Planning a wedding can be stressful,
but your big day should be nothing less than perfection.
Want to know how to plan your wedding,
without going crazy?
Use this comprehensive wedding checklist to ensure you have everything covered!
So he’s just popped the question…
Presuming you said yes (and we’re hoping you did as you have ended up here) you’re going to be a very busy bee as the countdown to your special day begins.
Twelve to Nine Months Before Your Wedding Day
Start spreading the news
It’s time to tell the world.
Shout it from the rooftops…go on you know you want to.
Create a wedding folder
Use this as a place to keep all the important details and any ideas you may have, from vendor contact details to your to-do lists.
Pick a date and time
One of the first questions people will ask you is ‘so when’s the big day?’
Start scouring bridal magazines, Pinterest, Tumblr, whatever you can find as there is inspiration everywhere.
Enlist the grooms to help
Try to remember it is not just ‘your’ wedding.
Get the groom involved in the planning process by letting him get excited about something he enjoys.
He’ll certainly perk up when the budget is being discussed!
Work out your budget
Speaking of budgets….determine exactly how much you have to spend based on your own and your families’ contributions.
Choose your venues and reserve the date
Decide where you will tie the knot and if the ceremony and reception will take place in the same venue.
If not, then don’t forget to factor in travel time.
Book an officiant
What’s a wedding without an officiant?
Hire a wedding planner (if you desire)
Wedding planners can be a lifesaver especially if you have a busy schedule or not much time to prepare before the big day, plus they have insights and relationships with vendors.
Pick your wedding party
Once the wedding is common knowledge people are going to want to know who’s in and who’s out.
Compile the guest list
Databases are excellent for this!
Use them to keep track of contact info, RSVPs, gifts, and anything else of relevance.
If you’re short on cash the best way to make savings is by slashing the guest list.
Let’s face it, do you really need to invite that second cousin you never speak to?
Research local vendors: Photographers, caterers, florists, and bands.
Time to hit Google!
Stash all the contact details of the ones that made your shortlist in your folder.
Throw an engagement party
Celebrations all round!
Eight to Six Months Before Your Wedding Day
Attend bridal shows/expos
Bridal shows and expos are every bride to be’s dream.
Decide on your weddings theme
Are you going green or will it be a winter wonderland?
Pick out the wedding colors
Once you know your theme it’s all about the colors.
Start shopping for your dress
Finding the perfect dress isn’t easy and it certainly isn’t something you’ll want to leave till the last minute.
Plus you will need time for at least two/three fittings.
Find attire for the groom
All that talk about your dress, but what about the groom!
Will it be top hat and tails or something with a more modern twist?
Shop for the wedding party
Kitting out the wedding party is a whole other ball game.
All outfits will need to be ordered and sized, and of course they will need to compliment your dress.
Discuss pricing options with vendors
This is where you can attempt to snag yourself a few deals or extras.
Let the groom do the talking if he’s more of a schmoozer than you.
Hire your photographer
No need for a pre-wedding shoot yet, just make sure you are on the same page and you are getting everything YOU want out of the deal.
Photographs are a big, big, big part of the day so choose a photographer that makes you feel comfortable.
Book your entertainment
The entertainment will be one of the main focal points of the day, after you obviously, so don’t be afraid to splurge a little on a live band or something truly unique that won’t be forgotten in a hurry.
Meet with caterers
If your venue doesn’t offer catering services, start looking for some now and snap up your fave before someone else does.
Find the perfect wedding cake
Taste testing the wedding cake has got to be one of the best parts of planning a wedding!
Organize your baker now and choose your cake design.
Create a wedding website
A wedding website is ideal for guests to find all the information they need in one place.
In other words, they won’t have to bother you all the time.
Meet with the officiant
Plan the ceremony, discuss documentation and any final details.
Gather your guests’ addresses
Assign this to a family member or if you dare…the groom.
Send save the date cards
Pop them in the post and you’re good to go.
Choose invitations that reflect your personality and theme.
Some people think it’s rude to register, but trust me it definitely is not!
Who wants to end up with six dinner sets and three toasters?
Sign up with a selection of retailers if possible.
Five to Four Months Before Your Wedding Day
Compose a timeline for the big day
Decide on the schedule for your big day.
Cake cutting, first dance, etc…
Reserve any equipment you may need
Whatever equipment you need, such as extra chairs, lighting, or a stage, reserve it now.
Arrange necessary transport
From limos to taxis make sure everyone knows exactly how and when they are arriving at the venue.
Book the florist
Once you have a clear color palette it is time to arrange your flowers.
Florists are flexible as they can serve multiple clients in one day, so don’t worry about leaving this to-do till now.
Plan the rehearsal dinner
If you’re having a rehearsal dinner organize and negotiate the cost.
Find your shoes and accessories
Time to find the finishing touches for your wedding outfit.
Start dress fittings
Take your shoes and accessories along with you so the tailor can get to grips with the appropriate length.
Let your tailor know if you are planning on dieting in the next few months.
Book hair and makeup
Select a local expert and take some pics during the test run.
Feel free to try out more than one.
Choose your music
Put together a playlist of your favorite tunes and decide which ones will be used when you’re walking down the aisle, for the first dance, during dinner etc…
Make wedding night reservations
Book accommodation for your wedding night if it is not included with your chosen venue.
Reserve hotel rooms for out of town guests
Research and reserve rooms for guests coming from out of town.
Provide a few options at varying price ranges.
Request time off work
If you need time off for the celebration and/or the honeymoon request it early.
Plan your honeymoon
If you can ever justify a luxury retreat this is it.
