A lot goes into planning a wedding: deciding on the venue, selecting the right flavor and design of the cake, designing the invitations and sorting through your guest list for the reception. While it may all see overwhelming, fear not it can be done with a little organization!
Your wedding day is all about you and your loved one, so be sure to incorporate things that you both like. The best way to plan a wedding is to create a plan to help you stay on top of your deadlines. Create an agenda with the amount of months you have before your wedding day. Once everything is written down, it will less likely be forgotten. Also, be sure to ask for help from your friends and family, more than likely they will be happy to help participate in planning your special day.
To help keep you organized, we’ve created a wedding planning checklist of important tasks you will need to accomplish each month leading up to the wedding day. We hope it helps keep you on top of your to do’s before you say I do!
12 MONTHS BEFORE
• Plan your budget: Knowing this in advance will help you with selecting venues and vendors.
• Begin a draft of your guest list: Knowing an estimated number of guests is helpful when researching venues and setting your budget.
• Reserve a date and book the venue: They tend to book up quickly!
• Book an officiant: They also tend to book fast
• Have an engagement party: Traditionally the parents of the bride will host an engagement party. Everyone loves a party; there is no limit to how many celebrations you are given!
• Register for gifts: It’s better to do it sooner than later, this way friends and family know what to get if they want to send an engagement or shower gift.
10 MONTHS BEFORE
• Research & contact vendors: It may be a good idea to book vendors that have worked together as well as having worked at the venue you have chosen.
• Choose your bridal party: Family, childhood/college friends as well as your fiancés siblings would be traditional choices
• Start shopping for the Wedding dress: It’s best to shop early possible to find the right dress. Keep in mind that it can take up to 8 months to receive your dress once you order.
• Shop for bridesmaids/flower girl dresses: Dresses can also take up to 5 months to receive and you’ll want enough time for any alterations that may be necessary.
• Create a wedding website: mywedding.com offers free personalized wedding website designed Love vs Designs popular wedding invitations.
8 MONTHS BEFORE
• Order wedding stationery: Shop our wedding stationery for invitations, menus, accommodation cards and more!
• Engagement photos: It’s a fun way to spend some time together and capture some memories, you can even use them for save the dates for a fun announcement!
• Find a hair and make up artist: Hiring one for your Engagement photos shoot is a great way opportunity for a trial run otherwise make appointments for hair and makeup trials to find someone you can book for you and your wedding party
• Block hotel rooms: If you plan on having a large amount of out of town guest a room block at a local hotel can provide your guests with a discounted group rate.
• Reserve Day of Transportation: Plan how the bridesmaids, groomsmen and families will arrive to the wedding locations.
• Set up cake tasting & order the cake: You get to spend a day sampling yummy desserts...enough said.
6 MONTHS BEFORE
• Finalize guest list and gather mailing addresses: Check out our blog, Collecting Mailing Addresses made easy, for some helpful tips. Prep early so you don’t have to worry about this later.
• Send save the date cards: While 6 months notice is ample time for those having a local wedding, for destination weddings it’s best to give 8-12 months advance notice.
• Book all of your vendors: Florist, caterers, photographer/videographer, DJ/band even a day of coordinator. Book any additional ones if needed.
• Book your honeymoon: This can be a fun wedding break for you and your partner to enjoy. Make sure any documents are in order (i.e. passports)
• Buy wedding bands: This is best to do in advance if having your bands inscripted in case there are any sizing issues.
4 MONTHS BEFORE
• Shop/reserve groomsmen attire: Advance planning will help the groomsmen who need to be fitted and/or reserve suits if renting.
• Address your Invitations: Starting this early and working in batches will help to not overwhelm you later. At the same time, prepare an organized list of the RSVPs and meal choices for when response trickle in.
• Select location for rehearsal dinner: This will take place after your wedding rehearsal, usually the night before the wedding day.
2 MONTHS BEFORE
• Mail invitations: These should be mailed to guests 6-8 weeks prior to the wedding date.
• Send rehearsal dinner invitations.
• Apply for marriage license: You may want to review US Marriage Laws, which offers your local requirements and details.
• Touch base with your vendors: Confirm dates, details and deposits.
• Meet with your wedding officiant: Discuss ceremony details, vows and readings
• Purchase wedding favors and wedding party gifts: Wrap gifts so you can check them off your list early!
• Purchase reception/ceremony items: Guest book, toasting flutes, cake servers, unity candle.
• Purchase accessories for your dress fitting: Shoes, undergarments, accessories
6 WEEKS to 1 MONTH BEFORE
• Contact guest who have not RSVP’d
• Create seating chart: It’s a good idea to sit friends and acquaintances together.
• Print out stationery accessories: Programs, Menus, Place cards, and signage should be ready to go!
• Final dress fitting/Pick up dress
• Pick up Wedding rings
• Have a bachelorette/bachelor party: A fun wedding break, typically planned by the MOH or Best Man.
• Have a bridal/couples shower: Hosted by your bridesmaids, family, or even the grooms mom.
1-2 WEEKS BEFORE
• Provide caterer with final head count
• Confirm arrival times for wedding party and vendors
• Meet with your day of coordinator to discuss timeline for the day and any reception/ceremony details.
• Provide shot list to photographer: List the shots that you feel would be most important to capture.
• Review music with DJ/band: Confirm special song requests and wedding party names for introduction.
2 DAYS BEFORE
• Wedding day emergency kit
• Enjoy a manicure and pedicure
• Pack for the wedding day and honeymoon
• Arrange for reliable relative to transport wedding gifts after the reception
• Organize tips and final payments for vendors: Put them in clearly marked envelopes and give to someone you trust to hand out at the reception.
1 DAY BEFORE
• Have a rehearsal dinner: Enjoy the moment!
• Give your bridesmaid & groomsmen gifts: Express your gratitude for their help through the wedding process.
• Get plenty of rest for the big day tomorrow...or at least try to!
• Eat a light breakfast and drink plenty of water
• Get hair and make up done (wear a button down shirt)
• Get married!
AFTER THE BIG DAY
• Write and send out thank you cards, be sure to check out our blog on when to send out your thank you cards.
• Dry clean/preserve wedding dress
• Legally change name on all documents and accounts
• Enjoy married life
Download this handy wedding planning checklist PDF for free and follow our tips above to help you stay on track when it comes to planning your wedding and remember not to get too caught up in the all the minor details and stress, at the end of the day its all about marrying your best friend.