The List: The 4-5 Months Out Version

by Meg Keene, CEO & Editor-In-Chief

As my wedding approaches, I’ve decided to introduce a new blog feature. I’m calling it “the list.” If you are a bride, you are in the possession of at least one wedding list. I’m looking at mine now, as published by a major bridal publication. I thought, before these lists gave us a collective nervous breakdown or a full blown anxiety disorder, we should discuss it. You know, as a group. Because I’m not sure what is more ridiculous: the items on the list, or the fact that they break down every item into 55 silly steps, making you think that buying your shoes will take a month of your time. I plan to only be in love with the person I’m marrying at the wedding, not the person I’m marrying and my shoes and my dress and my caterer and the favors and the DJ and the best-bridesmaids-dresses-ever andandandandand….

I’m on the “4-5 months before” page. Here is a short list of my recommended activities for the month:

* Book the rehearsal dinner venue (it’s a welcome picnic in our case, and the meadow is reserved. Also, can I point out this is not obligatory?), and the venue for the day-after brunch (No. No, no, no. The day after the wedding is my time. I’ll be doing exactly what I please.)
* Checking on the wedding invites (ok, this actually seems fair)
* Select and order a cake – attend several tastings (really, several??)
* Get “showered” (I will be, but that’s not on *my* list, I just show up. Also? Totally not required. But anyway, list points out I should do this now, because they have PLANS for me in the coming months, and I will not have free time. Any free time.)
* Purchase shoes and start dress fittings (really? Does purchasing shoes take months and deserve it’s own line item? And how hard is it to make a dress fit? Anyway, since we made mine, its going to fit. I do need to sew on some lace though. And make a veil. But these items don’t seem to make the list.)
* Make sure to insure your engagement ring. (First of all: any ring worth so much I had to insure would be part of a down payment on a house (or a boat, fun!))
* Schedule hair and makeup artists. Make a few trial appointments with local experts. Take photos so you can remember exactly how you looked. Go out to a fancy dinner after each trial. (A Few? Ok. At this point I’m starting to wonder if they are aware I have a job, and a non-wedding life. Suddenly they are booking up every moment of every weekend. Also, this is getting unbelievably expensive, and we haven’t even hit the wedding yet.)
* Choose Songs. Songs for when the wedding party is introduced. Songs for during dinner. Songs for getting the party started. Keep a running list of songs you do and do not want played. Are you OCD? If not, become OCD. (See, this is nervous breakdown material. Apparently I need to hire a Hollywood pro to write a multi-hour soundtrack. Ack. Ack.)
*Grooms: Give all of the groomsmen the information they need to buy and/or reserve their attire. (Um, we told them suits. Do we need to walk them to the store? Whattheh*ll.)
Brides: Choose your bridesmaids’ accessories (shoes, gloves, etc.) and either purchase or pass along purchasing information (Haaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa. Gloves? Right.)
* Brides: Experiment with your beauty routine, self-tanners, and facials. (Wait. Excuse me. Full stop:


* Plan welcome baskets for guests. A few ideas: a detailed itinerary, a list of restaurants in town, transportation options, locally produced gourmet foods, a hand drawn (really!??!) map of local attractions, a sweet smelling candle to freshen the room. (are you effing kidding me? What now I’m a travel agent too? I can’t assume that my guests are full grown adults who can figure out how to take a bus and find a restaurant. Sweetbabyjesus. Why did I even sign up for this?)
*Make or buy favors. Allow extra time for custom-made favors (i.e., chocolates in a preprinted box). (Well, I don’t even need to comment on this. Favors send me into a blackout rage period. But wait. Wait. A PREPRINTED CHOCOLATE BOX? Why did I even bother with those six cake tastings if I’m just serving chocolates? GARRRRR!)

And just wait till next month. The three month list will require me to quit my job, get some heavy duty anxiety meds, and hire a wedding planner. It should be good times.

Yesterday Erika had this to say about the infamous check lists: And when you login to the Knot it tells you “you have 93 items due this month” or whatever. Gawd, it is THE WORST. Total blackout. So, please, share. What it the most ridiculous thing on your “wedding checklist”?

Meg Keene

Meg is the Founder and EIC of APW. She has written two best selling wedding books: A Practical Wedding and A Practical Wedding Planner. Meg has her BFA in Drama from NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts. She lives in Oakland, CA with her husband and two children. For more than you ever wanted to know about Meg, you can visit

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  • Hilarious – as I tell our brides, planning your wedding shouldn’t be a full time job (unless you use that wedding list of course!)

  • Claire

    I’m so glad I found your blog, this made me laugh so much! Welcome baskets for your guests indeed… :)

  • That list is insane!
    My magazine list has 6-9 months and then down to 3. But the things on it don’t really apply to our wedding: book florist – that would be me, order wedding cake – um I’m making that, book caterer – yes me again, book first consultation with hairdresser and makeup artist – ok so ring my sisters and get them to come experiment on me!

    I am hand drawing a map though… but only cause it’s cheaper.

  • ewwwww these lists

  • What the eff?!

    Self-tanner=no no no.

    And thank you for releasing us from the day after brunch thing. Isn’t the wedding supposed to be the party? At the day after brunch thing, everybody is just tired and awkward.

