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Home > Wedding Planning Checklist

Wedding Planning Checklist

If you've recently got engaged you may be wondering how to plan a wedding. With a solid wedding plan in place, planning a wedding can be fun and easy! All you'll need is a bit of organization, a wedding planning checklist like the ones provided here and some friends or family to help you with all the necessary steps. Our wedding planning guide takes the guess work out of what you'll need to do, step by step. We've included a list that you can come back to time and time again, or you can download and print our wedding planning checklists for each timeline and include them in your wedding binder to reference whenever you need them. Don't forget to print up our wedding vendor checklists too, to bring with you when you are interviewing your potential wedding vendors.

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Which Month Of Wedding Planning Are You In?

12 - 18 Months Before

9 - 12 Months Before

6 - 9 Months Before

4 - 5 Months Before

3 Months Before

2 Months Before

1 Month Before

1 - 2 Weeks Before

The Day Before

After The Wedding


Wedding Planning Checklist

12 - 18 Months Before
Download & Print Our Wedding Planning Checklist for Months 12 to 18 (Printable PDF File)
Decide Upon Your Budget - A Must Read: A Couple's Guide to Wedding Expenses: Who Pays For What?
 - Talk with your family to see who can / will contribute to your budget.
 - A good rule of thumb is that 50% of your budget will be spent for catering and your reception venue.
Decide On How Many Guests to Invite
 - With a budget in mind, you can get a general idea of how many people you can afford to invite.
Make a Preliminary Guest List - A Must Read: Your First Wedding Project: Planning Your Guest List
 - Start with making a list of exactly who must be invited (close family, parents lists and close friends).
 - Total your head count, and then make your next list (extended family, friends, co-workers) that you can fit into your total guest list head count.
 - Expect 10-20% of invited guests not to be able to attend, so if you want to budget for 100, you may want to invite 110-120.
Pick Your Wedding Party and Ask Them - A Must Read: The Bridal Party: Roles Explained
 - Now is the time to discuss with your fiancé how big (or small) of a wedding party you want to have and ask those people to be apart of your big day.
Set a Tentative Date
 - Pick a three dates that you would be happy with. Run these dates by the most important people in your life that must attend your wedding (parents,    siblings, best friends) and select one of them.
 - But keep the two alternate date options for flexibility when booking your venue locations.
Hire a Wedding Planner or Coordinator, If Desired
 - Many brides have planned their wedding without, but if you would like one then now is the time to start interviewing and hiring a planner so they will
   be ready when the major planning begins
Start Browsing Wedding Magazines, Blogs and Websites For Ideas
 - It’s never too early to start browsing for ideas. Save anything that you love.
Start a Wedding Folder or Binder
 - Purchase a binder and start sections for wedding ideas, expenses, contracts and receipts so you have everything in one easy to find place.
Investigate Any Religious Requirements
 - If you are planning to have a religious ceremony meet with your religious cleric to discuss any requirements.
Throw an Engagement Party - A Must Read: How to Plan an Engagement Party
 - If you want now is the time to announce your engagement.
Purchase Insurance For Your Engagement Ring
 - Make sure your engagement ring is insured in case of accidents, theft or loss
Start to Eat Healthy and Get Into Shape For Your Big Day
 - Now is the time to start eating right, getting in shape, join a gym or hire a personal trainer. You’ll be trying on and ordering your wedding dress in just a    few short months from now.
9 - 12 Months Before
Download & Print Our Wedding Planning Checklist for Months 9 to 12 (Printable PDF File)
Scout Reception Locations, Reserve and Book Your Date - Checklist: Questions To Ask Reception Sites
 - This is the first step in your vendor bookings and must be booked first to ensure the wedding date you wanted.
 - Ideally, book your location at least 1 year in advance.
