If you are recently engaged you need a Wedding Planning Checklist. Already you know your life has become a whirlwind of planning, people asking when the big day is, what are you going to wear, where is it going to be. Endless amount of questions from well, meaning family and friends. BUT it can get overwhelming pretty quickly. That is why it is important to stay as organized as possible with a Wedding Planning Checklist so that you can enjoy this wonderful time in your life.
Free Wedding Checklist Download Below
Below I’ve compiled a 12-18-month checklist so that you can keep track of all of the details that need to happen. I encourage you to go through the entire list and see what things you and your fiancé have to do and what things you can delegate to family and your bridal party.
Most importantly, don’t forget to have fun!
12 – 18 Months Before Your Big Day
TOP ITEM: Set your budget. This should be the first thing you set because it will definitely set the tone for the rest of the planning. If your families will be helping pay for your big day make sure you know how much they will be contributing or exactly what areas of the wedding they will be picking up the cost for; i.e., reception, dress, transportation, etc. It’s important to get that conversation out of the way so you then know how to plan for the rest of the items.
NOTE: If others are paying for part of your wedding, they will want some input.
- Announce your engagement! Hooray!
- Have an engagement party – totally optional but a photo shoot would be nice as the pictures can also be used for your save-the-date cards
- Decide on a season or theme; this will help you narrow down your date
- Research and visit reception venue and caterers – this is crucial as venues are now booking over 12-months ahead of time. BUT if you are thinking of something less traditional or more intimate look into your favorite restaurant, brewery, wine bar, a garden or antique store.
- Decide whether your ceremony will be at a church, the venue or other location. Keep in mind proximity of the different locations for the day.
- Research photographers; look through their websites for the different styles and make sure to read reviews
- Select your bridal party – make them feel special and ask in a fun way
- Attend bridal shows – some may think it’s cheesy, but they’re so much FUN and you may get great ideas even if you are a DIY couple
- Start thinking of style of attire and accessories
- Start thinking of guest list, number of total guests and if children will or will not be included
Visit theknot to research local venues and vendors for your wedding.
9 – 12 Months Before Your Big Day
TOP ITEMS: Set your date and book your reception venue and church/ceremony venue
NOTE: Make sure to ask what are additional costs, i.e, cake cutting, linen rental, etc.
- Confirm your theme and color palette
- Book your celebrant/officiant if not a traditional religious venue
- Book your photographer/videographer
- Send out Save-the-Dates
- If you’re having an out of town wedding, book a block of hotel rooms for guests
- Book your entertainment – will it be a band, a DJ or iTunes
- Book your florist – think of your bouquet, bridal party, parents and venue decor
- Start looking at wedding invitations to match your season or theme
- Choose and order your wedding attire – make sure to think of your undergarments. They are just as important that day
6 – 9 Months Before Your Big Day
- Explore wedding favor options and either order or purchase supplies to make them – make sure you order/make extras in case of damage and to make sure you get one too
- Explore cake styles and flavors – make sure to schedule a cake tasting
- Purchase your wedding rings
- Book transportation needs. If it’s a destination wedding, how will guests get around?
- Start thinking of your honeymoon locations
4 – 6 Months Before Your Big Day
- Plan bachelor/bacholerette parties
- Arrange your wedding night accommodations
- Research hair and makeup artists
- Book rehearsal dinner location
- If you’re having a destination wedding, make sure to create welcome bags/gifts for guests
- Purchase your shoes – you will need for final fitting and to have ample time to break them in
- Work on your music playlist – pick song for your first dance, dance with parents, wedding party intro music. Also, make sure to tell the DJ/band if there is a style of music you do not want played.
2 – 4 Months Before Your Big Day
TOP ITEMS – Send out wedding invitations at least 8 weeks
- Finalize catering menu – it’s always nice to have options for vegetarians
- Make sure you have all of the documents needed to obtain your marriage license
- Create or order program book – make sure to give mention to parents and this is the place where you can write a message honoring family members who are no longer with us
- All the small details – cake server, guest book, toasting flutes, cake topper, any decor you want to provide, i.e., candles, candy bar. Also, if it’s an outdoor ceremony will it be cold where you need pashminas, hot where you will need sunglasses? Do you want to provide flip flops for the party and any special signs you want to use for decorating i.e., Welcome, Sign our Guest Book, Dancing Shoes, etc.)
- Meet with florist confirm details on color, flower selection, how many centerpieces, bridal party arrangements, mother corsages, etc.? Make sure to include fathers in the boutonniere count
- Have a hair/makeup trial. Make sure to bring your headpiece/veil to the trial
- Book your honeymoon – if traveling international, make sure your passport is at least good for 6 months. If you are traveling within the US, make sure you research the new law on the need for an enhanced driver’s license; in NY it starts October 2020.
1 – 2 Months Before Your Big Day
TOP ITEMS – Final fittings, obtain marriage license
- Track RSVPs and start finalizing seating arrangements – get your bridal party to follow up with those non-responders
- Create escort cards
- If it’s a destination wedding, start assembling gift bags
- Connect with vendors and confirm details on timing
- Book your honeymoon
- Buy gifts for parents and wedding party
- Make any vendor final payments
- Meet with photographer/videographer and give them a list of the shots you really want. You don’t want to be scrambling that day trying to figure it out. Give them the list and let them do it for you
1 Week Before Your Big Day
- Create and distribute a final day of schedule to vendors and wedding party
- Provide caterer with final guest count
- Finalize your vows and start practicing
- Pick up wedding attire
- Make sure to have a purse or a place to keep touch up items and tissues and designate someone to hold those for you
- Pamper yourself – facial, massage, waxing, teeth whitening…the works!
- Write a special note for your beloved that can be delivered on the day of
Day Before Your Big Day
- If you have welcome bag/gifts, make sure they get to the hotel before guests check in
- Make sure the best man has the rings and the final payment envelopes for vendors
- Attend rehearsal and rehearsal dinner
- Make sure bridal party has their attire, shoes and jewelry
- Pack for honeymoon
- Stay hydrated – breathe and relax
- Go to sleep early!
Your Big Day
- Stay hydrated for sure
- Please make sure to eat something – it’ll be a long day
- Lay out your rings, a copy of your invitation, shoes and dress so that everything is ready when the photographer gets there
- Make sure to thank people around you…they are so excited for you and just want to help
- Send your special note to your beloved
Enjoy your day because today you marry your best friend!
As always, feel free to contact me with any question, comments or suggestions. Until next time...Love What You Do and Do What You Love.