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Your Wedding Venue in Northern Virginia

  • Writer's pictureIsadora Martin-Dye

Wedding To-Do List for the capable couple

Updated: Oct 10, 2023

My next blog post was going to be on wedding traditions, but since it is starting to turn into a three part essay, I skipped ahead to another thing we always tell our couples when we first meet with them.

For most couples we are the first stop on the wedding trail. It is hard, if not impossible to book any other aspect until you have a venue as that also gives you a date! From this point onward you are then faced with a huge list of tasks broken down into the months that you need to achieve them by. I HATE this an consequently would like to propose my own way of organizing your wedding planning and it is based on some simple points.

  1. Throw out the month-by-month timeline. There is nothing wrong with booking things as soon as you want to book them or by them. Why you should wait until a month or two out to buy your guest book is crazy. Just get things as you find them, just make sure you have them all before the wedding. You can get most last minute things on Amazon (overnighted) or Michaels. If you really care about it, by it early, if you don’t care just buy it the next time you drive by a wedding type store and be done with it.

  2. On that subject, if there is someone you really want to book, be it the pastor, band or cake baker book them as soon as you have a date.

  3. Don’t rush into buying a dress. Yes, you need to leave some lead time for them to come in, but leave only just enough time to get things fitted. Dress photos are everywhere, and it becomes really easy to regret, and second guess your choice. Particularly if you made it early, in the heat of the just-engaged moment.

  4. Same rule applies to your guest list and wedding party. Don’t put your guest list together then try and figure out how you are going to pay for that many meals or fit them into your venue. Have a clear idea as to what you would like your food budget to be per-head, where you would like to do your ceremony and your budget in general (invitations aren’t cheap), come up with a max number of guest and then figure out some guest list rules (that apply to both sides) to get you to that number. The first thing I always tell couples is if they wouldn’t take someone out for a three-person meal when it isn’t their wedding, why would they do that on a day that is so much more than that.

  5. Lastly, remember (like us) that some vendors can only do one wedding a weekend, this applies to photographers and DJ’s, some have a small number they can do in a weekend (florists, and caterers) and some can handle quite a few weddings (calligraphers) – once you have booked those vendors who you knew you wanted to book from the beginning – look at booking the rest based on a scale of ‘how much do I care about this vendor’ vs ‘how many weddings can they do’. Using these rules here is my Wedding To-Do list from first priority to last.

P.S Unlike some website I haven’t broken it down into bite size pieces (research caterers, talk to caterers, get quotes from caterers, set up tastings, go to tastings etc), just get the ball rolling, and keep on top of moving it forward.

  • Budget

  • Venue and Date

  • Guest list

  • Photographer and/or Videographer

  • Engagement Shoot

  • Hotel Block

  • Wedding Party

  • Florist

  • Caterers (including Linens etc)

  • DJ/Music

  • Dress

  • Book Hair and Makeup

  • Save the Dates

  • Tent/Arbor/Big rentals

  • Cake

  • Officiant

  • Transportation (Shuttles)

  • Timeline

  • Bridesmaids/Groomsmen Clothing

  • Invitations

  • Plan Rehearsal Dinner

  • Rings

  • Marriage License (no sooner than 60 days away)

  • Chase down RSVP’s

  • Work out Alcohol

  • Confirm (numbers and arrival times) with all vendors

  • Seating Chart

  • All the random bits (ring pillow, ceremony sand, etc)


Also here’s to letting you in on a little secret – every Bride I have met is intelligent, interesting, and responsible… Putting together a wedding is important, not rocket science, yes it requires a little bit of organization but there with the internet, friends, and a Groom it is well within the capability of any women to get it planned, and still enjoy their time been engaged.

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