Rhode Island Wedding Guide

Wedding Planning

Wedding Time Line

RI wedding timeline
Photo by OGGI Photo

We've compiled a list of the many wedding tasks you'll need to do before your wedding day.

To help you stay on top of things, we've organized the tasks into the months prior to your wedding. This way you can easily see what you should be concerned with a year or even the week before your wedding.

We've also created a list to help you save time in performing these tasks.

Tips on Saving Time

Planning a wedding can be very time consuming. Nowadays, couples just don't have the time because of their busy schedules. Here are a few suggestions on ways to save precious time:

  • After setting your wedding date, get a few magazines and books for some ideas. Get ideas on wedding dresses, bridesmaids' dresses, etc. So that when you start looking, you'll have an idea of what you're looking for.
  • Get organized by filing all your wedding materials in a box, file or binder.
  • Set deadlines for yourself. For example: tell yourself that you will find a florist within a certain time limit. Be sure to stick with it! When you are interviewing vendors, be sure to bring your checkbook in order to leave a deposit. (Be sure to sign a contract!)
  • Split the wedding planning up with your fiance. Have him choose the DJ or band while you choose the florist or photographer, etc. (Of course, this will take a lot of trust in judgment!)
  • Don't go crazy interviewing every florist, photographer, etc. For example, if you interview every florist within your area, it will take up a great deal of your time. Choose just a few florists that you feel are reliable and reasonable. Then select from that short list.
  • Ask friends and relatives for any help. Most people are willing and eager to help you out in any way they can. For example, if you're thinking about making your own centerpieces, get a group of your crafty friends together. Not only will you have fun making them, but you'll also get it done a lot sooner then if you made them by yourself.
  • Once you've chosen a vendor, do not continue to research. Sometimes you tend to second-guess yourself. This is not a time to do that. Be positive with your choice!
  • If it's within your budget, hire a wedding consultant to help you with all the details. Remember, a good wedding consultant will often save you money.

Twelve Months Before

  • Decide what type of wedding you would like to have (theme, size, setting, formality).
  • Create a budget.
  • Choose a wedding date and time. (Make your final decision after making sure the officiant and reception site are available for the date you chose).
  • Book your reception site.
  • Book the ceremony site and officiant.
  • Begin a guest list.
  • Create a task list.
  • Start interviewing possible photographers, caterers, musicians, videographers.
  • Choose your attendants.
  • Start your wedding dress shopping.
  • Start a health plan, if you want to get in shape for your wedding.

Nine to Eleven Months Before

  • Contact your local newspaper to announce your engagement.
  • Finalize your wedding gown decision. Order and set date for delivery.
  • Decide on color scheme for wedding.
  • Select and order bridesmaids' dresses and accessories.
  • Select your RI caterer and start working on the menu selections.
  • Book your photographer and videographer (be sure to get contracts!)
  • Book your DJ or band for reception (be sure to get contracts!)
  • Book the vocalist, pianist, and/or musicians for the ceremony.
  • Get ideas for your wedding invitations.
  • Start planning your honeymoon.
  • Let out-of-town guests know about the date you chose so they can start making plans.
  • Interview wedding florists and get some ideas on what you would like for your ceremony and reception.

Six to Eight Months Before

  • Order your wedding invitations and thank you notes.
  • Book florist and choose the color scheme for your wedding.
  • Reserve any wedding day rental equipment (chairs, tables, china, etc. - unless reception site is taking care of this).
  • Choose ceremony music.
  • Reserve hotel rooms for out-of-town guests.
  • Register for your wedding gifts.
  • Start shopping for the men's wedding attire.
  • Check with officiant to see if there are any marriage counseling requirements.
  • Select and book a baker for your wedding cake.

Three to Four Months Before

  • Finalize your guest list.
  • Order or make the wedding favors.
  • Finalize your order with the florist (make sure you have a contract).
  • Start addressing your invitations.
  • Take your Mom and Mother-in-Law shopping for their wedding attire.
  • Finalize the menu with the caterer.
  • Schedule fittings for the bride and the bridesmaids.
  • Purchase your wedding rings.
  • Choose the decorations you will be using at the ceremony and reception sites.
  • If you're traveling abroad, get passports and visas.
  • Choose the wedding attire for the groom and his groomsmen.
  • Ask family members or friends if they would like to do a special reading at the ceremony.
  • Arrange and plan your rehearsal dinner.

Two Months Before

  • Mail your wedding invitations.
  • Prepare information regarding the hotel and special places to visit for your out-of-town guests.
  • Make or order your wedding programs.
  • Book wedding transportation for you and the wedding party.
  • Practice your wedding vows.
  • Finalize your honeymoon plans.
  • Have your hair and makeup done done as a practice run before the wedding.

Six Weeks Before

  • Purchase wedding party gifts.
  • Purchase your going-away outfit.
  • Purchase all your wedding accessories (such as shoes, pantyhose, lingerie, any hair accessories, pillow, garter, etc)
  • Have your bridesmaids purchase their shoes.

Three to Four Weeks Before

  • Apply for marriage license at your local town hall.
  • Get your hair trimmed.
  • Meet with your officiant to make final arrangements.
  • Send out the invitations for the rehearsal dinner.
  • Prepare the seating arrangements.
  • Prepare a list of songs you want played at your wedding.
  • Make sure you finalize your readings and wedding vows.
  • Confirm your honeymoon reservations.
  • Start writing thank-you notes for your bridal shower.

One to Two Weeks Before

  • Make sure your marriage license is in order.
  • Purchase travel checks for your honeymoon.
  • Finalize the seating arrangements.
  • Pick up your wedding rings.
  • Contact the guests who did not R.S.V.P. to get final head-count.
  • Groom should get his haircut.
  • Pack your bag for the honeymoon.
  • Let your wedding party know what you would like them to do on the day of your wedding.
  • Make place cards.
  • Confirm location, date and time with the photographer, videographer, baker, florist and transportation.
  • Give the caterer the final head-count.
  • Pick up your gown and veil.
  • Groom should pick up his tux and make sure it fits properly (if possible, based on tuxedo rental shop).

One Day Before

  • Write final checks for your vendors. Put in an envelope and designate a reliable person to distribute them on your wedding day.
  • Figure out whom to tip and how much to tip. Put tips in envelopes and designate a reliable person to distribute. Who needs to be tipped?
  • Make sure you have all your wedding attire together (including accessories and makeup).
  • Give directions to your parents and to all the vendors.
  • Relax and get your nails done.
  • Rehearse for the ceremony.
  • Go to the rehearsal dinner.

Your Wedding Day

  • Most importantly - relax and enjoy!
  • Allow plenty of time to get dressed, apply your makeup and do your hair.
  • Don't forget the rings and the marriage license.

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