Wedding Checklist South Africa

The Ultimate Wedding Checklist South Africa

Here is a complete wedding checklist to help you plan your wedding from engagement to the big day:

12 Months or More

  1. Determine your vision for your wedding day, including the formality, style, and theme (if desired).
  2. Set your wedding priorities and make a list of the elements that are most important to you. This will help you decide on a budget, choose a date, and delegate tasks.
  3. Get organized by finding a system that works for you to keep track of notes, brochures, checklists, menus, and other printed material.
  4. It's time to talk about budgets. Discuss your budget with your partner and, if desired, with any parents or other generous contributors. Determine who will be paying for what.
  5. Choose two potential wedding dates and check with your most important vendors and wedding party members to ensure their availability before making a final decision.
  6. Seek recommendations for ceremony and reception spaces and service providers, including officiants.
  7. Consider hiring a wedding consultant and think about how friends, family, and wedding party members can help with tasks. Don't be afraid to delegate tasks to those who offer their services.
  8. If your parents have not yet met, plan a time for them to meet for the first time.

11 Months

  1. Begin interviewing vendors for the following services:
  • Officiant
  • Photographers
  • Florists
  • Bands or DJs and ceremony performers
  • Caterers
  1. If you find a great reception or ceremony site that is available on your chosen date and within your budget, book it now. If any one vendor is a higher priority for you, make sure they are available before reserving a location.

10 Months

  1. Ask your chosen attendants to be in your wedding party, including any children you wish to include. Make sure everyone involved is aware of your expectations.
  2. Create a preliminary guest list with input from both sides. This can be a wish list that you narrow down based on your budget and final guest count.
  3. It's time to celebrate your engagement!
  4. Look through books, magazines, and websites for wedding gown ideas and start dress shopping.

9 Months

  1. Start shopping for a wedding dress.
  2. If you are having an engagement party soon, register for gifts now.
  3. Announce your engagement to the local or hometown newspaper.
  4. If you have chosen an outdoor venue, reserve tents and speak with the caterer about their outdoor tent needs.
  5. Hire the following vendors and make sure to use a contract:
  • Wedding consultant
  • Caterer
  • Florist
  • Photographer
  • Band or DJ

6 Months

  1. Narrow down your gown choices and make a final decision.
  2. Choose attire for bridesmaids, flower girls, and ring bearers.
  3. Shop for wedding rings.
  4. Meet with the officiant to plan the ceremony and discuss any required pre-marriage counseling.
  5. If you are considering a prenuptial agreement, take care of it now. A Prenup MUST be signed before marriage. A marriage will automatically be in-community of property if a Prenup is not executed before the wedding date.
  6. Make sure plans for the rehearsal dinner have begun and provide the host with contact information for your attendants and other guests.

4 Months

  1. If you don't have a wedding consultant, ask a friend or relative (but not your parents) to be the "supervisor" on your wedding day. If you don't have someone in mind, consider hiring a wedding-day organizer.
  2. Hire the following vendors and make sure to use a contract:
  • Baker
  • Ceremony performers
  1. Order your invitations.
  2. Register for your wedding gifts, and don't forget to include some appropriate items (consider your friends' budgets) for upcoming bridal showers or engagement parties.
  3. Send save-the-date cards, if necessary.
  4. Start looking for or thinking about wedding favors.
  5. Decide what style of formalwear the groom will wear.
  6. If you want a new hair color for the big day, do a trial run of any new hair color or highlights now.
  7. Start planning your honeymoon.
  8. If you are traveling abroad, get passports or visas if necessary.
  9. Find out about inoculations for some overseas travel.
  10. Arrange accommodations for out-of-town wedding guests (do this sooner if your wedding falls on a holiday).
  11. Meet with the officiant again to go over the ceremony.

3 Months

  1. Check on rehearsal dinner plans.
  2. Make honeymoon travel reservations.
  3. Make sure your attendants have bought their dresses and accessories.
  4. Buy your accessories, including shoes, hosiery, jewelry, and any special lingerie required for first gown fittings.
  5. Make sure the groomsmen have the information they need to buy or reserve their attire. The groom and male members of the wedding party should also choose and buy any necessary accessories, such as shoes, shirt stays, cufflinks, and a pocket square.
  6. Finalize the guest list and double-check name spellings and addresses.
  7. Start addressing invitations or drop them off with a calligrapher (you should mail them eight weeks before the wedding).
  8. Start writing vows, if you are writing them yourselves.
  9. Study any ethnic customs or traditions you might want to include in your ceremony or reception and make a note if you'll need any special supplies or practice to incorporate them.

