A wedding is one of the most important and memorable dates in a couple’s calendar. This life-changing event is the start of a new beginning as husband and wife, and as a groom or bride-to-be, you want to make sure that everything goes smoothly and as close to perfect as possible.
While weddings are beautiful, it can be overwhelming to plan and arrange. There are ways to make the tasks fun rather than stressful, like putting things into a list and organizing them accordingly as the date draws near. When you break the wedding into sections on your list, you’ll know where to start and how to deal with each one, without being overwhelmed. In this article, we’ll give you the ultimate wedding planning checklist to make sure you can get things done.
After the engagement or when you’re ready to start planning
You already said “yes!” and you have the ring on, but this is just the beginning. Depending on the agreed engagement length with your partner, you’ll have to start planning. A year, or twelve months, seem to be ideal for many because you have many options for the venue and other arrangements compared with when you have lesser time. Here are some things to consider at this point:
- You can have an optional engagement party.
- Sit down with your partner to talk about what kind of wedding you’re going to have. It’s crucial that you are on the same page, can compromise, or come into an agreement. For example, you might want something grand and your partner wants something intimate, so you’ll have to communicate.
- Choose potential wedding dates. Coming up with 3–5 days will be best for flexibility with other factors.
- Think about the guest list. This is vital to know at this stage because it’s going to be one of the deciding factors for the venue. At the same time, you’ll need to know if important guests can make it on which potential dates.
- Estimate your budget and determine who is contributing which to the wedding. Determine if the parents or the bride or the family of the groom are in the picture, or if this is something that you want to spend by yourselves.
12 months before the date
- Start looking for and visiting potential venues for your ceremony and reception and consider if they’re separate.
- Research for the best suppliers to create a team of professionals and lessen your wedding day stress. You can look for linen rentals like BBJ Linens, florists, photographer and videographer, hair and makeup artists, caterer, a wedding planner if necessary, and entertainment.
- Begin choosing your wedding party: best man and groomsmen, maid of honor and bridesmaids, flower girls, and ring bearer.
- Talk to your partner and decide if you’re getting an engagement ring and wedding insurance.
- Start getting ideas for your wedding dress, color schemes, invitations, and save the date designs by creating Pinterest boards.
- Plan your honeymoon and set a budget. If you’re going to travel to a foreign country, make sure that your passports are up to date or renew them.
- Start a skin care regimen or health routine to feel and look your best, especially if you want a wedding to remember.
10–11 months before the date
- Reserve your ceremony and reception venues.
- Book your officiant and premarriage courses that may be required.
- Pop the question to your wedding party.
- Send out your save the date cards.
- Hire the suppliers that you have chosen as your caterer, linen and equipment suppliers, band or musicians, florist, photographer and videographer, and wedding planner.
- Research accommodations for guests that are from out of town.
- Book flights and hotel for your honeymoon.
- Shop your wedding dress, undergarments, and veil. You need to schedule for at least three fittings. By getting this done in the early part of the preparation, you save on “rush order” fees.
- Go to cake taste tests and choose your wedding cake flavor.
- Establish your fitness routine.
8–9 months before the date
- Refine your guest list.
- Reserve hotel room blocks for your guests.
- Create your wedding gift registry.
- Start deciding on wedding invitation designs and sourcing or if you want to DIY.
- Consider programs, menu cards, thank you cards, and favors.
- Think about the color scheme and hire the décor provider.
- Purchase the bridal party dresses and schedule their fittings.
- Look into the transportation needs of your guests from the hotel or from the ceremony venue to the reception.
- Book your wedding night suite.
- Check with your suppliers if there are any other rentals needed.
- Revisit your budget to make sure you’re on track and make necessary adjustments.
6–7 months before the date
- Look for and book the venue for a rehearsal dinner.
- Hire ceremony musicians and lighting technician for your venue. These subtle details can create the right ambiance and picture-perfect setting.