 - Re-read your contract and make sure you understand it, ask any questions before you sign it.
Book Your Officiant and/or Ceremony Location - Checklist: Questions To Ask Ceremony Locations
 - Interview officiants and discuss your vision for the wedding ceremony.
 - If you are having a religious ceremony your ceremony may not be that flexible.
Start Interviewing Florists - Checklist: Questions To Ask Your Florist
 - Bring with you any ideas you have for your wedding arrangements, discuss options including seasonal options and non-floral centerpieces.
Scout Bands and DJs - Checklist: Questions to Ask Your Band or DJ
 - Set up appointments for those that you are interested in to hear a sample of their work and discuss packages and options
Research Video and Photography Services - Checklists: Questions for your Photographer and Videographer
 - Interview photographers in your area, view samples of their work and price out their packages.
 - If you know of specific locations you want them to shoot in, or shots you would like discuss your ideas to see if they are available to do them
Explore Transportation Options and Narrow Down Your Choices - Checklist: Questions to Ask Your Limo Company
 - If you are looking for a specific type of vehicle your selection of limo companies may be limited.
 - Visit companies to see the conditions of the cars, discuss wedding packages and finalize your choices.
Set up Appointments If You Are Hiring an Off-site Caterer and / or Baker - Checklist: Questions to Ask Your Baker
 - If catering is not included in your reception venue, set up appointments for tastings and to discuss wedding packages.
 - Hash out the price per head and discuss menu options.
Research Lighting, Rentals or a Set-up / Break Down Team
 - If your venue requires special items such as lighting, tent, chair, or linen rentals or if you require a set up and break down team, research local options.
Start Booking Your Vendors, Sign Contracts and Make Deposits
 - Once you’ve interviewed your choices, select which vendors best suit your wedding.
 - Book, sign the contracts and make the deposits needed to ensure their availability for your wedding date.
Tweak Your Guest List and Finalize Mailing Addresses
 - Go over your preliminary list and finalize it adding or removing guests.
 - If you are not sure of a guest’s address, now is the time to gather all the necessary information.
Settle On Your Wedding Colors - A Must Read: How To Choose Your Wedding Colors
 - Everything from your linens to your flowers will require your vendors to know your wedding colors, decide what color(s) will be used in your wedding.
Reserve a Block of Rooms For Your Out of Town Guests
 - If you have guests traveling for your wedding, reserve a block of rooms at a local hotel for them to stay at.
Create a Wedding Website
 - You can create a free wedding website, and let all your tech-savvy friends and relatives know about it on social media and email.
 - You can do something simple such as an informational site or something interactive such as a blog to log your journey.
Make a List of Family or Cultural Traditions - Articles On: Wedding Traditions
 - Make a list of your family traditions or cultural wedding customs and what you would like to incorporate.
 - Email or give this list to your vendors that will need to coordinate their services around them.
Start Visiting Bridal Salons and Shop for Your Wedding Dress
 - Your wedding dress may have to be ordered with lead time, now is the time to shop for and order it so it will be ready for your big day.
Start Your Guest Registry
 - Select one to three of your favorite stores and create your wedding registry.
Order Your Save The Dates - View & Order Our: Save The Dates
 - If you are sending out save the dates, order them now.
 - They should be mailed out 6 months before your wedding.
 - Exceptions: you are having a destination, summer or holiday wedding then mail them out 9-12 months before.
6 - 9 Months Before
Download & Print Our Wedding Planning Checklist for Months 6 to 9 (Printable PDF File)
Select and Order Your Wedding Invitations, Announcements and Thank You Notes
 - Invitations can take time to order and come in, order your invitations, announcements and coordinating thank you cards.