    And I can’t believe the lists tell you to develop OCD. Bad on so many levels.

  • It’s like you’re reading my mind. Every time I see these lists I want to shout out in laughter. Ludicrous!

    That’s exactly the kind of thing that makes me firmly believe brides are “programmed” to go crazy!

  • HAAAA! You’re hilarious!

    are you effing kidding me? What now I’m a travel agent too?

    :D *cracking up in the office, getting funny looks*

    I love how you’re reclaiming the day after. Good for you.

  • HA. This might be my favorite wedding blog I’ve ever read.

  • Hands down, the stupid “hair and makeup trials” (trialS? Plural? Really, list?). First off: I have chin-length hair. I am not growing it out for the wedding. Ergo, all I’m going to need that day is a nice shampoo-and-style, no elaborate updos required. Second, I live 2000 miles away from my wedding location. Am I really supposed to plunk down $300 for a plane ticket just for a hair trial? Yeesh. I just called my mom’s favorite salon and booked appointments for me and the bridesmaids who said they wanted them. Done and done.

  • Lisa B.

    The way people describe me when they’re trying to be nice is “anal retentive.” I live for lists. I need lists in order to avoid those “What seriously important thing am I forgetting about?” moments. But, I am (maybe only a little bit) sane, so I tend to just use those checklists where I can cross out the things that I know that I don’t need. Of course, I haven’t started the actual planning yet, but when I do, it’s to lists that I will turn. :)

  • SG

    Great post, really puts things into perspective. I think these lists can be a great guide so that you don’t forget something but the way they are worded does nothing but stress out brides who are probably already pretty stressed out.

    And as for day after brunches, I’ve never understood the point of them. As a guest the last thing I want to do after a night of drinking and dancing is get up early, put on another nice outfit and make coherent conversation.

  • m

    What makes me sad is that this is the Real Simple list (I’m using it, too).

  • vanessa

    Yeah when I first saw the list I almost had a heart attack. Then I went searching for a “parred down” list and found out… THAT WAS THE PARRED DOWN LIST. whoa. Where’s my brown paper bag?! The worst part is logging into your wedding site and seeing the countdown and items on your list side by side. “You have 127 days until your wedding, and 568 taskes to complete.” Say WHAT?! Apparently you aren’t supposed to have a full time job, a part time job, a hobby, or family and friends to see during this period.

    I love you Meg.

  • Thank you for bringing up the “welcome bags.” I find the whole concept totally crazy. I have never even been to a wedding that had these. What, I have to buy more stuff? Cute manicure sets and breath mints and crap? And organize it all? And the bag itself should also be cute and original and match my theme and colors? Puh-lease, who has time and energy for this? I guess if you’re super DIY and crafty it could be fun, but no guest expects this.

  • I wouldn’t know what the weirdest thing on my checklist was, I haven’t looked at it in about 6 months. It wasn’t just anxiety inducing, but like you note, it did not apply to what I was doing in ANY WAY.

    I just had drinks last night with a friend who recently got engaged, and just set the venue and the date for her 2010 wedding. We were talking over some of her ideas and she said, “You know, I think this will be ok and I’m not too worried about how I’m doing it. But that’s because I don’t really know what you’re supposed to do anyway.” She’s a smart, organized, polite woman who is capable of getting her wedding shit together without some website freaking her out about doing it “wrong”! And this is why she is sane.

    I, too, have an inordinate amount of faith that I am capable of planning a fun party without someone who had a total inability to prioritize telling me what I need to do with every ounce of my spare time.

  • Vicki T

    I love the blog and when I go through my “I CAN’T HANDLE ANY MORE WEDDING BLOGS OR ANY MORE ‘PERFECT DETAILS'” this is where I come. And this is the first time I’ve been a little “meh” about a post. I think some of the stuff on the list is overboard too. But this is a post that makes me feel like I’m not indie enough or cool enough, or DIY enough. I’m not a “Platinum Weddings” bride, but I’m no “Backyard Wedding” either. I’m somewhere firmly in between. Yeah yeah, when the Knot tells me at month 11 I should be thinking of a creative way to ask my flower girl to be in the wedding and begin making the children’s coloring books, I am “buzzz…thanks for playing, Knot.” But I can take the lists with a grain of salt and say “No thanks, I purposefully eliminate that for being extraneous for US and OUR wedding. But thanks for bringing that to my attention.”

    Still love the blog! Just wanted to weigh in. You can take this with a grain of salt. :)

  • I seriously think I found the Practical Wedding at the right time. I had a few bridal blackouts but reading your posts keeps me in check. ;)

    I sometimes wish life had a checklist like the Knot… I would be a lot more productive ;)

  • I remember scrolling through the long lists of things I *should* be doing and just thanking my lucky stars that I wasn’t one of those girls.

    However, to be fair, one of my best friends is one of those girls, and she really enjoyed planning her mega-wedding (on top of her high power job and jam packed social calendar), so I guess I’d have to say- to each her own.

  • Mel

    favors!!! ack! We are not doing them. I can do something else with the money.

    As for ring insurance… My ring is only worth $4k but I’d die if I lost it! We had it added to the homeowners insurance and for what little it costs monthly? So worth it!

