How early should you make a guest list? When do you book a second line? Use this wedding checklist to make sure you don’t skip major steps before you put on the white dress.


10-12 Months Before

__ Have the “who pays for what” conversation and set your budget. You can’t do anything until you know what you have to work with. Talk with your fiancé, your parents and his parents so everyone understands the plan.

­__ Reserve a date and venue.

­__ Craft a guest list. It seems simple to list off your family and friends, but when you have a limited number of spots, it can be difficult. Be sure to leave a little room for the people who might assume they’re invited after hearing about your engagement.

­__ Choose your wedding party. Make sure your bridesmaids and groomsmen are available for the date you have in mind.  

­__ Hire a planner. Planners make the months leading up to the wedding day much more enjoyable. Make sure you are honest with what you want and don’t want, and what your budget is.

­__ Celebrate your engagement. This is New Orleans, after all.

6-9 Months Before

__ Send out save-the-dates. This is particularly important when inviting out-of-town guests.

­__ Find your dream wedding dress. Admit it, you’ve already been looking at photos of wedding dresses for months now. Dress shopping is also a good time to be thinking about details like hair, shoes and accessories.

­__ Select your vendors. Check in with your wedding planner about scheduling meetings with caterers, photographers, florists, DJs and officiants. Set time aside with the planner to discuss what matters most. Don’t waste a second arranging something because you feel you’re supposed to. If it won’t make your day more special, why bother?

­__ Explore options for your honeymoon.

­__ Spend quality time with your maid of honor. Talk about things like hotel reservations for out-of-town guests and bridesmaid dresses over a glass of wine.

4-5 Months Before

__ Make the final decision on a wedding dress. This leaves ample time for alterations. It also allows enough time for more thoughtful selection of wedding day accessories.

­__ Finalize the date and time with caterers, photographers and DJs.

­__ Book your honeymoon.

­__ Shop with your bridesmaids and wedding party. If all of your bridesmaids live close by, you can go shopping together, allowing those who may not know each other to get acquainted before the big day. If you live far apart, make plans for what you want your bridesmaids to get and who is paying for what.

­__ Spend a day shopping for wedding bands with your fiancé.

­__ Select your wedding invitations. Wedding invitations should reflect something unique about your wedding. Collaborate with someone special about the style, presentation and wording of the invites.

­__ Plan bridal shower and bachelorette party. Write down all gifts you receive immediately. This will come in handy when you have to send thank you cards.

­__ Create registries.

2-3 months before

__ Book your makeup artist and hair stylist.

­__ Purchase or gather wedding accessories like a ring pillow, guestbook or any other odds and ends you need.

­__ Mail invitations.

­__ Plan your rehearsal dinner. Even if you’re not the one paying the bill, you should have an idea of what’s going to happen.  

3-4 weeks before

__ Secure your Second Line. Between 15 and 20 days before the day you plan on parading, obtain a parade permit and police detail. For details and fee information, contact the New Orleans Police Department Special Events Section at 658-6201.

­__ Get marriage license. The Orleans Parish Marriage License Office (1450 Poydras St., Suite 407) issues certificates Monday through Friday between 8:15 a.m. and 3:15 p.m. Marriage licenses cost $27.50.

1-2 weeks before

__ Meet with makeup artist/hairstylist to practice.

­__ Finalize wedding day schedule.

­__ Get all wedding accessories together in one place (shoes, jewelry, etc.).

­__ Finalize headcount for venue/caterer.

­__ Pack for wedding night/honeymoon.

36-72 Hours Before

__ Get a facial. Don’t schedule your facial the day before your wedding. Facials sometimes cause irritation, and you don’t want your face to be red when you walk down the aisle.

Day Before

__ Make sure everyone knows their duties for the big day. Who is responsible for handing out the favors? Who is the contact for your photographer?

­__ Get a manicure and pedicure. Let yourself be pampered.

­__ Enjoy your rehearsal and rehearsal dinner.

Wedding Day

__ Be sure to wear a button down shirt to makeup/hair appointments. Don’t mess up your hair and makeup when you change into your dress.

­__ Drink lots of water before putting on your dress and then take it easy on the fluids. Going to the bathroom in a wedding gown is quite a task.

­__ Eat something. Women who have already gotten married know it’s difficult to eat on your wedding day because you are so busy. Make sure you take some time for dinner.

­__ Relax. It’s your wedding day! While weddings can be stressful, make sure you enjoy your first day of being married.