A Complete Wedding Planning Checklist From Start to Finish
Are you recently engaged? Congratulations! This is the most exciting and happiest time for you. Enjoy these few days as much as you can because you will miss this in the wedding planning phase coming ahead. Now wedding planning is a serious business. It requires a lot of planning and brainstorming and the commonest issue couples face in the beginning is how to plan a wedding and where to start?
Ideally, the best way to start wedding planning is by having a brief overview of what are the tasks you need to get done. For this, you can read our blog post on How To Plan A Wedding which divides the basic wedding tasks into months. The next thing is to further break down those tasks and create a wedding checklist. Your checklist will serve as the wedding list of things to do which you can refer to as a guide. A complete wedding planning checklist will not only help you move forward with your planning with ease but also alleviate the burden on your shoulders. It also gives a birds’ eye view of all your tasks and helps you keep grounded and within schedule.
In this blog post, we will provide you with a wedding planning checklist by month that will up your organization level and helps you tackle all the tasks on your wedding things-to-do list. So, save this post and use it as a template for successful stress-free wedding planning.
According to The Knot, experts predict that 2022 and 2023 will be huge years for weddings which is great news for couples like you!
"The world of weddings will not only bounce back: it's going to be a completely different landscape, says celebrity event planner David Tutera. "After a difficult period, people have a newfound sense of what it means to celebrate joy. We are about to experience an abundance of brilliance, innovation, and creativity in our world of weddings."
Why Is Wedding Checklist Important?
A wedding checklist for newly engaged couples is important for countless reasons. While planning a wedding, couples tend to be under a lot of stress. The amount of work overwhelms the planning couple and multiple decisions confuse a lot. So, a checklist helps to keep an organized mindset so you plan your wedding with clarity. Most important of them are that it keeps them updated on the tasks that they have accomplished and tasks that they are yet to complete. They serve as a wedding organization checklist to keep the couple on schedule. It helps them stay on budget and keep a count of their expenses by giving them an overview of their wedding things to do list.
THE COMPLETE WEDDING PLANNING CHECKLIST
For every couple, the duration of engagement remains variable for different couples. Some of them like to remain in this phase for longer periods and plan their weddings in a very gradual process. While others want to get married as soon as they can, some even opt to elope. However, in general, most couples take over a year to plan their wedding.
In fact, according to The Knot Real Weddings Study, the average engagement length is 15 months. So, when you're 13-15 months out from the big day, use this time to research, gather ideas, and create a vision.
Set a wedding date with your spouse and family members then get down to planning. For this, making a complete wedding planning checklist is the first step to take towards it. Research about a wedding planner you would like to hire and also prepare a list of vendors and the questions that you would like to ask them.
1. Determine Your budget
This is the first and foremost important task that will determine the progress of your planning. The wedding budget determines not only the expenses but also the scope of the wedding. Whether you are going for a large-scale full-blown celebration or a small intimate ceremony with just close family and friends. This budget hence, tells you about the size of your venue and the number of guests you can accommodate. So a budget is like that one task that links multiple tasks together and is the groundstone of your wedding and its planning.
"Brainstorming your guest list and talking about an overall budget are the first tasks you should do," advises Ashley Tangerini, wedding planner for Mavinhouse Events. "These two go hand in hand and will help shape the venues and vendors you procure. It's important to know the financial limits you may be working with, as well as who are your key contributors."
2. Make a Guest List
The guest list and the venue go hand-in-hand. You have to keep in mind the number of guests you have while looking for the venue. Hence, you need to have a general idea of how many people you want to invite and how many can your dream venue accommodate. Sit with your partner and plan out your guest list together. Prioritize who you would like to invite and who you wouldn’t. To those whom you cannot invite, politely and respectfully tell them that they aren’t invited.
3. Research and Look for the Venue
Now, that you have made your guest list, time to research and look for the venue. While searching for the ideal location, there are some important factors you need to be careful about. It's your venue budget, the number of people it can accommodate, and whether it comes up to your wedding theme. If you want an outdoor wedding, research and learn about the weather on your wedding day, as well.
4. Hire a Wedding Planner
Hire a wedding planner or organizer ASAP and this will be the best choice you will ever make by far. Wedding planners make work and planning easier. They know their way around the industry and help you stay firm to the budget. If a wedding planner doesn’t fit in your wedding budget, you can hire one that charges by the hour or just the day of ceremony coordinator.
5. Choose a Color Theme and Start Thinking of Overall Design
Your wedding has to have a theme so you know the direction you want to go with your planning. Choose the aesthetic you are going for and your overall design and color theme. This will make it easier for you during dress shopping, bridesmaids’ dresses, and purchasing venue decor.
6. Select the Caterer
You might have an idea of what kind of meals you plan to have at your wedding so research and select the caterer that specializes in the kind of dishes you want. Having ruined dishes on your big day will be unfortunate.
1. Choose Your Bridal Party
You must have like-minded and caring people at your wedding party. They will be the people you will be relying on a lot throughout the wedding planning process and they will be giving you a helping hand in some instances. So consider who you would like to stand next to on your wedding day and select them carefully. Once you are done selecting them, think and plan a way to send them proposals.