  • i think i’m going to be the unpopular one here and say that i disagree with two points (but the rest are pretty much hilarious!):

    1) i think for many brides it’s important to insure the ring. My fiance and I are in grad school with absolutely no income. Even though he only spent about $2300 (only?) on my ring, that represents A LOT of his assets. If something were to happen to it, I’d be crushed and wouldn’t get a replacement. The insurance on it is well worth the peace of mind.

    2) i’ve been to a wedding with a welcome bag and i LOVED it. It just had two cookies, a bottle of water, and a breakdown of timing. The extra effort really really made me feel special. I totally intend on including a map and some ideas of local hot spots. Most of my guests aren’t even remotely local… sure, it’s not NECESSARY to have them but sure is nice.

    but like you said in an earlier post, each gal has gotta do what’s right for her.

  • I love hoe there are three seperate list items for getting the same thing done, like:
    1. Start thiking about doing something, 2. Plan on doing something, then 3. DO SOMETHING! Geez louise!

  • The idea of putting my bridesmaids in gloves makes me giggle.

    I do find the lists helpful, but I have no qualms about crossing the things off that don’t apply. My FH uses for all of his to-do lists, so we added the things we care about to a list there, with jobs assigned to him or me. We’re also adding the more detailed things to it, like “buy soda”, that have to happen much closer to the wedding.

    But I agree, the knot list is crazy, and the one you posted is crazy, too.

    Oh, someone said something about never having gone to a wedding where you got a gift bag – I hadn’t until last year, and I have to say it kind of rocked. We showed up at the hotel and got snacks and a mini bottle of champagne. :) If I had a billion $$ for our wedding I think we would do them for our guests. But we don’t, so we aren’t, and I’m sure they won’t notice.

    God, I feel like I just pooped on your whole post, and that totally wasn’t my goal….

  • Oh gawd, this was great. I’ll have to go home first before I can scrounge around my mags for some lists for you. I am pretty sure I have one where it eventually goes to 1 week before the wedding, 3 days before the wedding, the night before, etc… Talk about panic onset!

  • “Are you OCD? If not, become OCD.”…how ridiculous! These people really need to calm down. I’ve been reading some other websites as I’m trying to help my friend plan her wedding…I think she put it best by saying: “Despite the fact that these are websites and presumably created after 1973, they feature some of the most archaic, schmaltzy advice ever.”

  • Meg

    Hey Victoria,
    I don’t actually check these lists on a regular basis at all. But, I think they are part of this cultural pressure that makes brides nuts, and as such totally open to satire and discussion.

    Plus, I don’t know that I’m that “indie,” really. I think a lot of this stuff is nuts (but the things I care about don’t have to be the things you care about). Anyway, while we are doing the wedding our way, we’re still, having a wedding with catering and dancing and etc, etc. So, I really to don’t think we’re super alternative. I feature backyard weddings, because I think they are sane and practical and inspiring, but I feature non-backyard weddings too. I mean, we are in no way having a backyard wedding, just a relatively sane one.

    And, I must point out, everytime I do a sassy post like this, I do get some backlash. But sassy is needed some days, and sassy should not be taken 100% seriously. Ever. That’s the nature of satire.

    Carry on girls!


  • midwestelle

    Ha! You crack me up. I’m about 13 months out now–just got engaged 2 weeks ago–and I’m loving your list.

    Why wait until you’re four months out to insure your ring? Shouldn’t you do that as soon as you get it?

    Also…yeah, I’m keeping a list of songs, but we have a bit of an eclectic taste so there are a lot of songs a normal DJ wouldn’t think to have/bring… I actually started it last fall when I attended a wedding with cool, unique music I wouldn’t have thought to play. Best wishes!

  • See, I like the lists, ESPECIALLY when they are from the big-time magazines. That way, I get to cross off more things! And crossing off feels good right? So just use that fancy list, and cross off all the things you WON’T be doing, and it’s instant progress. The list shouldn’t stress you out, but it does help give ideas if you want to do a little something ‘more’ for your wedding.

    Sometimes when I read your blog it makes me feel stupid for wanting to do things like welcome baskets for my out of town guests. However, I know that’s not your intent. I’ll get over it.

  • Meg

    Oh, and full disclosure: my ring is insured. It cost $5 to add it to my renters insurance, so, I did that. I just think adding to a endless to do list is just part of creating enormous cultural anxiety. Blergh.

  • what’s on my list right now?
    no, not linens for the tables, bed linens.
    Our wedding is at a summer camp, and I have to figure out some way to keep our guests warm at night! (I’m thinking of hi-jacking the soup kitchen)

  • I agree these lists are out of control. And as much as I love Martha Stewart Weddings, seeing those weddings with a hundred perfect coordinating details are anxiety-provoking.

    But I’ve got defend the out of town welcome idea. For out of town guests, I think some sort of something is in order.. I went to a destination wedding last year, and kinda missed having a welcome letter and/or itinerary. I didn’t even know what day or time the wedding was on! it doesn’t have to be more than a letter, printed and given to each guest.

  • The one that threw me for a loop was getting a physical exam and blood test for the marriage licence… I think my list must be from ancient times. In Canada, you never have to do this (I think you may still have to in some states).