10 Weeks

To continue planning your wedding, consider the following steps:

  1. Call the dress shop to check on the arrival date of your wedding gown and the bridesmaids' dresses. Make your first fitting appointment and schedule one for the bridesmaids as well.
  2. Buy, order, or start making wedding favors.
  3. Stuff and stamp the wedding invitations.
  4. Start buying (or borrowing) any extra items you need, such as a guest book, ring pillow, unity candle, garter, cake knife, toasting glasses, and wine cups for the ceremony.

8 Weeks

  1. Have your first dress fitting. If you haven't ordered your headpiece and veil yet, do it now.
  2. Buy or reserve men's formalwear.
  3. Mail the wedding invitations.
  4. Begin writing a ceremony program, if you are having one.
  5. Start writing thank-you notes for any engagement party, shower, or wedding gifts already received.
  6. Check to make sure you have all the necessary paperwork to get married, such as a baptismal certificate or proof of divorce.
  7. Buy wedding rings and have them engraved if desired.
  8. Meet with (or call) vendors to finalize arrangements, including the caterer, florists, and musical performers.
  9. Meet with the officiant to finalize ceremony details.
  10. Call the marriage license bureau to find out requirements for obtaining a marriage license and get any necessary blood tests.
  11. Plan a "tea" for the bridesmaids and a bachelor "dinner" (these can be any meal you want, or cocktails) to thank everyone for their friendship and support.
  12. Arrange transportation and parking for the wedding day.
  13. Reserve a room for your wedding night.
  14. Do a trial run of your wedding-day hair and makeup.
  15. Select special readings, poems, or prayers for the ceremony and send copies to friends who will be participating.

6 Weeks

  1. Mail rehearsal dinner invitations.
  2. Shop for your "trousseau" (even if it's just one new nightgown).
  3. Make hair, makeup, and manicure appointments for your wedding day (do this even earlier if you're getting married during a busy month).
  4. Start breaking in your nuptial shoes by wearing them only around the house so they don't get dirty.
  5. Arrange for a babysitter for the reception, if necessary.
  6. Pre-wedding parties, such as the bachelor and bachelorette parties, may begin.
  7. Buy gifts for the following people:
  • The bride buys gifts for the maid of honor and bridesmaids.
  • The groom buys gifts for the best man, groomsmen, and ushers.
  • The bride and groom may buy a gift for each other.
  1. Start thinking about a first-dance song.

4 Weeks

  1. Pick up the wedding rings.
  2. Finish and print ceremony programs.
  3. Finalize your vows.
  4. Get a formal bridal portrait taken.
  5. Buy or create welcome gifts for out-of-town guests (to be waiting for them in their hotel rooms).
  6. Call the newspaper regarding a wedding announcement and send it according to their deadline requirements.
  7. Apply for a marriage license, if you haven't already.
  8. Arrange for movers or truck rental if you're moving after the wedding.
  9. Send a change-of-address form to the post office, if necessary.
  10. Confirm all final payment amounts with your vendors, including the officiant, as well as the date, time, and location of the wedding.

2 Weeks

  1. Have a final dress fitting.
  2. Plan the seating arrangements for the reception (you should have a floor plan to work with; ask the banquet manager or site supervisor for one).
  3. Write seating cards and place cards for the reception.
  4. Plan seating for the rehearsal dinner, if necessary.
  5. Write out a schedule outlining the order of events (with specified times) for your wedding day. If you have a wedding consultant, wedding day organizer, or delegated "supervisor," let them do this. Give a copy to your fiancé and all involved parties.
  6. Call guests who have not yet responded to the wedding and rehearsal dinner invitations.
  7. Pick up the marriage license.
  8. If you are getting your hair cut for the big day, do it now so it has time to "relax" (and not look so just-cut) before the big day.
  9. Make sure all drivers have directions to the ceremony and reception sites.
  10. Traditional brides will need to gather their "something old, something new, something borrowed, and something blue."
  11. Compose reception toasts.

