It’s important to start your planning off right. Sit down with your fiancé before you begin and talk over what each of you would like to have at your big event. Then, keep that ideal wedding vision in your mind as you make each decision so you make sure you have the wedding of your dreams.
Try creating a story board of things you like and colors you want to use before you start planning. This will give you a good reference to use when looking at everything from the dress to the wedding favors.
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Wedding Planning Timeline
9 – 12 Months
• Introduce both families and officially announce your engagement
• Talk to your fiancé and your families about the type of event you want to have
• Set the date and time
• Pick up some national and local bride magazines. They have great ideas and are a great source for local vendors
• Select a bridal consultant/wedding planner
• Find a ceremony site and officiate
• Compile your guest list and ask your mothers for their lists
• Create a save the date guest list
• Figure out your budget and who will be paying for what
• Choose and book your ceremony location, including rehearsal time
• Choose and book a reception site based on your budget and number of guests. Also make sure you receive their time line for payment, deposits and head counts.
• Select a caterer if the reception site does not include one. Check to see if the venue has a preferred caterers list.
• Set up a wedding website to keep your guests informed about the event
• Interview and select other wedding professionals
6 – 9 Months
• Ask your attendants to be in the wedding party
• Start shopping for your dress. Don’t forget to bring heels with you.• Book your DJ or band
• Send a save the date for your out of town wedding guests
• Choose the dresses for your attendants
• Start planning the honeymoon
• Register for gifts (make sure you pick stores your guests can order from online)
• Select a hotel for you’re out of town guests. Contact the local Convention & Visitors Bureau for help with this.
4 – 6 Months
• Find out what the marriage license requirements are in the state and the county you will be married in
• Choose your invitations and other stationery and research proper wording
• Book your calligrapher if needed
• Shop for wedding rings
• Order men’s attire from formalwear shop
• Help the mothers shop for their dresses. The bride’s mother’s dress should be selected first.
• Finalize honeymoon arrangements
• Get ideas for wedding favors
• Shop for your bridal accessories: shoes, lingerie, veil, jewelry, etc.
• Shop for wedding cake vendor. Make sure to make an appointment to do a tasting.
2 – 4 Months
• Make plans for the wedding rehearsal and wedding rehearsal dinner
• Finalize the menu with the caterer
• Create your wedding program
• Go over the details with your wedding professionals
• Hire your transportation company
• Reserve any rental equipment needed
6 – 8 Weeks
• Finalize guest list and mail invitations 8 weeks before your big day
• Send information to the newspaper
• Order your wedding favors
• Shop for your attendant’s gifts
• Shop for your fiancé’s gift
• Schedule trial runs with your hairdresser and makeup artist
• Shop for wedding accessories – baskets, frames, candles, etc.
• Select your music for the ceremony, cocktail hour and reception and review your selections with the DJ, band, musicians and/or singers
• Check your wedding registry and update your list
• Update your wedding website
4 – 6 Weeks
• Have your final dress fitting
• Buy any additional wedding items, such as your guest book, toasting glasses and cake cutting utensil
• Prepare a photo and video shoot list
• Begin writing your vows if applicable
• Make sure the bridesmaids and groomsmen have been fitted for their attire
• Begin writing thank you notes for bridal showers and early wedding gifts
2 – 4 Weeks
• Get your marriage license
• Reconfirm honeymoon plans
• Give reception musicians a list of your must play songs and don’t play songs
• Start wearing your bridal shoes around the house
• Call guests who have not RSVP yet• Mail your rehearsal dinner invitations. All guests from out of town should be included.
• Finalize your look. Try your dress on with your jewelry, hair and make-up.
1 – 2 Weeks
• Finish the seating chart
• Confirm plans with all wedding professionals
• Finalize rehearsal dinner arrangements
• Call caterer with final head count (check with your venue to make sure this meets their time line)
• Make ushers aware of any special seating arrangements
• Have your final wedding gown fitting
• Finalize your wedding day schedule and share it with your family and vendors
• Confirm all times with vendors
• Pack for your wedding night and honeymoon
• Create a wedding box to gather your ceremony accessories and assign someone to transport it to the ceremony and reception sites for you
• Prepare place cards – make sure you have them in alphabetical order
One Day Before
• Treat yourself to a manicure and massage
• Prepare a list of payment envelopes – including tips
• Mail out your announcement cards
• Attend the wedding rehearsal and rehearsal dinner
• Drop off anything you will need at the wedding and reception venues: decorations, glassware, table runners and place cards, etc.
