Everything You Have to Do Before Tying the Knot

Jane Rae Events | Near Sioux Falls, South Dakota | Luke + Savannah Photography-48.jpg

So you’ve got the ring on your finger, you tell everyone you love, and then it hits you:  There’s a wedding to plan!  So what next?  Before you get overwhelmed with everything you have to do, relax and take a deep breath.  Be happy!  You’re getting married!  Okay, moment over.  Time to get organized.  And this will help you do just that!  Here it is…the ultimate guide to everything you have to do before you tie the knot.


12+ Months Before Wedding…

  • Choose a date…or 3 or 4. Once you have a date, you can get to work on booking everything you need & find the venue that’s available when you are!

  • Talk budget. Figure out who is paying for what so you can pick the right vendors for your budget!

  • Pick your wedding party! Ask the people you’ve been envisioning spending your big day with since you were a kid! Maid of honor, bridesmaids, best man, groomsmen, flower girl, and ring bearer.

  • Then you can assemble your wedding planning “dream team!” Whether it’s hiring a wedding planner or getting the people you love involved, you need some support staff to keep the ball rolling!

  • Now it’s time to put together a guest list! Pick a number of guests and start brainstorming who to include in that list!

  • Explore reception & ceremony sites that are just your style. Check availability for your possible dates.

  • Decide if you want to have an engagement party.

  • Explore vendors in the area that catch your eye!

  • Look at dresses…get an idea of the styles you love.

  • Pinterest will be a life saver! It will help you find great ideas, but make sure and check out what’s available locally. Most cities have Bridal Events that just might put you in contact with the vendors you need!

  • Look at some Save the Date designs so that as soon as you find the right venue that works for your timetable, you can spread the word!

  • And last, but certainly not least, get your engagement photos taken! This will be something refreshingly fun to do with your boo…at least if you choose the right photographer it will ;) So contact that photographer you’ve been eyeing on Insta, choose the right package for your budget, and enjoy yourself! I know that if you choose Luke + Savannah Photography you will anyways! It will feel just like a double date.


Ashtin+Carter| Near Watertown, South Dakota | Wedding Photography_-36.jpg

8-10 Months Before Wedding…

  • Time to order that gown you’ve fallen in love with! Pick out your accessories & bridal party attire!

  • It’s also time to send out those Save the Dates after booking your venue!

  • Think food, entertainment, flowers, DJs, etc.

  • Look into rentals (chairs, tables, decorations, etc.)

  • Establish a fitness & skin care routine! Start early so you don’t have to worry if you fall off the wagon a few times.

  • Find a few hotels at different price points for out-of-town guests.

  • Register for your gifts!

  • Start daydreaming about your honeymoon!

Jane Rae Events | Near Sioux Falls, South Dakota | Luke + Savannah Photography-11.jpg


6-8 Months Before Wedding…

  • Book everything you’ve been eyeing but haven’t gotten done yet- musicians, DJ, photographer (if different than engagement photographer), videographer, etc! Remember when you are looking for a photographer, a reputation goes a long way. Pick someone who has the right style for your wedding & has the portfolio to back it up.

  • Make sure all the bridesmaid dresses & groomsmen suits are ordered!

  • Makeup makeup makeup! I know you brides have been pinning wedding day hair and makeup since you were 12, so now comes the fun part. Try out different styles until you’re sure of what you love.

  • Discuss your ceremony plans with your officiant.

  • Any leftover rentals need to be booked- chairs, lighting, linens, you name it.

  • Book any transportation you’ll need to and from venues.

  • Start a wedding-day timeline!

  • Look into wedding invitations. Order a few samples.

  • Cake tasting :)

  • Order Thank You’s! Gifts stack up fast. Might as well get ahead of things.

Chris+Maria|Wedding Photography| Near Queens, NY_-192.jpg


4-6 Months Before Wedding…

  • Choose flowers for the wedding party, attendants, venues, the cake (if you’re into that sort of thing).