    There are also instructions to create and print a program for the ceremony. Really? It is not a convocation with a valedictorian and honorary doctorates… it is 20 minutes of officiated love.

    Also “Hire the limosine….” I love how it is so definitive. Like there is no other way to travel.

    My other favourite is “Decide where to live after the wedding”…. Umm, in the same place we are living now! Like I want to be apartment/house shopping on top of work, life, and wedding stuff.

    Again, I think the list I stumbled upon is really old. I have crossed out many, many categories.

  • Wow. I wish I had found your blog months ago. I’m getting married April 18 (t-minus 16 days), and I think this would have been such an encouragement months ago. Still, I think I’ve navigated the WIC fairly well on my own. But it would have been nice to have kindred spirits.

    I printed out one of those lists at the very beginning, but once I started crossing off the things that didn’t apply, I found that I was better off making my own list. In fact, like you’ve mentioned before, the best thing has been to completely avoid anything wedding-related online or in print. I’ve looked at one magazine briefly, and searched through a few websites for some centerpiece ideas.

  • Vicki T

    These “sassy” posts ARE needed. Because they create discussions like this! You don’t really get good stuff like this on The Knot message boards…not that I read them or anything… :P

  • Meg

    You’re getting married on my Biiiiirrrrtttthhhhdddddddayyyyyy!! Yay!

    Also, all-
    If you want to do out of town gift bags, do them, please. It’s not even like I’m against them. We considered it, but I doubt we will, mostly because David put his foot down at it being “just too much” which I totally feel. Anyway, please, this is all for the sake of argument and discussion. Same with favors. I particularly dislike them, because they are all dressed up in this fake etiquette and tradition thing (and they are neither), but if you are into doing them, who cares, do them! Just don’t feel like you have to. Think of my dislike of them as a counterweight to all the sites that tell you they are a ‘must.’


  • I was reading in a “list” to stop drinking coffee the month or more before the wedding, as to not stain your teeth for your wedding.

    I’m not sure how I’m going to make it through the last month of to-dos without some caffeine! As you said, maybe if I quit my job.

    I don’t even know who thinks up these tiny, tiny details! It is craziness!

  • Bat’s Bride

    I’ve been engaged about 3 weeks now and all this stuff the WIC churns out has me so fed up with the entire process that instead of planning a wedding for Spring 2010 (like I first thought), I’m planning one for Summer 2009. I figure if I only have 4 or 5 months I don’t have time to get as annoyed with all this crap. All I want to do is be married and have my family around when I do it…why the hell must it be so complicated…sheesh!

  • You are hilarious. I’m working with a check list from and it is keeping me sane because it doesn’t make each thing seem like this huge decision.

  • Allie, they can have my coffee when they pry my mug from my cold, dead hands. I will have to give up caffeine when I get pregnant, but until then, I have no intention of quitting!

  • I always wonder about the poor brides that are spending the equivalent of a full time job’s worth on these lists. What happens to you AFTER the wedding is over? There are no lists of things to do (except thank you notes to write). What a let down some of them must experience.

  • Just popping back in about the guest bags. I’m sure that they can be a nice gesture, and I’m sure some people do appreciate them. They just kind of drive me crazy because they seem like one more thing you *have* to do. And I have the strong suspicion they are an invention of the WIC and didn’t exist as part of wedding culture 20 years ago. Which doesn’t make them inherently bad, it just makes the wedding lists longer.

  • Having washed my hands and hair of the wedding five-ish months ago, I have nothing on my “list.” Just wanted to say that I love this blog and I love Meg. Sweetbabyjesus you totally made my morning.

  • ah… lists. i love them, but take a truckload of salt with me when i read the wedding-related ones.

    as someone who’s never planned a wedding, looking over a few of the ‘timeline lists’ before delving into the planning was helpful. i needed them to help me figure out what i did and didn’t need to worry about (or do at all). and okay, i admit it, i *love* crossing off the things i’ve done.

    a brief comment on the welcome bags. i’m doing this for each guest (my fiance thinks i’m a little nuts). but here’s why… everyone (only 2 people [out of 100+] of our guests live in the town we’re getting married in) will be traveling. for us. to celebrate with us. most have never been to the town, so i wanted to welcome them and thank them for coming. it’s not necessary at all (and if everyone lives in the town, seems kinda silly), but i am excited to put the effort and sweat into making it happen. i’m keeping them simple (and i’m not doing favors or other traditional things the day-of), so excited to put them together. :D

    oh, and crazy lists? the registry “essentials.” yep.

  • LOVE the commentary on the lists! I picked up a couple bridal mags, as I had no idea what goes into a wedding, and one had a three page foldout list – like a full 2 feet of To Dos. Who is not going to panic when encountering a list that long??!!! I think it’s part of the conspiracy to reduce brides to quivering jelly so that they can sell us whatever they want.

    Reading the NYT weddings (my only prep for having a wedding, ’til now), I often noticed that the brides held x position “until six months ago,” which I thought was curious. Were they all quitting their jobs just because they were getting married? No, they were quitting their jobs because they had to plan a wedding! ye gods!

