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!
LDS Wedding Checklist: 2 Months Ahead
The Real Life Planning Stage
Meet with the bishop- As you prepare for your sealing, you will need to meet with your bishop periodically to receive counsel and make sure you are both staying worthy of a temple marriage. Let your bishop know early on about your upcoming sealing. Ask him when he would like to meet with you and your fiancé. Bishops have different timelines that they may want engaged couples to follow when meeting with them.
Select groom's ring and order engraving- Take into consideration what the groom’s personal taste is. His ring to him is just as big a deal as the bride’s ring is to her. What sort of metal (or even wood!) would work best for his day-to-day activities? Discuss whether he’d like to pick it out himself or have it come as a surprise.
Plan honeymoon and make arrangements- Book your flights and hotels for your honeymoon. Remember that traveling a long distance the night of your wedding won’t be ideal. Find a lovely place to stay after you’ve been sealed that day, and then travel to your honeymoon destination the next day. If you need to get passports to travel internationally, get those started now!
Make doctor's appointments for complete physicals- Both the bride and the groom should have a physical just to make sure they're healthy.
Make the bride an appointment for a premarital examination- This is a very important visit to learn about contraception options and to make sure that the bride is healthy. It also is a time to check for cancerous signs or other diseases. It’s a great time to ask any questions so that you can lay aside your concerns. If you have questions about anything, your OBGYN is the person to ask.
Find a place to live- Find an apartment or house that works for your current life circumstances. Look for something that is within your budget so that you can start saving while you don’t have children to care for yet. Start looking for furniture or appliances if you don’t already have them.
Register for gifts- Go to local stores in the same general vicinity as your wedding event and register for things you need—not just want.
Top Tip: Remember that you can register for everything from small items such as soap and toilet paper to large items like cookware and coffee tables. This is also a great time to talk about what you want your home to have and how you and your sweetheart want to decorate it.
Ask people to help at the reception- If you don’t have a wedding coordinator, then don’t be afraid to ask close friends to pitch in. Do you need someone to man the gift table? The wedding video? The music?
Top Tip: If you ask friends and family to help out with something, be sure to ask at least two people to handle one aspect of the reception or dinner, so that they can take turns enjoying the event while still helping out.
Address invitations and announcements- Print out addresses on sticky labels to save you hours of handwriting addresses!
Top Tip: When collecting addresses, send out an email or a Facebook invite that has a link to a Google form attached to it. People can type in their own addresses and Google will sort them into a convenient document for you! It will save you a lot of time and stress!
Have bridals & groomals taken- In past tradition only the bride has had her portrait taken in a destination location. But nowadays, it’s quite common for the bride and groom to get all dolled up in their wedding attire and take photos in picturesque settings. Trust us, time for photography is always rushed on the day of a wedding. Take this opportunity to have a sweet moment with your future spouse in their beautiful wedding attire!
LDS Wedding Checklist: 1 Month Ahead
Party Prepping Stage
Receive your living ordinance temple recommends- Meet with your bishop and your stake president to start the process of receiving your living ordinance temple recommends. If you are each already endowed, you will still need a living ordinance recommend for the sealing. However, if you are not already endowed, you will need a living recommend for both your endowment and your sealing.
Choose an escort if you not endowed yet- If you are not endowed yet, you may want to start thinking about who you would like to ask to be your escort. This escort is usually a close friend, parent, or other family member who will help you during your first experience at the temple. Keep in mind that you should have only one escort and that your soon-to-be-spouse cannot be this escort.
Arrange for time off work or school- If you’re in school or working full-time, it’s good to tell your teachers, coworkers, and bosses how long you’ll be away for your wedding and honeymoon.
Make the bride an appointment with a hairstylist- It’s time to start practicing how you want your hair styled for your wedding. If someone else is doing it, talk openly about how you would like to look on your wedding day—and don’t forget to practice with your veil and/or hair accessories!
Mail invitations- Mail your invitations now so that your guests can have enough time to plan their schedules around your wedding event. If you and your soon-to-be spouse have to spend an entire evening stuffing and stamping envelopes, turn it into a fun date night!
Buy gifts for bridesmaids and groomsmen- If you’ve chosen bridesmaids and groomsmen, show your gratitude for their help in this process by giving them a little keepsake or gift. For the ladies, jewelry, lotions, or spa gift cards are all great ideas. For the gents, bow ties, cuff links, or tickets to watch their favorite sports team are perfect gifts.
Get a marriage license (no sooner than 30 days in advance)- Go to your local county office and apply for a marriage license. There’s a significant waiting period, so don’t procrastinate this step! You’ll need to pay a fee and provide some basic paperwork, so be sure to have your birth certificate, social security card, or driver’s license, depending on what your state or country requires.
