12 Month Wedding-Planning Checklist

checklist photo
Photo by o.tacke

If you’ve just become engaged and are imagining your dream wedding, your head may be spinning with all that you need to do. This 12-month wedding checklist calendar will ensure that everything comes together beautifully.

12-plus months before your wedding day:

□ Choose a date and time, with several options.

□ Visualize your ideal wedding and plan the budget.

□ Check date and time with venues, special guests and hired help.

□ Research and book ceremony and reception sites.

□ Assemble a planning team.

□ Begin your guest list.

□ Ask relatives and friends to be in your wedding party.

At 8-10 months:

□ Shop for and order a wedding gown.

□ Decide on reception entertainment.

□ Plan reception food.

□ Select décor and floral arrangements.

□ Interview and hire vendors (musicians, DJ, florist, videographer and photographer).

□ Reserve hotel accommodations for guests.

□ Contact rental companies for chairs, tables, tents, etc.

□ Join a gift registry.

At 6-8 months:

□ Order bridesmaid dresses.

□ Book musicians.

□ Send out save-the-date cards (for a holiday or destination wedding).

□ Plan your honeymoon.

At 4-6 months:checklist photo

□ Order wedding rings and wedding invitations.

□ Research wedding cakes and hire a cake designer.

□ Purchase formal wear.

□ Acquire passports, if needed.

At 3 months:

□ Address invitations (or hire a calligrapher).

□ Order the wedding cake.

□ Rent men’s formal wear.

□ Book transport (cars, limousines).

At 2 months:

□ Write wedding vows.

□ Mail invitations.

□ Purchase gifts for your wedding party.

□ Book hair stylist and makeup artist.

At 1 month:

□ Apply for marriage license.

□ Have final bridal gown fitting and bring it home.

□ Confirm with bridesmaids that their gowns are ready.

□ Confirm arrangements with vendors.

□ Create a wedding program for guests.

□ Order in-room welcome baskets for guests.

At 2 weeks:

□ Review RSVPs and call anyone who hasn’t responded.

□ Check in with wedding vendors.

□ Go to beauty salon for wedding haircut.

□ Send song list to band or DJ.

□ Deliver instructions to photographer and videographer.

At 1 week:

□ Give caterer and reception site final head count.

□ Give vendor requests to ceremony and reception sites.

□ Give site managers a schedule of deliveries and setup times with contact numbers.

□ Contact vendors to confirm details and make any necessary changes.

□ Create reception seating chart and print table and place cards.

A few days before:

□ Pick up men’s formal wear.

□ Plan wedding party positions and processional.

□ Give table cards, place cards menus, favors and centerpieces to site manager or caterer.

□ Connect with wedding vendors for final confirmation.

□ Make arrangements to pick up guests, if needed.

□ Deliver welcome baskets for guests to hotel.

□ Give locations and pickup times to car rental or limousine company.

The day before:

□ Give photographer, band and others an emergency phone number for wedding day.

□ Write checks for wedding services; confirm any final balances with hosts.

The night before:

□ Meet with officiant, wedding party, family and other participants at ceremony site and review/rehearse ceremony. Bring necessary accessories.

□ Give marriage license to officiant.

□ Attend the rehearsal dinner and present gifts.

On your wedding day:

□ Give each other and your parents their gifts.

□ Give wedding bands to the maid of honor and best man to present during the ceremony.

□ Give officiant’s payment to the best man.

□ Introduce reception site manager to a contact person for any issues that arise.

□ Assign someone to assist the photographer.

After the wedding:

□ Arrange for rentals to be returned and for bridal gown to be cleaned.

□ Send thank you notes for gifts that arrived on the wedding day.

It’s a long list, but being well-organized will make the best day of your life run smoothly, so everyone can concentrate on having a wonderful time!


How to Pick Wedding Invitations Your Whole Guest List Will be Talking About

A wedding is an extraordinary event in one’s life, and most couples spend considerable time ensuring that everything is perfect. Careful planning is the key to a successful and beautiful day, as there are so many details to consider. But this should be a pleasurable experience as it gives the bride and groom the opportunity to imprint their unique personality on the occasion, sharing the love they have for each other with family and friends. The wedding invitation, as the first public announcement of their joining, is a beautiful and sentimental keepsake.

traditional wedding invitation photo
Photo by mynameisharsha

Define Your Wedding Style
A wedding invitation isn’t just about letting people know the location and date. It sets the tone of the entire affair and indicates the formalness of the event. Is the wedding to be traditional, classic and elegant or modern, glamorous and stylish? Do you have a special theme, such as a wedding on the beach, a gathering in a wooded area, a traditional Irish ceremony or a Medieval affair? The invitations introduce the personality of the occasion. Visit stationary designers’ websites and online photos of invitations for inspiration and ideas so you have a clear vision of what you’re looking for.

Theme, Colors, Shape and Size
For colors, white, cream or ivory with a black or gold font is classic if your wedding is formal, but for less formal occasions, there are no set rules. You can select more colorful or metallic type, paper, envelopes and liners for greater visual appeal. Just make sure the type style is not overly ornate, and that the ink and background colors are adequately contrasted so that the invitation can be easily read. Stay away from light text on light backgrounds and dark text on dark backgrounds. The standard size and shape of wedding invitations is 6.25 inches by 4.5 inches and rectangular. However, you’re certainly not beholden to that and other invitation shapes are available.

circle wedding invitation photo
Photo by mandolin invitations

The One-of-a-Kind Wedding Invitation
There are many variables to create your own unique wedding invitations, such as the design, the type of paper, ink color, typeface and special printing techniques such as engraving and letterpress. You can also use a custom design and include decorative touches such as enclosures and envelope liners. Hiring a calligrapher to address the envelopes adds an exquisite, personalized touch.

wedding calligraphy photo
Photo by nparekhcards

Many varieties of paper stock are available. A heavier paper feels more luxurious, but you can also choose linen paper with a textured surface. Do you prefer a matte finish or metallic paper? You’ll also find natural paper stock such as bamboo, imported papers and rustic recycled papers.

