Free Wedding Planning PDF Checklist

Stay on top of your wedding planning to-do's with our easy-to-follow wedding checklist.

Engaged couple holding calendar
Congratulations. You're engaged! You are now officially a part of our wedding planning family. If you have decided to embark in the journey of planning your own wedding, then you have probably already realized the importance of staying organized. Unfortunately, not all brides can afford to hire a wedding planner master like David Tutera to turn their wedding dreams into reality. Instead, us DIY brides are left to conquer our wedding vision on our own. Whether you're just looking for a little guidance're a DIY bride that lives and breaths the phrase, "If you want it done right, do it yourself.", the key to staying stress free is to stay organized.

Our free wedding checklist features a countdown to your big day listing the most important duties to tackle before you tie the knot.  Page 2 offers a quick reference to your most important contacts with room to enter names, phone numbers, and notes.  To download, simply click the link below.

Free Wedding Planning Checklist

System Requirements: You will need Adobe Acrobat or Adobe Reader, version 7.0.5 or later.  If you don't have either, Adobe Reader is available for free at  Feel free to print the checklist and fill out at your leisure.  If you have purchased Adobe Acrobat or Adobe Reader software, you will be able to save this checklist to your computer for easy access to your to-do's and contacts.  If you use our checklist for commercial reasons, please provide a credit back to our site.

Happy Planning!


Personalized Football Theme Gifts

Ringbear Gift Idea
Fall is right around the corner and everyone is gearing up for the 2010 football season. Whether you plan on tailgating in the parking lot, in your own home with your friends and family, or just want to show off your team spirit with a few personalized items, get the season started off right with some of these neat ideas. 
Groomsman's Gift Idea

If you’re heading to the big game, pack your personalized cooler with stadium brats, hotdogs and hamburgers along with all the toppings and your favorite beer. Have a basket filled with plenty of buns and personalized stadium cups to hold your favorite drink. And don’t forget to bring your football to toss around with all your friends while you wait for the first kick off. 
For the die-hard Football Fans

Which ever team you and your friends root for, you can’t go wrong with NFL Beer Mugs or shot glasses. Have them individually personalized for your best man and groomsman to enjoy each season in rememberance of your wedding day.


Personalized Halloween Goodie Bags

Personalized 6 x 8 Halloween Cake and Candy Bags
I have been craving fall this year with the hot summer that most of us have experienced. I can hardly wait to buy some mums and put up my Halloween and fall decorations. I have also been thinking about trick or treat of course. I love Halloween and seeing all the cute children dressed in their costumes. It's one of my favorite holidays.

This year I've been thinking of making some home made treats for the trick-or-treaters and putting them in personalized cake and candy bags. I love the idea of adding a homemade touch to the season. Popcorn balls are always a big hit as well as cut out cookies shaped as pumpkins, ghosts and fall leaves. Another fun treat would be rice krispie treats. Add a little orange or purple food coloring to the treats to jazz them up for Halloween. You can also cut the treats out of the pan with metal cookie cutters shaped for Halloween. Adding a personalized message to your treat bag such as; Trick or Treat, compliments of the Smiths or 414 Maple Street allows you to let the parents of the trick-or-treaters know where the homemade goodies came from. I know as a mom you have to be careful when checking your children’s Halloween candy.

Of course the personalized bags will work great for any kind of treat whether they are homemade of store bought. It is a creative way to add some fun to your Halloween season. Place a handful of small treats into the bags and tie a piece of raffia or ribbon around the top. This kind of special touch will make you the talk to of the neighborhood.

Have a spook-tacular fall!


My Daughters Wedding

Mr. and Mrs. Randy Hale
I have mentioned my daughters wedding in a few of my blogs this year and I am happy to announce that my daughters' wedding was on August 14th, 2010. I am finally sitting down and reflecting on the wedding and everything that we have accomplished in the past months. This has been a very exciting time for my daughter, as well as our entire family. If I could offer any advice at all it would be that organization is the key!!

