Chicago Marriage

Wedding Timetable and Event Checklist

The following checklist is an “ideal” timetable. Couples who do not have as much time as shown should plan their wedding in much the same order, using the checklist as a guide. Some choices are optional, such as a caterer, videographer, hotel accommodations for guests, bridal registries, etc. Be sure to check things off your list as you complete them. Have fun together!

Immediately After the Engagement:

  • Discuss a budget & the size & style of the wedding with all parents if possible.
  • Decide who pays for what.
  • Consider using a wedding consultant.
  • Choose a clergy member or other wedding “officiant.”
  • Consider pre-marital counseling.
  • Reserve wedding and reception sites.
  • Choose a caterer (check references).
  • Register at local bridal registries.
  • Choose a photographer (get references).

Six Months or More Before the Wedding Day:

  • Compile the guest list.
  • Reserve a block of hotel rooms for out-of-town guests.
  • Choose engagement & wedding rings.
  • Send your engagement announcement to newspapers.
  • Select & order wedding gown.
  • Select the attendants (bridesmaids & groomsmen).
  • Choose & order bridesmaids dresses.
  • Select one usher for every 50 guests.
  • Choose a videographer (get references).
  • Make arrangements for the music at the wedding & reception.
  • Check out bakers for cake, etc. Get estimates. Book the date.
  • Bride makes plans for beauty preparations
    (nails, diet, hair, skin care & makeup).

Four Months Before the Wedding Day:

  • Complete the guest list & confirm final details with the caterer.
  • Order invitations (25 extra) & personal stationery or “Thank You” notes.
  • Order napkins & purchase any other items needed for the ceremony & reception.
  • Check with the caterer to see what is included.
  • Visit the photographer again to discuss specifics. Use a “Photographer Checklist.”
  • Get estimates & order flowers & floral arrangements for wedding & reception.
  • Get estimates & order balloons, decorations & favors for wedding & reception.
  • Make all transportation arrangements to & from the wedding & the reception.
  • Consider hiring a limousine, party bus, trolley or horse-drawn carriage.
  • Book your room for the wedding night.
  • Make honeymoon plans.

Three Months Before the Wedding Day:

  • Order wedding rings. Allow time for any final engraving.
  • Order tuxedos for the groomsmen & fathers.
  • Complete all honeymoon plans.
  • If traveling outside the country, check on visas, passports & inoculations.

Two Months Before the Wedding Day:

  • Mail invitations (six weeks before the wedding; eight weeks to out-of-town guests).
  • Make appointments with the hairdresser for the bride & attendants or out-of-town guests.
  • Buy a wedding gift for your future spouse & gifts for attendants and helpers
    (bridesmaids, groomsmen, ushers, flower girls, ring bearers, etc.).
  • Finalize arrangements of accommodations for out-of-town attendants & guests.

One Month Before the Wedding Day:

  • Choose all accessories, shoes & lingerie for bridal gown.
  • Have final fitting for bridal gown & bridesmaids’ dresses.
  • Have beauty consultant do a trial run with bride’s hair & makeup.
  • Schedule this appointment on the day the bridal portrait is taken and/or a party is planned.
  • Have bridal portrait taken.
  • Register all tuxedo sizes with the formal wear store.
  • Check with the newspapers on wedding announcement requirements.
  • Finalize plans for rehearsal dinner.
  • Plan seating arrangements for the rehearsal dinner & reception.
  • Arrange bridesmaids’ luncheon. Often, that is when the bride gives them their gifts.
  • Complete name-change documents.
  • Complete change-of-address information for post-office.
  • Keep current with “Thank You” notes for shower & early wedding gifts.

Two Weeks Before the Wedding Day:

  • Get the marriage license. Be sure to bring all needed documents.
  • Inform or send invitations including exact time & location to those who will attend the rehearsal & rehearsal dinner.
  • Inquire about where you & your attendants will dress for the ceremony.
  • Walk through the entire event in your mind. Consider things like parking, access for handicapped guests, etc.
  • Confirm all transportation plans.
  • Check in with caterer, photographer, videographer, musicians, DJ, florist, etc. to confirm all arrangements.
  • “Break in” wedding shoes at home.

One Week Before the Wedding Day:

  • Appoint someone to act as an “organizer” to handle any last minute problems.
  • Give a final guest count to the caterer.
  • Review final details for those in the wedding party.
  • Confirm honeymoon arrangements.
  • Pack for the honeymoon. Know what you’ll wear from the reception.
  • Enjoy a day with your family and friends.
  • Visit a day spa, have a massage, a facial and relax.

One Day Before the Wedding Day:

  • Attend the rehearsal & rehearsal dinner.
  • Give the rings & clergy member’s fee to the Best Man.

The Wedding Day:

  • Enjoy the day!
  • Mail the announcements of your wedding after the honeymoon!

As Featured on The Knot

Chicago Wedding Minister Officiant:

Click here to ask about Rev. Harris’ availability to perform your wedding, or to send him a message.