 - Finalize your invitation wording and make sure you order extra envelopes if you are handwriting out your invitations.
Book a Calligrapher
 - This is optional; many invitation companies will pre-print your envelopes for a small fee if you provide them with a list of addresses at the time of ordering your invitations.
Send Out Your Save The Dates
 - Save the dates should be sent out approximately six months before
Start Bridesmaid Dress Shopping
 - Now that you know your wedding colors, start shopping for your girls.
 - Finalize your bridesmaid dresses, order them and make sure out-of-town bridesmaids have ordered their dresses.
Plan and Book Your Honeymoon - Article: Honeymoon Location Ideas
 - Decide where you’d like to go and book your hotel and flights
Take Your Engagement Photos
 - This is optional, but it is a good way to start working with your photographer.
 - You’ll need these photos if you are making a newspaper announcement before the wedding. If you are, research their photography requirements so you ensure the proper shots.
Start Researching Hairstylists and Make up Artists
 - Start shopping for wedding hairstylists and make up artists in your area, look for examples of their work, if they have a website or recommendations.
 - Make sure they can travel to you for the day of the wedding.
Book Your Baker
 - If you haven’t already done so, go for tastings and book your baker.
 - Your caterer or reception venue is a good place to look for leads.
Start Scouting Locations for Your Rehearsal Dinner
 - Decide where you’d like to host your rehearsal dinner. Look for locations close to your ceremony location.
 - Provide your host with the names and addresses of your attendees.
Purchase Wedding Insurance - A Must Read: Do You Need Wedding Insurance?
 - Wedding insurance covers a multitude of things that can go wrong, investigate and purchase it now.
Reserve Any Rentals
 - Book those items you need to rent such as tables, chairs, linens, tents, lighting, etc.
Start a Timeline For Your Wedding Day Events- Example: Sample Reception Timeline
 - Start planning the day of your wedding events from the time the limo is to arrive to pick up the bridal party to all major events.
4 - 5 Months Before
Download & Print Our Wedding Planning Checklist for Months 4 and 5 (Printable PDF File)
Receive Your Wedding Invitations and Check For Accuracy
 - Double check all details, times and names to ensure the information is correct.
 - There’s still enough time for the invitation company to order new invitations if there was a printing error so make sure you check these as soon as they come in.
Send Your Invitations to the Calligrapher or Address the Invitations
 - If you haven’t hired a calligrapher, you should start assembling and addressing your invitations.
Book the Rehearsal Dinner, Give the Guest List to the Host, Order Invites
 - Now is the time to book a location for your rehearsal dinner, don’t wait as some locations book months in advance
Give Your Guest List to the Maid of Honor for the Bridal Shower
 - She’ll need to invite your female friends and relatives and book a location. The earlier you give her this, the better.
Decide & Order the Groom and Groomsmen’s Formal Attire
 - Tuxes or suits? You’ll need to decide and order their formal attire for the wedding.
Go Shopping for Bridal and Bridesmaid Accessories - View Our: Bridal Accessories
 - Shoes, veil, purse, undergarments, jewelry, hair accessories – for you and your bridesmaids that may be needed for the dress fitting
Book your Hair and Makeup Artists
 - Because you have a specific date you’ll want to book these vendors early
Choose Your Wedding Music - Checklist: Planning Your Reception Music
 - Sit down with your fiancé and decide what music you want played for the ceremony and reception
Go for Dress Fittings
 - If your bridal gown and bridesmaid dresses have come in, schedule your first fitting.
 - Make sure to bring your undergarments with you so the seamstress can see how the dress will fit with them on.
Book the Night of the Wedding Hotel Room
 - If you are planning on spending your wedding night in a hotel, make sure it is booked
Start Dance Lessons
 - If you’ve decided you both could use some formal dance lessons, you should start them now
3 Months Before
Download & Print Our Wedding Planning Checklist for 3 Months Before (Printable PDF File)