  • whoops. didn’t finish the thought on the registry list (and can’t remember what i was going to write).

    and apologies. i only skimmed through the last bit of comments before commenting, so missed all the defenses for the welcome bags. y’all are welcome to skim right on over mine.

    a few more thoughts on lists: at 3 months before i should remember to “purchase your undergarments.” i get that if you want to make sure you won’t have panty lines under your dress at your fitting, but this item in particular makes me chuckle.

    oh, and thank god for the “get your marriage license” reminder. seriously. i think i might’ve overlooked that one! yeesh!

  • I like how they suggest going to a fancy dinner after each hair and makeup trial. This was created for people who are out of touch with reality…or doesn’t have to work for a living.

  • Levi-Rose

    I love you! Thank you for saying everything I’ve been thinking during my wedding planning process. I hate it when I log into places like The Knot and it tells me I am only 20% complete when I feel like I’ve accomplished so much more than that.

  • I like The Knot’s list just because it prevents me from having to make my own :) Of course, I’m not doing everything ON that list, so what do I do? I just check it off as though it were “done,” and leave the things I really am planning to do. I feel a sly sense of trickery, as if I’ve fooled the WIC. TheKnot, you just THINK I sent out engagement announcements. Well HA.

    As for the brunch, I may or may not have one; I think it’s a good idea if you have a lot of guests coming in from out of town, or you yourself are out-of-town, or if it’s a destination wedding. I went to one wedding where they just had breakfast at the groom’s parents’ house, and it was really casual (and great to get some much-needed food to fight off the hangover :))

  • i say no to check lists. they are just nasty little anxiety inducing things. i didn’t use one, and ok so i forgot about a couple of things, but it didn’t matter.

    i hate lists.

  • That is an insane list. Maybe mine is the same, but i’m too scared to put one together LOL!

  • LPC

    A list of what you want to do is good. A list of what you need to do that doesn’t align with who you are, not so good. And of course, there is the sneaking suspicion that the lists are secretly Excel spreadsheets that ding loudly at the big Wedding Cash Register in the sky every time someone checks off on item:).

  • You don’t want a boat. You want a friend with a boat. Just saying. ;)

  • ha, i just went through this list thing myself, but more so because everyone was asking me how wedding planning is going. How is going? um, great? how is it supposed to go? what if it’s not going at all, but just IS?

  • K

    All you need to get married is a groom, a license, a witness, and someone to marry you.

    There’s your list; the rest is extra. :)

  • As someone who’s just vaulted from 7 months out to barely 5, I can’t even look at these things without going into cardiac arrest. But just from what you’ve posted, lessee:

    *Go out to a fancy dinner after every make-up test? Sure, because my trust fund is a little too funded this month.

    *”Start” dress fittings? Okay. I’ll tell my eBay seller I’m coming over.

    *Guest baskets are on my list of Absolute Neccessities. Just below buying my bridesmaids gloves and hand-making a special harness to strap a ring pillow to my sister’s dog.

    Good lord. Do you think this is all a conspiracy by the Xanax industry?

  • Great post. I just finished a post about our list too! I am a big supporter of “the list” as in the list that your create with your loved one that is right for you and doesn’t include all the extra bs (self-tanners, what?).

  • ME


    Thank you for bringing some nose-wrinkling action to day after brunches, welcome baskets, and favors. Although I’ve been to weddings with such things before and enjoyed them (ok, not the favors), your distaste for them is a much needed counter to cultural pressure to do them or risk being a “bad hostess” who has let her guests down. Keep it coming!
    I pretty much have to do a destination wedding because the fiance and I have a zillion college, grad school, high school, work, and family friends in our (ahem, expensive) city who would be hard not to invite if having a wedding there. But if doing it elsewhere means that we’re required to treat our hundred or so traveling guests to three catered meals, welcome bags, and (ugh) favors, we simply won’t be able to afford it, without, you know, selling organs and whatnot. So much love to you for reminding us that not only are these things unexpected extras rather than wedding necessities, but that some people don’t even like them anyway!


  • I personally love the crazy lists! Not only do they make me laugh at some of the ridiculousness on there, but I get to check off all kinds of boxes for the things I’m not doing! Makes me feel very productive. :-)
    And I will admit that sometimes it does remind me of things I do actually need to take care of.

  • Ellie

    I think the point with shoes is that you do want to have them before attending dress fittings – not that it will take you months to obtain shoes. This is because before the bridal shop charges you $500 to hem and alter your dress, they need to know what length to hem it to, for which you do need shoes. I will say that alterations can, for most people, wait until a month before – unless you know you will be making difficult alterations.
    Why the hell is insure your engagement ring on the 4-5 month list? It should be the first thing you do, if you feel the need for it. For us, insurance was the compromise – I didn’t want anything valuable because I was afraid to lose it. He wanted to get me a “nice” ring with a real diamond – so I said fine, but only if we insure the hell out of it.

    Right now the oddest thing on my checklist is “announce your engagement” like in the local newspaper. We changed our Facebook statuses to “engaged” which I think has us covered. Does anyone actually read engagement announcements besides people in our parents generation?

  • I feel better now that you put this up! I know, it sounds weird, but I don’t have a list and I refuse to go to some mainstream media source to get one because I know it will freak me out. Now I can just look at yours and have double duty: laughing and checking to make sure I’m doing stuff. =)

  • I completely agree about wedding favours. I also gave up on suggested lists and just compiled my own. That was long enough!

