Black Tie Formalwear Wedding Checklist
6-12 Months Before the Wedding
  1. Announce your engagement.
  2. Choose a wedding date.
  3. Decide with your fiance the type of wedding ceremony you want.
  4. Plan a budget.
  5. Decide on a location for the wedding ceremony and reception based on your budget. Reserve the location.
  6. Shop for your wedding gown. Keep in mind the time of day for your ceremony when choosing a style.
  7. Decide on your wedding color scheme.
  8. Choose your honor attendants and other wedding party members.
  9. Select your bridesmaids’ dresses. Take along your maid of honor to act as a model and to help make decisions on dresses.
  10. Make your guest list. Decide whether to invite all guests to the wedding. You may choose to have a small wedding and invite more friends and family to the reception.
  11. Plan your reception. Remember that your budget will be the determining factor in how many guests to invite to the reception.
  12. Select and book your caterer.
  13. Register your wedding gifts.
  14. Choose a florist and photographer.
  15. Have black-and-white photographs taken for engagement and wedding announcements.
  16. Decide on the type of musical entertainment for the reception and book musicians, a singer, or a disc jockey.
  17. Reserve limousine service for the wedding.
  18. Order invitations, thank-you notes, and wedding announcements.
  19. Meet with your clergyman to discuss the ceremony and to make any other preparations required by your church.
  20. Plan your honeymoon and make all necessary arrangements (travel, lodging, etc.)
  21. Select your wedding rings and have them engraved.
  22. Plan the music for your ceremony. Your church’s music director or organist can assist you with this.
  23. Assist the mother of the bride and the mother of the groom in selecting their dresses.
  24. Make appointments for wedding-day pampering with your hairstylist, makeup artist, and manicurist. Appointments should be early in the morning.
  25. Rehearsal dinner plans should be made at this time by the groom’s family.
  26. Choose the wedding attire for the groom and groomsmen.
  27. Address the wedding invitations and announcements.
  28. The groom and his family plan the bachelor dinner.
  29. Plan the bridesmaids’ luncheon.
  30. Purchase gifts for the wedding attendants.
  31. The groom should purchase gifts for his groomsmen.
  32. Select friends and relatives not participating in the wedding ceremony to perform other tasks such as pouring punch, cutting cake, and registering guests at the reception.

The Groom
  1. Chooses his best man and ushers.
  2. Buys the bride’s engagement and wedding rings.
  3. Arranges transportation from church to reception for himself and his bride (unless it is more convenient for the bride and her father to order her transportation.)
  4. Arranges and pays for the honeymoon (though many couples prefer to share the cost.)

The Groom's Parents
  1. May contribute to the cost of the reception if in agreement with the bride’s parents. Because of the great expense of a big reception, it is more common for the cost to be shared by both sets of parents, or by the parents and the bridal couple.
  2. Pay for rehearsal dinner.

The Best Man
  1. Organizes the bachelor’s party.
  2. Is in charge of the ushers, sees that they know what to do and that they have a seating plan for the family pews.
  3. Pays the church fees on behalf of the groom before the ceremony.
  4. Checks that the groom’s going-away clothes are packed and that all the luggage, including the bride’s, is in the going-away car.
  5. Is responsible for getting the groom dressed and to the church on time.
  6. Flower girls and ring bearers can become bored during a long servlce. The best man makes sure they have a place to sit during the marriage ceremony so they’ll be less likely to fidget.
  7. Waits with the groom in the vestry or wits with him in the front right-hand pew.
  8. On the arrival of the bride, stands on the groom’s right-hand at the chancel steps.
  9. Presents the ring to the groom at the appropriate moment in the service and sees the bride and groom into their car after the service.
  10. Assembles the guests, the wedding photographer, and, if there is no toastmaster, organizes the cutting of the cake and wedding speeches.
  11. Sees that the bride and groom leave the reception in good time to change before going away and ensures that the car is ready.
  12. Looks after the groom’s clothes (returning them if they have been rented.)

The Ushers
  1. Should be relations or close friends of the groom.
  2. Show the guests to their seats.
  3. Should be at the church at least 40 minutes before the ceremony and hand out programs to the guests as they arrive.
  4. Escort the guests from the church after the ceremony.
  5. Tidy the church and collect any unused or left-behind programs.
  6. Check that everyone reaches the reception venue.

The Groom's Family pays for...
  1. Church fees (except flowers.)
  2. Bride’s bouquet, attendant’s flowers, mother’s and mother-in-law’s corsages.
  3. Boutonnieres for himself.
  4. Best man and ushers.
  5. Engagement and wedding gifts.
  6. Attendants’ and best man’s gifts.
  7. Rehearsal dinner.

Before the Wedding
  1. Mail invitations.
  2. Submit wedding announcements and photos to local newspapers.
  3. Purchase gifts for the groom/bride.
  4. Write thank-you notes as gifts arrive.
  5. Display wedding gifts.
  6. Make arrangements for lodging for out-of-town guests and attendants.
  7. Secure marriage license.
  8. Have final fitting of your wedding and bridesmaids’ dresses.
  9. Purchase going-away outfit.
  10. Should your honeymoon be overseas, verify that both your passports are still valid. Check if a visa is required to enter a foreign country or if you need any immunization shots.
  11. Confirm details with caterer, photographer, limousine service, and musicians.
  12. Confirm details for honeymoon. Pick up tickets and purchase travelers’ checks.
  13. Experiment with makeup to be used on wedding day.
  14. Pack for the honeymoon.
  15. Pick up wedding gown and check for proper fit.
  16. Give the clergyman’s fee to the best man, along with delivery instructions.
  17. Arrange to move belongings to new home if necessary.
  18. Attend a wedding breakfast or have breakfast at home.
  19. Begin dressing early enough so that you don’t feel rushed – about 1 to 2 hours before the ceremony.
  20. Bring the rings to the ceremony.
  21. Wedding party should also be dressed about 1 to 2 hours prior to ceremony if photographs will be taken before the wedding begins.