Finalize Your Floral Arrangements & Purchase Additional Decor
 - Buy or rent any ceremony or reception decorations that aren’t included in your floral contract
 - Examples: aisle runners, program basket, petal tossing cones, bubbles, guest book table decor, etc…
Make a List of the Ceremony Readings
 - If you are having a special guest(s) read for you, now is the time to reach out to them and ask.
 - Prepare them ahead of time by giving them the readings they will be preforming
Start Writing Your Vows - How To: Write Your Vows in 10 Steps
 - Now is the time to start jotting down ideas, writing your rough drafts and researching any poems or quotes you may want to include.
Make a List of Those You’d Like a Wedding Toast From - Tips: For Your Maid of Honor and Best ManThe Do's & Don'ts of Toasting Speeches
 - Ask those guests now so they have time to prepare their speeches
Finalize the Order of Your Ceremony and Reception
 - Send your event schedules to all of your vendors so they know the timeline for your event and exactly what time their services need to start.
Shop For and Purchase Wedding Bands - A Must Read: Wedding Band Engraving Tips
 - If they are going to be engraved, now is the time to do so.
Start Your Beauty Regime
 - Monthly facials, teeth whitening, tanning, manicures leading up to the big day.
Gather Any Documents You May Need For an International Honeymoon
 - Passports, visas, vaccinations, birth certificates, etc. Find out specific country requirements.
Make Sure the Bridal Party Has Been Measured & Accessories Bought
 - Make sure all bridesmaids have gone for their fittings and the groomsmen have been measured for their attire.
 - Make sure all accessories have been purchased for their attire including the groomsmen’s shoes, shirt stays, cuff links, and pocket squares.
Change Any Insurance Policies
 - Make sure you both have added each other to your insurance policies.
Review the Timeline for Your Wedding Day Events
 - Review the timeline you began to draft and add any additional changes.
Order or Print Your Wedding Day Programs and Menu Cards
 - Order your wedding day programs and menu cards or opt for the DIY route and order a kit to print them from home.
Send Out Your Wedding Invitations to Your International Guests
 - Give extra time for your international invitations to arrive, they should be mailed out earlier than your domestic invitations
Buy Your Wedding Accessories & Browse for Wedding Favors
 - Buy the wedding accessories that you need: guest book, guest book pen, flower girl basket, ring bearer pillow, unity candle and holder, cake topper, champagne    flutes, cake serving set, place cards, place card holders, and a reception gift card box.
2 Months Before
Download & Print Our Wedding Planning Checklist for 2 Months Before (Printable PDF File)
Send Out the Invitations
 - Invitations should be sent out 8 weeks before the wedding
Set Up an RSVP List on Your Computer
 - If the RSVP’s are coming back to you, or if they are coming back to your parents’ set one up on their computer to keep track of RSVP’s easily
Touch Base With All Your Vendors
 - Finalize any last minute details, ask any last minute questions, make final requests, and confirm times of arrival.
 - Discuss specific shots if you haven't already done so and send a list to your photographer
 - Meet with the band or DJ to discuss your final playlist and specific songs for dances.
 - Also have ready your “do not play / must play” song list
Touch Base With All Your Vendors
 - Finalize any last minute details, ask any last minute questions, make final requests, and confirm times of arrival.
 - Discuss specific shots if you haven't already done so and send a list to your photographer
 - Meet with the band or DJ to discuss your final playlist and specific songs for dances.
 - Also have ready your “do not play / must play” song list
Submit Your Wedding Announcement
 - Send in your wedding announcement to the newspapers of your choice.
Make Parking Arrangements for Your Reception
 - If you need to hire a valet, golf carts to transport guests to and from the parking lot to the reception or review the parking arrangements with the    reception venue.
 - Make sure there will be adequate signage directing guests
Make a “Kids Plan” or Hire a Babysitter
 - If you are having kids at your wedding make sure there is entertainment or a babysitter on hand to keep them occupied.