    Have to say, we are going to have a next-day-brunch. Our family is all gathering in our ‘out of town location’ for the wedding and we are rarely all in one place, so it will be a nice family occasion after the busier day before. We can also have the family send us off on our honeymoon. We’re not organising though. Our Mums are!

  • I don’t even look at the knot’s checklist. I prefer’s checklist, because I am forgetful and I do like checking things of lists. I like it because a) there are not 4,500 things listed and b) I just delete all the stupid BS that gives me rage headaches.

  • Meg

    We’re doing exactly the same thing, just the night before. But, since we’re getting married on a Sunday morning it’s more logical for us that way. But, same idea.


  • Apparently I’m supposed to have made appointments for me and fh to get our teeth whitened? Because it’s Arizona law that you have to have perfect pearly whites to get a marriage license.

  • Blue12rain

    “Compile packages for out-of-town guests with hotel reservation and city information, and mail them out.”

    -What? This is on top of the guest baskets the list tells us to provide. Are they serious?

    “Sit for your bridal portrait, if you decide to get one.”
    What the hell is a bridal portrait and why on earth would I need one?

    Stupid lists, great blog.

  • Logging in to 7 months before our wedding and seeing that I had a to-do list waiting for me with 141 items on it – 141!!! – was the straw that broke the camel’s back and finally convinced my fiance and I to pull the plug, change our plans, an have a surprise wedding.

    I HATE to-do lists. Necessary evil, of course, but wedding to-do lists are especially loathesome.

  • AFY

    I’m not getting married, so perhaps I have a different perspective. I think the list isn’t bad as an all-inclusive starting point for people to customize to their liking. I know a lot of people who aren’t good at organization, and even for those who are, it’s always nice to have some kind of jumping off point.

    So — don’t like the idea of self-tanner? Post the list into Word and then delete that line.

    Dunno, Meg… I usually like the spirit of most of your posts, but the last ones have had a very strong anti-WIC vibe to them. Kind of not the same as the usual “do what works for you” sense I normally get from reading your posts. Kind of a bummer, because that’s what I enjoy most about the blog.

  • Meg

    Give a girl a break. Sometimes you have to let me get my feelings out, and sass the system. I write a looooottttt. Not everyday is a “do your own thing’ day.

    Besides, people do miss the fact that this blog has a very particular perspective, and was started for a very specific reason. I think we should all find a way to do are own thing, for sure. But on the flip side, I think that the cultural images/perceptions/expectations we’re fed about weddings are damaging, and worth examining. Bottom line. That’s my deal. And I write, with varying levels of acidity, cultural commentary on that. So, some days it’s more group hugs, and some days it’s more satire and sass. That’s how I roll in real life too.


  • Anonymous

    Keep the sass coming :) A little counterweight to the prevailing pressure is never a bad thing.

    And you do get to have opinions — this is, after all, your blog (and we love you for it).

  • Flo

    I am sooo with you! If I did all those things I would go insane! I am also sure my guests would assume I thought they were stupid if I laid out how to get from a to b and told people precisely what to wear. The knot really wants you to be a bridezilla at any cost!

  • i’m going to have to disagree on the welcome goods, too, dear: our guests came from another country (and gave up their liquid toiletries and, in some cases, their luggage to do so), and the least i could do was give them something to munch when they got there. they were inexpensive to assemble (just good local tea, biscuits, toffee, and my zine), and not a hassle – just something to show i appreciated everyone else’s ACTUAL hassle. i also went all out with the wedding ‘zine, as you know; we got married in my favorite town of all time, and since most of our guests had never been there before, i wanted to make sure they knew where the most excellent pubs and kebab vans were (and how to get from wedding site to wedding site, since we did it all on foot).

    also, on bottle bronze (i can’t believe i’m about to defend this, but hey): while i didn’t rock self tanner myself, i know more than a few brides who did (how many people have natural skin tones, especially in winter months, that look good with white? how many people think tanning salons are a good or safe idea? yeah, i thought so). there’s a good reason people show up on go fug yourself with self tanner snafus on a regular basis – it requires serious practice.

  • Meg

    There will be bottle bronze in your gift bag.


  • Anonymous

    I am laughing hysterically! Thank you for posting. Also, how about the “go out to a fancy dinner after each makeover appt.” comment. I mean…is that really necessary?

  • MsLaurie

    Loved this post! But I’m going to defend the next day brunch – ours was actually a “Post Wedding Recovery Barbeque” – hosted by my parents, at their house. It was mainly so that my husband and I could catch up a bit more with our interstate relatives who had flown in for the wedding, and to eat the top tier of the wedding cake – why freeze when you can eat?!

    It was a lovely afternoon, sitting in the sun, eating salads and sausages. And I did NOTHING to plan or prepare it. Hubbie and I just arrived. Bliss!

    Moral of the story? If someone ELSE offers to plan a post-wedding recovery shenangian – go for it! If you have to? stuff it!

  • April

    OMG – that was so funny to read I am laughing aloud. In my office. And getting stares.

    I have a list but it doesn’t have much on it right now. I’m sort of in “list denial”.

  • It took me a year (and two wedding dresses) to find the right shoes. I’m just saying.