LDS Wedding Checklist: 2 Weeks Before
Double check everything- Double check reservations with florist, caterer, photographer, videographer, entertainment, and honeymoon accommodations. Have a back-up plan for your outdoor reception in case it rains. Is it possible for you to head over the closest church cultural hall with all your decorations and party? Make contingency plans in case something goes awry.
Plan for family members who aren't LDS- If you and your fiancé have family that are not able to attend your temple sealing, make sure you have a way to include them. Include them in special photos, give them specific thank you notes, or give them a special task at the wedding event. Honor your family even if they can’t be with you in the temple.
LDS Wedding Checklist: 1 Week Before
Receive your endowment if you haven’t already- Prepare well for this experience by attending temple preparation classes and talking about the importance of the covenants you will be making. Provided you already have your living ordinance recommend from your bishop and stake president, you can call the temple and schedule an own-endowment appointment. You may invite family members and friends to attend the session with you, though only one of them will be your escort through the entire experience.
Change your address with the post office- Get a change of address form from the post office and fill it out so that your mail comes to your new home, not your old one.
Pack for the honeymoon- Find out what the weather and the agenda is for your honeymoon so that you can pack accordingly. Don’t forget about different airline regulations on weight and liquids. If you’re going somewhere sunny, don’t forget the sunscreen and at least two swimsuits. If you’re going somewhere more rugged, don’t forget the bug spray and a good jacket.
Get a manicure and pedicure- If you want to give yourself a little relaxation and pampering amidst the insane wedding chaos, take your bridesmaids for a little girl time. Getting a mani-pedi is a great way to prep for the wedding while relaxing at the same time!
Arrange for utilities, etc. for your new home- If you’re moving into a new house or apartment, call the utilities providers to set up your gas, electricity, internet, and water. Nothing’s worse than coming back from a great honeymoon to a cold apartment with a toilet that doesn’t flush.
Get the groom a haircut- This is about the right time for the groom to have a haircut so that his hair looks sharp, but not too short. The cut shouldn’t be something extraordinarily different than he usually has; you still want your beau to look like the dashing man you fell in love with.
Provide the caterer and venue with final guest count- If you have asked people to RSVP to your wedding, give the final head count to your caterer and your venue. If you haven’t asked for formal RSVPs, then give them your best guess as far as you know from how many people have told you they’re planning on coming.
Ask someone to take mental notes during your sealing- Before going into the temple sealing, ask a few people to take mental notes of what the sealer talks about and impressions they had while there. Trust us, it will go by in a blur and you may not have the ability to remember all that he said verbatim. (We would suggest close friends, cousins, aunts, and uncles. Parents and siblings may be too caught up in the moment to really remember much). Then have them write down or email what stood out to them so that you can have a reminder of what was said.
LDS Wedding Checklist: Night Before
Set everything out- Lay out all your needed items for your big day so that in the morning you’re not rushed—and so you don’t forget anything. Double check for temple recommends, your temple dress, getaway outfit, shoes, honeymoon suitcase, etc.
Top Tip: Put the marriage license, wedding rings, and temple recommends all together so you know exactly where they are in the morning.
Top Tip: For your honeymoon, put all the suitcases, passports, and any papers you may need in one place.
LDS Wedding Checklist: On Your Wedding Day
Don’t forget breakfast- It’s going to be a wonderful day, but it’s also going to be pretty long. The last thing you want to do on your special day is pass out at the temple or while you’re taking pictures. Eat a good breakfast that will keep you full for a few hours. Also, pack snacks in case you start to feel hungry.
Give yourself a lot of time to get ready- Plan out how much time you’ll need to get your makeup and hair done. If you plan a solid amount of time, you’ll be able to take care of sudden blemishes and make sure you look your absolute best.
Allot time for traffic- If you’re driving to the temple, remember that traffic happens. Give yourself plenty of time to get there. If you plan more than enough time, you won’t be rushing or stressed. Going to the temple is the most important part of your day, so don’t go there in a rush.
Take a fix-it kit with you- You may not think you’ll need one, but as the scripture says, “if ye are prepared, ye shall not fear” (D&C 38:30). Pack things like safety pins, needle and thread, a little first aid kit (don’t forget the ibuprofen!), bobby pins, makeup, back-up panty hose, breath mints, etc. All these things and more can keep you from sweating about the small details.
LDS Wedding Checklist: After the Fact
Write thank-you notes- When you go through your wedding gifts, have someone take count of what each person gave you so that you can write more personal thank you notes. Once you’ve gone through your wedding gifts, make sure you write thank you notes to everyone. This little act of gratitude can go a long way in keeping relationships close, and people will appreciate your thoughtfulness.
If you follow this LDS wedding checklist, your special day is sure to turn out the way you've always dreamed!
For more tips, look at www.ldsweddings.com.