Weddings take work.

And planning. Lots of planning.

As a general rule, the simpler the wedding the less advance time required for planning.

But, when it comes to ordering dresses and making reservations for churches and reception halls, the best advice is the earlier the better.

Here is a wedding planner many couples use as a general guideline:

12 to 24 months ahead:

  • Set your budget and decide the kind of wedding (formal, informal) you want.
  • Consider hiring a wedding consultant, who can help plan and budget the entire wedding or just certain aspects of it.

    Decide where the ceremony will be held.

    Visit your officiant with your fiancé. Select a service and set the date.

    Begin planning your reception, including selecting a site and caterer.

    Choose your attendants.

    Draw up invitation lists.

    Enroll with a bridal gift registry.

    Select your dress, veil and accessories.

    Select dresses and accessories for attendants.

    Choose the photographer and florist.

    Select the music and book musicians for your wedding and reception.

Four to six months ahead:

  • Select groom’s and groomsmen’s attire.
  • Choose attire for child attendants, such as flower girls and ring bearers.

    Order invitations and personal stationery.

    Plan your honeymoon. If you are going abroad, make sure you both have valid passports. Ask about any required visas and/or necessary immunization shots.

    Schedule dance lessons so you’ll be ready for that all-important first trip around the dance floor.

    Shop for your trousseau.

    Have the mothers choose their dresses.

    Shop for home furnishings.

    Publish your announcement in The Advocate. Visit and click on Celebrations for more information.

Two to four months ahead:

  • Address wedding invitations.
  • Choose gifts for attendants.

    Buy wedding rings; order engraving.

    Make a date to get the license.

    Arrange rehearsal dinner.

One to two months ahead:

Buy wedding gifts for each other.

Make appointment with hairstylist.

Have final fittings on wedding dress and bridesmaids’ dresses.

Plan accommodations for out-of-town guests.

Plan how to handle traffic and parking.

Mail invitations.

Have a formal wedding portrait taken.

Plan bridesmaids luncheon.

Record each gift as received, and write a thank-you note promptly.

Pick up wedding rings.

Arrange transportation for bridal party.

One week ahead:

  • Have final consultation with caterer, florist and photographer.
  • Hold bridesmaids luncheon.
  • Confirm rehearsal plans with clergy and attendants.
  • Arrange to have your annoucement published in The Advocate after your wedding. Visit and click on Celebrations for more information.