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Ultimate Wedding Planning Checklist

When you’re planning the biggest and most important day of your life, there are millions of small details to keep in mind. No matter how good your memory is, it would be unwise to rely on it for every detail of your wedding. When planning your wedding you need to keep track of several important details.

A wedding planning checklist is important because it organizes and summarizes all of the tasks and items that you may need to prepare for your wedding day. Check off things as you go through the preparation process so that all you have to do on the wedding day is relax and enjoy. Creating a wedding checklist tailored to your specific needs and desires will certainly help to relieve the inevitable stress, particularly as the special day gets closer. Being well-organized with your checklist will help you have plenty of time to complete each task.

Wedding Secrets compiled a list of 12 months to-do list to help plan your wedding more fun and less stressful. With this checklist, your wedding will be what you have dreamed of!

12 months before

  • Enroll in a wedding Courses online. It helps you visualize your entire wedding process.
  • Draw up a budget. Make it realistic without going into debt and establish your top priorities.
  • Choose a date. You can’t do much in planning a wedding until you set the date.
  • Choose a venue and reserve your date. If you decide to separate the locations for the ceremony and reception, you must select a location for your ceremony (either a church, registry office, or other licensed civil wedding venue) as well as a location for your reception.
  • Start making the guest list. Decide on a rough estimate of the number of guests. Make a headcount spreadsheet to use throughout your planning process with columns for contact info.

11 months before

  • Book caterers. If the reception venue you have booked is not doing your catering.
  • Select a color theme and begin thinking about overall design. Choosing the right colour palette for your wedding will determine the overall look and style of your wedding.
  • Plan your dinner and cocktail menus. To properly plan your menu, you’ll need to know who is attending your event. Gather as much information about your guests as possible before you begin making food arrangements so that you can create a custom menu as possible.
  • Take engagement photos. It can be used for engagement party invitations, engagement and wedding announcements, bridal sites, save the date cards, wedding invitations, and personalized wedding favors. An engagement photo session also allows you to collaborate with your wedding photographer and makeup artist. It gives you a sneak glimpse into your special day and can be utilized as a dry-run for your wedding photography.

10 months before

  • Start shopping for your wedding dress and begin assembling the perfect accessories. You might know exactly what you want, or you might not, because finding the right outfit can be a trial and error process.
  • Find and book your officiant. You must find an officiant at least a year to nine months in advance. This way you can take your time and interview a few to be comfortable with that person.
  • Appoint bridesmaids, a best man and ushers. This is a great way to let your friends be part of your special day. They are ultimately there for support and companionship.
  • Send save-the-date cards. The best ways to ensure that the most important people make your wedding. Remember, everyone who receives save-the-date cards gets a wedding invite. No exceptions.

9 months before

  • Establish a health & well-being regime. It helps you handle the stress and anxiety that come with planning a wedding.
  • Research and book the best vendors. Assemble a team of wedding pros and get all the details in writing.
  • Reserve a block of hotel rooms for out-of-town guests. Choose three hotels in different price ranges that are close to the reception venue.
  • Create your gift registry. Sign up for at least three retailers that cater to a range of budgets.

8 months before

  • Select and purchase invitations and stationery. Discuss the style and wording of your wedding invitations, or you can do your own.
  • Arrange and book transportation. Consider limos, minibuses, trolleys, and town cars.
  • Shop for bridesmaid/flower girl dresses and groomsmen suits. Schedule fittings within the month and let your girls choose what they want to wear.
  • Start planning your honeymoon. Set aside an evening to talk about where and when you might want to travel. Booking it far enough out can save you money.

7 months before

  • Decide on arrangements with your floral designer. Talk to your floral designer with a complete understanding of your floral budget and the floral décor style you want for your wedding.
  • Purchase wedding bands. Choose or design a wedding band that you’ll be excited to wear for a lifetime.
  • Go over the bridal shower and/or bachelor party details as well as the guest list with the person(s) hosting the party.
  • Book the rehearsal-dinner venue. Negotiate the cost and the menu.
  • Reserve all necessary party rentals. Negotiate a package deal, if possible. Don’t skimp on upgraded chairs and cozy lounge furniture if your budget allows.

6 months before

  • Order a wedding cake. Do a tasting and choose your wedding cake with your Cake Baker.
  • Meet with the officiant to discuss plans for the ceremony. Don’t forget to discuss custom or pre-written vows.
  • Attend pre-marriage counseling (if required).
  • Buy or rent the groom’s suit/tuxedo. To decide whether to buy or rent a tuxedo or suit based on the formality of your wedding. When selecting the actual ensemble, focus on fit and function.
  • Decide on prayers, readings, and music for ceremony booklets. Check with your priest/registrar/officiant.

5 months before

  • Organize the legalities. Give your registrar or priest/religious celebrant at least 3 months’ notice.
  • Purchase wedding shoes and start outfit fittings. Bring your shoes to your first fitting so the tailor can determine the best length for you.
  • Order wedding favors for your guests. If you’re going DIY, keep them simple so you don’t get stressed out about finishing on time.
  • Make childcare arrangements for your guests’ kids. If you choose to make it an adult-only invite, make this very clear on your invitation. This allows your guests to start making arrangements for childcare straight away.
  • Set your music playlist. When the wedding party is announced, what music should be playing? During dinner? To kick off the dancing? Keep a running list of what you want and don’t want to be played.

