In the world of weddings, your budget is your most critical tool. Your budget is the blueprint for your big day, and it will determine the rest of your planning. Whether you have $5,000 or $100,000 to spend, below are suggested percentages for allocating your budget to cover all costs of your wedding. (And, of course, these numbers can be changed based on what is most important to you.)

  • Reception
  • Attire
  • Flowers & Decor
  • Photography
  • Entertainment
  • Miscellaneous
  • Rings
  • Gifts
  • Paper Goods
  • Transportation

12 MONTHS BEFORE OR ASAP

  • Announce engagement
  • Buy a 3-ring binder for organizing
  • Determine budgetary guidelines
  • Determine style of wedding
  • Select wedding date
  • Reserve reception location
  • Meet with officiant
  • Visit caterers/cake decorators
  • Visit video/photographers
  • Visit florists
  • Begin search for the bridal gown
  • Apply for passports if traveling abroad

9-12 MONTHS BEFORE

  • Begin pre-marriage counseling
  • Choose a wedding planner
  • Select wedding attendants
  • Reserve caterer/cake decorator
  • Reserve video/photographer
  • Reserve florist
  • Begin writing guest list
  • Have engagement photos taken
  • If you haven’t applied for passports, do it now!

6-9 MONTHS BEFORE

  • Select/order bridal gown & accessories
  • Schedule dress fitting
  • Order bridesmaids’ attire
  • Begin looking for rings
  • Reserve DJ or musicians
  • Begin planning honeymoon
  • Continue writing/trimming guest list

4-6 MONTHS BEFORE

  • Purchase wedding rings
  • Have rings sized or engraved
  • Plan rehearsal dinner
  • Order invitations/thank yous/napkins
  • Attend dress-fitting appointment
  • Reserve hair stylist/make up artist
  • Schedule transportation (to/from)
  • Choose ceremony music
  • Order the wedding cake

3-4 MONTHS BEFORE

  • Finalize guest list
  • Arrange for men to be measured
  • Arrange fittings for all attendants
  • Begin addressing invitations
  • Register for gifts
  • Help mothers choose their dresses

6-8 WEEKS BEFORE

  • Reserve mens’ attire
  • Reserve block of hotel rooms for guests
  • Purchase gifts for attendants
  • Decide reception seating arrangements
  • Prepare for legal/financial changes
  • Order/purchase wedding favors
  • Decide on any additional decorations

4-6 WEEKS BEFORE

  • Attend bridal showers/bachelor parties
  • Begin writing thank you notes for gifts
  • Final dress fitting
  • Confirm all reservations
  • Design wedding program
  • Determine what documents are needed for marriage license

2-4 WEEKS BEFORE

  • Get marriage license
  • Address announcements
  • Keep writing thank you notes
  • Have practice run with hair/makeup
  • Arrange for back ups in case of illness
  • Notes to go with wedding party gifts

1-2 WEEKS BEFORE

  • Begin packing for honeymoon
  • Mail announcements
  • Confirm all reservations (again)
  • Arrange care of your pets
  • Put a hold on your mail
  • Remind everyone of duties

2-3 DAYS BEFORE

  • Arrange for mens’ attire to be tried on
  • Arrange return of all rented attire
  • Arrange for food to be sent to your
  • dressing room

1 DAY BEFORE

  • Attend rehearsal
  • Enjoy your rehearsal dinner
  • Give gifts to attendants

WEDDING DAY

  • Eat a healthy breakfast or lunch with good protein
  • Drink plenty of water
  • Get hair/makeup done 3 hours before ceremony
  • Have photographs taken

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