Planning a wedding can be overwhelming. With an abundance of ideas and Pinterest boards out there, it’s difficult to balance the big picture and every tiny—but fun!—detail.
But don’t stress just yet. Our Ultimate Wedding Planning Checklist will help you manage every aspect, big and small, with a timeline format that’s easy to follow. This comprehensive guide covers everything—from ordering your cake to dance lessons with your fiancé.
So go ahead: Print it out, tack it to your inspiration board or binder, and breathe. We’ve got you covered.
10 – 12 months before:
[ ] Choose a wedding date.
[ ] Submit an engagement announcement to local media.
[ ] Decide the type of ceremony you want and research legal and ceremonial requirements.
[ ] Determine a guest list.
[ ] Choose your wedding party.
[ ] Reserve venues for:
[ ] Ceremony
[ ] Reception
[ ] Rehearsal dinner
[ ] Post-wedding brunch
[ ] Reserve accommodations for:
[ ] Bridal suite
[ ] Immediate family
[ ] Out-of-town guests
[ ] Book a wedding coordinator, if applicable.
[ ] Research:
[ ] Florists
[ ] Caterers
[ ] Photographers
[ ] Videographers
[ ] Bands and/or deejays
[ ] Other entertainment
[ ] Transportation
[ ] Begin wedding dress shopping.
[ ] Determine your wedding theme and colors.
[ ] Begin looking at wedding stationery and calligraphers.
[ ] Create a wedding website.
[ ] Begin whitening your teeth for engagement photos.
[ ] Throw an engagement party.
6-9 months before:
[ ] Select your officiant and discuss ceremony ideas.
[ ] Order and mail save-the-date cards.
[ ] Reserve rental equipment for the ceremony and reception, such as chairs, tables, linens and tents.
[ ] Book a florist and order all arrangements.
[ ] Book your:
[ ] Photographer
[ ] Videographer
[ ] Band and/or deejay
[ ] Any other entertainment
[ ] Transportation
[ ] Plan your honeymoon.
[ ] Meet with caterers and develop a menu.
[ ] Have an engagement photo shoot.
[ ] Order your gown and veil.
[ ] Purchase wedding dress accessories, including shoes, lingerie and purse.
[ ] Begin shopping for bridesmaid dresses.
[ ] Register for gifts.
4-5 months before:
[ ] Order your wedding invitations and choose a calligrapher, if applicable.
[ ] Select a wedding cake designer and order your cake.
[ ] Purchase wedding rings.
[ ] Order the groom and groomsmen outfits.
[ ] Order bridesmaid dresses.
[ ] Have your mother and future mother-in-law coordinate and select their dresses.
[ ] Research wedding favors.
[ ] Confirm dates for the bridal shower and the bachelorette party.
[ ] Research ideas for wedding hair and makeup.
[ ] Ask certain family members or friends if they would like to give readings, sing solos, serve as guest book attendants, or participate in other aspects of the wedding.
[ ] Interview and hire additional management staff and babysitters, if needed.
[ ] Give your bridal shower guest list to the hostess.
[ ] Consider getting wedding insurance, which will protect your wedding day costs in the event of a mishap such as inclement weather or a missing vendor.
2-3 months before:
[ ] Finalize your guest list.
[ ] Mail invitations at least eight weeks before your wedding day.
[ ] Book your hair and makeup artist.
[ ] Order wedding favors and plan welcome baskets.
[ ] Take dance lessons with your fiancé.
[ ] Purchase wedding accessories, such as guest book, toasting glasses and ring pillow.
[ ] Schedule a final menu tasting.
[ ] Find gifts for each other, your attendants, your shower hostess and your parents.
[ ] Confirm that outfits have been ordered for the groom and groomsmen.
[ ] Prepare for your honeymoon.
[ ] Select music for the ceremony, cocktail hour and reception, and finalize with musicians.
[ ] Order rehearsal dinner invitations, menus, table numbers, escort cards and other stationery accessories.
[ ] Enjoy a bachelorette party.
1-2 months before:
[ ] Attend your first bridal gown fitting.
[ ] Finalize ceremony readings and songs and review them with performers.
[ ] Order liquor or beverages not handled by the caterer.
[ ] Meet with your officiant to finalize the ceremony.
[ ] Begin writing your vows, if applicable.
[ ] Write thank-you notes for bridal showers and early wedding gifts.
[ ] Research where to get your marriage license.
[ ] Schedule the bridesmaids’ luncheon and buy attendant gifts.
[ ] Begin whitening your teeth for your wedding day.
[ ] Consider liability insurance for your reception location.
3-4 weeks before:
[ ] Finalize your jewelry, which may include something old, something new, something borrowed and something blue.
[ ] Prepare a must-have shot list for your wedding photographer and videographer.
[ ] Finalize your “must play” and “do not play” music lists and review them with musicians.
[ ] Design and order your wedding program.
[ ] Confirm honeymoon and travel arrangements and give them to loved ones in case of emergency.
[ ] Call guests who haven’t RSVP’d.
[ ] Pick up your wedding rings.
[ ] Get your marriage license, typically no more than 30 days before the wedding.
[ ] Research how to change your name.
[ ] Mail your rehearsal-dinner invitations.
[ ] Put together baskets for your guest powder rooms.
[ ] Put together a bridal emergency kit.
[ ] Meet with your stylist to test and determine wedding day makeup and hairstyles.
1-3 weeks before:
[ ] Have your final wedding gown fitting.
[ ] Break in your wedding shoes.
[ ] Finalize your wedding day schedule and share it with attendants, your parents and vendors.
[ ] Confirm:
[ ] All beauty appointments
[ ] Pick-up times and addresses with your wedding day transportation
[ ] Final headcount and give numbers to vendors
[ ] Dates, times and locations of all wedding day photo and video sessions
[ ] Dates, times and locations with all vendors
[ ] Final date and time for deliveries and pick-ups after the wedding
[ ] Pick up your wedding dress and make sure all your accessories are together.
[ ] Pick up the groom’s outfit and gather all his accessories.
[ ] Finalize your vows for the ceremony.
[ ] Get your hair colored and trimmed, if desired.
[ ] Pack for your wedding night and honeymoon.
[ ] Finalize your seating arrangements and submit them to the caterer.
[ ] Prepare place cards.
The Day before:
[ ] Prepare a list of payment envelopes, including tips, denoting who is responsible for distributing to vendors.
[ ] Hand out assignment lists and checklist to ensure everyone knows their tasks.
[ ] Gather together your wedding dress and accessories.
[ ] Get a manicure, pedicure and massage.
[ ] Rehearse the ceremony with officiant and wedding party.
[ ] Hold rehearsal dinner.
The Wedding day:
[ ] Eat breakfast.
[ ] Wear a button-down shirt or robe for your hair and makeup appointments.
[ ] Relax and have fun!
After the wedding:
[ ] Get your wedding dress cleaned and preserved.
[ ] Preserve your bouquet.
[ ] Write and mail thank you notes to guests and vendors.
[ ] Complete your name change kit.
[ ] Check into your store’s bridal registry completion program.
[ ] Meet with the photographer and videographer to finalize albums and videos.
[ ] Submit wedding announcement to local media.
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