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Ultimate Wedding Checklist and Timeline: The Last Six Months

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Wedding table setting

Congratulations! You’ve reached the halfway point of your wedding planning checklist (if you’re just getting started, back up to the first six months of wedding planning here). The biggest wedding tasks have been taken care of at this point (whew!) but now it’s time to see to things like mailing your wedding invitations, picking out a wedding cake, and applying for a marriage license. 

The final countdown has begun. Let’s get moving!

Six Months To Go

Hire a Lighting Technician 
 
But only if you need one. A raw loft space—or any space that is a “blank canvas”—can be enhanced by professional lighting. If you’re going for a specific theme (like “Under the Sea” or “Think Pink”) requiring different colors and a considered mix of light and shadows, strategically placed lighting treatments and concepts can completely transform a venue’s look and feel. 
 
Finalize Menu  
 
If you haven’t yet attended a tasting with your caterer to decide on the specific menu items being served, schedule one now. You may have already addressed this when you initially booked the caterer, but in any event, aim to have your menu items confirmed at the six-month mark. 
 
Choose & Taste Cake 
 
Caterers usually have a cake baker they work with on a regular basis and include a wedding cake in your package accordingly. If this is the case, schedule a time to meet with the designated baker; there, you will discuss the cake design you have in mind and sample different options. Alternatively, you can work with an independent cake designer to create a completely custom (and completely gorgeous) wedding cake from scratch. You can even bring in a cake (or another dessert) from your favorite neighborhood pastry shop. Just check to see if your reception venue has any restrictions.
 
Order Wedding Invitations 
 
A few months ago, you chose your wedding invitation suite. Place your order now, if you haven’t already, so you have enough time to assemble and mail them.  

 

Five Months To Go

Book Wedding Day Transportation 
 
Put together a wedding day transportation plan for you, your partner, the wedding party, and out-of-town guests (this last one is optional but at a destination wedding, kind of a must). There are several transportation options to choose from, including personal vehicles, hotel shuttle buses, stretch limos, trolleys, taxis, Uber, Lyft, or chartered wedding transportation.  
 
Do you and your love want an epic getaway car for your grand exit? Rent a vintage Rolls Royce, a horse and carriage, or a boat—the possibilities are endless!  
 
Book Honeymoon  
 
Speaking of getaways, if you’re planning a honeymoon shortly after the wedding, now is a good time to book travel and accommodations. If you’re traveling out of the country, make sure your passport is up to date.  
 
Buy/Rent a Suit or Tuxedo
 
Deciding whether to buy or rent formalwear comes down to your budget, style preferences, and alteration needs. You only need a tuxedo if you’re having a black-tie wedding. Otherwise, a nice suit (two- or three-piece) is perfectly fine. Maybe you use the wedding as an opportunity to order a suit that’s made-to-measure or splurge on something made by an upmarket brand or designer. Maybe you hit the sale rack at your local department store. The good news? There are no rules!
 
Finalize Flower Details 
 
Confirm your flower order including specific types of flowers, the number of bouquets, boutonnieres, and centerpieces needed, and delivery arrangements. Pay a deposit if you haven’t already.

 

Four Months To Go

Purchase Wedding Bands 
 
Head to your local jeweler with your partner to pick out wedding bands you’ll both love. A matching set is a traditional choice, but feel free to select any style that suits you. For a personal touch, consider adding an inscription. Don’t forget to insure both wedding bands as well as your engagement ring (if you haven’t already). Get a quote using the button below. 
 

 

Get a Quote

 

Select Wedding Party Attire 
 
Any attendant who is not wearing a bridesmaid dress should see to their wedding day outfit now. You or your partner can give their crew some style guidelines as far as a formality (e.g. black-tie) and color (e.g. navy blazers) and let them select their own formalwear or indicate that you would prefer them to rent a specific style (in this case, consider handling the arrangements for them—classy!). 
 
Schedule Hair & Makeup Trial  
 
Trials with potential makeup pros and hair stylists cost money so make sure the ones you meet with come highly recommended. In the trial, you will discuss your desired hairstyle and makeup ideas (showing visual aids is advised for both) and work with both pros to land on the colors, techniques, and styles you like best. Each should keep a record of the final look and products used (snap a few pictures when you’re done in case you need to reference them on the wedding day). Once you book, make sure you have a plan in place for getting ready on your wedding day – will your glam squad come to you, or will you head to the salon? On the day of the wedding, you should be prepared to give cash tips for hair and makeup services.

 

 

Three Months To Go

Buy Wedding Favors for Guests 
 
Buying wedding favors for your guests isn’t required, but they’re a great way to show guests that you are thankful for their presence. There are plenty of options but something edible is easiest to coordinate (and always a crowd-pleaser). 
 
Buy Wedding Party Gifts 
 
The people in your wedding party have been with you every step of the way. Give your VIPs something special to show your appreciation (may we suggest you go with jewelry?). It’s customary to present these gifts at the rehearsal dinner, but you can do it anytime. 
 
Write Your Vows 
 
If you plan on writing your own vows, start composing them now. If you don’t want to create them from scratch, your officiant might have a template that keeps the flow of the ceremony intact while allowing you to adjust the wording so that it feels more personal, and less generic. 
 
Give Song Playlist to Entertainment  
 
You booked your DJ/band a long time ago, so you’re good to go right? Sort of—now you’ll want to send them a list of must-play songs for your reception. Don’t forget to note specific songs for the wedding’s important moments like the first dance, parent dances, cake cutting, etc.  

