same-sex wedding checklist – 4-5 months before…

it’s time to start thinking about the details!

by now, maybe you’ve spent hours making pinboards of your favorite wedding details or maybe you haven’t thought at all about centerpieces, seating cards, ceremony decorations – either way, now would be a good time to start nailing down those things.  again, you don’t need ANY details if you don’t want them, but if you do, it will take time to  find, and gather all of them together.  to be honest, i found this to be one of the hardest parts – i’m not a designer, i can’t really think in a big-picture kind of way (i.e. i could never plan a “styled shoot” – i would have no idea where to begin!), so i found it difficult to go shopping for the “details” and browsing through aisles of stores, trying to pick out what items on their shelves would look awesome in my barn wedding.  i’m just not that good at taking the item out of the box store and into the vision in my head.  so, therefore, the detail planning took a while. planning the “big stuff” – settling on your photographer, dj, stationery, etc – that was easy – you know they are going to do most of the work for you.  when it comes to details, you (and hopefully not you alone!) have to do the digging.  while you don’t necessarily need to go out and purchase all of your detail items now, it’s a good idea to start organizing your ideas and maybe begin by purchasing a few at a time – that way you won’t have to pay for it all right before the wedding day (you don’t need that added stress!).  *again, i want to emphasize that you don’t NEED details to have a beautiful and meaningful wedding, but i just want to say that if you do want them, it might be helpful to start early.

onto other tasks…

  • invitations – these usually go out around 3 months before your wedding date, so you don’t need to get them in the mail just yet, but depending on your guest list, your hand can get pretty tired of addressing multiple envelopes all at once!  maybe you want to get started early so your hand doesn’t get tired!  or, if you have guests who you know may require a bit more planning time, it’s ok to send those invites out early.
  • florist – now would be a great time to start meeting with florists and planning out your flower proposal.  i already talked a bit about this in my earlier checklist, but now would be a great time to actually go sit down with a florist and hash out your ideas.  do you want traditional or alternative bouquets? for two grooms – do you want boutonnieres? how about centerpieces, ceremony flowers, aisle decorations… the list goes on!  and it can get pricey really quickly.  there are so many alternate ideas to flowers out there too, so browse around to see what works best for your vision (and your budget).  also, you don’t need to be an expert in flower types, colors, seasons, etc before you go in with the florist.  most florists will be able to help you bring your abstract vision to life.  florists can also often help with vases and other decorative items as well, so be sure to ask them about what else they may offer.
  • honeymoon – ohhh! one of the best parts!  the few days or weeks after all the craziness has died down and you and your new wife or husband can escape on a relaxing, hopefully somewhat private honeymoon…  whether you are looking for adventure, complete relaxation, local, or far away, it is SO important to take at least a day or two of dedicated honeymoon time for the two of you.  i promise, you will be exhausted after the wedding affairs and will so relish some time to relax, unwind, and reflect on all of the awesomeness that just took place.  now would be a great time to start browsing tripadvisor or other travel websites and get an idea about what you two want and can afford.  if you are flying, start looking around for flights – you can usually get better deals the earlier you look!  one important item to mention here – as we all know, the entire world isn’t 100% gay-friendly, so spend some time researching gay-friendly honeymoon destinations.  the last thing you’d want after the high of celebrating your commitment to your partner is to have someone say or do something anti-gay on your honeymoon!  and also, you are probably going to feel over-the-moon excited about being with your love after your celebration and might not want to worry about things like, holding hands in public or giving each other a kiss…  there are lots of great websites and resources for this, check them out while you browse around for ideas.
  • rehearsal dinner – now that you know your location and where most of your guests will be staying, start thinking about rehearsal dinner ideas.  you definitely don’t need to do the whole formal, sit down rehearsal dinner that you may be used to (besides, traditionally it’s the groom’s parents who cover the rehearsal dinner costs, but what if there are two grooms? or no grooms?!) – feel free to think outside the box on this one – picnic dinner, pot-lucks, short cocktail hour, games and BBQ, etc.  there is no rule that this has to be in a formal restaurant, and there is no rule that you have to cover all of the costs!  i thought about ours this way, our guests are traveling for our wedding, most will be in town the night before, people usually have to eat dinner, so, we just invited everyone to the same restaurant around the same time and we all ate together.  and everyone paid for their own drinks/food.  it worked out for us because we got a nice, relaxed time to hang out with everyone before the festivities and to welcome them into town, and for them because they got a pretty tasty meal with good company!  but, either way you decide to do this, it’s a good idea to get things organized ahead of time – you can’t just expect a restaurant to handle 150+ people descending on them for dinner without any sort of advance warning!  so, if you are going formal, visit restaurants/venues and start talking with them about your ideas.  if you are going casual, maybe start getting those details in order.  also, rehearsal dinners can be for everyone invited, or just for a select group of your guests (say, family and close friends only). and whatever you decide, be sure to share the information with those who are invited to the night before activity in either your invites, emails, or wedding websites – you want to make sure they know about it.
  • rings – are you going to have wedding rings?  if you are, start visiting jewelers or jewelry websites and get an idea about what styles you are thinking about.  you might want to try on several options to see how they work with your engagement ring (if you have one).  once you have decided, this is another big purchase that you can get out of the way early to help you save money for last minute items when it gets closer to your date.

so, not too much, right?