Wedding Planning

/ November 21, 2016

Recently engaged? Congratulations! We created the Ultimate Wedding Planning Checklist just for you. Wedding planning can be overwhelming, so we’ve compiled the big and small tasks you’ll need to complete along the way, walking you through the steps from the day you were engaged to the time you’re back from your honeymoon. Our checklist breaks down the process into manageable chunks, allowing you to relieve your stress and enjoy this special time with your loved one. It’s time to get organized, tame your inner Bridezilla, and start planning!


12+ Months Before

Date: _______________________

  • ▢ Start a wedding folder or binder.
  • ▢ Decide on your wedding date and time.
  • ▢ Gather inspiration.
  • ▢ Choose a color palette. Browse our color palettes for inspiration.
  • ▢ Create a budget.
  • ▢ Pick your wedding party.
  • ▢ Create your guest list.
  • ▢ Hire a wedding planner. Browse our Event Planners & Designers to find your perfect match.
  • ▢ Reserve your ceremony and reception venue(s). Browse our Venues to find the right location to say I Do.
  • ▢ Research vendors. Photographer, videographer, band/DJ, florist, caterer, officiant, etc. Our Vendor Guide features wedding vendors from across the globe to help you find your team of suppliers.
  • ▢ Take engagement photos.
  • ▢ Throw an engagement party. Register for gifts beforehand if needed.

12 to 9 Months Before

Date: _______________________

  • ▢ Hire your vendors. Photographer, videographer, band/DJ, florist, caterer, officiant, etc. Our Vendor Guide features wedding vendors from across the globe to help you find your team of suppliers.
  • ▢ Launch a wedding website. We recommend Appy Couple!
  • ▢ Hire a rental company. Think about any structural or electrical components you may need, from furniture (tables, chairs, tent) to generators to portable toilets, and more. Browse our Rentals & Decor suppliers in the Vendor Guide.
  • ▢ Obtain wedding insurance.
  • ▢ Purchase your wedding dress. BHLDN is one of our favorites!
  • ▢ Register for gifts.
  • ▢ Think about the menu you’d like to have for your reception.
  • ▢ Decide on the type of entertainment you’d like.
  • ▢ Envision your dream floral decor.
  • ▢ Reserve a hotel block for out-of-town guests.

9 to 6 Months Before

Date: _______________________

  • ▢ Hire your vendors. Ceremony musicians. Browse our Music & Entertainment suppliers in the Vendor Guide.
  • ▢ Purchase your invitations. Some of our favorites include Wedding Paper Divas and Minted. Browse our Stationery suppliers in the Vendor Guide for more options.
  • ▢ Start planning your honeymoon. Browse our Travel planners in the Vendor Guide.
  • ▢ Order your bridesmaids’ dresses. We love Dessy and BHLDN!
  • ▢ Order and send out your save-the-dates. It’s a good idea to send these out 6 months before your wedding. If you’re planning a destination wedding or plan to have a lot of out-of-town guests, you can send them 8 months before to be courteous.
  • ▢ Draft your wedding day timeline.

6 to 4 Months Before

Date: _______________________

  • ▢ Attend pre-marriage counseling if needed.
  • ▢ Create your rehearsal dinner guest list.
  • ▢ Book your rehearsal and rehearsal dinner venue(s).
  • ▢ Send the bridal shower guest list to the host of the shower.
  • ▢ Check on the status of your invitations.
  • ▢ Envision your dream wedding cake. Hire a cake designer. Browse our Desserts & Cakes designers in the Vendor Guide.
  • ▢ Book your hair and makeup artists. Do a trial run with a few stylists to find the right one for you. Browse our Beauty stylists in the Vendor Guide.
  • ▢ Hire wedding transportation. Think about the wedding party and out-of-town guests. Browse our Transportation providers in the Vendor Guide.
  • ▢ Purchase wedding accessories. Buy your shoes, undergarments, hair pieces, jewelry, etc. Browse our Fashion & Accessories suppliers in the Vendor Guide.
  • ▢ Have a dress fitting.
  • ▢ Purchase your wedding rings. We love Ritani and Zales! Browse our Fashion & Accessories suppliers in the Vendor Guide.
  • ▢ Shop for men’s formalwear. Browse our Fashion & Accessories suppliers in the Vendor Guide.
  • ▢ Choose your processional music and decide on your reception playlist.
  • ▢ Renew or get passports if necessary. If you’re planning a destination wedding or honeymooning in another country, don’t overlook this important step!

3 Months Before

Date: _______________________

  • ▢ Finalize your wedding menu and flower selection.
  • ▢ Order your wedding cake if you haven’t already.
  • ▢ Book childcare for guests’ kids.
  • ▢ Finalize your guest list.
  • ▢ Order additional stationery. Menu cards, programs, escort cards, etc.
  • ▢ Hire a calligrapher. Browse our Calligraphy artists in the Vendor Guide.
  • ▢ Attend your wedding or bridal shower(s).
  • ▢ Order favors. Decide whether or not you’d like to give your guests favors. We love My Wedding Favors!
  • ▢ Meet with the officiant. Finalize readings and decide on anything else that will be presented during the ceremony.
  • ▢ Make a list of who will be giving toasts.
  • ▢ Groom: rent your formalwear.
  • ▢ Finalize your wedding day timeline.
  • ▢ Send the final wedding day timeline to your vendors.

