Trying to plan for your dream wedding? All the details can be overbearing and stressful, so here's an LDS wedding checklist to start off. Get help for planning your wedding no matter what stage you're at. Follow these links for various tips for different moments leading up to your wedding, or scroll through the pages for the different phases of wedding planning.
LDS Wedding Checklist: 3-4 Months Ahead
The Party Planning Stage
Set a date- Finding a date can be a daunting task. Trying to please everyone from your mother to your best friend from junior high? Just follow President Uchtdorf’s advice: Stop it. Choose a date that works for you, your fiancé, the temple, and the circumstances of your marriage. Have to schedule around school? Work? Take into consideration all of your own restrictions first and then look into arranging a date that fits most of your family and friends’ schedules.
Choose a temple and schedule a sealing appointment- Choosing a temple can be one of the most important decisions you and your future spouse will make. Do you have a temple that has a special meaning for both of you? Are you from different cities with different temples? Do you live in a country that requires serious travel and sacrifice to get to the temple? Always remember that any sacrifice or change that must be made to get to the temple will always be worth it. Save for it. Change for it. Plan for it. You will never regret the decision to be sealed in the temple.
Determine a budget and how expenses will be shared- Tradition may seemingly dictate who pays for what, but don’t let worldly expectations make you go bankrupt or into debt. Have the future in-law families talk over expenses together if they are planning on pitching in. Whether you or your family will be paying for the event, you should still set a budget.
Top Tip: Create a Google Doc to organize the checklist and payment of every aspect of the wedding and share it with those involved. This is especially helpful if you don’t have a wedding coordinator.
Top Tip: Prioritize your budget. What do you value the most at your wedding? The photos? The dress? The venue? The food? Be willing to splurge on your top priority and economize on the other aspects of the day.
Select and reserve a place for reception or dinner- Whether you’d like to have a small intimate dinner or a big party, you’re going to need a place to hold it. There are lots of options: a wedding venue, a restaurant, a home, etc. If you need to decorate it yourself, start looking into how you want it to appear on your big day. If you need to reserve a venue, do it sooner rather than later.
Book reception entertainment (if any)- Do you want a DJ? A live band? A string quartet? Choose the theme or tone that you want the wedding to have and then find something that fits that tone. If you’ve got friends who are willing to do it for free, then that’s even better!
Top Tip: Simply choose your own songs and playlist and have a friend man the music for you. With the miracle of technology, it’s not too hard to set up your own music with songs you love.
Begin compiling guest lists- Categorize your guest list by event. You’ll need one guest list for your temple sealing, and one for every other event you’d like to have for your wedding. Call the temple you are being sealed in and ask how many chairs are in the sealing room. Discuss who you’d like to have at your sealing, and don’t forget to be considerate and willing to compromise when it comes to tricky decisions. Be sure to know how many people you can afford and how many people the venue can handle when making your guest lists.
Arrange for a photographer- Decide how much of the budget you want to spend on a photographer and then find a quality photographer within that price range. Sit down with your photographer and discuss the kinds of shots you would like at various venues and times during the upcoming weeks. Brainstorm locations for engagement photos. Be sure that you feel comfortable with your photographer, because this person will be in your face—literally—for the next few months and on the most important day of your life.
Create a photography timeline- People get shuffled and things always get a little hectic after the wedding ceremony while you’re trying to take photos. Decide on an agenda of what photos you want with whom and whether you want them at the temple or at the wedding event. Make a schedule and give it to your photographer. Then print it out and delegate a friend or family member to organize people into groups so that the photos can happen as swiftly and efficiently as possible.
Take engagement photos- After you’ve picked a photographer, plan what you’ll wear for your engagement photos. Pick something that matches your location and that also follows the modesty guidelines in For the Strength of Youth. And just relax in front of the camera. Have fun with your significant other and forget a camera is nearby.
Select wedding gown- Girls dream of the day that they can go wedding dress shopping, but finding a modest one nowadays can be a real challenge. Each bride needs to decide whether she wants to wear her wedding gown or temple dress for the sealing—and if the wedding dress she’s chosen will be appropriate for the ceremony. Just call the temple and ask! They will tell you about the standards and the options they have to make your dress fit the correct standards. If you need to make alterations on your wedding dress, be sure to tell them well in advance, since alterations can take a couple months.
Top Tip: You can wear a very traditional, simple white temple dress as your wedding dress for your temple sealing. Once you have one of these dresses, you can wear it again and again in the temple and always remember that you’re wearing the dress you were sealed in.
Select a caterer, menu, and cake- Find a good caterer for your reception/dinner venue (if the venue doesn’t come with one) and pick what kind of food you’ll have at your event. Remember that the possibilities are endless. Make sure your menu matches the tone of the event. Get creative with flavors and impress your guests with something different! Talk about your cake with your caterer and ask them what they can create that will match the tone of your wedding.
Arrange for a florist- Once you know the tone of your wedding, a color scheme should be decided upon. Talk about that scheme with your florist and find out what options are available in regards to blossoms.
Top Tip: Remember that your florist is restricted to the seasons. If you want a specific bloom that only comes two weeks every year, plan your wedding for that time frame. Otherwise, remember that, though your florist may be talented, they cannot turn back time or speed up the seasons to get you the flowers you want. Be flexible and understanding. Mother Nature answers to no one—not even on your wedding day.
Order invitations and thank you cards- Choose wedding invitations that match the theme and colors of your wedding. If you know where you’d like to register, don’t forget to print the store names on your invitation or on an insert so your guests can find you a gift you actually want.
Top Tip: If you have friends who are talented in design, ask them to design your invitations for you. Remember that you can design them yourself and then you can print them at a less expensive printer. Costco can even print wedding invitations if you go to them with your own design!