The final few days before the wedding the organization really started to slip out the window and believe me things got rocky.

Daniel Dale and Addison Lee
1. Make an agenda for the week before the wedding. There are family members and guest coming into town that are going to want to have lunch or dinner or just hang out. You need to know what your schedule is so you won't run behind or be late for wedding planned events.

2. I found it easiest to invite others to help me with what I was doing. When my sisters told me they were coming over, I told them to grab some ribbons and help me make bows for the centerpieces. Everyone is always welcome to lend a helping hand when asked.

My Beautiful girls; Megan & Morgan
3. One of the biggest mistakes we made was having my other daughter do her sisters hair and make-up. She spent so much time with her sister that she almost didn't have time to do her own and we were a few minutes behind getting down the aisle. The organized bride should have a professional or someone that is not in the wedding do her hair and make-up to allow for the amount of time that is needed.

4. I was definately prepared with sewing kits, bobby pins, nail glue and saftey pins. All of these things were needed. Don't forget to make a special emergency bag to have on hand when hair styles and finger nails start to fail.

My daughters wedding day turned out to be a beautiful day. I enjoyed every minute of it.
Here's to you Morgan and Randy. I love you both!!


Personalized Picture Frames for Weddings and Life's Special Occasions

Picture frames are a great way to preserve a moment captured in time such as your wedding day, graduation, birthday, anniversary, or any of life's special occasions.

Modern frames are available in a varity of shapes, colors, and themes and feature customized options such as adding names and date or a short sentimental message which creates a keepsake to last a lifetime.   Personalized frames are a popular way to thank your bridesmaids for helping make your wedding day special or as a gift to the bridal couple.


Tips for Keeping Wedding Day Memories Fresh

If you are like most brides, a lot of your wedding budget is allotted to favors and mementos for your guests. You are probably working hard to think of ways to make the day memorable for them. It is great to do this for your friends and family, but don't forget to make sure you have everything you need to keep your wedding day memories alive for yourself as well.
The most obvious way to capture memories in this day and age is with a camera. You will want tons of pictures. It has become quite popular for couples to leave a disposable camera at every table for guests to take snapshots throughout the night. You will also want to make a detailed list for your photographer to make sure you get all the pictures that you want. You can even include a list of candids you might want them to capture, like the flower girl dancing or the bride chatting with bridesmaids before the ceremony.
Aside from photographs, you will want your own keepsakes to place on shelves or tuck in a scrap book. Keep this in mind while you are planning. For example, when you go to your florist ask about bouquet preservation. When you are choosing your cake topper, pick something you might also like to put in a shadow box or on a mantle as an everyday reminder of your commitment. Instead of a guest book, you could opt for a signature frame. This is usually a large mat that guests can sign with ink pens or permanent markers. There are also engravable signature frames like the one shown here. These come with an engraving pen that guests use when signing their signature or special message into the frame. Choosing a frame instead of a book allows you easier access to the memories of well wishes from your guests.
Throughout the day, tuck a few items that you will want to keep into an envelope or bag. This could be a personalized beverage napkin for your scrapbook, or a few of the flower girl's petals to dry or preserve. You will want to do the same on your honeymoon. Other things you will want to save could be the notes you wrote for your speech or your vows. The rough draft with lines scratched out and replaced is a perfect way to recall exactly what you were feeling when you wrote it. You could also ask your best man and maid of honor if they would mind handing over the notes for their toast or giving you a copy. Make sure you get a good keepsake box or scrapbook for all of this before hand. This way the items can be put in their proper place immediately and won't get lost or forgotten.
Most people get their dresses preserved and keep their hair piece, jewelry, and groom's accessories safely tucked away over the years. These are brought out on occasions when you are feeling nostalgic or cleaning out the attic. But wouldn't it be nice to keep them in your every day life? You can do this by creating a large shadow box or wall hanging. The one pictured here was made by The Heirloom Shadow Box Company. These both preserve and display the items in an artful way behind a glass frame. You can even have soft lighting installed within the box to create a real show case for your most precious items. If the idea of framing the dress doesn't appeal to you, you can still have a collage of your program, invitations, flower petals and several other small items framed in a much smaller version.
Tangible reminders of your wedding in your every day living space or carefully preserved in an easily accessible scrapbook will put that wedding day joy right at your fingertips!


