The Ultimate Wedding To-Do List
Congratulations! You are engaged and about to begin a new chapter with the love of your life!
Planning a wedding may seem daunting, but remember that it should be a fun experience. Don’t worry, we’ve got you covered. Whether your wedding date is in a few months, or you have more than a year to plan, staying organized with the details can help make the process easier and your day stress-free.
One of the most stressful parts of wedding planning is knowing where to begin. Start with the four essentials—date, vision, budget, and venue. Having clarity on these important elements of your wedding sets the process in motion and guides all your other efforts and decisions.
And to help keep track of those decisions and when to make them, you can download our Ultimate Wedding To-Do List.
12 Months or More From the Wedding
Pick a Date
Think about a time that is significant to you as a couple: like the day you met or when you both first said “I love you.” Your career, family conflicts and quirky days like April Fool’s Day should also be considerations.
Saturday weddings are often at a premium, so consider Friday or Sunday dates when there will be greater availability. The season and popular dates for weddings could require paying top dollar and impact your choice of a day.
Decide on Vision
Having a clear vision of what you want your wedding to be is an important step in the planning process. You probably have an abundance of ideas flying around in your head, but you need to streamline these into a concrete vision.
Think about what defines you as a couple–your relationship, values, personalities–and develop an approach that reflects these attributes. When gathering ideas, consider elements like location, theme, décor and food.
Your initial guest list and members of the wedding party should be considered at this time. Determine what the absolute essentials for the day are and the things that are the most meaningful to you.
If you want guidance gathering ideas and streamlining your vision, interview and choose a professional wedding planner. Planners can either be contracted for the duration of the planning process or for just a portion of it.
Commit to a Budget
At every step, a budget will help guide your decisions and reduce anxiety. Realistically, how much do you have to spend? The goal is to achieve your dream, but if you don’t have the budget to do something, you may need to consider how else you can achieve the goal at a lower price-point.
Fortunately, with a bit of creativity, there are many ways to incorporate your vision into your plans. (It may require editing the guest list, flexing your date or using fewer vendors.) Keep track of all costs (even the little ones!) and adjust the budget to accommodate the must-haves.
Select a Venue
Choosing the ideal location for your wedding is an exciting process. Make sure that you have decided on a guest count and budget before choosing a venue. These decisions will allow you to narrow-down the list of possible venues and ensure that you book a space that will accommodate your guest list and price-point.
Do your research and ask around for suggestions. Popular venues like Southern Management’s AAA Four Diamond luxury destination, The Hotel at the University of Maryland in College Park, books up fast, so make securing your perfect location a top priority. Select a venue with experienced wedding staff who can work with you to make your big day a reality.
Remember to reserve hotel room blocks for those traveling from out of town once you have secured your venue. Some hotels and resorts, including The Hotel at the University of Maryland in College Park, have special rates for weddings. Make sure to inquire about such rates and promptly reserve those rooms.
Wedding professionals are essential to the overall success of your wedding experience. You’ll need to find and book these professionals far in advance to get your chosen date. Vendors like florists, caterers, photographers, DJs/musicians, and hair/makeup professionals may only service one wedding per day. If you’re having trouble tracking down exemplary vendors, don’t hesitate to request wedding vendor recommendations from us.
You don’t want to miss out on your dream dress, so start shopping soon. Dresses can take months to order. Once your dress arrives, schedule a fitting session(s) to make sure that fits perfectly. Don’t forget to also think through and make arrangements for your fiancé(e)s attire.
After your wedding look has been determined, decide what your wedding party will wear. Incorporate your vision for the wedding style, colors, and accessories.
Finally, complete attire preparations by selecting your wedding rings. Rings can often be customized, so thoroughly research all the possibilities. Don’t forget to insure your engagement ring and wedding bands, if appropriate.
Schedule a tasting with your caterer to solidify the menu for the wedding. When considering the type of service and menu remember that the world has changed dramatically this year. Take into account what types of service will make your guests feel most comfortable. (Consider chefs attended stations or plated dinners in lieu of buffets.)
This is a great time to be creative! Speak to your caterer about the new ideas and menu options that they have created for this new environment. Let them help you by suggesting options to execute your food and beverage vision.
Send your guests a save-the-date invitation to let them know about the wedding, what the date and location will be and that you will be in touch in the future with more details. You can decide to mail save-the-date cards or use a wedding website to communicate with them electronically.
Websites can also be used to provide guests with important information, collect RSVPs and tell loved ones more about you as a couple.
Many couples will also assist guests who want to purchase gifts by compiling a wedding registry. Your wish list will make the gift finding journey much easier on guests. Remember to provide options at every price-point for your guests to select from.
If your caterer does not make wedding cakes, have them or your other vendors suggest their favorite bakeries. During a cake consultation, you can taste some of your favorite options and work with the baker to design a cake that’s compatible with the style of your venue and theme. A good baker will help you choose the right size for your guest list and stay in your budget.
If you’re not using a website to send invitations, select and purchase them in preparation to send a few months before the wedding. Consider choosing invitations for your wedding and rehearsal dinner that reflect your wedding’s style or color scheme to fit the aesthetic.
Things are getting real now, but obtaining your marriage license makes everything official! A few months before the wedding, apply for the license.
Hire an officiant for your wedding. Schedule a meeting to discuss ceremony plans and verify that you have all of the documentation necessary for the ceremony.
Arrange transportation for your bridal party and/or guests that need it. Consider distance between the hotel and both the ceremony and reception location along with availability of parking and weather.
You’ve made it through months of preparation and the big day is in sight. Finish off strong by completing some final tasks that will get you to that long-awaited finish line.
Sending out invitations means one thing–you’re nearing the end of your wedding planning checklist! Double-check that all the important details are there such as dress code, location, and time. Consider personalizing wedding favors for your guests to take home as well.
A month out, do another check-in with your vendors. Confirm arrival times, provide final head counts, and give reminders. Make sure to provide a desired shot list to your photographer and/or and a song list for the DJ/musician(s).
The Week Before
The week before the wedding, it’s all about you! Spend the week de-stressing with self-care like a celebratory spa treatment. The day before the wedding, attend your rehearsal dinner. Exchange gifts, listen to toasts shared by your loved ones, and don’t forget to pat yourself on the back. Your wedding will be the next day, and all your preparation made it possible.
Our Well Wishes for Your Wedding
Be excited for this journey and embark on it with confidence—you deserve a magical wedding day and have the ability to make it happen.
We are happy to support you in any way we can! Our experienced wedding staff is ready to respond to any question, request, or accommodation, so contact our wedding venue team to learn more.
Wishing you all the best!