4 months before

  • Write your vows. Provide a copy of your vows to your officiant in case you forget them, are tear-stained, or you are overcome with emotion and find it difficult to say them on your own.
  • Buy all the small items. Guestbooks, serving pieces, toasting flutes, flower basket, ring bearer pillow, flower girl accessories, unity candle, and all the good stuff.
  • Hair and makeup trial. Bring photos and be as specific as possible about what you want and don’t want. Your wedding hair and makeup trials will provide you with an early glimpse of how you will look.
  • Experiment with hair and veil with your hairstylist.
  • Have your final tasting with the caterer. Consider a food tasting to be a run-through of what to expect on the big day. It’s the first taste of what such a great day will entail, at least in terms of the food. By seeing the caterer face-to-face, you’ll be able to precisely describe your ideal menu and avoid any stress on the big day.

3 months before

  • Finalize and send out invitations. It must cover all details such as date, time and location, directions to the venue, transport details, dress code, or accommodation information. Include an RSVP date of 3-4 weeks before the wedding, to give you time to follow up anyone who hasn’t responded before the catering deadline. Ask for their favourite dance song and drink on your RSVP’s.
  • Plan or create your menu. It’s time to stamp your approval on a completed menu that fits your budget, tastes, and timing.
  • Start researching marriage license requirements and name-change paperwork, if applicable.
  • Buy gifts for each other, parents, groomsmen, bridesmaids, ushers.
  • Finalize honeymoon plans and obtain all necessary documents.
  • Finalize the order of the ceremony and the reception. In order to finalize the order, you’ve got to first confirm with your vendors and their requirements.
  • Send your event schedule to every vendor. Giving them a first draft now gives them plenty of time to make changes and get feedback.

2 months before

  • Create a finalized wedding day timeline and send it to your vendors, officiant, and wedding party. Make sure your MOH or someone you trust has a copy, too.
  • Obtain your marriage license. Check your state’s requirements and it’s important to know where to go, what to bring, how much it’ll cost, how long it’ll take, and how long it’ll last.
  • Give the song selections to your ceremony musicians, band or DJ.
  • Decide Something New, Old, Borrowed, and Blue. Whatever you choose to represent something old, something new, something borrowed, and something blue, it should be well-thought-out and deliberate.
  • Book spa and beauty treatments for you and your bridal party.
  • Enjoy a bachelor/bachelorette party. Arranging a night out with your girlfriends generally falls to the maid of honor.
  • Write a ‘Thank You’ note for shower gifts and any early wedding gifts received.

1 month before

  • Final dress/suit fitting with shoes and undergarments and arrange a date to pick up any rental wedding attire.
  • Enter RSVPs into your trusted guest-list spreadsheet. Call any guests who have not yet responded. Mail the rehearsal-dinner invitations and print-out menu cards. Also, give venue/caterer final guest headcount.
  • Call vendors to confirm date, time, and location. Also, pay your vendors in full. Due to the high processing fees associated with credit cards, many vendors will request a check or cash instead.
  • Finalize the seating chart. To help organize place settings, draw table shapes on a room layout. Write the names of female guests on pink sticky notes and male guests on blue sticky notes so you can move people around without re-sketching the entire setting.
  • Have a final venue walk-through. Make a list of questions beforehand, and bring your groom, family member, or another close friend to bring up anything you forget.
  • Send must-have shot lists to photographers and videographers. Include who should be in formal portraits and when they’ll be taken.
  • Start packing for your honeymoon. Consider giving a copy of your itinerary, passport, and check-in/check-out dates to a trusted friend or family member. Confirm your travel arrangements.
  • Check the weather forecast and contact your venue to go over the contingency plan if things look iffy.

Final week

  • You’ve made it all the way to the final week of your wedding planning.
  • Relax, you are almost there!
  • Give ceremony and reception site managers a schedule of vendor delivery and setup times, plus contact numbers.
  • Delegate small wedding-day tasks. Choose someone to carry your things, someone to be in charge of gifts (especially the enveloped sort), someone to hand out tips, and someone to be the point person for each vendor, someone to return any rental wedding attire.
  • Comfort and wellness. Break in your wedding shoes. Walk around your hallways or dance in your living room to avoid painful blisters on your wedding night. You should also do a full wedding dress rehearsal from underwear to veil. Get spa and beauty treatment for you and the bridal party.
  • Put together your wedding emergency kit. Being prepared may be one of the best things that can happen on your wedding day. Packing this kit could help you save your sanity.

Day before the big day

  • All of your careful planning and creative thinking has paid off, and it’s time to relax and enjoy the wedding.
  • Drop off place cards, table cards, menus, favours, table plan to reception coordinator. Ensure the cake is on track to be delivered to the reception venue – have someone else look after this one!
  • Make sure all wedding-day items are packed/laid out and ready to go the night before your big day. Don’t forget the rings and marriage license!
  • Have your hair trimmed/or colored and get a manicure/pedicure.
  • Rehearse ceremony with the entire wedding party, ceremony readers, and officiant at the ceremony site.
  • Provide all wedding professionals with an emergency phone number to call on the day of the wedding.
  • Have the day off to relax and get your beauty sleep.

The Wedding Day!

Congratulations! Enjoy your day!

Eat a healthy breakfast and give yourself plenty of time to prepare. Give the wedding ring and officiant fee to the best man. Give the gifts for your parents to the best man/bridesmaid for after the speeches. Assign a family member or attendant to be the photographer’s contact so he knows who is who. Take your dress and veil out of the bag early on and have someone stem (if needed). Lay out all the items (rings, invitation, etc.) that you want your photographer to capture. Exchange notes and gifts with your partner. Do the rounds at your wedding — greet everyone and thank them for coming.

Live Happily Ever After!


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