Wedding Planning Checklist
When you are planning your wedding it is wise to keep a list of what needs to get done, in what order you should do it and when it needs to be completed by. This will help make sure you maintain your sanity as you get closer to your big wedding day and do not have to panic and rush at the last minute to get things organized.
A lot of people take about a year to get married once they are engaged. However, this really does vary widely from couple to couple. Some couples about to enter into marriage only take a month or two to pull off a successful wedding and others may take the planning much slower and take much longer than a year. No matter how long you have to plan this information aims to give you some support as to what needs to be done in any given time period before your wedding. Note that this is a general list and you may remove or add things to it to fit your personal style of wedding and wishes.
The wedding planning tasks are divided into a few different areas as you can see below (some could belong in a couple of categories or could be broken up further, however, this aims to give an overview, feel free to modify to suit your needs).
Also note that you can download a checklist/calendar spreadsheet with this information where you can add your own timeline to go along with it and help you stay on track. (Note that the default timeline attached is only one option, it can be condensed, expanded or completely changed to fit your timeline and approach. The same thing goes for the tasks included, you may need to add more or remove some.
Timing and planning duration needed depend on a variety of things such as season, size of wedding, location, etc. please take this into account when you modify the timeline.
- Research and book ceremony venue (church or other)
- Research, select and book justice of peace or minister (depending on where you are getting married)
- Write wedding vows or find some you like (if you want to write your own that is)
- Book/plan wedding ceremony rehearsal with all of those that are going to walk down the aisle and stand with you for the ceremony
- Select and order additional decorations if desired
- Choose and order wedding rings
- Decide whether or not you want to have a receiving line
- Research, visit and book wedding venue (make sure you are well informed of their terms of agreement, payment, timelines and what services they provide and what you will need/want outside providers for)
- Plan reception cocktails
- Select dinner menu and beverages (check what they do for food allergies, vegetarian options, etc. if needed)
- Decide and communicate how to handle bar services (open bar, dollar bar, etc.)
- Check if equipment such as PA system, microphone, stereo, projector etc. is available
- If getting married at a hotel venue check to see if your guests will receive a discount and if so what that is (make sure to give this information in your invitations)
- A few weeks (determine this timeline with your contact at the wedding reception venue) ahead of the wedding, contact the venue to confirm all the details such as menu, number of guests, meal selections, bar, etc.
- Determine seating plan
- Print menus and seating charts
- Plan and order table decorations (confirm if the wedding reception venue staff will set this up for you or if you need to delegate this responsibility to one of your guests)
- Order wedding cake (check with your wedding reception venue if they can store the wedding cake for you)
- Delegate responsibilities to reliable guests to look over such things as the guest book, gift table, etc. (do check with the reception venue as to whether or not they can supply tables or other requirements you might have)
- Determine who in the wedding party and any other family or friends will make speeches and decide which order for them to speak
- Write out and practice your wedding speeches
- Research and select florist
- Order flowers and pay down payment (if required)
- Confirm your flower order (bridal bouquet, groom, wedding party and perhaps the mothers and grandmothers of the bride and groom and of course any table centerpieces or venue decorations you plan on having)
- Arrange for someone to pick up and transport the flowers the day of the wedding unless you are taking care of this yourself
- A few weeks before your wedding confirm all the details with the florist to make sure your order is correct and 'on track'
- Let the florist know who is picking up the flowers
- Optional: send the florist a picture of the flowers from the wedding as a token of appreciation and something they can use in their 'portfolio'
Clothing and Accessories:
- Wedding dress
- Attire for the groom
- Attire for the wedding party (buy dresses, coordinate tux/suits or rent etc.)
- Hair accessories
- Outdoor garments and shoes if needed depending on season and location etc.
- Wedding ring pillow
- Underwear (for the bride if nothing else)
- Set up appointment for hair up-do (trial)
- Set up appointment for hair up-do for the day of the wedding
- Set up appointment for make-up (trial)
- Set up appointment for make-up for the day of the wedding
- Research, taste-test and select food vendors (unless you are having your wedding reception at a venue that provide and reserve the rights to provide this)
- Arrange for music (DJ or do it yourself)
- Arrange for photographer – determine timing, cost agreement, etc.
- Order/buy invitations, RSVP cards, website (if wanted), thank you cards and envelopes. Consider banners, invitations, thank you cards, and much more for your big day!
- Buy stamps
- Determine guest list
- Send out invitations
- Follow up once RSVP date arrives with guests that have not yet responded
- In invitations include: wedding ceremony details (location, time, transportation, etc.), wedding reception details (location, time, transportation, etc.), accommodation options if applicable, registry details, directions, RSVP details, etc.
- Thank You cards
- Select where to have your registry and select items for your registry
- Book an appointment to register (may or may not be needed depending on where you are registering
- Gifts as a token of appreciation for your groomsmen and bridesmaids. Also if the parents of the bride and the groom have been very involved it is nice to get them a thank you gift. If you have friends helping out with things such as watching your gift table or guest book or maybe someone is singing or playing an instrument during your ceremony again it is nice to give a small gift to show your appreciation
- Order/buy the wedding favors for your guests
If you for example are planning to play music on an iPod and choose and assemble the music yourself you will need to add more tasks to you list to include this. The same goes for invitations if you are for example designing these yourself and not buying pre-designed cards from a store.