 

Two Months To Go

Send Out Wedding Invitations 
 
You’re almost at the finish line! That means it’s definitely time to send out your wedding invitations. Buy stamps (you might need the post office to weigh an invite with all its enclosures in the envelope to determine if it needs extra postage). Print address labels. Then take an afternoon or so to assemble the invites and seal/stamp/address the envelopes. When you’re finished, bring them to the post office to be hand-canceled (so that the post office machine doesn’t tear or crumple your precious paper bundles). 
 
Send Out Rehearsal Dinner Invitation 
 
Send out a separate rehearsal dinner invitation via regular mail or email with the particulars of the event (and note a dress code if you think it will be appreciated).   
 
Apply for a Marriage License 
 
Before you can legally marry, you and your partner must apply (in person) for a marriage license in the city, district, or county in which your wedding will take place. It can take a few days or a few weeks to receive your marriage license (via mail or in person), so research your state’s requirements now and plan accordingly. Most of the time, you will apply for the marriage license at the town clerk’s office. 
 
Be prepared to bring documents such as a driver's license or passport, as well as a birth certificate. Expect to pay a fee as well (usually between $35-$150). And once you have the license in hand? Put it somewhere safe—you’ll need to bring this document with you on your wedding day (more on that later).
 
Prepare Photography Shot List 
 
Your photographer will most likely ask you to prepare a shot list for the wedding day. The shot list outlines special moments, important people, and key details you want captured on the big day. 
 
Coordinate Final Details
 
Here’s a list of items that may have fallen through the cracks. Don’t worry, there’s still time! 
 

  • Guest book 
  • Rehearsal dinner outfit 
  • Ring-bearer accessories 
  • Flower-girl accessories  

 

1 Month To Go

Pay Vendors in Full 
 
In the weeks leading up to your wedding, the last thing you want to deal with is being hounded by vendors who want their money. Check your payment schedule for each vendor and pay the final deposits (if you haven’t already).
 
Organize Gratuity Envelopes for Vendors 
 
It’s customary to tip certain wedding vendors for their services; 15%-20% is standard (a gratuity is occasionally built into the total catering bill, but more often, you will be asked for it separately in the form of cash or a check by your banquet manager).
 
Create Seating Chart 
 
Now that you’ve got your RSVP information in hand, you can start on your seating chart. Each table in the reception space will have a number and you need to plan groupings of guests (who know and like each other or seem likely to get along) at each of the tables in the room. From there, you will need escort cards (or a similar solution) that tell guests where to sit. 
 
Order or Make Escort Cards and/or Place Cards
 
At a larger wedding, escort cards direct guests to their table at the reception; they are usually displayed at the venue entrance. Typically, couples share a card so you might not need as many cards as there are guests. Place cards are separate cards set at each place setting (helpful if you are having a super small wedding where no one knows each other and or if you think it’s a good idea to have assigned seats in general). 

 

Two Weeks to Go

Give Final Guest Headcount to Caterer

This number will allow them to place orders for sufficient quantities. Your contract will spell out this step explicitly. 

 

The Week of Your Wedding

Discuss Marriage License Handoff with Your Officiant

They should know the deal. You need to bring your marriage license with you to the wedding. After the ceremony, you and your partner, along with two witnesses, and the officiant, will sign it. Then, it’s your officiant’s job to eventually return it to the county clerk’s office to have it certified.  

Give Final Wedding Schedule to Vendors

Make sure everyone is on the same page by confirming arrival/delivery times with all vendors.  

Pack Your Bags for the Honeymoon and Confirm Travel Arrangements

Practice Your Vows Out Loud

It can help shake out the nerves. 

Create a Day of the Wedding “Emergency Kit”

Include deodorant, tissues, floss, mints, lipstick/gloss, pain reliever, stain remover, bobby pins/hair ties, etc.

Practice Self-Care

Schedule a manicure/pedicure and/or massage a day within a day or two of the wedding. 

 

The Night Before the Wedding

Eat a Healthy Meal

Eat something that won't upset your stomach.

Drink Water 

Get a Good Night's Sleep 

Organize Everything You Need for the Wedding

Don’t forget the marriage license or tips for vendors in bags or boxes by your front door for easy transport to the wedding location.

Print a List of Vendor Contact Information

Share with a trusted member of the wedding party or another helper who can help wrangle if necessary.

 

The Morning of the Wedding

You made it! Here’s a final to-do-list before you walk down the aisle.

Write Your Partner a Love Note or Text Message

If you got them a surprise gift, have someone in your entourage deliver it. 

Relax

Stay away from anything that causes you stress. 

Eat Breakfast

Drink Lots of Water

Thank Everyone Who’s There to Help You

Be Present and Enjoy Every Moment

Contact Us

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About Jewelers Mutual Group

Jewelers Mutual was founded in 1913 by a group of Wisconsin jewelers to meet their unique insurance needs. Later, consumers began putting their trust in Jewelers Mutual to protect their jewelry and the special memories each piece holds. Today, Jewelers Mutual continues to support and move the industry forward by listening to jewelers and consumers and offering products and services to meet their evolving needs. Beyond insurance, Jewelers Mutual’s powerful suite of innovative solutions and digital technology offerings help jewelers strengthen and grow their businesses, mitigate risk, and bring them closer to their customers. The Group insurers’ strong financial position is reflected in their 37 consecutive “A+ Superior” ratings from AM Best Company, as of November 2023. Policyholders of the Group insurers are members of Jewelers Mutual Holding Company. Jewelers Mutual is headquartered in Neenah, Wisconsin, with other Group offices in Dallas, Texas and Miami, Florida. To learn more, visit JewelersMutual.com.