The Ultimate Wedding Planning Checklist
Copy and Feature Image by: Clare Prince
So the love of your life finally proposed and it’s time to plan the wedding of your dreams? Well, don’t stress because here’s the ultimate wedding checklist to help your wedding planning go as smoothly as possible.
YOU’RE ENGAGED! NOW WHAT?
Don’t start planning immediately—take some time to enjoy being engaged.
Get excited and tell all your friends and family.
Attend any and all engagement celebrations!
Choose a time of year, with a few favorite dates in mind.
Discuss the budget and who is contributing what.
Have the first of many guest list conversations to decide on the guest size.
Begin the search for the perfect venue!
Start searching for a planner, photographer, videographer, caterer, florist, and a DJ/band. (Some venues require you to use their professionals, so keep that in mind while searching.)
Start brainstorming and create all the wedding boards on Pinterest.
Get engagement photos taken, and keep in mind that some photographers include engagement photos with their wedding day price.
Create a wedding website. Trust me, this is extremely helpful for both you and your guests.
Book your ceremony and reception venues. If they are separate venues, be mindful of your guests having to travel and ensure to provide them with detailed directions.
Choose your maid of honor, bridesmaids, best man, groomsmen, flower girl, and ring bearer, and ask them! Make sure to choose people who have made an impact on your life and will help support this marriage. Try not to worry about hurting anyone’s feelings. Real friends will understand your decision, no matter what.
Find your officiant.
Go wedding dress shopping, and say yes to the dress!
Hire a planner, photographer, videographer, caterer, florist, and DJ/band. Make sure your professionals know exactly what you want for your special day.
Find a few hotel options for your out-of-town guests and put these options up on your wedding website.
Finalize the guest list.
Mail your save the dates.
Choose the bridesmaid dresses.
Browse wedding invitation designs.
Create your gift registry, and make sure to try for at least two large retailers.
Begin planning the honeymoon.
Find all the bride accessories: shoes, jewelry, veil, etc.
Find the perfect hair and makeup stylists for you and your girls!
Order the wedding invitations.
Meet with your officiant to discuss plans for the ceremony.
Reserve the necessary rentals: tables, chairs, linens, lighting, décor, etc.
Decide on what kind of cake you’d like, and schedule the tastings.
Decide what the groom and groomsmen will be wearing.
If needed, book transportation to and from venues.
Purchase the wedding rings.
Choose the flowers for the bouquets, boutonnieres, and venue decor.
Schedule dress fittings.
Book trials with hair and makeup stylists to make sure your look will be perfect on your big day.
Book the flights and hotels for the honeymoon.
Book a hotel room for the wedding night, and make sure to tell the hotel it’s your wedding night—they may upgrade you!
Order the wedding cake.
Prepare the play/do not play list for your DJ or band.
Compile a rehearsal dinner guest list.
Decide on the rehearsal dinner location.
Order invitations for the rehearsal dinner, if wanted.
Find the best place for the men to rent their tuxes.
Finalize your honeymoon plans, and ensure all the necessary documents are up to date.
Make sure the groom has been fitted for his tux and give the groomsmen the information they need. Make sure to give the groomsmen at least a month to go in and get fitted.
Finalize all the people giving toasts, prayers, or readings, and let them know ahead of time so they have plenty of time to prepare.
Finalize your reception menu with the caterer.
Purchase all the wedding decor, serving utensils, guestbook, wedding favors, signs, etc.
Mail the wedding invitations.
Develop a system for RSVPs. I highly suggest having guests RSVP on your wedding website.
Begin writing your vows.
Review the ceremony details with officiant.
Apply for a marriage license.
Start planning the seating chart.
Finalize the playlists with your DJ/band.
Ensure your bridesmaids have purchased their dresses and all fittings have been completed.
Make sure your parents and grandparents have their attire finalized.
Create a wedding day timeline and send it to your vendors, officiant, and wedding party.
Finalize transportation to and from the airport for the honeymoon.
Decide on your items for “something old, something new, something borrowed, and something blue”, if you want to do this. (Not all brides do!)
Buy any gifts needed for the bridesmaids, groomsmen, parents, etc.
Call all your vendors to confirm the date, time, and location.
Confirm your honeymoon reservations.
Pack for your honeymoon.
Pick up the wedding rings.
Finalize any wedding signs, programs, seating chart, menu cards, etc.
Have the final dress fitting with all your accessories.
Ensure the groomsmen have been fitted for their tuxes.
Send the rehearsal dinner information to respective parties.
Follow up with guests who have not RSVP’d, and finalize the seating chart.
Give the final count to the caterer, venue, etc.
Double check the playlists for the ceremony and reception with your DJ/band. You don’t want to walk down the aisle to the wrong song.
Get a final hair cut and color.
Ensure everyone has their day-of duties, and make sure to delegate!
If you have a limo driver, send them the directions to the venue. If you don't have a driver, confirm the travel plans for the wedding day.
Make the final payments to all your vendors.
Prepare your cash tips for the day of. (Labeled envelopes make it easy.)
Give your photographer and videographer your image and video wishes.
Pack your wedding day bag, and include a wedding day emergency kit.
Ask a family member or friend to return the groom’s tux and get the dress to wherever it needs to be.
Decide with your officiant who will be handle sending in all the paperwork for the marriage license, since you will be on your honeymoon.
Enjoy the bachelor/bachelorette parties!
THE DAY BEFORE
Get pampered with a mani/pedi and a massage.
Attend the wedding rehearsal and have fun at the rehearsal dinner.
Give the cash tip envelopes to your wedding planner or someone else you can trust to distribute.
Try to get a good night’s sleep!
THE BIG DAY
Attempt to eat something before the ceremony so you don’t faint.
Make sure you allow plenty of time to get ready.
Give the rings and officiant fee to the best man.
Try to relax and soak in the day. Take as many mental pictures as possible with your new spouse. The day goes by way too quickly!
AFTER THE WEDDING
Ensure the tux was returned and the dress was taken care of.
Order your thank you cards and send these out within the next year.
Complete the name changes, if needed.
Pick up your marriage license.
Make sure to personally thank all those who helped make your big day happen.
Enjoy the newlywed life!
Happy wedding planning, and good luck! What part of the wedding planning process are you most looking forward to?