We don't really have the same HUGE lead time we had when we first got engaged (although thirteen months is still pretty enormous), so I decided to start thinking about what exactly we want to get done for the wedding before the summer. My priorities:
1. Find an officiant. I'd like to call a few Reconstructionist rabbis, a Unitarian Church, and some non-denominational ministers and see if we can't find someone from one of those three groups to commit to. InterfaithFamily.com has a referral source for rabbis, and MoH should get back to me about what she finds out soon, which should have us started. Ideally, I'd like to have this locked up by April.
2. Research photographers, videographers, and DJs. I found one vendor that offers all three at a very good price (under $3,500), but I don't know yet if they're very good at any of them. I've found a few photographers I like that aren't *too* expensive, but it's hard to learn much about a DJ through a website. My goal is to find all three of these for under $5,000, and to have them booked before May.
3. THE DRESS. I plan to start shopping as soon as school lets out in May. I'd originally hoped to start and finish in one marathon day, but there are a few different dresses I'd like to look at specifically, and the bridal salons that carry them are all over the greater Los Angeles area. I want to have this done by the beginning of June.
4. Flowers. I think this one will be phone call and visit intensive, so I don't plan to start until May. I want to have this picked out by the end of June.
5. Bridesmaid dresses. I already know the dresses I want, and summers are less busy for most of my bridesmaids, who are students or work in schools, so I'd like to do this in July, in one day, and get it over with before I start classes again in August. We'll probably pick out my mom's mother of the bride dress at that time, also, although hers might take a little longer (because I can't tell her exactly what to wear!!)
6. Insurance. This is no fun, so I'll just do it in a day or two over the summer. It has to be done by October.
7. The rings. D's ring should be pretty quick (we can go to someplace like Robbins Bros. for the two-tone ring he's hoping for and probably pick up the ring within a few weeks), but the one that matches my engagement ring comes from a little mom and pop shop that will need up to twelve weeks to order the wedding band if it's not already in my size. So we'll need to take care of this in November.
8. The cake. I think three months ahead is early enough to get a bakery. I'll take care of this in December.
9. Miscellaneous! There are a lot of labor-intensive other items that I'll need to take care of between now and next March, like invitations (which I may or may not make myself), seating charts, place cards and favors (which I may skip). I'll take care of as many of these as I am able over the summer, and the rest over winter break (December/January). I'll have to get help from my bridesmaids with things like the place cards, since I'll be in the middle of the term when that needs to get done. But I'm trying to simplify these projects as much as possible (e.g., plain white place cards from Target) so that they don't take insane amounts of time.
Hey, that doesn't seem so bad!