Wedding, Bride, Groom, Bridal, Show, Expo, Wedding Dress, Bouquet, Outdoor Wedding, Wedding Planning, Here Comes the Guide

Here Comes the Guide

Creating your dream wedding is a big job. Our Here Comes the Guide checklist will get you going thanks to the wedding planning experts at Charlotte’s Bridal & Formal Wear!

12 months before

  • 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.
  • Look for wedding gown. Show your consultant at Charlotte’s pictures and ideas you may have to help find the dress of your dreams. Book a separate appointment to find your bridesmaid attire.

8–10 months before

  • 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 décor.
  • Plan a shopping day at Charlotte’s for bridesmaids. Dresses take six months or more to come in.
  • Research and book your wedding professionals. Interview vendors: photographer, videographer, reception band or DJ, and 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 the ceremony or reception, such as chairs, tables and a tent.

6–8 months before

  • Book ceremony musicians.
  • 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

  • Attend pre-wedding counseling, if required.
  • Shop for and order invitations and wedding rings.
  • Groom and bride should pick out the men’s attire.
  • Renew or get passports, if necessary.
  • Envision your wedding cake and research, interview and book a cake designer.

3 months before

  • Order wedding cake.
  • 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

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

1 month before

  • Apply for a marriage license. Check with the local bureau in the town where you’ll wed.
  • Check that all men have sent in their measurements for tuxedos.
  • Bride: Have final gown fitting. Bring your maid of honor along to learn how to bustle your dress.
  • 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

  • Review final RSVP list and call any guests who have not yet sent a response.
  • Deliver must-have shot lists to your 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 pre-wedding haircut and color.

1 week before

  • 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 for a florist.
  • Plan reception seating chart. 
  • 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.

2–3 days before

  • Groom: Pick up your formal wear and have necessary alterations done. 
  • Groom: Ask the best man to make sure all groomsmen pick up their wedding attire
  • Determine final wedding party positions during the 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; include names and delivery instructions.

Day before

  • 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 about any final balances to be paid at the end of the reception.

Night before

  • Rehearsal ceremony. Meet with wedding party, ceremony readers, immediate family and your officiant at the ceremony site to rehearse and iron out the 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

  • Present parents and each other with gifts.
  • Give wedding bands to the best man and maid of honor to hold during the ceremony.
  • Give best man the fee envelope to given to the officiant.
  • 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/she knows who’s who.
  • Be sure to take time to reflect on this day with just the two of you.

Post-wedding

  • Prearrange for someone to return any rentals.
  • Return tuxedo rentals.
  • Sit back, relax and enjoy your honeymoon.

We hope you found the Here Comes the Guide checklist helpful! We’ll see you at Wedding World 2018. Click here for your free tickets!