Ensure passports and shots are up to date.
Three Months Before Your Wedding Day
Finalize food and flowers
Now you know what seasonal options will be available make any final requests or changes.
Order or make your wedding favors
From love hearts to lollipops, there are plenty of delicious favors you can opt for.
Source your decor
Shop for wedding bands
Find those oh so important wedding bands which will unite you forever!
Determine the readings
Finalize any readings and who will be giving them.
Splurge on some fancy underwear
Everything should be fresh and new – with you feeling as sexy as ever!
Second dress fitting
Revisit the tailor.
Decide who is giving a toast
Ask your loved ones who wants to give a toast at the reception.
Or better yet you tell them!
Print programs and menu cards
Who needs a professional printer: use your home printer to save time and cash.
Start watching your weight
Now is not the time to start snacking out or binge eating.
If you are aiming to lose a few pounds you will want to get a move on.
Two Months Before Your Wedding Day
Meet your photographer
Get a feel for what it will be like on the day with a pre-wedding shoot.
Visit all the locations and point out any spots that particularly appeal to you.
Review your entertainment
Share your wishlist of songs or at least style with the band or DJ.
Send schedule to all vendors
Letting all vendors know exactly how things are going to operate will give them a chance to make any tweaks etc…
Buy gifts for the wedding party
Purchase those extra special gifts for all members of the wedding party.
Ensure wedding party have outfits and accessories
Double check with the wedding party that they all have their outfits and accessories under wraps.
Engrave your rings (if you desire)
If you want to get your rings engraved, do so now.
Send out invites
The general rule when it comes to sending wedding invitations is six to eight weeks before the event, with an RVSP cutoff at two to three weeks.
Enjoy the bachelor and bachelorette parties
Providing your beloved friends, in particular the maid of honor and best man, have gone to the trouble – enjoy your parties and let loose a little!
One Month Before Your Wedding Day
Finalize guest list
By now you should have received all of your RSVPs.
Contact people who haven’t responded
If there are some people who haven’t replied trying contacting them encase their invitation got lost in the mail.
Write your wedding vows
If you are writing your own vows start putting your ideas to paper.
Design the table plan
Sketch a layout of the room and tables to help plan the seating arrangement.
Use colored sticky notes for guests so you don’t have to resketch every time you move someone.
Make or buy place cards
Choose place cards that match the theme of the wedding and ask the family member with the neatest handwriting to fill them out.
Organize your marriage licence
This process usually takes around a week, but it is good to get it out of the way early on.
Last dress fitting
Hopefully this will be your last dress fitting, but to be on the safe side schedule an appointment on the week of the wedding.
If you stay the same weight between now and then you can always cancel it.
Check in with the vendors
Touch base again with all your vendors to ensure clarity after you sent the schedule.
Confirm hair and makeup
Confirm times for hair and makeup vendors.
Send out final payments
Settle up with all your vendors.
Make sure designated drivers have directions
E-mail or print out directions for any designated drivers to give them time to plan their route.
Send rehearsal dinner invitations
Simple and elegant is enough for the rehearsal invitations.
Stock the bar
Now you have a definite headcount you can go ahead and buy the desired alcohol.
Give caterer and venues headcount
Let the caterer and any venues know how many people to expect so they can plan accordingly.
Buy a guestbook
Guestbooks are a nice touch for everyone to write their congratulations to the bride and groom on the big day.
The Week of the Wedding
Reconfirm all details with vendors
For the final time and for your own sanity, reconfirm arrival times and any other details with all vendors.
Delegate wedding day tasks
Dish out those important wedding day tasks, from carrying your dress to whose doling out the checks.
Pick up dress and the grooms suit
Pick up the outfits or if you’re pushed for time arrange delivery.
Write checks for vendors
Make sure you have all payments sorted for any outstanding vendor bills.
Seal them in envelopes and add a tip if you’re feeling generous, although by this point you might be completely broke!
Break in shoes
Could anything be more horrifying than slipping down the aisle? Break your shoes in to get rid of that shiny surface and avoid blisters.
Attend the rehearsal dinner to ensure everything will go to plan.
Take a spa treatment
Pamper yourself to a relaxing massage or body wrap. The big day is nearly upon you so take this time to unwind.
Visit the beauty salon
Get a manicure, pedicure, eyebrow wax, lash extensions, haircut, whatever you need.
Emergency sewing kit
An emergency sewing kit is an absolute must in case of well…an emergency!
Something old, something new, something borrowed, something blue
It just wouldn’t be a wedding without this one.
Pack for the honeymoon
Pack your suitcase for when you jet off into the sunset.
Your Wedding Day
Make the most of this once in a lifetime experience.
After Your Wedding Day
BREATHE AND RELAX
Enjoy your honeymoon and life as a newlywed!
Obviously for some of us lovely ladies we will have a lot less time than the average bride, meaning we will need to get things organized and finalized at lightning quick speed.
In my case I only had FOUR MONTHS!!!
I know…talk about piling the pressure on.
I only wish I had a checklist like this to stop my head from spinning!
The best advice I can give is to SAVE THIS CHECKLIST to your favorites and refer back to it whenever you feel the need, or even better print it out and guard it with your life!
Let Us Know Your Thoughts…
Did we miss anything….what do you think?
About the Author
If you need to know about Weddings or Social Events, Abigail’s your gal, blogging away at Estate Weddings and Events! Sharing her passion for the environment, arts and crafts, and frugality, she enjoys adding a chic twist to anything DIY. Never seen without camera in hand, Abigail is completely and utterly in love with love! You can follow Abigail on Google+ here.