Checklist: Getting Hitched in a Hurry

Use this six-weeks-till-the-wedding master checklist if you have an extremely limited amount of time to get your wedding organized. Don't let the time frame scare you. If you have more time to spend on planning and preparation, you may be able to use the Wedding Calendar and if you have even less than the six weeks that this list assumes, just follow the order given but modify your weekly schedule. You can get it done!

Six Weeks

  • Set budget
  • Draw up guest list
  • Choose two possible dates
  • Start scouting wedding sites and locations
  • Call vendors and set up appointments to meet with them
  • Shop for a dress -- and buy, rent or borrow one ASAP
  • Spread the word (let guests know your wedding date so that they can save the date and start to make travel plans)

Five Weeks

  • Nail down a site for both ceremony and reception Book all your wedding professionals
  • Caterer
  • Band
  • Photographer
  • Videographer
  • Officiant
  • Order invitations that can be done in one week (you may need to pay a "rush" fee)
  • Order rings
  • Arrange accommodations (reserve blocks of rooms, call friends with guest rooms, and so on) for out-of-town guests
  • Book honeymoon (with such limited time, you may want to just book a long weekend somewhere nearby, then plan a more leisurely vacation at a later date)

Four Weeks

  • Register for gifts
  • Address and mail invitations
  • Choose bridesmaids' dresses (right off-the-rack attire is best; check department stores or just pick a color and let them wear what they want)
  • Have your fiance and his groomsmen buy or reserve their tuxedos or suits
  • Meet with your officiant to plan the ceremony
  • Reserve wedding-day transportation
  • Research marriage license requirements at your County Clerk or City Hall's office (how long it takes to get, when it expires, if you need a blood test, etc.)

Three Weeks

  • Buy your accessories: headpiece, shoes, jewelry and so on
  • Get your hair trimmed or cut, if necessary
  • Book a hair stylist and makeup artist for your wedding day, if desired

Two Weeks

  • Meet with your caterer or reception site banquet manager to taste the food and plan your menu
  • Choose a first dance song
  • Give the band leader or DJ your "dos and don'ts" list of musical requests

One Week

Three Days

  • Pick up dress, rings and marriage license
  • Find something old, borrowed and blue (forget the sixpence)
  • Call to confirm vendors (a good task to delegate to someone else)
  • Check your accessories: Do you have everything you need?

One Day

  • Get manicure
  • Set out everything you need for the next day
  • Forget about anything that didn't get done
  • Go enjoy your rehearsal dinner
  • Try to get a good night's sleep

Wedding Day

  • Exercise, get a massage, meditate, pray or do something equally energizing yet relaxing
  • Eat a carbohydrate-plus-protein meal - but don't overdo the caffeine
  • Put in contact lenses before getting makeup done (wait until after your hair appointment if possible though - all that hairspray may aggravate your eyes)
  • Show up on time for hair and makeup appointments
  • Get dressed (remember to use the bathroom first)
  • Switch engagement ring to your right hand
  • Share a private moment with your fiancé
  • Give your parents hugs before everything gets too crazy
  • Spend a moment alone to calm down before the ceremony
  • Take a look at yourself in the mirror - and smile
  • Have fun!

Adapted from The Unofficial Guide to Planning Your Wedding by Eileen Livers

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