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Outdoor weddings are all the rage. They are relaxed, romantic affairs, but need rigorous planning. If you’re organized, the day will run smoothly, as planned, without a hitch. Apart from the bride being fashionably late, of course!

Even though some television programs may try to kid you into thinking that a wedding can be planned and executed in three weeks (and by the bridegroom and his best man!), the sensible couple will start planning a year in advance.

In this post, you’ll find a bulleted event planning checklist which will make sure you cover all your bases when planning your wedding. Let’s start a year or more ahead of the big day:

12 months and more before the wedding

You’ve chosen a date and decided your budget. What’s next?

  • Choose your wedding party
  • Create a wedding social media page for family and friends
  • Create wedding-style boards
  • Choose the wedding dress

10 to 12 months to go

You’ve made a great start, but don’t let up. There is still plenty to do:

  • Have the groom and groomsman decide on their attire – parents, too
  • Don’t forget the rest of the wedding party – time to go shopping with the bridesmaids
  • Choose the best tent for your wedding reception and reserve it
  • Book the officiant
  • Don’t forget to hire the photographer, videographer, caterers, florist, and band
  • Make a list of guests, and let everyone know to save the date

6 to 9 months to go

  • Book hotels for all your out-of-town guests
  • Prepare your wedding gift list
  • Start to plan your honeymoon
  • Choose wedding invitation designs, and order
  • Meet with the officiant to discuss the ceremony
  • Choose and order the cake
  • Book transport for the day
  • Buy the wedding bands

4 to 5 months to go

  • Choose flowers for: wedding party, attendants, venues, cake, etc.
  • Schedule dress fittings
  • Book honeymoon
  • Book room for wedding night
  • Prepare {play/do not play} lists for DJ/band.
  • Finalize wedding guest list
  • Assemble rehearsal dinner guest list
  • Book rehearsal dinner venue

3 months to go

Now you’re getting there!

  • Plan ceremony and reception seating
  • Experiment with hair and veil with stylist
  • Finalize readers and readings
  • Purchase: toasting flutes, serving pieces, guestbook, flower basket and ring bearer pillow
  • Finalize reception menu
  • Order menu cards
  • Order wedding favors

2 months to go

  • Mail wedding invitations
  • Develop system for organizing RSVPs
  • Begin writing vows
  • Review ceremony details with officiant
  • Lay out the content for wedding programs
  • Apply for marriage license
  • Finalize seating arrangements
  • Finalize playlists with musicians
  • Finalize fittings for wedding party and parents
  • Create wedding day timeline and send to your vendors, officiant and wedding party
  • Decide “Something Old, New, Borrowed, Blue”
  • Book spa and beauty treatments for you and your bridal party
  • Book wedding day transportation
  • Purchase gifts for attendants

1 month to go

  • Call vendors to confirm date, times and location
  • Confirm honeymoon reservations
  • Pack for honeymoon
  • Pick up wedding rings
  • Pick up marriage license
  • Final dress fitting (with shoes and undergarments)
  • Write Thank You notes as gifts are received

2 weeks to go

  • Follow up with guests who have not RSVP’d
  • Give final count to caterer
  • Update registries
  • Get final haircut and color
  • Delegate wedding day duties: gift table, guestbook, etc.
  • Send directions to wedding day limo/transportation driver

1 week to go

  • Prepare final payments to vendors + cash tips for service personnel
  • Give readers their scripts
  • Give photographer and videographer your image and video requests
  • Lay out wedding clothes
  • Prepare wedding day emergency kit
  • Get spa treatments for you and the bridal party

The day before

  • Deliver welcome basket
  • Get mani/pedi/massage
  • Attend wedding rehearsal
  • Have fun at the rehearsal dinner
  • Get to bed at a decent hour!

Tips on wedding tent hire

You’ll see on this event planning checklist that we suggest ten or twelve months before your wedding you should hire the tent. This should be enough time to ensure you’re not disappointed (the longer before your wedding that you reserve the tent, the better).

Here’s a few tips to make sure your wedding tent helps to create an unforgettable, magical day:

  • Don’t forget the finer details when hiring your wedding tent – think ceiling, walls, and floors: lights, draping and décor, and dancing.
  • Make the space cozy and relaxing – create a welcoming and romantic atmosphere in which people can relax and enjoy the day with you. Make sure you consider the time of year, and probable weather: you may need to provide air conditioning or heating.
  • Don’t forget the necessities – do you need toilets to be provided?

Finally, enjoy your big day. After all the hard work of the last 12 months and longer, we’ve a feeling you’re going to need that honeymoon!

Whatever your event, contact Main Attractions today. We’ll help you to select the best tent, pipe and drape, lighting and accessories to ensure your big day goes without a hitch.

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