Don’t stress.
  • Decorate ceremony and reception (head table, centerpieces, aisle, unity candle, etc.)
  • Get manicure and pedicure
  • Drop off welcome bags to hotel for out of town guests
  • Pack a bag/clutch full of personal items, flip flops, cash, phone charger, lip balm, lotion
  • __________________________________________________________
  • __________________________________________________________

 

NIGHT BEFORE YOUR WEDDING:

  • Pack and bring gifts for rehearsal dinner
  • Finish any ceremony site decorations
  • Make arrangements for vehicles to be delivered to reception site on the wedding day
  • Attend rehearsal and rehearsal dinner
  • Discuss seating details with ushers
  • Show parents and grandparents where they will be seated
  • Give marriage license to officiant
  • Practice with flowers girls and ring bearers (and have a back-up plan)
  • Have fun at your rehearsal dinner! (But not too much fun. Get a good night’s sleep)
  • __________________________________________________________
  • __________________________________________________________

 

DAY OF YOUR WEDDING!!

  • Enjoy a nice breakfast and drink lots of water
  • Give your engagement ring to best man
  • Wear a button-up shirt to your hair and makeup appointments
  • Take photos before and after ceremony
  • Get witness signatures on the certificate
  • Make any final payments due
  • Bride and groom have someone deliver gifts and personal notes to each other
  • Try to keep your schedule on time throughout the day.
  • Laugh. Love. Enjoy. Soak it all in.   🙂
  • __________________________________________________________

 

AFTER YOUR WEDDING!!

  • Return tuxedos to rental shop
  • Return rentals and decorations
  • Have a gift opening/brunch (Make sure someone writes down gifts/names for thank you notes)
  • Write and send out thank you notes (including vendors you were impressed with!)
  • File for name change
  • Freeze top layer of your cake so you can enjoy it on your first wedding anniversary!
  • Finish your registry and exchange any duplicate or unwanted gifts
  • Have your wedding dress cleaned (and preserved if you wish)
  • Have your bouquet preserved if you wish
  • Go on your honeymoon!
  • Change name on all insurance, home, car, bank accounts, credit cards, email signatures, business cards, etc.
  • Make appointments to update your will, your beneficiaries, bank accounts, benefit changes at your workplace, etc.
  • Order prints of your favorite photos from your big day
  • Write online reviews of your favorite vendors so future brides know what to expect!
  • Live happily ever after!
  • __________________________________________________________
  • __________________________________________________________

Leave a Comment