Planning your wedding is no easy task… there are so many huge details to remember (and be sure not to forget about those little details also!) That is why we have put together this wedding planning checklist to help you out throughout the entire planning process.
We have even included a handy printable of this wedding planning checklist that you can add to your wedding planning notebook or folder to help you make sure you get all the important details crossed off your list by the time your wedding date has arrived!
I am sure if you are newly engaged (congrats by the way!!!) you have already started a “wedding ideas” Pinterest page, or started tearing pages out of wedding magazines with beautiful dresses, decoration ideas and more… now is the time to start using your ideas and getting things planned out.
Here is our handy wedding planning checklist to help you make sure you have everything complete and organized all throughout your planning process.
One Year Before
- Pick a wedding date.
- Work out your budget. Determine how much you are able to spend based on what your family will help you out with or what you and your soon-to-be spouse can afford to spend.
- Choose your wedding party (and then ask each one!)
- Hire a wedding planner if you want the help.
- Determine the location for your wedding. Did you want to have a destination wedding or one in your hometown? Either way, figure out the location before you start scoping out venues.
- Research your venue. Are you going to have the ceremony at a church before the reception or will both the ceremony and reception be in the same location? If separate, make sure you book the church early as well to make sure it is available on your date!
- Book your officiant. Are you going to have someone you know marry the two of you? Whoever it is, be sure to ask and book them early!
- Start researching photographers, florists, entertainment and caterers.
- Put together your guest list.
- Throw an engagement party for your family and friends!
Six to Eight Months Before
- Hire your photographer and videographer. Be sure to meet with any potential favorites before you make your final decision. Remember, your wedding photography is a momento you will cherish for the rest of your lives!
- Book a florist. Meet with them to work out the types of floral arrangement and bouquets you will need for your wedding. If you want floral centerpieces, make sure you talk with them about those too!
- Start meeting with potential caterers. Does your venue have a caterer they already use or do you need to find your own? Make sure you get menus and find foods that fit your wedding theme. And of course make sure that everything tastes great as well!
- Buy your wedding gown!
- Create a wedding website that all of your guests can look at to see photos and details for your upcoming nuptials.
- Select and purchase your invitations.
- Start thinking about honeymoon ideas. If you plan to go out of the country, be sure to make sure your passports are up-to-date so you are not rushing around at the last minute fixing those!
- Pick out bridesmaid dresses. Make sure each of your bridesmaids has theirs fitted and ordered with at least 6 months to spare just to make sure they come in on time.
- Send out your save-the-date cards.
- Reserve any “extras” you need. For example, if you are having an outdoor wedding, you may need extra chairs, tents, portable toilets, extra electrical equipment to set up lighting, etc.
- Arrange transportation for you and your wedding guests if necessary.
- Create a wedding day timeline. Remember this is the first draft and things can change closer to the event!
Four to Five Months Before
- Book the rehearsal and rehearsal dinner venue.
- Pick out and order your cake! You also want to make sure you can attend a few tasting before selecting a baker of your choice.
- Dress fitting time! Make sure you have the shoes you plan to wear on your wedding day so you can do your fittings in your shoes to get the appropriate length of your gown.
- Pick out specific music for your entire event. What music do you want when you walk down the isle? How about when the wedding party is announced? Make sure you keep a list of every song you want to hear played (and ones you can’t stand either!)
Three Month Before
- Schedule a hair appointment run through to make sure you love the style you want to do on the big day.
- Finalize your menu and flowers. You want to make sure you wait until about 3 months out to finalize these since both your food and flowers are affected by the season you are getting married in.
- Wedding favors. Order the ones you want or start purchasing all the materials if you plan to create your own DIY favors.
- Finalize ceremony readings. Are there specific verses or readings you want to hear during the ceremony? Do you have specific people you want to read them? Be sure to ask each person to make sure they are comfortable.
- Purchase all your undergarments you will wear with your wedding gown. Be sure to bring them to wear at your next dress fitting! (Also, don’t forget any garments you may want to purchase for the honeymoon!)
- Revisit your day of timeline and finalize. Send this schedule to all of your vendors.
- Print ceremony programs, menu cards, place cards and anything else needed.
- Purchase your wedding rings. Also be sure to get them fitted and resized if needed.
- Send out your invitations. Make sure you set a cut off date for RSVPs.
Two Months Before
- Meet with your photographer. Discuss specific shots you want and perhaps take them to the location to note spots throughout the venue that you love.
- Send your song “wish list” to the bank or DJ.
- Have a bachelorette party! This is typically planned out by your maid of honor but many times the bride has a bit of a say in what you all have planned.
One Month Before
- Keep track of all RSVPs. Follow up with those who have not yet responded. Finalize your guest list numbers.
- Get your marriage license. Remember that this process can often take up to six days and varies depending on the location.
- Send out rehearsal dinner invitations if you plan to do so.
- Have your final dress fitting!
- Final menu and bar stocking. Since you have your final head count you can provide those final numbers to the caterers and bartenders to plan out beverages and food.
- If you can pay final payments, go ahead and send them off so you do not have to worry with money the day of the event. Money is the last thing you will be thinking about!
- Confirm all your day of (or day before the wedding) appointments including hair and makeup.
- Make sure any drivers have directions and addresses to where they will be going.
- Are you going to do assign seating during the reception? If so, it is helpful to draw out where you want everyone to be. An easy idea is to use pink sticky notes for females and blue for the men and then you can move people around easily as you figure out where to sit everyone without having to redraw the entire seating chart.
- Buy gifts for the bridal party. These gifts are typically given out at the rehearsal dinner.
- Write and finalize your vows if you are writing them on your own.
- Get your hair cut. If you need it colored, be sure to do that as well. You do not want to wait until a few days before just in case something doesn’t turn out right… you want to make sure you have time to fix it!
The Week of the Wedding!
- Delegate tasks for the day of the wedding. Make sure one bridesmaid knows she needs to bustle your dress. Ask another to make sure your luggage gets put in the limo if you are heading straight to the airport or a hotel.
- Make sure all of the bridal party knows where to be and when.
- Pick up your dress if you do not already have it.
- Get all of the final checks ready to give to vendors if you still have to pay them.
- Check in one last time with each vendor to make sure all is on track.
- Relax (or try to) with a manicure and pedicure.
- Send the absolutely final guest list to the caterer all venues.
- Pack for your honeymoon.
We hope this wedding planning checklist has been helpful to you! You can print it out, put it in your wedding binder and check each task off the list as you get it done!