Research Local Marriage Requirements
 - Find out what documents you need for your marriage license and start preparing to file for them.
Go For a Second Dress Fitting
 - Make sure any additional alterations are finalized and confirm the date your dress will be ready.
 - You should plan to make a final dress fitting before you are scheduled to pick up your dress to make sure it fits perfectly.
Have Trial Hair and Makeup Appointments
 - Bring any hair pieces you will incorporate into your wedding hair and have a test run
Buy Gifts for Your Wedding Party
 - Purchase bridal party gifts: maid of honor, best man, bridesmaids, flower girl, ring bearer, groomsmen and any mother and father gifts.
Edit & Finalize Your Wedding Vows
 - Go over your wedding vow drafts and make a final edit to make sure they are what you still envision.
 - Nothing causes stress more than procrastinating, save yourself this stress and finish this task now.
Enjoy Your Bridal Shower
 - Enjoy the one day all the women get together before the wedding to shower you with good luck and gifts.
Start Writing Out Your Thank You Notes - A Must Read: How To Write Proper Wedding Thank You Notes with Examples
 - Get a head start on them! Start writing out any thank you notes for the gifts you’ve received at your shower.
Order Your Wedding Favors
 - You should have a rough idea 4-6 weeks before your wedding how many wedding favors you need to order.
 - Some favors are one per couple/family/single while others (such as edibles) should be ordered one per guest.
1 Month Before
Download & Print Our Wedding Planning Checklist for 1 Month Before (Printable PDF File)
Visit the Seamstress for Your Final Dress Fitting and Pick Up
 - One final test run to make sure the dress fits perfectly. Make sure your bridesmaids have had their dresses altered as well.
Mail Out the Rehearsal Dinner Invitations
 - Send the invitations out 4 weeks before the dinner.
Get Your Marriage License
 - Make appointments for blood tests (if necessary). Check when the license expires.
Send Out Any Final Payments Which May Be Due
 - Some vendors may want payments before the day, some may want it after, while others will expect payment on the day of their services.
Confirm Times For Your Hair, Makeup and Transportation
 - Make sure you let your bridal party know the times they are expected to be there
Confirm Wedding Night and Honeymoon Reservations
 - Print copies of your hotel, flights and other arrangements and keep copies with your carry on luggage.
Wrap Gifts for the Bridal Party
 - And write out your personalized thank you notes to each of them.
Book Spa Appointments for the Week Before Your Wedding
 - Facials, manicures, pedicures and even a nice massage to de-stress before your big day!
Start Your Seating Chart, Write Out Your Escort and/or Place Cards - How To: Create Seating Assignments
 - Now that your RSVPs are almost all due back, you can start figuring out your seating.
Confirm Your Ceremony Details
 - Review with your officiant the time and location and any custom ceremony options you have discussed.
If You Ordered Your Wedding Rings, Pick Them Up
 - Check sizes and engraving before you leave the store.
 - Make sure to confirm that your insurance covers your wedding rings.
Decide On Your “Something Old/New/Borrowed/Blue” - Read About It: Something Blue Tradition
 - A wedding garter, shoes or even blue toenail polish are great ways to add a little “something blue” to your ensemble
Get a Start On Your Thank You Notes
 - For gifts you may have received from guests who cannot attend, or start writing out the envelopes for those guests who you know will be attending.
Gather Paperwork if You Are Making a Name Change
 - Start gathering the forms and paperwork you will need to make a name change after the wedding
 - Examples include Social Security, Driver’s License, Passport, any employer related documents, insurance, credit cards.
Finalize Your “Day of” Schedule
 - Now that you know all the final details tweak your day of schedule and make sure you send it out to all the important people on your list including    vendors, bridal party, parents, etc.
Get a Final Haircut if Necessary
 - Trim your hair approximately 3-4 weeks before the wedding to allow for some "grow in" time.
Enjoy Your Bachelor and Bachelorette Parties
