bar mitzvah, bat mitzvah planning guide
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Note: This timetable is based on a 12 month or greater engagement. While more time to plan is better, you can compress the time line. Use this table to at least establish the order in which you should approach tasks.
Arrange for both sets of parents to meet (unless they have already).
Work out a budget and review it with your parents, if they'll be paying for any part of the event
Interview and hire a wedding consultant if you are using one.
Decide on the style of wedding you want.
Decide who will officiate. Favorite Rabbis may book up as quickly as caterers and banquet halls. You will need to consult this person regarding many issues throughout your planning. When necessary, book the synagogue sanctuary or chapel.
Make a preliminary guest list and estimate final size of party for planning purposes.
Determine whom you want to have in your wedding party and make the calls.
Set a date and time for the wedding.
Pick out a caterer, a location for the ceremony and reception (and, if there will be one, for the engagement party, rehearsal dinner, after-wedding breakfast). Send in a deposit when necessary.
Book a block of rooms for out-of-town guests at a local hotel/motel.
Interview photographers, videographers, florists, musicians, calligraphers and make your choices.
Make reservations for transportation.
Make plans and shop for your honeymoon.
Start shopping for a wedding dress.
Send a "Save-the-Date" cards to your "A" list guests.
10 months
Choose a color theme
Order wedding gown and accessories (this way you have plenty of time if something should go wrong).
Make up your final guest list.
Go House-or Apartment-hunting with your fiancÚ. Narrow choices to a few.
9 months
Decide what gifts you would like and register for gifts (china, flatware, etc.)
Shop for and order invitations, announcements, programs and any other printed materials.
Have your engagement party. Start a "thank you list" and mail notes as soon as possible.
Have an engagement picture taken and submit it to your local newspaper.
Create schematics for the processional, recessional, under the chuppah, reserved seating. Distribute them to those who will be participating.
If you are not having a wedding consultant, arrange for someone to be in charge of keeping everyone on schedule and coaching the processional.
Select guests for honors (e.g., toast, speech, blessing on bread and wine, one of the seven blessings, aliyah at the Ufruf.)
8 months
Discuss wedding attire with the mothers of the bride and groom.
Order your accessory items and bridesmaid dresses.
Look at tuxedos.
7 months
Decide on which ketubah text you want and order a ketubah. Hand decorated ketubot take the longest time to prepare.
If you are buying a home, get serious about a contract. If you will be renting, place a deposit.
6 months
Select wedding favors for guests.
Order imprinted yarmulkes.
Order wedding invitations, wedding programs, and other stationery.
5 months
Make arrangements for tuxedo rentals
Book your honeymoon
Put together directions to be included, as needed, in Save-the-date and/or invitations. Take a trial drive to double check distances and landmarks.
4 months
Purchase wedding gifts (for attendants and fiance).
Finalize floral arrangements.
Set hair, make-up, nail, and wax appointments.
Select a bakery for your wedding cake, as well as cakes for pre-wedding receptions and pastries for an after-wedding brunch or lunch.
Begin to address invitations or take your final guest list to your calligrapher.
Select wedding bands. Place an order.
Get change of address cards from the post office and get them ready to mail.
Decide who will ride with whom and where people need to be when.
Prepare programs and/or a wedding booklet for the wedding and assign someone to distribute them.
Have the groom select and order tuxedos for himself, his groomsmen and the dads. If people are in different locations, get measurements mailed.
Order table cameras. Make or buy a receptacle for them. Assign someone the task of collecting the cameras.
3 months
Attend your final dress fittings and have your bridesmaids do the same.
Finalize cake arrangements.
Write your own vows.
Buy cake knife, toasting glasses, guest book & garter
Pick out associated events clothing. Remember shoes (ballet slippers, sandals) for the reception.
Find a hairdresser and make a test run with your veil.
Send out invitations (double check for correct postage)(8-10 Weeks)
2 months
Get name-change forms for social security, driver's license, credit cards and bank. Review documentation and make changes as needed (e.g., insurance, lease, Health Care Proxy, Living Will, etc.)
Reserve rooms for out-of-town guests you know will be attending
Get blood tests and marriage license.
Make an appointment for your hair and nails for as close to the wedding day as possible.
Meet with the caterer to set the menu.
Review your needs with your photographer and videographer. Give him/her a list of your wedding party, a schedule of events, any toasts or speeches planned, and any special photos, memories or candids you want. It is best not to surprise these professionals.
Meet with your entertainment (music, etc.) and make arrangements and schedule. A schedule of events, along with favorite tunes and style of music requsted, plus a list of toasts speeches, etc. will ensure the MC is on the same page as you.
Arrange the rehearsal dinner, as well as other wedding-day-connected parties.
Arrange for someone to deposit your check and cash gifts in the bank, while you are away on your honeymoon.
1 month before
Put Guest Baskets together and assign someone the task of distributing them.
Make sure all your groomsmen, ushers, ring bearer, and fathers have ordered their tuxedos.
Send change-of-address form to post office.
Reconfirm all the reservations and accommodations.
Confirm honeymoon plans.
Start the seating plan for the reception.
3 weeks before
Call guests who have not responded.
Finalize reception seating arrangements.
Get your marriage license.
Prepare wedding announcement for the newspaper.
Pick up your wedding bands.
Fill out the table cards or give names to your calligrapher.
Put the fees and tips in envelopes (rabbi, soloist, maitre d'' etc.) and give it to someone you put in charge of making the payments.
Arrange with someone to bring items to the wedding venue, such as cake knife, toasting glasses, programs, yarmulkes, emergency kit for the bride, wedding license, ketubah, etc. and to take them home.
Arrange for someone to return the rentals (tuxedos, chairs, etc.).
Arrange for someone to take your bouquet and your gown "home" or bring it in for wedding gown preservation.
Pay all synagogue fees.
2 weeks before
Call caterer with final total of guests.
Confirm directions and pickup and drop-off points with transportation service. Confirm all other professionals.
1 week before
Create a detailed schedule of your wedding day activities.
Get a manicure and/or pedicure and/or other beauty services.
Pack for your honeymoon.
Confirm Post-wedding brunch arrangements.
1 day
Get a manicure.
Attend wedding rehearsal.
Pack wedding day emergency kit. (extra pantyhose, safety pins, thread and needle, steamer, brush and make-up).
Get a good night''s sleep.
Your Wedding Day
Eat a good breakfast.
Have your make-up done.
Have your hair done.
Give yourself plenty of time to get ready.
Relax and have fun!
After Your Wedding Day
Write thank you notes and/or send gifts to the special people who made your wedding "happen."
Send wedding photo and announcement to the newspaper(s).

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