1 Week

  1. Confirm everything with vendors again.
  2. Submit the final guest count to the caterer.
  3. Pick up the wedding gown, veil, and headpiece.
  4. Pick up the men's formalwear and make sure all men try on their clothes before the wedding day.
  5. Pack for the honeymoon and wedding night.
  6. Confirm honeymoon travel arrangements, including flights, hotels, rental cars, and so on.
  7. Arrange for transportation from home or hotel to the airport for the honeymoon.
  8. Make a backup transportation plan for the wedding day, such as having your brother on standby as a chauffeur.
  9. Host the bridesmaid's "tea" and bachelor "dinner."
  10. Wrap the attendants' gifts.
  11. Prepare a wedding-day emergency kit.
  12. Clean the engagement ring.
  13. If you are having an outdoor wedding, check the weather forecast and make a rain plan. Consider treating the area for ants and other bugs if necessary.
  14. Remind the wedding party and families of the time they need to show up for the rehearsal.
  15. Delegate tasks for the wedding day and write them on note cards, such as "Please make sure that the knife is by the cake." Hand out the note cards at the rehearsal dinner and be sure to thank everyone.
  16. Touch base with the "supervisor" you asked to be "the person to see about problems" on your wedding day (if you don't have a wedding consultant).
  17. Designate someone to collect the wedding gifts and any cash brought to the reception.
  18. Prepare an emergency contact list and share it with the designated "supervisor" or wedding coordinator. This list should include contact information for all vendors, as well as any other important information such as the location of the wedding day emergency kit.
  19. Set aside any final payments or tips for vendors and give them to the designated "payment person."
  20. Consider assigning someone to be responsible for the guest book, either by having them stand by it during the reception or leaving it on a table near the entrance for guests to sign.
  21. Communicate with the ushers about any special seating arrangements at the ceremony, such as reserved seats for family members or a reserved row for the wedding party.
  22. Prepare welcome packages for out-of-town guests and deliver them to the appropriate hotel rooms before the guests arrive.
  23. Make arrangements for someone to take care of your pets and plants while you are on your honeymoon.
  24. Hold your mail at the post office or arrange for a friend or family member to pick it up for you while you are away.

1 Day

  1. Confirm all transportation arrangements for the wedding day, including transportation to and from the ceremony and reception sites, as well as any transportation needed for the wedding party or out-of-town guests.
  2. Set up any decorations or necessary items at the ceremony site, if you have access to it beforehand.
  3. Pack all remaining items needed for the honeymoon and make sure they are in a convenient location for transportation.
  4. Gather all necessary documents for the honeymoon, including airline tickets, itinerary, passports, and any other important documents, and keep them in a safe, easy-to-access location.
  5. Lay out everything you will need for the wedding day, including your dress, shoes, and any other accessories.
  6. Make sure your marriage license is secure and easily accessible.
  7. Take care of any grooming tasks, such as getting a manicure, that you want to be done before the wedding day.
  8. Remind the wedding party and immediate families of their arrival times for pictures, the rehearsal (if it is on the wedding day), and the ceremony.
  9. Choose the witnesses who will sign your marriage license and ketubah.
  10. Rehearse the ceremony and go over any final details.
  11. Enjoy the rehearsal dinner with your loved ones.
  12. Give gifts to your attendants at the rehearsal dinner or in a private moment.
  13. Discuss any final details and plans for the wedding day with your partner.
  14. Prepare for a good night's sleep by taking a bath or following your preferred relaxation routine.

Your Wedding Day

  1. Engage in activities that will help you relax and recharge, such as exercising, getting a massage, meditating, praying, or doing something similar.
  2. Eat a meal that includes both carbohydrates and protein, but don't consume too much caffeine.
  3. If possible, put in your contact lenses before getting your makeup done, but wait until after your hair appointment so that hairspray doesn't irritate your eyes.
  4. Make sure to arrive on time for your hair and makeup appointments.
  5. Get dressed, remembering to use the bathroom first.
  6. Before the ceremony, switch your engagement ring to your right hand.
  7. Take a moment to share a private moment with your fiance.
  8. Give your parents hugs before the ceremony starts.
  9. Take a look at yourself in the mirror and smile.
  10. Spend a moment alone to calm yourself down before the ceremony.
  11. Remember to have fun, it's your special day!

After The Wedding

  1. After the wedding, have a bridesmaid or your mom pick up your wedding dress and other personal belongings from your home or hotel. Ask them to also take the gown and veil to be cleaned and preserved, as well as the bridal bouquet and other wedding mementos to be preserved.
  2. If you have any personal film that needs to be developed, take care of it. These will be the first photos available, since professional proofs can take several weeks.
  3. Find out when you can expect to receive your edited wedding video, if you used a videographer.
  4. Freeze the top layer of the wedding cake to be eaten at your first anniversary celebration, and save some cocktail napkins as well.
  5. Within two months of your wedding, set aside time to write thank-you notes to your guests. Some couples start writing these on the flight to or from their honeymoon destination.
  6. Make sure all vendor bills have been paid in full, and consider sending a small gift or thank-you letter for exceptional service. These can be used by vendors as letters of recommendation for future clients.
  7. If you haven't already, give gifts to your parents to thank them for their help and support.
  8. Update your name and address on credit cards, driver's license, and other documents.
  9. Review and update your insurance policies if necessary.