It’s time for another Free Chapter from one of my books! This time, I’m sharing my Planning Timeline from my new book “Bridesmaid on a Budget,” so share this with your bridesmaids to keep them organized and in the loop!
Bridesmaid Planning Timeline
Not sure what to do when? We have your complete planning timeline and checklist here for your use! And here’s how you can customize this list to suit the extra little things your bride is likely to ask of you, and that you may want to plan on your own: just cut and paste this checklist, copy it to a new doc file, and type in your own tasks!
For the big stuff, like the deadline for sending your payment, set your phone or computer’s alarm or reminder service to give you the heads-up that it’s time to pay up! The bride loves it when her bridesmaids are on time, and no one has to make that awkward phone call to tell you to get it in gear!
Here you go!
12+ Months in Advance:
____ Send the bride and groom a pretty engagement card, congratulating them on their wonderful news!
____ RSVP to any engagement parties to which you’re invited
____ Buy and wrap a gift for the engagement party
____ The minute the bride has the wedding date and location set, put in your request for time off of work.
____ When the wedding date and location are official, with the bride’s okay and room block info set, book your travel and lodging. (With your date, if you’ll bring one!)
____ Create your organizer plan, whether it’s a binder or a spreadsheet, to keep yourself on schedule.
____ Offer to help the bride find her ceremony and reception locations, especially if you have attended weddings at some of the places she wishes to tour.
____ E-mail the Maid of Honor to offer your help, as well as any contacts you have who may be helpful in group party planning
9 to 12 Months in Advance:
____ Follow the Maid of Honor’s lead in getting to know the other bridesmaids, such as her invitation for you all to e-mail each other if you’re local to one another. Carpooling may be an option!
____ If the bride invites you, join her at wedding expos.
____ If the bride invites you, join her as she shops for her dream wedding gown.
____ If you plan to get in shape for the big day, begin a health regimen, or kick your workout routine into higher gear.
6 to 8 Months in Advance
____ Start sending dress suggestions to the Maid of Honor, CCing the bride, if you find a fabulous dress or designer you’d like considered for your wedding day wear.
____ Have your measurements professionally-taken by an expert seamstress, to get the perfect dimensions for ordering a dress that will actually fit you!
____ Join the bridesmaids in the official search for your wedding day bridesmaids dresses.
____ Deliver your size card and deposit money for the official dress order.
____ Review your finances and budget for the expenses coming up!
____ Ask the bride or Maid of Honor what the plan is going to be for shoes and accessories – wear your own silver strappies, or join the group in ordering matching heels.
____ Offer to help the bride with any planning tasks she has going on right now.
____ Find yourself a date, if you don’t already have one!
4 to 6 Months in Advance:
____ Join the bridesmaids and Maid of Honor in discussions about the bridal shower plans.
____ Volunteer to take on any bridal shower planning tasks you’d like to work on.
____ Join the group in searching for the perfect bridal shower location.
____ Be able to tell friends where the couple is registered, if you are asked.
____ Deliver any payments due for your dress or shoe orders.
____ If this is a destination wedding, check your passport to see if it will be valid, or apply for a new or renewed passport now.
2 to 4 Months in Advance:
____ If your dress has arrived, make your appointments for your dress fittings.
____ If you’re buying a dress at a department store, still make appointments for dress fittings.
____ Buy your wedding day undergarments and shoes, in order to wear them at the fittings.
____ Offer to help the bride with any wedding planning task she has going on, such as making involved DIY projects or collecting addresses for the invitations.
____ Work on all the plans for the bridal shower, and pay your share of the bridal shower expenses.
_____ Buy and wrap the bridal shower present.
____ Ask the bride what she wishes as far as your wedding day hair and beauty appointments; not all brides ask their ‘maids to join them at the salon, so you need to know what you’ll be doing on the morning of the wedding to get gorgeous.
1 to 2 Months In Advance:
____ Host and pay for the bridal shower.
____ Help the bride keep track of who gave which gift.
____ Plan the bachelorette party, and send invitations to select guests who will join you.
____ Pay for the bachelorette party, and host it in honor of the bride.
____ Offer to help the bride with any planning tasks she has going on, such as making favors or creating the seating chart.
____ Return your response card immediately upon receiving it…with a sweet note written on the bottom!
____ Continue with your dress fittings as needed.
3 Weeks in Advance:
____ Pick up your altered and pressed gown from the seamstress, and store it in a very safe place.
____ Offer to help the bride with any wedding planning tasks she has going on.
____ Take the bride out for a de-stressing activity such as a hike, a walk through the park, a concert, a movie, girls’ night in.
____ Confirm your travel and hotel plans.
2 Weeks in Advance:
____ Offer to help the bride with any wedding planning tasks she has going on.
____ Get your pre-wedding haircut, color, and highlights.
____ Write the bride a lovely letter to give her at the rehearsal dinner.
____ Buy the wedding gift and wrap it, or have it sent to the bride and groom’s home.
____ Confirm your beauty appointment.
____ Purchase any stockings or accessories you will need for the big day.
1 Week in Advance:
____ Break in your new wedding day shoes, wearing them around the house or out on your driveway so that the bottoms get scuffed a bit for safe traction.
____ Check in with the bride to get an updated itinerary of where you need to be and when.
____ Offer to help the bride with any last-minute tasks.
____ Travel to the wedding location the required number of days in advance, such as two days prior, to be there for pre-wedding events and helping.
The Day Before the Wedding:
____ Arrive on time, or early, at your hotel, and unpack completely so that you’re available for all pre-wedding events.
____ Set out your dress – steam it to remove wrinkles, if necessary, and all of your accessories.
____ Check in with the bride to see if there’s anything you need to pick up for her.
____ Attend the arrivals cocktail party and greet guests if the bride and groom are not in attendance yet.
____ Attend the rehearsal.
____ Attend the rehearsal dinner.
____ Join out-of-town guests back at the hotel for a post-rehearsal-dinner mingling event, if planned.
____ Join the bride at her place to help her prepare last-minute items and tasks.
____ Take plenty of photos!
____ Go to bed early – tomorrow’s a big day!
On the Wedding Day:
____ Arrive on time, if not slightly early, at the location where you will join the brides and the other bridesmaids.
____ Attend the wedding morning breakfast.
____ Join the bridesmaids at the salon for hair and makeup, or prepare your own hair and makeup at the bride’s chosen location.
____ Dress for pre-wedding photos.
____ Help the bride dress and prepare, as needed.
____ Pose for pre-wedding photos.
____ Help the bride gather any items necessary, such as the groom’s ring, marriage license, emergency bag and other essentials.
____ Be sure you have your purse, keys, cell phone and other essentials.
____ Accompany the bride and bridal party to the ceremony location, and let the excitement begin!
____ Participate in the wedding ceremony.
____ Stand in the receiving line, if required.
____ Pose for post-ceremony photos.
____ Participate in special introductions and dances at the reception.
____ Help the bride with any needs during the reception.
____ After the reception, help the bride gather any belongings to take home, and pack her gifts in the car.
____ Direct guests back to their hotel, if needed.
____ Attend the after-party.
Even MORE help is available in my book Bridesmaid on a Budget! And check out my additional planners and idea books for bridesmaids: The Ultimate Bridal Shower Idea Book and The Bridesmaid Handbook.
Visit me at sharonnaylor.net for more bridesmaid tips and advice.