Back to School College Must-Haves

It's that time of the year again.  Summer is rounding out and soon the air will be crisp with the fall season.  Before you head back to the classroom, check out our top picks for your back to school college must-haves.  From koozies for your fraternity or sorority to tote bags to hold your books, add a custom touch by having your school name, monogram initials, or nickname personalized on the front.

Countryside Tote BagQuilted Monogrammed Cosmetic Make Up Bag
1) Book Worm? Tote your books in style with a one-of-a-kind canvas tote bag.  A great way to add a unique twist on the every day backpack.  Customized to be one-of-a-kind, your bag will never look the same as another classmates.

2) Frequent Traveler? When it comes to college traveling, make-up seems to always find its way scattered across your desk or dresser.  Pretty and personalized, monogrammed cosmetic bags are the perfect way to keep your make-up needs all in one convenient location (and are a life-saver when making the trips home to visit mom and dad).

Personalized Collapsible Can Koozie
Personalized NFL Locker Room Print
3) Gone Greek?  Custom can koozies are a fun and much-loved addition to any frat or sorority.  Have your letters printed on the front and pass them out to your fellow sisters and brothers.  Perfect for socials and parties.

4) Need to add decor to your blank dorm walls?  Custom bar signs like the NFL locker room print (shown above) add a whimsical twist on ordinary wall art.  Add your own name to you favorite team jersey and become one of the players.

Happy Planning!


Family Reunion Party Planning Ideas

The Ludlow Family 2004
While helping plan one of our customer's family reunions it really got me thinking that I should share some of her creative ideas with our blog readers. Planning a family reunion should be fun and a shared expense. Here are a few ideas to get you started on your next family reunion.

Do not party plan alone, you’re not Martha Stewart! Get together with some family members and assign different committees. This will ensure that the family reunion runs smoothly and you will not be overwhelmed with too much to do. Break the committees down into small groups such as, invitation committee, food committee, events committee, budget committee and clean-up committee.

Planning a theme for the family reunion would be a fun idea. The customer I was speaking to told me that their theme was Hollywood. Everyone is dressing up like their favorite actor/actress or character from a movie. Their last name is Harding so the personalized favor bags she was ordering were going to read, Hardingwood… Where Everyone is a Star! How cute is that.

5 x 3 x 8 Personalized Petite Paper Party Favor Bags with Handles
Each family member is going to receive their personalized goodie bag as they walk the “red carpet” into the family reunion. You can stuff the bags with small snacks; travel size sunscreen lotion and mosquito spray if the party is going to be an outside event.

If you don't have a theme idea or don't want a theme, another great idea is to plan your reunion around a special event, such as Aunt Sue’s 90th Birthday party. This not only brings the entire family together but it also makes the reunion much more special to everyone.

No matter how you decide to plan your family reunion, whether it is at a park, a campground or a beautiful hotel. Don’t forget to keep it simple and fun for all family members involved.


Personalized Bridesmaids Tote Bag Gifts

Personalized gifts are one of the best ways you can show someone how much you really love and care about them. One great way to show your bridesmaids how much you appreciate them is with a personalized tote bag.

There are so many styles, designs and colors to choose from, it will be easy to find a tote bag to match each individual style and personality. From the friend who loves to work out, the one that loves to bargain shop, and the one who loves her day at the salon or spa. She will be able to carry her essentials and have plenty of room for more.

Make it personal and have her name or monogram embroidered making it the perfect gift she will never leave home without.


