A Pre-Wedding Checklist

A young woman writes an entry in her diary.

While there is no "right" or "wrong" length of time to be engaged, the average pre-wedding engagement period is around 15 months.  For a conventional wedding, this makes sense, as the list of decisions to make and research is quite exhaustive - and potentially exhausting.

Unexpected delays can seriously increase your wedding expenses. One of the best ways to ensure you stay on track financially - and logistically - is to compile a chronological pre-wedding checklist.

The following list is a guide to what you need to do - and when you need to do it. It's based on an average fifteen-month engagement.

Ten To Fifteen Months Before The Wedding

You might be tempted to take things slowly in the first few months, but that's a mistake. The earlier you get started, the better bargains you'll be able to strike. Here's what you need to do when first getting started:

Six To Nine Months Before The Wedding

Now that the wedding is drawing closer, it's time to start getting things in writing. Tasks you should fulfill here include:

  • Hire wedding vendors.
  • Purchase a dress/tuxedo.
  • Make other attire decisions and arrangements.
  • Register and set up websites and social media content.
  • Set up the rehearsal dinner.
  • Arrange transport.

Six Months Before The Wedding

Now momentum is really starting to pick up. Here you'll need to:

  • Plan the honeymoon.
  • Send save-the-date cards.
  • Purchase invitations.
  • Meet the officiant.
  • Buy invitations.
  • Order the cake.

Three Months Before The Wedding

The clock is ticking. Now it's time to:

  • Consult with vendors to make sure everything is on track.
  • Consult with photographer and musicians to go over preferences.
  • Handle the invitations and announcements.
  • Purchase the rings.
  • Make all decisions regarding the ceremony structure (readings, seating, etc.).

The Final Four Weeks

Now you're in the stretch run. Critical tasks in the weeks and days before the wedding include:

  • Get your license.
  • Last minute fittings.
  • Hair and makeup.
  • A final vendor check/confirmation.
  • Prepare the wedding and reception site.

The Takeaway

There are hundreds of tasks large and small that go into planning a traditional wedding. By compiling a checklist and working through it step by step, you improve your odds of negotiating the process as painlessly as possible.