1 - 2 Weeks Before
Download & Print Our Wedding Planning Checklist for 1 - 2 Weeks Before (Printable PDF File)
Confirm Arrival Times and Access
 - Confirm all arrival times with vendors and make sure your ceremony and reception venue know which vendors to expect on the day of the wedding.
Delegate Wedding Day Tasks
 - Make sure everyone knows what is expected of them.
 - Who will hand out the tips?
 - Who will make sure the wedding gifts are accounted for?
 - Who will bring your overnight bag to the hotel?
 - Who will keep the list of the vendors contact information?
 - Who is expected to be there to help you get dressed?
Break in Your Wedding Shoes
 - Make sure everyone knows what is expected of them.
 - At least once per day wear your shoes around your house for 30 minutes to an hour to “break” them in.
Pick Up Your Dress if You Haven’t Already Done So
Give Your Final Head Out to the Caterer, Baker and Reception Venue
 - Call guests who haven’t RSVP’d , it’s ok to do this because you need a final head count for your vendors
Finalize Your Seating Plan
If You Are Having a Receiving Line, Plan the Order You Want Everyone to Stand In
Host a Bridesmaid Tea or Luncheon
 - Thank your bridesmaids for being there!
Groom & Groomsmen: Get Your Hair Cut
 - Don’t let them wait until the day before, have them cut it a week before so it has some “grow in” time.
Groom & Groomsmen: Tuxes / Suits
 - Pick up your attire and try it on. Don’t wait for the last minute to do this just in case any last minute alterations need to be done.
Verify Addresses With Transportation
 - Make sure the transportation has the addresses and times needed for pick up.
Confirm Final Payments & Prepare Tip Envelopes
 - Set aside final payments and tips to all vendors in envelopes.
 - Assign one person to make sure everything is paid / tipped the day of the wedding
Shop and Pack for Your Honeymoon
 - Make sure you are packed for your honeymoon before your wedding day.
Prepare Wedding Toasts or Thanks to Friends and Family
Plan Any “Night Before” Activities
 - If the girls are all staying at one location, such as your home or a hotel, make sure everyone knows what the game plan is.
Give the Seating Chart to Your Reception Location, Site Manager or Host
Put Together an Overnight Bag and an Emergency Kit - Checklist: Emergency Checklist: What To Pack
 - Pack an overnight bag for the night of the wedding and make sure someone delivers it to the hotel the day of the wedding.
 - Also pack a wedding day emergency kit with supplies such as band aids, toiletries, a sewing kit, makeup, headache medicine, etc…
Leave a Copy of Your Passports and Honeymoon Itinerary With Family
Have a Final Manicure and Pedicure
The Day Before The Wedding
Download & Print Our Wedding Planning Checklist for The Day Before The Wedding (Printable PDF File)
Attend Your Rehearsal
 - Rehearse the ceremony with your officiant and wedding party
Enjoy Your Rehearsal Dinner
 - With your friends and family
Confirm All Honeymoon Travel Plans
 - Make sure your transportation is covered, your flights and hotel are booked, make sure your passport is packed.
Get Much Needed Pampering and Sleep
 - Try to sleep if you can, your big day has arrived!
After The Wedding
Download & Print Our Wedding Planning Checklist for After The Wedding (Printable PDF File)
Freeze the Top Layer of Your Wedding Cake - How To: Preserve Your Wedding Cake
 - You’ll want to preserve it for your one year anniversary
Preserve Your Wedding Bouquet and Other Mementos
Have Your Wedding Dress and Veil Cleaned & Preserved
Make Sure Your Wedding Vendors Have Been Paid in Full
Find Out When to Expect Your Wedding Photos and/or Video
Work on Your Thank You Notes
 - Thank you notes should be sent out no later than 2 months after your wedding
Get Your Name Changed- A Must Read: How To Change Your Name After The Wedding
 - If you are planning on changing your name, start that process now
Enjoy Married Life
 - But you didn't need a checklist to tell you that did you? :)
Congrats on your wedding! We at Little Things Favors hope you have a blessed, happy and joyous life.

If you've enjoyed these wedding planning checklists or know someone who is planning a wedding, don't forget to share them!

© Erica Tevis, Little Things Favors

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