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LGBT wedding to-do list

The ultimate lgbt wedding checklist

for The Brooklyn Paper
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It’s exciting to get down on your knee to propose to your future spouse — but the minute you do, you start a countdown that won’t reach zero until you’re on your honeymoon. To properly plan, use our handy wedding checklist below:

12 months before the big day

• First, figure out your budget and who is paying for what. Then decide what you want to save and spulrge on and stick to it.

• Decide on a ceremony — do you want to be married indoors or out? — and reception site. Then, make sure it is in a state that allows gay weddings (a list that currently only includes California, Connecticut, Delaware, Hawaii, Illinois, Iowa, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Oregon, Rhode Island, Vermont, Washington, and the District of Columbia).

• Pick a venue that is gay-friendly. There are many non-secular spots through out the city, including a lot of swank rooftop venues. Some churches, synagogues, and other religious establishments are very accepting — though others are not. Find a minister or officiant who not only weds same-sex couples, but does it right. This is your wedding and the person performing the ceremony works for you, not the other way around.

• Understand the origins of traditions and whether or not you want to include them or tweak them for your wedding.

• Set the date.

• Consider your unsupportive relatives and learn how to deal with them.

Decide on a caterer if catering on-site is unavailable.

• Begin shopping for your attire. It may be more difficult than you think. If you’re a woman, decide whether to wear a gown or suit at your wedding.

• Start shopping for attendants’ clothes.

• If using a wedding consultant, meet and provide her or him with your vision of the wedding day. Remember, that person also works for you, not the other way around.

• Begin search for wedding bands.

• Hire a florist. Again, remember that this person works for you, so make sure you are happy with the florist’s approach. A true pro will help you work out table settings, extra flowers for wedding party members, etc.

• Hire photographer and videographer. Make sure that this person is comfortable with same-sex marriages, as the resulting photos will not capture the love you feel if the photographer does not feel it.

• Take engagement photos for your save-the-dates, guestbook, and wedding website. This is a great way to tell whether or not you hired the right photographer for your wedding.

• Look into wedding day transportation. Do you want a limo, horse and carriage, limo, or bus?

• Begin drafting your guest list.

• Think about technology. Do you want a social media concierge? Do you want to have an unplugged ceremony where cell phones and tablets must be turned off? Think of ways to get guests to do this.

• Keep it fun; wedding planning is stressful, but not if you’re on the same page and have fun with it.

6–9 months out

• Create a wedding website. Include your love story, engagement photos, a link to your registry, and important info about your wedding day like hotels for out-of-town guests and things for them to do.

• Decide who will do what in the wedding. Who will be waiting at the altar, walking down the aisle, or will you both walk down the aisle? Together or apart?

• Discuss the menu with your caterer. Will you want small bites or a formal sit-down dinner?

• Finalize wedding day transportation.

• Book band, musicians, or DJ service.

• Purchase wedding bands and engrave a special saying.

• Set up your wedding registry.

• Purchase accessories, shoes, and undergarments for first fitting.

• Ask friends to be key players. Key players are trustworthy pals on whom you can rely for crucial tasks. The key players are not part of the immediate wedding party since they will be busy with photo shoots.

• Figure out if you want to include your children, if you have any. And how. Here are a few ways.

• Figure out if you want to include your pets, if this is important to you.

• Fine-tune the guest list. Remember, this is your day, not theirs’. You are under no obligation to invite anyone who would put a damper on the festivities.

• Compile addresses of guests. Mail save-the-date cards to out-of-town guests.

• Search for wedding favors.

• Consider honeymoon spots. Call travel agencies for best packages and same-sex-friendly hotels.

• Keep having fun with the process.

4–6 months out

• Begin search for hair and makeup artist.

• Complete the guest list.

• Order invitations and figure out the wording. Once you have, also order other stationery. Think about what “look” and wording you want.

• Book wedding day transportation.

• Book hotel for wedding night, if applicable.

• Select and order the cake or dessert. Be sure to add a same-sex couple as the topper (unless you want the standard “man-and-wife” topper for some ironic purpose — remember, keep having fun with the process!).

• Continue to compile a list of duties for key players.

• Mail out hotel and city information to out-of-town guests.

• Complete insurance issues, such as coverage for the rings, as needed.

• Remind your partner to order gown or suit.

• Let the DJ or band know of any special songs you would like played at the ceremony and reception.

• Purchase wedding favors.

2–4 months out

• Get your marriage license application (following local laws).

• Mail out invitations. Hint: Make sure to number each invitation because people often forget to write their name on the response card. This way, you can track it.

• Gather all necessary travel documents such as passports, visas, etc. Get immunization for honeymoon if necessary.

Finalize the menu.

• Finalize ceremony and reception music.

• Finalize favors or create your own.

• Buy thank you gifts for wedding party and key players.

• Book your hair and makeup artists.

• Book times for fittings. Bring your accessories. Aim to schedule hair and makeup trial on the same day to get a look at the complete package.

• Begin finalizing seating arrangements.

• Begin to plan receiving line, timeline, and itinerary of the day.

• Purchase guest book, cake knife, champagne glasses, garters, etc.

• Keep having fun with the process. It’s nuts! You’re getting married!

4–8 weeks out

• Tackle outstanding legal matters, such as name changes, if applicable.

• Finalize list of must-have photos. Give a copy to photographer and key players.

• Complete seating plan as RSVPs are returned.

• Finalize songs for the ceremony and reception.

• Get a pre-wedding trim and spa treatment so you feel your best during this stressful time.

Write your vows. Let the officiant know of any readings or other special requests, like mentioning any gay-marriage milestones.

• Confirm date for rehearsal.

• Finalize list of responsibilities for key players and wedding party.

• Have a friendly get-together with everyone and distribute responsibilities.

• Book time for final fitting.

• Arrange rehearsal dinner for one or two days before the wedding. Invite wedding party and key players.

• Confirm honeymoon plans.

• Make checklist of items to bring for the honeymoon.

• Finalize receiving line, timeline, and itinerary of the day.

2–3 weeks out

• Finalize seating plan. Call guests who have not returned RSVPs.

• Have your final fitting.

• If you have a gown, pick it up and hang it in a cool, dry place. Try to avoid sunlight.

• Confirm details with all vendors.

• Arrange times for key players to pick up items they are responsible for.

• Write a toast for the rehearsal dinner.

• Pack for the honeymoon.

• Leave honeymoon itinerary with someone in case of emergency.

One day out

• Double-check that you have packed your clothes and other personal items for the next day.

• De-stress your body. Consider deep breathing and other relaxation exercises such as yoga.

• Allocate enough time to have fun with out-of-town guests.

• Enjoy your rehearsal dinner.

• Make time to spend alone with your partner. Soak up the moment together. Have fun.

Overall tips

No matter what kind of wedding you’re having, hundreds of years of human experience offers some tried-and-true tips for making sure your big day is the best day it can be. Here are some:

• Trust your wedding party and key players.

• Laughter is the best beauty tip. A smile goes a long way.

• Remember to implement the stress-buster techniques you and your partner agreed to use.

• Always tell your partner why you love him or her.

• Assume that about 20 percent of your guest list will not attend, so invite extras accordingly.

• Walk around in your wedding shoes before the big day so that they are properly broken in.

• Plan a special dinner with your partner without any wedding talk. Just relax and enjoy a night together.

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