2. Hire Vendors Who Book Up Quickly, Including Your Photographer, Band, DJ, and Videographer
Research and look up vendors in your area. Make sure to check their previous works and ask them relevant questions about their work and industry. For photographers and videographers, check out their social media handles and portfolio.
3. Finalize and Book The Venue
Now is the time to finalize and book the venue you have shortlisted. Opt for the minimum guest package so you have an option to expand on it if the guests increase. Booking for a big number becomes a problem because then you have to try to fill in the numbers.
1. Book Hotel-Room Blocks for Guests
If you are having guests from other cities or you are having a destination wedding, book hotel room blocks in advance, for your guests and your management team as well. Now, some hotels don’t confirm your booking if it is more than a year from the date so you can only keep them on “soft hold”. The best way is to discuss with the hotel management and look for possible solutions that match up with your timeline.
You also might need to book the transportation for the guests, your bridal party, your managing team, and yourself for going to and fro from the ceremony venue to the reception. Look into the available options if your hotel has one or research for services in the area.
2. Start Looking at Invitations
You have an idea of the theme and colors by now so start visualizing what your invitations will look like. Decide whether you would like to make them yourself or have them professionally made and printed. If you want to have them handwritten, look for a calligrapher as well or you can do it yourself too!
1. Buy Your Wedding Dress
Experts recommend buying a wedding dress 8-9 months in advance. You will need to search for your dress in multiple shops until you find the one that just needs a “yes” from you. Your dress will then need alterations and several fitting sessions until it fits you like a glove for the big day.
According to The Knot, for the post-pandemic planning tip, "Shipping and fabric lead times increased greatly during the pandemic," explains Sarah Swann, Chief Creative Officer of AMSALE. "For that reason, it's incredibly important to leave yourself at least 10 months to find the perfect gown. We always recommend shopping for your wedding gown 10 to 12 months out, especially for gowns that are made-to-order. You'll want the gown to arrive two months before the wedding to leave time for alterations."
2. Take Engagement Photos
If you haven't done this yet, plan an engagement photoshoot. It is recommended to have your wedding photographer do your engagement photoshoot so you can be more comfortable with them for your big day.
3. Choose Save-the-Dates
At nine months, you have to choose save-the-dates so you can send them out by the next month and start planning out the formal invitations.
1. Register for Gifts & Create Your Wedding Website
2. Meet With Potential Florists
3. Send Save-the-Dates
4. Secure Insurance Policies
With the uncertainty that loomed during COVID-era, more couples are now ensuring their weddings. It is a way to protect your close and loved ones. Learn about the policies and choose the best package that fits your needs.
5. Daydream About Your Honeymoon
Think about your honeymoon. Plan where you want to spend your quality time and what you want to do. Daydreaming about the honeymoon brings additional joy and a little relief from the stressful planning. You can also plan a small getaway, a minimoon, to cut back on time if don’t have much. Honeymoons help to relieve all the built-up stress from the months upon months of wedding planning.
1. Book the Rehearsal-Dinner Venue
2. Bridesmaids' Dresses
Choose the bridesmaids' dresses with your wedding party and schedule their fittings within the month.
3. Hire the Ceremony Musicians
4. Order Your Rentals
Order the rental items that you will need for your ceremony and reception, such as specialty chairs, linens, draping, furniture, dance floor, etc. You can also make a list of the required items and ask your wedding planner to take care of the rentals.
5. Finalize All Vendor Hires
Touchback with the shortlisted vendors and finalize them.
1. Shop for Wedding Bands
The most exciting part has arrived! Shopping for wedding jewelry is expensive yet exciting. Most couples like to buy their wedding bands from the jeweler who has designed their engagement rings. Custom-designed jewelry takes longer to make so start shopping early. This way you will have possession of your wedding bands before your big day.
"I tell people to really take their time and think about what speaks to them and to find something that represents their love and partnership," says Toni Zehrer, SVP and Chief Merchandising Officer of Signet Jewelers (which houses brands like Kay, Zales and Jared). "Couples often come into a store thinking they want one thing, and sometimes choose something completely different, yet still perfect for them."
Do not forget to ensure your rings!
2. Begin Premarital Counseling
Even though it isn’t necessary, some couples opt to have pre-marital counseling for a happier and longer marriage. These sessions prepare you mentally for the new relationship you are building with your partner. It is also a way for you and your partner to communicate hopes and expectations with the marriage.
1. Book the Newlyweds' Transportation (Limo, Special Car, etc.)
Since you are done with the guest transport, book a special one for yourself too.
2. Finalize And Order the Invitations
Finalize how you want your invitations to look and feel, then order them. Your invitations will be glimpses of what your wedding celebration behold.
3. Buy or Rent the Groom’s Tux or Suit
Depending o what you are going for, a suit or a tuxedo, rent or buy one. You also want it to fit you best so leave some time for necessary alterations.
