Bridesmaid Planning Timeline

Here's how you can be on the ball throughout the wedding planning process.

Not sure what to do when? We have your complete planning timeline and checklist. Remember to add important dates to your calendar. The bride loves when her bridesmaids are on time, and no one likes to make that awkward phone call telling you to get it in gear!

12+ Months in Advance

____ Send the bride and groom an engagement card, congratulating them on their wonderful news!

____ RSVP to any engagement parties to which you’re invited

____ Buy and wrap a gift for the engagement party

____ Once the wedding date and location is set, put in your request for time off of work immediately

____ When the wedding date and location are official, get the bride’s okay and hotel information, and book your travel and lodging with your date, if you’re bringing one!

____ Create your organizer, whether it’s a binder or a spreadsheet, to keep yourself on schedule

____ Offer to help the bride find her ceremony and reception locations, especially if you have attended weddings at the places she wishes to tour

____ E-mail the maid of honor to offer your help as well as any contacts you have who may be helpful in group party planning

9 to 12 Months in Advance

____ Follow the maid of honor’s lead in getting to know the other bridesmaids, such as her suggestion to e-mail each other if you’re local to one another. Carpooling may be an option!

____ If the bride invites you, join her at wedding expos

____ If the bride invites you, join her as she shops for her wedding gown

____ If you plan to get in shape for the big day, begin a health regimen or kick your workout routine into higher gear

6 to 8 Months in Advance

____ Start sending dress suggestions to the maid of honor (cc'ing the bride), if you find a fabulous dress or designer you’d like to consider for your wedding day wear

____ Have your measurements professionally taken by an expert seamstress to get the perfect dimensions for ordering a dress that will actually fit you!

____ Join the bridesmaids in the official search for your bridesmaids' dresses

____ Deliver your size card and deposit money for the official dress order

____ Review your finances and budget for the expenses coming up

____ Ask the bride or maid of honor about shoes and accessories. Should you wear your own silver strappy heels or join the group in ordering matching heels?

____ Offer to help the bride with any planning tasks

____ Find yourself a date, if you don’t already have one!

4 to 6 Months in Advance

____ Discuss bridal shower plans with the bridesmaids and maid of honor

____ Volunteer to take on any bridal shower planning tasks

____ Join the group in searching for the perfect bridal shower location

____ Be able to tell friends where the couple is registered, if you are asked

____ Deliver any payments due for your dress or shoe orders

____ If this is a destination wedding, check your passport validity or apply for a new or renewed passport

2 to 4 Months in Advance

____ If your dress has arrived, make your appointments for your dress fittings

____ If you’re buying a dress at a department store, make appointments for dress fittings

____ Buy your wedding day undergarments and shoes, in order to wear them at the fittings

____ Offer to help the bride with any wedding planning tasks, such as making DIY projects or collecting addresses for the invitations

____ Work on the bridal shower plans, and pay your share of the bridal shower expenses

_____ Buy and wrap the bridal shower present

____ Ask the bride about your wedding day hair and beauty appointments. Not all brides ask their 'maids to join them at the salon, so you'll need to know what you’ll be doing on the morning of the wedding

1 to 2 Months in Advance

____ Host and pay for the bridal shower

____ Help the bride keep track of who gave which gift

____ Plan the bachelorette party and send invitations to select guests

____ Host and pay for the bachelorette party

____ Offer to help the bride with any planning tasks, such as making favors or creating the seating chart

____ Return your response card immediately upon receiving it (with a sweet note written on the bottom!)

____ Continue with your dress fittings as needed

3 Weeks in Advance

____ Pick up your altered and pressed gown from the seamstress and store it in a safe place

____ Offer to help the bride with any wedding planning tasks

____ Take the bride out for a de-stressing activity, such as a hike, a walk through the park, a concert, etc.

____ Confirm your travel and hotel plans

2 Weeks in Advance

____ Offer to help the bride with any wedding planning tasks

____ Get your pre-wedding haircut, color and highlights

____ Write the bride a lovely letter to give her at the rehearsal dinner

____ Buy the wedding gift and wrap it, or have it sent to the bride and groom’s home

____ Confirm your beauty appointment

____ Purchase any stockings or accessories you will need for the big day

1 Week in Advance

____ Break in your new wedding day shoes (scuff up the soles for safe traction)

____ Check in with the bride to get an updated itinerary of where you need to be and when

____ Offer to help the bride with any last-minute tasks

____ Travel to the wedding location the required number of days in advance (such as two days prior) for pre-wedding events and helping

The Day Before the Wedding

____ Arrive on time (or early) at your hotel, and unpack completely so that you’re available for all pre-wedding events

____ Set out your dress (steam it to remove wrinkles, if necessary) and your accessories

____ Check in with the bride to see if there’s anything she needs picked up

____ Attend the arrivals cocktail party and greet guests, if the bride and groom are not in attendance yet

____ Attend the rehearsal

____ Attend the rehearsal dinner

____ Join out-of-town guests at the hotel for a post-rehearsal-dinner event, if planned

____ Join the bride to help her prepare last-minute items and tasks

____ Take plenty of photos!

____ Go to bed early. Tomorrow’s a big day!

On the Wedding Day

____Arrive on time (or slightly early) to meet the bride and the other bridesmaids

____ Attend the wedding morning breakfast

____ Join the bridesmaids at the salon for hair and makeup. Or prepare your own hair and makeup at the bride’s chosen location

____ Dress for pre-wedding photos

____ Help the bride dress and prepare, as needed

____ Pose for pre-wedding photos

____ Help the bride gather any necessary items, such as the groom’s ring, marriage license, emergency bag and other essentials

____ Be sure you have your purse, keys, cell phone and other essentials

____ Accompany the bride and bridal party to the ceremony location, and let the excitement begin!

____ Participate in the wedding ceremony

____ Stand in the receiving line, if required

____ Pose for post-ceremony photos

____ Participate in special introductions and dances at the reception

____ Help the bride with any needs during the reception

____ After the reception, help the bride gather any belongings to take home, and pack her gifts in the car

____ Direct guests back to their hotel, if needed

____ Attend the after-party


Sharon Naylor is the best-selling author of over 35 wedding books, including The Ultimate Bridal Shower Idea Book, The Bridesmaid Handbook and the new Bridesmaid on a Budget. Visit for more bridesmaid tips and advice.