• Images
  • Text
  • Find a Couple + Registry
GO

where's your wedding?

Find everything you need to plan a wedding in your area in The Knot City-by-City Guides.

Wedding Planning: 12-Month Wedding Calendar

Photo: Dana Galligher

Just engaged? Starting to envision your wedding? Wondering about all the things you'll need to do and when? Our month-by-month snapshot of all your wedding to-dos will steer you in the right direction.

>> For an interactive version of what to do when, go to The Knot Wedding Checklist.

12+ months before

Date: ______________________

  • Envision your wedding and draw up a budget.
  • Assemble your "planning team." Consider hiring a wedding consultant.
  • Pick a wedding date and time. Select several options, then check with your venues, officiant, and important guests before finalizing.
  • Start planning the guest list.
  • Look for and book ceremony sites and reception sites.
  • Ask friends and relatives to be in the wedding party.
  • Optional: Have an engagement party. You may want to register beforehand for gifts.


8-10 months before

Date: ______________________

  • Bride: Think about, shop for, and order your gown.
  • Envision reception food.
  • Decide what type of entertainment you want. A pianist for the cocktail hour, strolling violinists, a DJ, or band?
  • Think about your floral decor.
  • Research and book your wedding professionals. Interview vendors: photographer, videographer, reception band or DJ, florist.
  • Research a wedding insurance policy to protect your deposits.
  • Research and reserve accommodations for out-of-town guests.
  • Register for gifts.
  • Contact rental companies if you need to rent anything for ceremony/reception, such as chairs, tables, and tent.


6-8 months before

Date: ______________________

  • Book ceremony musicians.
  • Order bridesmaid dresses.
  • Start planning honeymoon.
  • Send save-the-date cards. This is a particularly good idea if you're marrying during a tourist or holiday season or having a destination wedding.


4-6 months before

Date: ______________________

  • Attend prewedding counseling, if required.
  • Shop for and order invitations and wedding rings.
  • Shop for formalwear.
  • Renew or get passports, if necessary.
  • Envision your wedding cake and research, interview, and book a cake designer.


3 months before

Date: ______________________

  • Order wedding cake.
  • Hire a calligrapher, if you want your invitations professionally addressed.
  • Attend your shower. (It may be earlier, depending on when hosts decide to have it.)
  • Groom: Rent the men's formalwear.
  • Hire wedding-day transport: limousines, other cars. Look into transportation sooner if you're considering renting streetcars or over-the-top travel.


2 months before

Date: ______________________

  • Mail your invitations.
  • Write your vows.
  • Purchase gifts for parents, attendants, and each other.
  • Book your stylist and try out big-day hairstyles.
  • Book a makeup artist and go for a trial run.


1 month before

Date: ______________________

  • Apply for a marriage license. Check with the local bureau in the town where you'll wed.
  • Bride: Have final gown fitting. Bring your maid of honor along to learn how to bustle your dress. Have the dress pressed and bring it home.
  • Call all bridesmaids. Make sure they have their gowns ready for the wedding.
  • Make last-minute adjustments with vendors.
  • Create a wedding program to hand out to guests.
  • Order and plan in-room welcome baskets for out-of-town guests.


2 weeks before

Date: ______________________

  • Review final RSVP list and call any guests who have not yet sent a response.
  • Deliver must-have shot lists to photographer and videographer. Include who should be in formal portraits and determine when portraits will be taken.
  • Deliver final song list to your DJ or bandleader. Include special song requests and songs you don't want played.
  • Bride: Get your last prewedding haircut and color.


1 week before

Date: ______________________

  • Give reception site/caterer final guest head count. Include vendors, such as the photographer or band members, who will expect a meal. Ask how many extra plates the caterer will prepare.
  • Supply location manager with a list of vendor requests such as a table for DJ or setup space needed by florist.
  • Plan reception seating chart.
  • Print place and table cards, or finalize list with the calligrapher you have hired to do so.
  • Call all wedding vendors and confirm arrangements.
  • Give ceremony and reception site managers a schedule of vendor delivery and setup times, plus contact numbers.
  • Groom: Get your hair trimmed.
  • Attend bachelor/ette parties.


2-3 days before

Date: ______________________

  • Bride: If you need to, have your gown pressed or steamed.
  • Groom: Go for final fitting and pick up your formalwear.
  • Groom: Ask the best man to make sure all groomsmen attend fittings and pick up their outfits.
  • Determine wedding-party positions during ceremony and the order of the party in the processional and recessional.
  • Hand off place cards, table cards, menus, disposable cameras, favors, and any other items for setting the tables to the caterer and/or reception site manager.
  • Reconfirm final details with all vendors. Discuss any necessary last-minute substitutions.
  • Call the limousine- or car-rental company for pickup times and locations.
  • Arrange for guests without cars to be picked up from the airport or train station. Ask friends, attendants, or relatives to help.
  • Deliver welcome baskets to the hotel concierge; make sure to include names and delivery instructions.


Day before

Date: ______________________

  • Provide all wedding professionals with an emergency phone number to call on the day of the wedding.
  • Write checks and/or talk to wedding hosts (usually your parents, if not you) about any final balances to be paid at the end of the reception.


Night before

Date: ______________________

  • Rehearse ceremony. Meet with wedding party, ceremony readers, immediate family, and your officiant at the ceremony site to rehearse and iron out details.
  • Bring unity candle, aisle runner, yarmulkes, or other ceremony accessories to the site.
  • Give your marriage license to your officiant.
  • Attend rehearsal dinner.
  • Present attendants with gifts at the rehearsal dinner. You'll want to do this especially if the gifts are accessories to be worn during the wedding.


Day of

Date: ______________________

  • Present parents and each other with gifts.
  • Give wedding bands to the best man and the maid of honor to hold during the ceremony.
  • Give best man the officiant's fee envelope, to be handed off after the ceremony.
  • Introduce your reception site manager to your consultant or maid of honor for questions or problems during the reception.
  • Assign a family member or attendant to be the photographer's contact so he knows who is who.


Postwedding

Date: ______________________

  • Prearrange for someone to return any rentals.
  • Preplan for attendants to take the bride's gown for cleaning and return the groom's tux to the rental shop.
  • Write and send thank-you notes to gift-bearing guests and vendors who were especially helpful.

See More: Wedding Planning Basics