Deciding on the typeface (font) can be a dizzying adventure in itself. There are many to choose from, so narrow it down by your wedding theme. Is the affair to be casual or formal? Traditional or modern? Are you being married on the beach or in a formal and elegant cathedral? There are typefaces that are formal and traditional, informal and whimsical, contemporary, high-tech and retro. Choose a font that will capture the personality of the couple and the occasion.

Once you’ve selected the paper and the typeface, what type of printing would you prefer? There’s offset (flat) printing, thermography, letterpress and engraving. Thermography gives you raised print using special inks and heat. In the letterpress technique, letters are pressed into the paper. Engraved print is raised from the paper.

save the date photo
Photo by Lalaland Chelsey

Keeping the Information Basic and Beautiful
Although there’s key information you must convey, a printed wedding invitation is a work of art, so placement of text and a balance of white space is important. Not only will the invitation look better if it isn’t jam-packed with non-essential information; it will also be far more legible. Include the location, date and time of the ceremony; the hosts’ and couple’s names, the dress code for the occasion (if there is one) and RSVP details. Any directions and information about the reception should be either on separate cards enclosed with the invitation.

With all the choices for unique and beautiful wedding invitations, you can create a stunning masterpiece of your very own.


Milestone Birthday Party Soiree

Celebrate a milestone birthday in style with these fun and festive tips.

Establish a theme.

Whether you’re turning 16 or 60, you can’t go wrong with a good, old-fashioned theme party. Go super subtle with a décor-only motif or opt for an all-in theme like Old Hollywood, Vegas-inspired or black and white. Era themes are great for adult birthdays.

Find favors.

Thank guests for coming with fun favors. Miniature champagne bottles, customized candies or matches or homemade goodies make great gifts for guests to take home. Choose favors that reflect the honoree’s personality and the party’s theme.

Get creative.

Think outside the box with unique finishing touches, like personalized cookies or wine glass centerpieces, to ensure that it’s a milestone party to remember. Play party games to get guests acquainted.

Make memories with music.

Create a playlist of songs that were popular the year the birthday boy/girl was born. If you’re going big, hire a local cover band specific to the era to play a live show.


Planning the Perfect Nonprofit Fundraiser Dinner

Whether for a long-standing community institution or a nonprofit startup, these tips will help you plan the perfect nonprofit fundraiser dinner to attract big donations and new volunteers.

First and foremost, you’ll want to begin planning months, even a year, in advance. This gives attendees fair notice and also allows you the time required to plan a fun, memorable event. Ask volunteers to help staff the event well in advance.

Next, book your venue and entertainment. If you’re charging a hefty table price, it’s important that guests feel like they get what they paid for, so go big on musical acts or other performers.

When planning a nonprofit dinner, ask local businesses and individuals to sponsor the event with either monetary gifts or donations for a silent auction. A well-stocked auction can double or triple your event profits if it has sought-after items.

Lastly, be sure you provide donation incentives, such as small gifts or priority seating, to attendees that pledge large donations.


How to Plan a Corporate Party – From the Caterer’s Point of View

Planning a corporate party with the perfect menu can feel like a daunting task, but if you follow these simple suggestions you’re sure to woo employees, clients and board members.

  1. Don’t cut corners. Corporate events are some of the most memorable ways to engage with the people that make up your company, so choose high-quality, impressive dishes and ensure that you have a well-equipped wait staff so that things go smoothly.
  2. Choose fresh, local foods. Show that your company is engaged in its community by choosing menu items that are locally sourced and sustainable. By doing this, you’re supporting the local growers, butchers and bakers that also do business in your area.
  3. Customize it. You can reach out to the caterer to see if he or she can whip up dishes that honor your business. Give the baker the creative freedom to create a cake or cookies with your logo or company colors.
  4. Provide options. Always have at least one vegetarian and one gluten-free option available. When you host a large group, you always want to make sure that everyone has something to eat. Be open with the caterer about your expectations of alternative food options.

Checking it Twice: Tips and Useful Tools for Your Event Checklists

Keeping organized is an important part of hosting any event — whether it is a small-scale corporate retreat or a wedding with a lengthy guest list. These handy apps and programs will help ensure that every element of your affair is accounted for, from RSVPs to itineraries and all the little details in between.

1. Evernote — This essential smartphone app lets you keep tabs on all of your event notes and lists, with an effortless search function and sharing capability that helps ensure that information is well-organized and in the right hands.

2. Microsoft Excel – It may seem obvious, but any event-planner should be savvy enough to take advantage of Excel’s most useful features. This software is a must-have for budget-keeping (the automatic calculations a real life-saver) and organizing names and addresses.

3. Dropbox — Dropbox is a great tool to use if you have event-related documents, like photo slideshows, PowerPoint presentations and other materials that you need to be able to access from the venue. Forget the flash drive and streamline your materials with Dropbox.

4. Tempo Smart Calendar — Up your scheduling capabilities with a smartphone calendar that does more than just keep appointments. This app lets you create detailed daily schedules — minute-by-minute, hour-by-hour — while integrating additional features like maps, Gmail and iPhone-compatible contacts and helpful reminders and alerts.