  • sam

    This is fabulous. I regularly sign onto The Knot just so my fiance and I can read through our “98 Overdue” tasks and laugh at them. Who are these people anyway?

  • Anonymous

    A plea:

    No more defenses of the welcome basket or day after brunch. I’m sure yours was lovely and much appreciated, and that you pulled it off without too much trouble or expense. But hearing about how it was “the least you could do” or really essential for thanking your guests or spending time with them is making me anxious since I won’t be doing these things for financial / time / sanity reasons, and i HATE it that this site is making me anxious.

    i think meg’s point is simply that while these are nice things to do, the wedding blogs and magazines are unfairly making us feel like they are expected and like we’ll be letting people down if we aren’t able to provide them.

  • oh you’re completely funny! i’m planning my wedding too and everybody is driving me crazy with you have to do this, you have to do that. and yes i agree with you on so many levels. come’on trying gowns, shoes and all shouldn’t take months. i also intend to just be happy and marry the man i love that’s all! :)

  • Anonymous

    The strangest thing I’ve seen was on the list (I think). One of the first items on the list was to register for engagement gifts?!? Talk about gimme gimme gimme!

  • You just make me feel real again meg.

    It’s refreshing to know there are SO many bride-to-bes out there that are creating something simple and special for their day like me. This blog is really taking the pressure off.

    I think your list was awesome.

  • hahahahaha I can’t stop giggling at how absurd the lists are. for me, the craziest one is this notion that i “need” a seating chart for the reception, and fancy escort cards on some elaborate bulletin board. Please. they are all big boys and girls, this is not a school assembly and they do not need assigned seats. they can sit wherever they want, with whomever they want. oh, and multiple trials and tastings and what not? come on, i have a life. thank you so, so much for posting this.

  • I have to say I heart you, even though we’re total strangers — I for real cracked up. And likewise, at your post today from another reader — man, laughter at any hour *rocks*! (Sidenote: best ever re: self-tanner: I went to a ladies night at Dillard’s where they had raffles for products (perfumes, cosmetics, etc.) on top of makeovers etc. There was a L’oreal wheel-of-products — whatever the spinner you landed on, you won. Lucky me, I won a self-tanner! Except I am brown (Filipina) — and the saleslady wouldn’t even take it back. We just looked at each other awkwardly. Rock. (Sorry, very side tangent, but that’s the best somewhat-related humor I can relay :D) )

  • Lists are awesome~!

    We couldn’t even modify a wedding mag list for ours, so we started from scratch. I admit, they were usefull in helping me know, say, how far in advance one needs to book a caterer to not get extra fees, but they didn’t include a lot of things we needed to do, like “watch ‘Pirates of the Carribean’ again to get screenshots of hair ideas, “fray-check spare chiffon for wedding night sexy toga”(gotta love theme hotels! So tacky!) or “get Final Fantasy Orchestral CD from Apricot: kick his ass into drawing more comics while there”. It wouldn’t do for me to have forgotten such important wedding chores.

    just sayin’ when your wedding is your own, writing lists can be fun :)

  • “I do find the lists helpful, but I have no qualms about crossing the things off that don’t apply”

    I can’t remember who wrote that, but that’s exactly what I do ;-).

    As for the stupidest item on my to do list, I think it’s “confirm reservations for out of town guests”. Gosh, they’re grown ups ! I just made sure the small hotel next to our venue would keep all its rooms for our guests this week end, but then I let them made their own reservations…
    Oh and “book your honeymoon flights”. We’re not having our honeymoon right after the wedding (because we don’t wan’t to have rain for our honeymoon so the Maldives will wait), we’re just having a small week somewhere nice, and waiting for last minute discounts to book that…
    Oh and the garter. That’s definitly something I’m not having. Yeah.

  • @ AnnC – “Oh and the garter. That’s definitely something I’m not having”

    AGREED. I mean, what the..? I’d love someone to tell me why it’s so darned important for the bride to wear an itchy, clinging (or not clinging which would be worse having to pull it up all day) piece of 18th century apparel to their leg for the entire day? I sincerely have no idea.

  • dear meg,

    i just want to say – I love you. I do. I love you and your anti–crazy-wedding attitude and your anti-crazy-wedding blog.

    i have always been a bit of an anti-bride… and its gotten progressively wrose over the years. then i got engaged last month, and i TRULY am reminded of how little i care about all of those stupid little details… save the dates? hell no. favors? make me laugh. color themes and bridal parties and 10k dresses? i’m going to vomit.

    i already booked the chapel. booked the restaurant for our reception. and have my eyes set on a very inexpensive simple jcrew wedding dress.

    done and done and done.

    thank you for always saying exactly what im’ thinking… and in fact, what i often say on my own blog.

    another anti-bride

  • what welcome bags? I always thought something simple like candied almonds…

    Love the comments to the list; great blog, thanks for sharing.

  • Meg,
    I’m glad you opened up this topic.

    Anyway, I think these lists are flat-out useless. Even as a starting point. If you need a list, make your own.