  • Schedule dress fittings. You’ve been sticking to that workout & beauty routine, right? If not, it’s okay. Don’t stress. You’ve got time! And you’ve got this.

  • Order cake.

  • Finalize guest list and send out invitations.

  • Keep your RSVPs ORGANIZED! I cannot stress this enough.

  • Plan the rehearsal dinner, book dinner venue & make a guest list.

  • Make lists of songs you want & don’t want your DJ or band playing at the reception!

  • Order wedding favors.

  • Book your hotel for the wedding night & make reservations for your honeymoon!

Ashtin+Carter| Near Watertown, South Dakota | Wedding Photography_-421.jpg


2-4 Months Before Wedding…

  • Buy wedding bands!

  • Figure out what you’re wearing to the rehearsal dinner.

  • Finalize honeymoon plans, renew/apply for passports if you need to.

  • If your bridal party attire is in, try out the sizing! You do not want a wedding day disaster because the bridal party hasn’t tried anything on. (Trust me on this one.)

  • Write your vows. Now that the wedding is fast approaching and your stress levels might be skyrocketing, it’s a good time to think about the real reason you’re getting married in the first place.

  • Buy any gifts you’re planning on giving your parents, attendants, and each other!

  • Book makeup and hair trial runs!

Valerie+Todd Alexandria, S.D. | Engagement Photography | Luke+Savannah Photography-64.jpg


1 Month Before Wedding…

  • Purchase champagne flutes, guestbook, flower basket, all those last minute things!

  • Review the ceremony details with the officiant! Never hurts to double check.

  • Apply for your marriage license.

  • Finalize seating arrangements.

  • Finalize playlists!

  • Finalize wedding day timeline. Send it out to vendors, officiant, wedding party.

  • Final gown fitting!! Don’t forget to bring your MOH to learn how to bustle your dress.

Jane Rae Events | Near Sioux Falls, South Dakota | Luke + Savannah Photography-94.jpg


2 Weeks Before Wedding…

  • Review your final RSVP list & call any guests who haven’t sent out a response.

  • Give final count to the caterer.

  • Talk must-have shots with your photographer and videographer- including who will be included in formal portraits & determine a timeline for photos!

  • Break in your wedding shoes!

  • Delegate wedding day duties- gift table watchman, guestbook manager, etc.

  • Send directions to wedding day transportation drivers.

  • Make arrangements for who will care for wedding gown, returning tux rentals, pet-sitting during honeymoon.

  • Bride: Get final haircut & color before wedding day!


1 Week Before Wedding…

  • Print place cards for reception.

  • Call all your vendors to confirm arrangements.

  • Give ceremony & reception site managers a schedule of vendor deliveries with contact numbers.

  • Bachelor/ette party time!

  • Groom: Get your hair trimmed.

  • Prepare a wedding day emergency kit! It will help you feel more prepared even if nothing goes wrong…which it probably will…

  • Get spa treatments with the bridal party.


2 Days Before Wedding…

  • Bride: Get gown pressed or steamed if needed.

  • Groom: Final fitting, pick up formalwear, make sure groomsmen attend fittings & pick up their formalwear.

  • Leave place cards, menus, favors, etc. with reception site manager.

Jane Rae Events | Near Sioux Falls, South Dakota | Luke + Savannah Photography-3.jpg


The Day Before Wedding…

  • Attend wedding rehearsal…and have fun!

  • Plan how any final balances will be paid at the end of the reception.

  • Give your marriage license to your officiant.

  • Get to bed at a reasonable hour!


Chris+Maria|Wedding Photography| Near Queens, NY_-487.jpg

The Big Day!

  • Eat a good breakfast!

  • Give yourself plenty of time to get ready & try to stick to your schedule!

  • Give wedding bands to best man & maid of honor.

  • Relax, smile, and enjoy every moment!

Madison TothComment