2 Months Before

Date: _______________________

  • ▢ Check in and confirm details with all of your vendors.
  • ▢ Meet with the photographer. It’s a good idea to meet at the venue if possible so the photographer can start planning shots.
  • ▢ Review your playlist with the bandleader or DJ. Provide a ‘don’t play’ and ‘must play’ list, if any.
  • ▢ Do a hair and makeup trial run. Decide on the style and look you’d like for your big day.
  • ▢ Write your vows.
  • ▢ Take dance lessons. If you’re not comfortable on the dance floor or want to do an elaborate dance with your spouse, it’s a good idea to take dance lessons to be prepared.
  • ▢ Write and send thank you notes for shower gifts and early wedding gifts received.
  • ▢ Purchase gifts for your parents, wedding party, and each other.
  • ▢ Send out your invitations. It’s recommended to send these 8 weeks before your wedding, and have the RSVP cutoff at 3 weeks after the postmark date.
  • ▢ Submit your wedding announcement to the newspaper.

1 Month Before

Date: _______________________

  • ▢ Check in and confirm details with all of your vendors.
  • ▢ Obtain a marriage license.
  • ▢ Deliver your ‘must-have’ shot list to the photographer and videographer.
  • ▢ Mail out your rehearsal dinner invitations.
  • ▢ Confirm the bridesmaids are ready and have their dresses.
  • ▢ Email and print directions for transportation drivers.
  • ▢ Plan your reception seating chart.
  • ▢ Purchase/collect your something old, something new, borrowed, and blue.
  • ▢ Purchase your guest book, toasting flutes, cake servers, unity candle, etc.
  • ▢ Plan the welcome baskets.
  • ▢ Purchase alcohol, if needed, and finalize your signature cocktails.

2 Weeks Before

Date: _______________________

  • ▢ Check RSVPs. Follow up with any guests you haven’t heard from.
  • ▢ Deliver the finalized playlist to the bandleader or DJ.
  • ▢ Bride: Get your hair cut and colored.
  • ▢ Put together a bridal emergency kit.
  • ▢ Enjoy your bachelor and bachelorette parties.

1 Week Before

Date: _______________________

  • ▢ Check in and confirm details with all of your vendors.
  • ▢ Confirm roles and duties with the wedding party. Give them the wedding day timeline so they know what’s expected.
  • ▢ Delegate any small wedding-day tasks you can to friends and family.
  • ▢ Break in your shoes!
  • ▢ Book a spa appointment. Enjoy a massage and facial to decompress.
  • ▢ Send the final guest list/head count to the caterer and/or venue.
  • ▢ Assemble and distribute your welcome baskets.
  • ▢ Pack for your honeymoon.
  • ▢ Connect with the venue manager. Provide them with any special requests for vendors, i.e. setup spaces needed, cake table, DJ table, etc.
  • ▢ Give the ceremony and reception venue manager(s) a schedule of vendor delivery and setup times. It’s also a good idea to include a contact name and phone number for each vendor.
  • ▢ Groom: Get your hair cut.

2 to 3 Days Before

Date: _______________________

  • ▢ Check in and confirm details with all of your vendors.
  • ▢ Get the wedding dress pressed or steamed, if needed.
  • ▢ Groom: Have your final fitting and pick up your formalwear.
  • ▢ Have the Best Man check in with all groomsmen. Confirm they have attended their final fittings and have their formalwear.
  • ▢ Determine the wedding party positions for the ceremony and order for the processional and recessional.
  • ▢ Give the place cards, table cards, menus, favors, etc. to the caterer or reception venue manager.
  • ▢ Call the transportation companies to confirm pickup times and locations.
  • ▢ Deliver the welcome baskets to the hotel concierge with names and delivery instructions.

The Day Before

Date: _______________________

  • ▢ Give all vendors an emergency number to call on the day of the wedding. Designate someone you trust to handle all questions and concerns.
  • ▢ Write final checks for vendors. Give them to the Best Man along with tip envelopes to be handed out at/after the wedding.
  • ▢ Assign someone to pack up the gifts/belongings after the reception.
  • ▢ Assign someone to take the Bride’s gown to cleaning and to return the Groom’s rentals.
  • ▢ Rehearse the ceremony.
  • ▢ Drop off ceremony accessories at the venue.
  • ▢ Give the marriage license to the officiant.
  • ▢ Get a manicure and pedicure.
  • ▢ Attend your rehearsal dinner.
  • ▢ Present the wedding party with gifts at the rehearsal dinner.
  • ▢ Go to bed early!

The Day Of

Date: _______________________

  • ▢ Present parents and each other with gifts.
  • ▢ Give the wedding bands to the Best Man and Maid of Honor.
  • ▢ Give the Best Man the officiant’s fee envelope to be presented after the ceremony.
  • ▢ Introduce the reception venue manager to your designated contact person for questions or concerns.
  • ▢ Assign someone you trust to be the photographer’s contact. This person can help the photographer gather necessary people for photos and point out who is who.

After the Wedding

Date: _______________________

  • ▢ Write and send thank you notes.
  • ▢ Complete your registry. Exchange or return unwanted or duplicate gifts.
  • ▢ Preserve your wedding dress.
  • ▢ Follow up with your photographer and videographer for albums, DVDs, etc.
  • ▢ Get your name changed.