Quick DIY Guide to South Florida Wedding Planning

Congratulations you’re engaged! Now it’s time to begin the planning process for your South Florida wedding.

Photo credit: Kim Kinsella Lifestyle Portraits

Having been recently married myself, I found the checklist very helpful in the process.  So, I am sharing with you a more concise wedding planning checklist:

12+ Months Before:

  • Envision your South Florida wedding and draw up a budget.
  • Assemble your "planning team." Consider hiring a Wedding Planner or Consultant.
  • Pick a wedding date and time. Select several options, then check with your venues, officiant, and important guests before finalizing.
  • Start planning the guest list.
  • Look for and book ceremony and reception sites.
  • Ask friends and relatives to be in the wedding party.
  • Optional: Have an engagement party. You may want to register beforehand for gifts.

Photo credit: Kim Kinsella Lifestyle Portraits

8-10 Months Before:

  • Bride: Think about, shop for, and order your wedding gown.
  • Envision South Florida wedding reception food and catering.
  • Decide what type of entertainment you want. A pianist for the cocktail hour, strolling violinists, a DJ, or band?
  • Think about your floral decor.
  • Research and book your South Florida wedding professionals. Interview vendors: photographer, videographer, reception band or DJ, florist.
  • Research a wedding insurance policy to protect your deposits.
  • Research and reserve accommodations for out-of-town guests.
  • Register for gifts.
  • Contact rental companies if you need to rent anything for ceremony/reception, such as chairs, tables, and tent.

6-8 Months Before:

  • Book ceremony musicians.
  • Order bridesmaid dresses.
  • Start planning your honeymoon.
  • Send save-the-date cards. This is a particularly good idea if you're marrying during a tourist or holiday season or having a destination wedding.

Photo credit: Monty Bloom Ensembles


4-6 Months Before:

  • Attend pre-wedding counseling, if required.
  • Shop for and order invitations and wedding rings.
  • Shop for formalwear.
  • Renew or get passports, if necessary.
  • Envision your wedding cake and research, interview, and book a cake designer.
  • Order the Cake

3 Months Before:

  • Hire a calligrapher, if you want your invitations professionally addressed.
  • Attend your bridal shower. (It may be earlier, depending on when hosts decide to have it.)
  • Groom: Rent the men's formalwear.
  • Hire wedding-day transportation: limousines, classic cars, trolleys. Look into transportation sooner if you're considering renting streetcars or over-the-top travel.

Photo credit: Bill Hansen Catering


2 Months Before:

  • Mail your invitations.
  • Write your vows, if you chose to write your own.
  • Purchase gifts for parents, attendants, and each other.
  • Book your hair and make-up stylist and try out big-day hairstyles.
  • Book a makeup artist and go for a trial run.

1 Month Before:

  • Apply for a marriage license. Check with the local bureau in the town where you will wed.
  • Bride: Have a final gown fitting. Bring your maid of honor along to learn how to bustle your dress. Have the dress pressed and bring it home.
  • Call all bridesmaids. Make sure they have their gowns ready for the wedding.
  • Make last-minute adjustments with South Florida wedding vendors.

Photo credit: Kim Kinsella Lifestyle Portraits


21 Days Before:

  • Review final RSVP list and call any guests who have not yet sent a response.
  • Deliver must-have shot lists to photographer and videographer. Include who should be in formal portraits and determine when portraits will be taken.
  • Deliver final song list to your DJ or bandleader. Include special song requests and songs you don't want played.
  • Bride: Get your last pre-wedding haircut and color.


14 Days Before:

  • Give reception site/caterer the final guest head count. Include vendors, such as the photographer or band members, who will expect a meal. Ask how many extra plates the caterer will prepare.
  • Supply the location manager with a list of vendor requests such as a table for DJ or setup space needed by the florist.
  • Plan your reception seating chart.
  • Print place and table cards, or finalize list with the calligrapher you have hired to do so.
  • Call all wedding vendors and confirm arrangements.
  • Give ceremony and reception site managers a schedule of vendor delivery and setup times, plus contact numbers.

Photo credit: Sasha's Bridal Boutique

2-3 Days Before:

  • Bride: If you need to, have your gown pressed or steamed.
  • Groom: Go for final fitting and pick up your formalwear.
  • Groom: Ask the best man to make sure all groomsmen attend fittings and pick up their outfits.
  • Determine wedding-party positions during the ceremony and the order of the party in the processional and recessional.
  • Hand off place cards, table cards, menus, disposable cameras, favors, and any other items for setting the tables to the caterer and/or reception site manager.
  • Reconfirm final details with all vendors. Discuss any necessary last-minute substitutions.
  • Call the limousine or car rental company for pickup times and locations.
  • Deliver welcome baskets to the hotel concierge for your guests; make sure to include names and delivery instructions.

Day Before:

  • Provide all wedding professionals with an emergency phone number to call on the day of the wedding.
  • Write checks and/or talk to wedding hosts (usually your parents, if not you) about any final balances to be paid at the end of the reception.

Photo credit: Josie Miller Makeup and Hair

Day Of:

  • Present parents and each other with gifts.
  • Give wedding bands to the best man and the maid of honor to hold during the ceremony.
  • Give the best man the officiant's fee envelope, to be handed off after the ceremony.


Posted by Sandra Perez on 03/20/2014

Category Articles: Event Planning