What to do before
you can say "I do.

Forget what you’ve seen on reality TV shows. Planning a wedding can and should be a magical experience. You’ll find everything you need to make your vision a reality here, but, remember, our team is just an email or a phone call away if you have any questions.

The wedding couple’s motto is “Be Prepared.” (It’s not just for scouts!)

The team at the Emerald Coast Convention & Visitors Bureau has walked down the aisle with hundreds of couples over the years. For your peace of mind, we’ve created these convenient checklists to help you plan your wedding.

6 or More Months Prior

  • Consider the type of wedding you want (big, small, formal, informal) and what time of year
  • Determine your budget
  • Hire a wedding coordinator if one is needed
  • Create a guest list and begin to organize addresses
  • Finalize the wedding date
  • Call the Emerald Coast Convention & Visitors Bureau at 800-322-3319
  • Reserve the place(s) for the ceremony and reception
  • Order your wedding dress and accessories
  • Determine attendants
  • Secure the caterer
  • Secure the florist
  • Secure ceremony officiant
  • Secure the music for both the ceremony and reception
  • Secure the photographer and videographer
  • Order the wedding cake
  • Plan and book the honeymoon
  • Send save-the-dates

4-6 Months Prior

  • Reserve any rental equipment, such as tables, chairs, etc.
  • Make transportation arrangements for the wedding day
  • Check requirements for blood tests and/or marriage license
  • Purchase stationery – invitations, thank you cards, programs, place cards, etc.
  • Register for gifts
  • Purchase or reserve groom’s attire
  • Select attendants’ attire
  • Buy any special garments for your dress
  • Choose favors
  • Book a room for the wedding night
  • Plan and purchase gifts for the wedding party
  • Reserve accommodations for out-of-town guests
  • Sign up for dance lessons, if desired
  • Book hairstylist and makeup artist
  • Purchase wedding rings

2-4 Months Prior

  • Review menu details with the caterer
  • Review details with the officiant
  • Choose reading(s) for the ceremony
  • Write weddings vows, if desired
  • Schedule rehearsal times and dinner
  • Mail invitations
  • Write thank you notes for any gifts that arrival early
  • Go for first dress fitting with shoes and undergarments
  • Make sure you have addressed all the wedding day accessories
    • toasting glasses
    • ring bearer pillow
    • flower girl basket
    • unity candle
    • garter
    • –––––––––––––––––
    • –––––––––––––––––
    • –––––––––––––––––
  • Create programs
  • Obtain marriage license and request certified copies
  • Organize documents to prepare for changing your name, if desired
  • Plan your hairstyle and makeup
  • Send change of address information to the post office, if necessary
  • Buy a guest book

2 Weeks Prior

  • Have final dress fitting with undergarments and accessories
  • Prepare seating chart and place cards
  • Provide caterer with guest count
  • Write toasts for rehearsal dinner and/or wedding reception
  • Address and mail announcements
  • Confirm accommodations for guests, especially if you will be providing welcome notes or gifts in their rooms

1 Week Prior

  • Finalize seating chart
  • Designate wedding day responsibilities
  • Pick up dress
  • Confirm details with the caterer
  • Confirm honeymoon arrangements
  • Pack for the honeymoon
  • Provide any updates to the caterer for a final guest count
  • Provide photographer and/or videographer with a list of the types of photos that you want taken
  • Prepare welcome notes or gifts for out-of-town guests

1 Day Prior

  • Confirm transportation for ceremony and reception
  • Arrange for someone to mail announcements for the day after the wedding
  • Have a manicure and pedicure
  • Rehearse the ceremony
  • Have rehearsal dinner and give gifts to wedding parents and party as a thank you for their support
  • Prepare tip and payment envelopes for officiant and vendors, and arrange for someone to distribute them
  • Be sure to have a “wedding day emergency kit” ready (safety pins, bobby pins, clear nail polish, etc.)