9-12 MONTHS PRIOR:

Use Birmingham Brides Online Wedding Planner to get professional advice and pricing for venues and vendors to guide you through your wedding plans—creating a Birmingham wedding experience that fits your style, taste, personality and budget. Have a question? Help is here with our Ask An Expert: Planners.

Determine the approximate number of guests by having the groom and his family and your family make a rough guest list. The list should include three categories: those who must be invited, those who should be invited, and those who would be nice to invite. This will help you shorten the list later if needed.

Determine if your Birmingham wedding will be intimate, elaborate, outdoor or destination.

Make a budget, and determine how wedding expenses will be shared. Traditionally, wedding expenses are taken care of by the bride and her family while the groom and his family pays for the bride’s rings, the rehearsal dinner and the honeymoon. But in recent years as couples are marrying after starting their careers, many couples are paying for some, or in some instances all of the wedding. This allows the couple to have the wedding they choose. But be certain that it is understood by all involved exactly who is willing to pay for what and how much.

Decide on what religion, if any, pertains to your wedding ceremony. And make appropriate plans, given these religious customs.

Make an appointment with a Birmingham officiant.

Select and reserve Birmingham ceremony site using the Ceremony page of Birmingham Brides. Here you will find images and details of the area’s best wedding ceremony sites.

Select and reserve a Birmingham reception site, and Birmingham caterer if your site does not have one, using the Receptions page of Birmingham Brides. Here you will find images and details of the area’s best Birmingham wedding reception sites and those who cater Birmingham receptions. Considerations include the distance from the Birmingham area wedding ceremony site and distance for guests to drive back to their homes or hotels, for out of town guests. For example, if you select a reception site far from your ceremony, it may discourage wedding guests from attending the reception. And if the reception site is too far of a drive back to home for guests, it could also discourage attendance.

Select a wedding date. Unless you have your heart set on a specific date, it is easier to set the date according to the availability of your choice of ceremony and reception sites.

Reserve wedding night bridal suite on Local Hotels section of Birmingham Brides. This section of the site can also be used later to reserve a block of rooms for out of town guests.

Select wedding party attendants, including best man, maid of honor, flower girl and ring bearer. Have them save the date now for the wedding to avoid conflicts.

Consider color schemes of the sites along with what colors would fit best as well as how much decoration is needed. The color scheme will be important as you select flowers, bridesmaid dresses, tablecloths for reception, etc.

Select a professional Birmingham wedding photographer and videographer. The Photography section of Birmingham Brides has galleries of images showing the work of Birmingham’s best wedding photographers and videos of top videographers. The images are also a great resource for ideas for your own photography.

Select a Birmingham florist using the Flowers section of Birmingham Brides. There are image galleries of bouquets, boutonnières, ceremony, and reception showing the work of Birmingham’s best florists. The images are also a great resource for ideas for your own flowers.

Select the music for the wedding ceremony and reception. The music you want should lead to your choice of Birmingham musicians, Birmingham bands, or Birmingham DJs.

Discuss Honeymoon locations. See the Honeymoons section of Birmingham Brides for published articles on romantic destinations, written by professional writers who have been there.

Start shopping for wedding dress and bridesmaids’ dresses in the Fashion section of Birmingham Brides. This will help you find bridal salons and fashion boutiques to visit for the perfect gown, attendants attire, mother’s dresses, and your honeymoon trousseau.

SIX - NINE MONTHS PRIOR

Set time, location and menu for Birmingham rehearsal dinner.

Order passport, visa if needed for honeymoon travel. You will need an official birth certificate for a passport and for your marriage certificate. It will also be needed later for changes in your name by certain agencies, so order several originals.

Select wedding dress at a Birmingham bridal shop. Set dates for fittings.

Select bridesmaids’ dresses.

Begin finalizing the bride’s guest list, and have groom finalize and his family finalize the guest lists.

Reserve any rental items needed for wedding or reception.

FOUR – SIX MONTHS PRIOR

Plan date for rehearsal dinner. Select a Birmingham rehearsal dinner site.

Select Birmingham wedding cake and reception cuisine and beverages.

Book your Honeymoon travel.

Order your invitations, thank you cards, and guest book.

Select attendants gifts and wedding favors.

Make final music selections for your Birmingham ceremony and reception.

Order wedding bands from a Birmingham jewelry store.

Build a Birmingham wedding website, and register with for a gift registry on Birmingham Brides. Track gifts and guest RSVPs here, and track thank you notes sent.

Plan your new home in the Birmingham area, where are you going to live. Shop for furnishings.

Select and reserve your Birmingham transportation service.

Confirm dates and arrangements:

Select Birmingham bakery (and order Birmingham wedding cake, if not offered in reception package), reception site, caterers (off site), florists, honeymoon, transportation arrangements, and musicians for ceremony and reception, photographer, and videographer.

Make arrangements for delivery date of wedding dress.

Purchase shoes and accessories. Begin to break in your wedding shoes and honeymoon shoes.

Arrange accommodations for out of town guests in Birmingham using Local Hotels section of Birmingham Brides.

Start addressing wedding invitations. If you have received shower gifts, write thank you notes.

TWO MONTHS PRIOR

Determine Birmingham rehearsal dinner and reception seating.

Mail invitations

Marriage License

Purchase gifts for attendants. These will be given at the rehearsal dinner.

Plan a Birmingham bridal luncheon for your bridesmaids.

Select a guestbook attendant.

ONE MONTH BEFORE YOUR WEDDING DAY

Pick up wedding rings.

Final fittings for men’s attire. Confirm date pick-up time.

Plan Birmingham Bachelor and Birmingham Bachelorette party that is at least a week before the wedding.

Make Birmingham hotel reservations for out-of-town guests.

Select wedding day accessories, (pillow, rings, garter)

Get legal documents: legal, religious, medical needed.

Make appointment for Birmingham ceremony rehearsal.

Make arrangements for payments of tips and balance payments due on day of wedding.

Have formal wedding portrait taken.

Find something old, new, borrowed, and blue.

Mail invitations to Birmingham rehearsal dinner.

TWO WEEKS BEFORE YOUR WEDDING DAY

Finalize arrangements with all service providers, attendants, officiant, and family.

Start planning everything to be packed for your honeymoon. Review with travel agents all necessary documents.

Get marriage license.

Pick up rings and check for fit.

Continue writing thank you notes.

Remind attendants where and when to get final fitting and pick up attire.

Determine seating for special guests and give to ushers.

Make arrangements for duties of attendants.

ONE WEEK PRIOR

Pack your bags.

Fill out forms at post office for mail to be held during your honeymoon.

Give best man officiant’s fee and other service providers checks for payments that need to be made on the wedding day.

WEDDING DAY

Follow your wedding day schedule, including hair styling and dressing.

Give groom’s ring to maid of honor.

Bride’s ring goes to best man.

Get to your Birmingham wedding on time!