    I really liked your recent post about budgets, and I think these lists are in the same vein as the average wedding budget advice. It’s not just that my priorities are different, but that I approach my priorities differently. I am anal retentive/OCD/list-loving, and I definitely will use lists until my dying day, wedding being no exception, but to even start from one of these lists is pointless for me, because they are constructed with a certain type of wedding in mind, and it is not mine! For me, it’s not about coordinating a bunch of vendors and contracts, it’s about paying personal attention to the things that are really meaningful and will make the day feel true to us. Sure, this involves deadlines, but it does not distill into a checklist of trials and tastings.

    Also, reading that list did make me feel on the verge of freaking out. Must avoid that.

  • Meg

    Totally agreed. I want to talk about the flip side next week, i.e., useful lists for a wedding you want to have.

    I think culturally, these lists are really interesting. People feel free to talk on and on about how all brides are crazy bridezillas, and even the sanest brides go nuts. And I think, when you look at what these brides are being fed, it’s no WONDER they are going nuts. I mean, if say, The Knot list really is your point of reference, and that is your wedding planning community? Oh goooooodddddd. You’d be a basket case by the last month, 100% guaranteed.

    So maybe it’s not the nature of brides to be crazy after all?

    Just thoughts.


  • bobbie-sue

    I agree that any list that includes self-tanners is both hillarious and crazy-making, but after the nightmare I had last night (omg running late, wearing sweatpants, messy hair, oops forgot to buy all the wedding booze and shoot! we need a license! doh!) I will probably continue to read some lists because, while I can be really super organized, I have a habit of forgetting the big obvious things. Can’t wait to see the sane and useful list!

  • If experiencing wedding blackout on the Interweb:

    1) Go to
    2) Enter in URL for The Knot (or stress-inducing wedding site of choice).
    3) Choose mode of destruction.
    4) Enjoy (then get off the Web and make a drink!).

  • First of all, I love that you said you’re planning to be in love with your future husband—and NOT every tiny detail of your wedding. Thank you thank you for the sanity.

    I find these lists bring out the incredibly sarcastic part of my personality–as in, right, I can experiment with self-tanners b/c I already have one that I use regularly *slight sneer*.

    Yesterday, I found myself panicking that I need to buy wedding shoes! Now! B/c my dress might be at the bridal store soon! (my cream bridesmaids dress) And we all know that you can’t go to a fitting w/o your wedding shoes. Bah.

  • KJ

    I purchased a wedding planning magazine just after we got engaged. On the list of “pre-wedding beauty treatments” to book was BOTOX – Excuse me?????? How the hell is anybody going to know I’m happy on my wedding day if I can’t move my face??????

  • Okay, I just have to say this, “try out self-tanners,” WHAT? Does this magazine only cater to light-skinned or white people? If not, then I guess they should suggest skin lighteners too, for the rest of us? What a bad editorial move there.

  • Meg

    I’d actually be really interested in your take on that. I feel like wedding media in general tends to cater to this really small group of people… and from my (admittedly white) perspective, it seems to skew pretty, well, white. I could be mis-reading this, for sure, but I wonder.

    I can say that if you are having a not typical American, Christian based wedding, there is very little for you. Jewish weddings? Not much. Indian weddings? Forget it.

    What do you guys think? This could be a whole other (potentially loaded) topic of discussion.


  • I’m sure this has already been said, but THANK YOU for the giggle!! I used to look at lists like those when I was 15 and obsessed with bridal magazines (and those chocolate toffee cookies Keebler no longer makes…) and think “wow, those are good ideas.” And then I tried to plan a wedding with someone who didn’t like any of my ideas and wasn’t exactly willing to nail down a date or anything and after he dumped me, I realized how silly most of it was. I read blogs like yours to fill my mental filing cabinet with useful information for the next time I plan a wedding! THANK YOU!

  • Wedding planning is important, but doesn’t have to take up every waking moment for the next year or so. Plan, stay organized and have a great wedding.

  • Bridette

    Ok – this is the craziest comment section ever.

    1st – I completely live by the lists but they make me crazy for another reason. I want to do everything 4 months early. My married friends use the like a sword….”you can’t send out save the dates – its a year away” yeah, I know but its a holiday in a city that books up fast and I’m obsessive and people care…they do. ok I care that it gets off my list.

    I have the programs ready in Word and I have the little pieces of paper but Im afraid to print them because someone could die before then but damn, I want to get it off the list. I think I just like to cross words off…maybe I should go grocery shopping instead.

    I have more 60lb stock paper in the house than toilet paper.

  • K

    OMG, this is the reason I have sworn off The Knot in favor of this website. I started reading down their checklist and felt my throat close up as all of these tasks that I HAVE to do, but didn’t know I had to do, swirled in my mind. What?! I need to start interviewing calligraphers?? (Of course their advice is just plain awful too…)

  • Just had to say I am totally with you on the wedding favors. I did temporarily obsess about them until I realized they weren’t even something people remembered.

    I actually own no lists – at all – I made one and never look at it – but the most ridiculous thing people are telling me to do is “find a drawstring purse to put in money that people give you”….um…no.

  • Futuremrsreyes

    Too funny. I received a free wedding planner and going over the list I see that im supposed to find my ice scuptor and reserve my horse and carriage. Lol. I just cross things off that I dont need and revel in false accomplishment. But getting married is more important to me than having the best most impreasive wedding so I will just have what we feel is important and the people we love will respect that and come celebrate with us :)