A Picture Perfect Wedding Theme

We all know that there is no such thing as a picture perfect couple, but if you have it pretty close check out these ideas to make it your wedding or anniversary party theme!

Step one, find your favorite pictures of you and your significant other. Find as many as possible and if you don't have enough, take more! This would be a good time to display engagement pictures or wedding photos if this is for an anniversary.

Use small picture frames in various styles to hold place cards and photos of the happy couple.
Photo Credit: My Wedding Reception Ideas

Use pictures in varying heights to create centerpeices. You can also create photo luminaries like the ones shown here by printing photos on vellum or thinner paper and llluminating from behind with lights and candles. These look very striking when the photo is in black and white.
Photo Credit:
Have a picture frame photo booth! These are so cute and simple to make if you know someone slightly handy. You can really make this match your style and color scheme with the wall paper, paint, and frames you choose. Use fun shaped frames for a more fun look and traditional style frames for a vintage feel.
Photo Credit: Elizabeth Messina via A Cup of Jo Blog
Have your photographer photograph the bride and groom using a large picture frame a prop.
Photo Credit: The Nichols

This adorable "Picture Perfect" Cake Topper" would be a great way to tie the whole theme together.
Photo Credit: My Wedding Reception Ideas

Take digital photos of guests as the enter the reception hall or as they greet you in the receiving line. You can have your photographer upload them directly to a computer and put them into a slideshow to play later on in the reception. You can also use the photos to create personalized thank you post cards after your event.
Photo Credit:
This is definitly not the theme for the camera shy, but don't be concerned with having too many pictures of yourself plastered about. Your family and friends are sharing your day because they already love seeing your shining happy faces whenever they can!

~ Jenna

DIY Wedding Program Fans by Aylee Bits

In this sweltering summer heat, keep your guests cool by having your wedding programs do double duty.  Turn them into custom wedding program fans with this easy, DIY tutorial from Aylee Bits!
DIY Wedding Program Fans by Aylee Bits
What you'll need:
110lb (or heavier) cover stock 8.5x11
1 - 3/16" eyelet (per set)
eyelet-setting tool
rotary paper trimmer
ribbon (optional)

This basic wedding fan template offers an easy fill-in-the-blank layout with step-by-step instructions.  Add your own flair by including designs to match your wedding theme, changing the colors, and/or adding optional satin ribbon to the eyelet whole.  Aylee Bits offers a number of free DIY templates to help you with your wedding planning.  You can even purchase some of her fancier, pre-designed work for a small fee.  To learn how to make these adorable fans, visit to download the free template.  Be sure to read all of the comments below the instructions for great tips and FAQ's.

Happy Planning!


Top 4 Ways to Include Memorials into Your Wedding Day

First and foremost, thank you to all our readers for their loyal support.  More and more, our brides have been asking what the best way is to include memorials into their wedding day...while still making the focus on the bride and groom.  Because you spoke, we listened and are happy to give you our list of the top 4 ways to include the memory of your lost loved ones into your special day.

Wedding programs courtesy of Holly White
#1) The number one and easiest way to include lost loved ones is through your wedding programs.  Truly a tasteful and understated way to say, 'We're thinking of you.'  How to pull it off - One the back of your programs, simply add a meaningful quote or poem with the words 'In Loving Memory of' written underneath.  Add the names of all the individuals that couldn't be with you on your special day in their honor.  (You can also take this one step further by also playing their favorite song during your ceremony and/or reception.)

Personalized In Loving Memory glass memorial candle holder
#2) The second most popular choice by couples are memorial cylinders and vases.  Include these beautiful displays in both your ceremony and reception.  Place an engraved memorial cylinder, with an optional photo of your loved one, near the alter during your ceremony.  The candle can either be lit before guests arrive or lit during the lighting of the unity candle.  Afterwards, set your cylinder on a display table during your reception.  A popular display spot for cylinders is on the escort table sitting next to a photo of the bride and groom with the person being memorialized.

