12+ Months Before

  • Announce your engagement. Tell important friends and family the news. Parents of the bride traditionally come first.
  • Envision you wedding and draw up a budget.
  • Pick your wedding date and time.
  • Start planning the guest list.
  • Look for and book ceremony and reception sites. If you have 300 guests to invite you will normally need a reception site for 70-80 percent of that number. In your case 210-240 guests will attend.
  • Ask friends and relatives to be in the wedding party.
  •  Optional: Have an engagement party. You may want to register for gifts beforehand.

8-10 Months Before

  • Bride: Think about, shop for, and order your gown.
  • Envision reception food. Guests appetites are ready to go once entering the reception facility. Think about what appetizers you may need while your guests wait for you to arrive. Would you like to have a plated dinner or a buffet? A plated dinner normally takes less time to serve and your guest will be served at their respective table. However, a buffet is an excellent selection if you would like your guests to pick from several selections without having to pre-select before the reception.
  • Decide what type of entertainment you would like. Cocktail hour musicians, DJ, or band?
  • Think about your floral decor and reception facility decorations.
  • Research and book your wedding professionals. Interview vendors; photographers, videographer, reception band, DJ, florist and bakery.
  • Research a wedding insurance policy to protect your deposits.
  • Send save-the-date cards. This is particularly good idea if you're marrying during a tourist or holiday season or having a destination wedding.
  • Research and reserve accommodations for out-of-town guests.
  • Register for gifts.
  • Contact rental companies if you need to rent anything for the ceremony/reception. Chairs, chair covers, tables, tent, etc.

6-8 Months Before

  • Book ceremony musicians.
  • Order bridesmaid dresses.
  • Start planning honeymoon.

4-6 Months Before

  • Attending pre-wedding counseling, if required.
  • Shop for invitations and wedding rings.
  • Shop for formal wear.
  • Renew or get passports, if necessary.
  • Envision your wedding cake and research, interview, and book a cake designer.

3 Months Before

  • Order invitations.
  • Order wedding cake.
  • Order rings.
  • Attend your shower. Maybe earlier, depending on when hosts decide to have it.
  • Groom: Rent the men's formal wear.
  • Hire wedding-day transport: Limousines, other cars. Look into transportation sooner if you're considering over-the-top types of travel.

2 Months Before

  • Mail your invitations.
  •  Write your vows.
  • Purchase gifts for parents, attendants, and each other.
  • Book your stylist and try out big-day hairstyles.
  • Book a make-up artist and go for a trial run.

1 Month Before

  • Apply for a marriage license. Check with the local bureau in the town where you will wed.
  • Bride: Have final gown fitting. Bring your maid of honor along to learn how to bustle your dress. Have the dress pressed and bring it home.
  • Contact all bridesmaids. Make sure they have their gowns ready for the wedding.
  • Make last minute adjustments with vendors.
  • Create a wedding program to hand out to guests.
  • Order and plan in-room welcome baskets for out-of-town guests if desired.

Marriage License Questions & Answers

Where do you get a marriage license?
Answer: Go to your local county clerk's or recorder's office.

If my fiance and I live in different counties, where do we purchase our license?
Answer: You can purchase your license in either of the counties in which you reside. However, if you live in different states, make sure in which you will be married.

How much does a license cost?
Answer: Fees vary by state and county. La Crosse County Clerk, 400 N. Fourth St., Room 1210, La Crosse, Wi 54601; (608) 785-9581

  • Monroe County: (608) 269-8705
  • Vernon County: (608) 637-5380
  • Trempeauleau County: (715) 538-2311
  • Winona County: (507) 457-6395
What Information do I need to bring when applying for a license?

Answer: Bring an identification card such as a driver's license with your current address. In Wisconsin, you will need a certified copy of your birth certificate. If you are divorced, bring a copy of your divorce judgement or court annulment. If you are widowed, bring a copy of your spouse's death certificate.

Are there any special requirements if I have been divorced?
Answer: Yes. Under Wisconsin law, a divorced person must wait six months before they remarry. Minnesota law does require this waiting period. However, if you are a resident of Wisconsin (or any other state that requires a waiting period), you still must wait at least six months if remarrying in Minnesota.

Are there any age requirements?
Answer: Yes. Minimum age in both Wisconsin and Minnesota is 18. You also can get married at age 16 with your parents' consent.

Newspaper Wedding Announcement Information

Weddings and Engagements are published on Sundays in the La Crosse Tribune and it's website at www.lacrossetribune.com The couple or their parents must be from the La Crosse area. Please call (608) 791-8234 for other announcement information.