- Start planning your honeymoon activities.
- Meet with your best man and bridesmaids for the hen and stag parties.
- Meet with your officiant to discuss the ceremony plans.
- Decide on the groomsmen’s attire.
- Start considering your wedding hair and makeup.
- Order the wedding invitations, thank you cards, place cards, menu cards, programs, and favors.
- Talk to your florist about the flower choices and arrangement.
- Start drafting the program and timeline of your wedding ceremony and reception.
5–4 months before the date
- Give notice for your intention to marry to the registrar. This is a legal requirement, and you must give at least three months’ advance notice.
- Finalize the guest list.
- Book and arrange the transportation for the guests and the bridal car.
- Rent or buy the groom’s tuxedo.
- Schedule the groomsmen’s fittings.
- Start premarital counseling.
- Choose the ceremony readings, prayers, and music.
- Schedule a final tasting with your caterer and order your cake.
- Purchase wedding bands.
- Hire your hair and makeup artist and have a trial.
- Get travel vaccinations for your honeymoon, as needed.
- Choose the list of songs and give it to the band or musicians.
- Finalize the rehearsal dinner guest list.
- Purchase gifts for your wedding party.
2–3 months before the date
- If you haven’t given your notification for intent to marry, three months before the date is your last chance!
- Send out your wedding invitations with RSVPs due a month before the wedding date.
- Send out your rehearsal dinner invitations.
- Get your marriage license.
- Meet your officiant to invite him or her to the rehearsal dinner.
- Consider a photo booth rental and book if you do decide on it.
- Go to your dress fitting appointments.
- Organize your gift bags for parents, wedding party, and each other.
- Start buying your accessories like shoes, bow ties, belts, hair pieces, guestbook, ring bearer pillow, flower baskets, and others.
- Finalize all your honeymoon plans and documents.
- Plan your guest seating during the ceremony and the reception.
- Start writing your vows.
- Develop a system for your RSVPs.
- Meet your bridal party to help you with the details on the day.
1 month before the date
- Finalize the seating chart.
- Visit the venue for a final walk through, bringing a list of questions you may have forgotten to ask beforehand.
- Have a final dress fitting.
- Call up all your suppliers and vendors to confirm the date, time, and location and make last-minute adjustments.
- Follow up guests who haven’t responded to the RSVP.
- Confirm all honeymoon reservations.
- Pack for your honeymoon.
- Pick up your wedding rings.
- Start writing your “thank you” notes as you receive gifts.
- Meet your photographer and give him or her a shot list.
- Find something old, something new, something borrowed, and something blue, if you want to follow this is your tradition.
- Break into your wedding shoes to avoid blisters.
- Collect the bridesmaids’ dresses.
2 weeks before the date
- Pick up your wedding dress.
- Pick up the groom’s tuxedo and groomsmen’s outfits.
- Give your venue and caterer the final guest headcount.
- Update your registries.
- Prepare your full payment for all the vendors and suppliers.
- Write your speeches and finalize your vows.
- Review your checklist to make sure you haven’t missed anything out.
- Confirm the preparation times with your vendors and stylists.
The final week before the date
- Take care of personal things like your hair color, manicure and pedicure, massage, and any pampering before the big day.
- Practice your vows.
- Do a full wedding dress rehearsal, including your veil, undergarments, and shoes.
- Give ceremony readers their scripts.
- Book spa treatments for your bridal party.
- Build your bridal emergency kit with tissue, sewing kit, safety pins, lipstick, and others.
- Check the weather forecast and think of alternative plans as needed.
- Assign a contact person, maybe a bridesmaid or a groomsman, for the wedding day, and provide them with the phone numbers of the suppliers.
- Pack your overnight bag with all the clothes and accessories that you might need.
A day before the wedding
- Call up your wedding party to remind them of the meeting time and place.
- Eat well.
- Rest early and sleep for eight hours.
Let go and enjoy every minute of it all!