The Ultimate Wedding Planning Checklist

Most newly engaged brides feel that once the question has been asked, they have to jump into planning their entire wedding over the first few days. The initial excitement of wearing a beautiful ring can turn into stressful to-do lists in order to put together a gorgeous wedding. If you haven’t planned a party before, then a wedding can feel like an intimidating task. But when the event planning is broken up into a series of smaller and more manageable lists, it becomes less overwhelming and a fun process to enjoy with your fiancé and family!

Twelve to Nine Months Ahead

  1. Discuss and think about the wedding size, style, level of formality
  2. Discuss with family their financial contribution
  3. Discuss with your fiancé the financial contributions you would each like to contribute
  4. Determine an overall budget
  5. Begin defining overall style of wedding
  6. Determine what your personal priorities are for your wedding
  7. Compile guest list and organize addresses
  8. Choose and book wedding planner
  9. Choose ceremony and reception venues
  10. Finalize the wedding date
  11. Shop for and purchase wedding day attire

Nine to Six Months Ahead

  1. Choose and ask attendants
  2. Begin shopping for bridesmaid attire
  3. Choose and book wedding designer and florist
  4. Choose and book officiant
  5. Book caterer
  6. Book music for both ceremony and reception
  7. Book photographer
  8. Reserve a room block at hotel where you desire your guests to stay
  9. Rent necessary items for your wedding (chairs, tables, tent)
  10. Begin working on invitations with stationery designer
  11. Start planning your honeymoon
  12. Create wedding website
  13. Send out save the dates

Four to Six Months Ahead

  1. Arrange for transportation needs
  2. Complete invitations with stationery designer
  3. Book calligrapher
  4. Register for gifts
  5. Purchase wedding bands
  6. Purchase groom’s and groomsmen attire
  7. Finalize and purchase bridesmaids’ attire
  8. Purchase the undergarments/ lingerie that your dress requires
  9. Choose a hotel and book a room for the wedding night
  10. Decide on favors and packaging
  11. Choose gifts for the wedding party
  12. Book a makeup artist
  13. Book hair stylist
  14. Keep working through design concepts with wedding designer

Two to Four Months Ahead

  1. Talk through menu and service details with your caterer
  2. Work with designer to finalize cake concept, choose flavors and book baker
  3. Discuss the ceremony details with the officiant and coordinator
  4. Write your wedding vows (if you will be writing your own)
  5. Schedule rehearsal time and rehearsal dinner location
  6. Do trial makeup and hair
  7. Finalize design concepts with designer

Six to Eight Weeks Ahead

  1. Mail out invitations

One to Two Months Ahead

  1. Purchase your guest book
  2. Compile information for day-of stationery and send to graphic designer
  3. Keep track of RSVPs as they come in
  4. Start forming your seating chart
  5. Send photography shot list to photographer
  6. Compile song selections and send to band/DJ
  7. Obtain marriage license, and request the necessary required copies

Two Weeks Ahead

  1. Schedule your final dress fitting using the actual shoes and lingerie you will be wearing
  2. Finish your seating chart
  3. Notify coordinator and caterer with your final head count
  4. Finish writing your vows and toasts that you will give
  5. Break in your wedding shoes
  6. Compile welcome baskets and handwritten notes

One Week Ahead

  1. Relax and let your coordinator call and confirm with all of your vendors
  2. Pick up dress from alterations
  3. Assemble everything you need for your wedding day
  4. Begin packing for honeymoon
  5. Confirm all details of the honeymoon, and hand off itinerary to family and a few close friends in case of an emergency

One Day Ahead

  1. Make sure you have everything on the ‘wedding day checklist’ compiled and ready to go
  2. Have a manicure and pedicure
  3. Prepare gratuity and payment envelopes for vendors, and hand off to your coordinator
  4. Hand off toasting goblets, cake knife and server to coordinator or venue
  5. Rehearse your ceremony
  6. Hold your rehearsal dinner

Your Wedding Day

  1. Relax and savor every moment, it will go by very quickly

Wedding Day Checklist

  1. Gown and veil
  2. Shoes, hosiery, undergarments
  3. Jewelry
  4. Makeup
  5. Perfume
  6. Nail polish and manicure kit
  7. Emergency kit (include aspirin, needle and thread, stain remover)
  8. Hair necessities: hairdryer, curling iron, hairspray, pins
  9. Toothbrush, toothpaste, breath mints
  10. Handkerchief/ tissues
  11. Copies of the schedule for attendants and vendors
  12. Written toasts
  13. Marriage license
  14. Wedding rings
  15. Ring bearer pillow/ flower girl baskets
  16. A copy of the vows and readings to be recited at the ceremony
  17. Suitcases packed and ready
  18. Travel documents and passports

If you are at the beginning of planning your wedding, read through the to-do list several times to get a feel for what is to come. Depending on your circumstances, you may want to skip ahead and jump around the list. Don’t let yourself get stressed out if you aren’t able to complete a task in its given timeframe, just finish it when you can. Now that you’re organized, relax and enjoy! 

Article: Jamie Moore of Sinclair and Moore Events | Photography: Rylee Hitchner | Flowers: Rosegolden Flowers | Graphic: Hannah Lee