Bride walking with lit memorial candle
#3) Losing your father is one of the hardest obstacles a bride-to-be can overcome but still should not overshadow your joyous occasion.  For bride's who have lost their father or father-figure, the memorial candle walk is ideal.  Instead of a bouquet, carry a candle down the aisle in memory of dad.  You can opt to be escorted by another close family member or walk by yourself.  Once you get to the alter, light your candle and set it in a candle holder next a favorite photo of your father.  This is truly a meaningful and heartfelt way to express your feelings.

Wedding bouquet photo buckle memory charm
#4) Subtle yet meaningful, add a photo buckle charm to your bouquet to keep the memory of your loved one close to your heart.  Insert your favorite photo and tie the buckle with decorative ribbon onto your bouquet wrap.  After the ceremony, your buckle can easily be removed and tucked away for safekeeping.

Best wishes to all.  "Gone yet not forgotten, although we are apart, your spirit lives within me, forever in my heart". ~ Author Unknown


Wedding Cake Serving Sets for your Cake Cutting Ceremony

One long standing tradition included with your wedding reception and one that your guests will look forward to is the cutting of your wedding cake. The wedding cake is one of the main focal points at the reception and often is placed on a decorated table with yours and your bridesmaids’ bouquets. All eyes will be on the newlyweds as you slice the cake. The first slice is traditionally cut hand over hand from the bottom layer; the groom feeds the first slice to the bride, then vise versa.

There are an abundant of elegant wedding cake server sets available to honor this special tradition. You can select a server set from a variety of designs to compliment your wedding theme. Have your server set engraved with your names and wedding date making it a treasured keepsake to use over again on each anniversary in remembrance of your wedding day.


Ideas for Planning a Halloween Themed Wedding

Wedding Party photo from martha
What could possibly be more fun than planning a Halloween themed wedding? Keep in mind that a Halloween themed wedding does not have to be held on Halloween. You can have the ceremony the weekend before or the weekend after. The best thing about planning a spooktacular wedding is all the fun choices available for planning your wedding. Here are just a few fun tips for getting you Halloween wedding planning started.

• First decide how far you want to go with the Halloween theme. You can either go all out with all the Halloween trimmings, such as jack-o’-lanterns, bubbling cauldrons and costumes or you can have an elegant Harvest wedding with beautiful fall colors, pumpkin, gourds and leafy d├ęcor.

• Selecting your color scheme allows for many choices. Of course black and orange is one choice but you can also use red, yellow, copper or green, the options are endless. Have your groom and his attendants wear black tuxedos with tails to add mystery to their attire. Your bridesmaids can wear black and carry blood red roses for their bouquets. Brides should look for gothic style wedding dress with long flowing sleeves and tight bodices.
Black Mini Lantern Tea Light Candle Holders

• For a dramatic Halloween centerpiece you could use wrought iron candelabras or Black Mini Lantern Tea Light Candle Holders with small gourds and pumpkins around the base. If you want to keep the mood truly Halloween add spider weds with plastic spiders to your centerpieces. Pumpkins are my favorite and they are very versatile. Buy some small pumpkins and stencils and carve your table numbers into the pumpkins.

• Everyone associates Halloween with candy, so a candy buffet is a must. Use all the fun candies of the season such as candy corn and taffy. You could also include caramel apples and sugar cookie cut-outs shaped as ghost and pumpkins. Don’t forget to add dry ice to the punch bowl to add the bubbling cauldron effect.

• Now it’s time to get into your scary groove. Have your DJ play plenty of fun Halloween songs through-out the evening like Monster Mash and Thriller. The sound track from the movie The Nightmare before Christmas also has some great music for a Halloween themed wedding.

Halloween is the holiday that allows us to be anything we want to be, so make you Halloween themed wedding the wedding of a lifetime. A Halloween wedding is a wedding that won’t soon be forgotten.

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