Follow this free planning checklist & timeline for a stress-free wedding
Your loved one popped the question, you celebrated with champagne, and happy tears flowed. Now it’s time to start planning!
Organizing a wedding can swiftly become overwhelming. Who knew there are so many details involved? But, the good news is, outlining the big day doesn’t have to be so stressful if you divide the tasks on month by month basis, with a wedding-planning checklist and timeline!
To help get you started on planning the wedding of your dreams, I’ve created the ultimate checklist to help guide you through the planning process. That way, you’re able to enjoy each step, stress less, have fun, and, more importantly, enjoy this special time together!
Feel free to print it out and check off things on this list as you go!
12 Months Before The Wedding
- ❏ Pick a date!
- ❏ Talk money, we all need a budget no matter what size!
- ❏ Decide the wedding vibe! Formal at a castle or more relaxed, perhaps a beach wedding?
- ❏ Make a guest list. Putting together the guest list is fundamental, sometimes cutting down of the guest list allows for you to spend more on decor or guest experiences if you feel that is your thing!
- ❏ Explore the ceremony and reception venue options. The most popular venues fill up fast, so do not delay!
- ❏ Start assembling a dream team of wedding pros! Photographers tend to fill their dates a year or more in advance. To make sure you get the photographer you want to immortalize your day. Reach out to them a minimum of 12 months in advance! Hire a team you can’t live without!
- ❏ Hire a wedding planner! You might don’t think you need one, but a wedding and event planner can help you allocate the budget properly. Besides, they have all the best connections within the wedding industry!
- ❏ Engagement photo session! By scheduling your engagement photo session a year before the big day, you make sure you have photos for your wedding website, save the date cards and invites
- ❏ Choose your favorite people to have in your wedding party
- ❏ Create a wedding website
- ❏ Begin browsing Save the Date designs
- ❏ Order sample Save the Date
- ❏ Order Save the Dates
11-10 Months Before The Wedding
- ❏ Reserve ceremony and reception venues
- ❏ Mail Save the Dates
- ❏ Begin researching wedding dress and veil styles
- ❏ Create mood boards on Pinterest
- ❏ Purchase wedding dress, veil, undergarments
- ❏ Choose bridal party attire and accessories
- ❏ Book officiant
- ❏ Hire other vendors like a florist, makeup artist, and book the entertainment.
9-8 Months Out
- ❏ Find hotels at different price points for out-of-town guests
- ❏ Browse wedding invitation designs
- ❏ Refine guest list
- ❏ Create a gift registry
- ❏ Begin planning honeymoon
7-6 Months Out
Hooray! Only half a year until you say ” I do! “. With this free wedding planning checklist you will for sure have a smooth planning experience.
- ❏ Hire ceremony musicians
- ❏ Book transportation to and from venues
- ❏ Research wedding day hair and makeup styles
- ❏ Meet with officiant to discuss run down of ceremony
- ❏ Choose cake style and schedule tastings
- ❏ Decide groomsmen attire
- ❏ Design and order wedding invitation suite plus thank you cards
- ❏ Finalize guest list
- ❏ Order the wedding invitation suite
- ❏ Purchase wedding bands
- ❏ Mail wedding and rehearsal dinner invitations
- ❏ Order wedding cake
- ❏ Meet with florist
- ❏ Schedule dress fittings
- ❏ Book honeymoon flights and hotels
- ❏ Book room for the wedding night
- ❏ Prepare a playlist for DJ/band
- ❏ Compile rehearsal dinner guest list
- ❏ Book rehearsal dinner venue
3 Months Before The Wedding
Three months to go! Now comes loads of fun things, use this free wedding planning checklist to make sure you don’t miss anything!
- ❏ Hair and makeup trial
- ❏ Book a photo booth rental
- ❏ Finalize readers and readings
- ❏ Finalize honeymoon plans and ensure all documents are in order
- ❏ Plan reception seating
- ❏ Purchase guestbook, flower basket, and ring bearer pillow
- ❏ Finalize reception menu with the caterer
- ❏ Order menu cards and other “day of wedding” printed items, such as ceremony programs, from your invitation designer. Don’t forget the wedding day signage; they will enhance your guest experience!
2 Months Before The Wedding
- ❏ Create all the wedding day timelines and email to vendors, officiant and wedding party
- ❏ Begin writing vows
- ❏ Review ceremony details with your officiant
- ❏ Finalize seating arrangements
- ❏ Buy wedding-party gifts
- ❏ Apply for the marriage license
- ❏ Purchase gifts for guests
- ❏ Plan out the content for wedding programs
- ❏ Finalize fittings for wedding party and parents
- ❏ Decide on “something old, something new, something borrowed and something blue.”
- ❏ Book spa and beauty treatments for you and bridal party
1 Month Out
- ❏ Finalize wedding day timeline with your photographer and videographer
- ❏ Send your photographer a list of family formal photos
- ❏ Final dress fitting
- ❏ Pick up the marriage license
- ❏ Call or email all vendors to confirm the date, time and location
- ❏ Confirm honeymoon reservations
- ❏ Pick up wedding rings
- ❏ Write thank-you notes as gifts are received
2 Weeks Before The Wedding
- ❏ Begin breaking in your wedding shoes
- ❏ Make arrangements for the caring of pets and plants while on honeymoon
- ❏ Follow up with guests who have not RSVPed
- ❏ Give final guest count to the caterer
- ❏ Send playlists to DJ/band/ceremony musicians
- ❏ Get a haircut and freshen up the color
- ❏ Update registries
- ❏ Send directions to the wedding day transportation driver
- ❏ Delegate someone to return tuxes, rentals & tend to the wedding dress
1 Week Before The Big Day
- ❏ Prepare a wedding day emergency kit
- ❏ Give readers their scripts
- ❏ Prepare final payments to vendors that expect payment on the day of and don’t forget the cash tips!
- ❏ Gather wedding attire and all accessories
Day Before The Day
- ❏ Treat yourself to a manicure, pedicure, and massage
- ❏ Attend wedding rehearsal
- ❏ Have fun at rehearsal dinner
- ❏ Thank everyone around you
- ❏ Get to bed at a decent hour
- ❏ Eat a good breakfast.
- ❏ Take dress and veil out of the bag & have steamed if needed
- ❏ Put together all the items you want to be captured by the photographer
- ❏ Allow plenty of time to get ready
- ❏ Drink water
- ❏ Have a light lunch.
- ❏ Stay off feet as much as possible
- ❏ Give officiant the fee and wedding rings to the best man
- ❏ Exchange gifts and notes with your partner
- ❏ Relax, smile, and soak up every moment of the big day!
Beyond The Wedding
- ❏ Ensure tuxes and all rentals have been returned
- ❏ Get the wedding dress to cleaners
- ❏ Thank your hardworking vendors by email or card
- ❏ Send out thank you cards no later than 4 weeks after the wedding day
This free wedding planning checklist may seem long and like it’s a lot of things to check off before your wedding day. But if you stick to the timeline, your day should go off without a hitch! Download the list here!