The Wedding Day
• Don’t forget to eat breakfast and drink plenty of fluids
• Take a bath in the morning it will help you relax
• Make sure you wear a button down shirt for your hair and makeup appointments
• Don’t forget to relax and enjoy your day.
After the Wedding
• Get your wedding dress cleaned
• Preserve your bouquet
• Write and mail your thank you notes
• Meet with your photographer and videographer to finalize albums and video
• Head out for your honeymoon or spend the day with your family and friends who traveled to see you get married
• Have a lunch at parents’ house to open gifts
Choose your wedding date and time carefully. Remember that some times of the year are more popular than others, so give yourself plenty of time if you’re choosing a busy season. If you’re operating on a lower budget consider a Friday night or Sunday for your ceremony and reception. If you’re having an outdoor wedding consider the season and the weather.
Talk to both sets of parents to see how much they can contribute toward the wedding, and then look over your own finances to see how much you can afford. To stay within budget consider creating a budget spreadsheet for tracking costs.
The Guest List
Compile the guest list. Make a list of the friends and family members you would like to invite and ask your parents and your fiancé’s parents to do the same. Combine the lists and consider keeping them in a spreadsheet for easy tracking/changing/updating.
The Paperwork – Making it Legal
Don’t forget the marriage license! You’ll need to be prepared with any documents the county is going to require to issue the license. Call the county clerk’s office where you’ll be married to find out what information you must bring with you and to get any additional questions answered.
All applicants in Missouri and Illinois must receive a license before the ceremony. Blood tests are not required in either state.
A Missouri license is valid for thirty days from its effective date, an Illinois license for sixty days.
Both bride and groom must apply in person. In Missouri, you may apply for a license at any office provided the wedding is to take place within the state. In Illinois, you must apply for and receive a license from the county in which the ceremony will take place.
City of St. Louis
City Hall, 1200 Market Street, Room 127
Hours: 8am – 5pm, Monday – Friday
ID: State ID/driver’s license, proof of social security number if absent from license
Fee: $48 (cash only)
St. Louis County
41 S. Central Ave (4th floor), Clayton
Hours: Monday, Wednesday & Friday 8am – 5pm,; Tuesday & Thursday 8am – 6pm
ID: State ID/driver’s license, proof of social security number; if under 18, must be accompanied by custodial parent/legal guardian with guardianship papers ($1.00 fee), must present certified copy of birth certificate.
Fee: $45 (cash only)
400 E. Locust, Room 102 (Union)
Hours: 8am – 4:30pm Monday – Friday
ID: Proof of social security number
Fee: $46 (cash only)
St. Charles County
St. Charles County Admin. Building
201 N. 2nd Street, Room 338
Hours: 8am – 5 pm Monday – Friday
ID: Driver’s license, proof of social security number if absent from license; if 15 – 17, must be accompanied by custodial parent ($1.00 fee), 18 and under must present certificate of birth as well.
Fee: $48 (cash only)
Jefferson County Administration Center, Room 126
Maple Street (Hillsboro)
Hours: 8am – 5pm Monday – Friday
ID: Driver’s license
Fee: $51 (cash only)
St. Clair County Illinois
County Clerk’s Office
10 Public Square (Belleville)
Hours: 8:30am – 4:30pm Monday – Friday & 8:30am – 12pm Saturday
ID: Two valid forms of ID (driver’s license, social security card)
Phone: 618-277-6600 ext 2388
Fee: $32 (cash, money order or local check)
Illinois, Administration Building
157 N. Main Street, Suite 109 (Edwardsville)
Hours: 8:30am – 4:30pm Monday – Friday
ID: State ID, driver’s license
Fee: $30 (cash only)