4. Hire an Officiant
5. Create or Plan Your Menu
Plan out your meals with the hired caterer. make sure they are experts in the menu you have chosen.
1. Final Meal Tasting With the Caterer
Give your selected meals a final taste test.
2. Choose Your Cake
After the bride, cakes are the spotlight of any wedding. They should not only look good but taste good as well. Wedding cakes also require a considerable amount of time and effort to be made picture-perfect. So now is the perfect time to choose your cake so you and your guests can eat a delicious one at your wedding.
For wedding cakes, whether traditional or custom, we recommend A Love For Cakes, a custom special cake bakery that delivers its promise in the form of the most delicious, flavourful, and moreish cake ever. Our cakes are beautiful inside out and we make them in a limited time as well.
Want to learn more about us and our service? Contact us and get your FAQs answered.
3. Groomsmen's Attire
Choose what the groomsmen's attire will be and schedule their fitting session within the month.
4. Hair and Makeup Trial
Some brides prefer to do their hair and make-up on their own whilst others prefer a team of pros to glam them up. With a few months left to the wedding, you might need to now have a trial of your hair and makeup for the big day. This will help you to see the look you have imagined in yourself and make any changes you want.
1. Brainstorm Guest Favors and Gift Bags
Some couples like to thank their guests for attending their wedding celebration with favors and thank you gifts. If you are one of those couples, begin guest favor planning. This is, however, entirely optional.
2. Write Your Vows
Write down your vows, whether traditional or if you want to give a personalized touch to them.
3. Select Readings
4. Meet With the Officiant and Invite to the Rehearsal Dinner
5. Start Crafting Any DIY Items If You Haven’t Already
If there are any items, invitations, or wedding decor that you want to DIY, do it now.
1. Send the Wedding Invites
Send them out with RSVPs due one month before the wedding so you have enough time to chase down the ones who haven't RSVPed back.
2. Send Out Rehearsal-Dinner Invitations
The rehearsal-dinner invites can be included with the wedding invitations if you like.
3. First Dress Fitting
4. Pick Up Your Marriage License
Do it in time so you don't face unnecessary issues and delays on your big day.
5. Buy Wedding-Party Gifts
Does those wedding guest favor that you choose? Buy them now and pack them up nicely.
6. Do a Floral Mock-Up With Your Florist
Meet the florist, finalize your flower selection and plan out its layout.
7. Give the Song Selections to Your Band or DJ and Ceremony Musicians
8. Buy All Small Items
Some of them are table numbers, toasting flutes, cake topper, cake stand, cake knife, guest book, card box, ring-bearer accessories, flower-girl accessories, a hanger for your dress, and a garter. Then, don’t forget your signs (“Welcome,” “Guest Book,” “Dancing Shoes,” etc.).
1. Attend Your Wedding Shower
You have been planning and stressing for so long it's about time that you let yourself a little loose and party. Enjoy the celebrations that your family and friends are hosting for you and have fun away from the stress.
2. Assemble Guest Gift Bags
Assemble the guest favors and hand them to your wedding planner so they can be arranged on the tables.
3. Pay Your Vendors
Your vendors and you were a team through the planning stage. Without them, yourself wouldn't you wouldn't have been able to execute this wedding successfully? So pay them what they truly deserve for all their hard work and support.
4. Plan a Seating Chart
Even though it doesn’t get followed, having one is a good idea. It keeps you organized and you have a fair bit of idea about how your venue will plan out with the guest seating.
5. Have a Final Venue Walk-Through
Fine check every detail in the venue along with your planner. Give your venue a final run-down and check what has been done and what still needs to be done.
6. Put Cash in Tip Envelopes to Distribute
These are for the vendors and the servers, they need to be rewarded for their efforts. Make these envelopes and hand them to your wedding planner to distribute.
7. Break in Your Wedding Shoes
To prevent a painful walk down the aisle and be able to comfortable dance around, warm up in your wedding heels. Wear them around the house, walk, dance, run and jump in them so no blisters ruin your fun.
With all the major tasks and work done, all that is left are the little details. In this last week take care of things like:
Getting yourself pampered at a spa
Final dress fitting
Pack your bags for the honeymoon (don’t forget your passport if you’re leaving the country), and confirm your travel arrangements
Clean your wedding bands and jewelry.
Do the final guest headcount and confirm any remaining RSVPs.
Clear your work list and focus only on the wedding festivities. Take it all in because it won’t repeat.
Practice your vows out loud
NIGHT BEFORE THE WEDDING
Eat a healthy meal
Pack a small bag of personal items
Get a good night's sleep. A bride should ideally have 10 hours of good sleep for a fresh day.
Put any boxes, suitcases, bags, and emergency kits to bring to the ceremony or reception in the car
THE WEDDING DAY
Rest well and stay off your feet as much as possible
Eat a good and healthy breakfast
Drink more water
Take your dress and veil out of the bag early on and have someone steam them if needed
Layout all the items (rings, invitations, etc.) that you want your photographer to capture
Exchange notes with your partner
Say thank you to everyone around you and your managing team.