When planning a wedding, the list of tasks and to-do's seems to be ever-growing and never-ending! It's so important to stay organized and on top of everything to ensure that every detail gets handled, but it can be overwhelming if you don't have a good place to start. This Ultimate Wedding Planning Checklist will simplify your wedding to-do's all in one place. You can even print out these easy to use wedding checklists to keep in your wedding notebook for easy reference.
01 of 08
Most engagements last around one year, so that is the timeline we've chosen for our checklist. The tasks you need to tackle in the ten to twelve months prior stage are mostly all about celebrating, researching, budgeting and securing the things that are most important to you.
____ First Things First: CELEBRATE! Take a moment to enjoy your engagement. Then, read this list of first steps in wedding planning. Share your exciting and happy news with your parents, important family members, and... close friends! Arrange a time for your families to meet, if they haven't done so already.
____ Announce Your Engagement to the World There are so many options for engagement announcements these days, from traditional mailed announcements to the newspaper, via email or on a wedding website, or even on social media. Do all you can to spread the happy news.
____ Have an Engagement Party to celebrate your happy news with family and close friends.
____ Gather Inspiration Start thinking about how you want your wedding to look and feel: Formal or casual? Day or evening? Religious ceremony or secular? What colors, styles, and themes do you want your event to include?
____ Have the Money Talk Sit down with everyone who is going to be contributing financially to the wedding to see how much money you'll have to work with. Then consider how much extra you might need to save over the course of your engagement to make up your total budget.
____ Prioritize Once you've set your budget, start making a list of priorities. Allocate your funds according to your wedding priorities, and check out these ways to save money on your wedding to cut costs in areas that aren't so important to you.
____ Start Your Guest List Make a list of all of the people you'd like to invite, categorizing them by level of priority. Ask your parents for their guest lists as well. Decide how many you can realistically afford to host. Get a jump start on collecting those addresses to save yourself the worry later.
____ Set the Date! Based on your budget and guest list, choose a date for your wedding well enough in the future that you have time to save up any funds needed to pay for the event. Also, choose a time of day for your event. Make sure to have backup dates in mind, in case one of your high priority items isn't available for your chosen date.
____ Hire a Wedding Planner or Coordinator if you are choosing to have one. Using a wedding planner can save you time and energy throughout your entire process.
____ Do Your Research Make appointments to meet with wedding vendors, especially the ones providing the product or services that are of highest priority to you, such as the venue and the photography. Research and meet with potential florists, bakers, photographer, videographers, entertainment, and caterers.
____ Secure Your Venues Choose and reserve your locations for your ceremony and reception.
____ Pop the Question to Your Besties Ask your best girl and guy friends to stand beside you on your special day. Check out these creative ways to ask your bridesmaids to be in your wedding.
____ I Do! Choose and book your wedding officiant.
____ Start Looking for the Dress You can at least start looking around to get an idea of what you like and think you want to wear for your big day. Check out these wedding dress shopping tips.
02 of 08
For the eight- to ten-month window before the big day, there's a lot more booking, buying, and planning that happens. You'll want to make sure you have access to your wedding funds to pay deposits and hire vendors, so plan accordingly!
____ Say Yes to the Dress Shop for and order your wedding dress and accessories, including veil, jewelry, and shoes.
____ Have a Tasting Do a tasting with your potential caterers and sign a contract to book the wedding caterer of your choice.
____ Sweet... Treat Meet with wedding cake designers or bakers and arrange for a tasting.
____ Flower Power Select and sign a contract with a wedding florist. Decide on your flower arrangements, bouquets, and other wedding florals.
____ Cue the Music Book your musicians and/or a DJ for both the ceremony and reception.
____ Oh, Snap! Select and book your wedding photographer (and your videographer, if you are having one.)
____ Strike a Pose Have some engagement photos taken with your wedding photographer.
____ Be Safe Look into wedding insurance and decide if it's a good or necessary option for you.
____ Cut the Guest List Finalize your guest list based on your priorities and budget.
____ Au Revoir Research, plan and book your honeymoon getaway. (Need a passport? Apply for one now.)
____ Say Yes to the (Other) Dress Shop for, select, and order your bridesmaid dresses.
____ Register Start your wedding registry at your favorite stores and begin registering for gifts.
____ Block it Out Reserve room blocks for your guests at hotels that are convenient to your wedding sites. It's especially important to reserve early if your wedding falls during a busy time of year.
____ Save the Date Select and order your save-the-dates, to be sent out at least 6 months in advance. Don't forget to purchase plenty of stamps!
03 of 08
____ Save the Date Send out your save-the-date announcements or call out of town guests to let them know the final date, time, and location of the wedding.
____ Need a Favor? Select and purchase wedding favors, or begin the process of DIYing them if possible.
____ Plan the Rehearsal Start planning for your rehearsal dinner with the hosts (typically, the groom's parents.) Give the host(s) your guest list and any notes they should keep in mind.
____ Up Your Beauty Game Read this guide to perfect... wedding day beauty to get some tips to pamper yourself leading up to the big day.
____ Rentals If your caterer isn't doing it for you, reserve any rental equipment you'll need, including dishes, tables, chairs, linens, tents, etc.
____ Ace of Cakes Select your wedding cake designer or baker and order your wedding cake
____ Book Your Ride Arrange for your wedding transportation, whether it's a bus, limo, taxi, or just a friend.
____ You're Invited! Select and order stationery, invitations, programs and other paper goods for the big day. Now is also the time to select a calligrapher if you are using one.
____ Dress the Dudes Select the groom's tuxedo, suit or other attire, as well as what the groomsmen will wear. Make arrangements to purchase or rent their wedding day look. Get tips for stylish grooms.
____ Purchase Your Wedding Rings Consider having your wedding rings engraved if desired.
____ Get a Room Book your hotel room for the wedding night. Honeymoon suite? Yes, please!
____ Your Second Look If you're changing into "going away outfits" before you leave the reception, purchase those now.
____ Talk it Out Schedule pre-marital counseling sessions. Some states give a discount on your marriage license for completing pre-marital counseling.
04 of 08
The two- to three-month range is when lots of the fun stuff happens that makes the wedding day feel real! From sending invites to having your dress fittings, this period can be really fun.
____ Send the Invites 8-10 weeks before the big day, mail your wedding invitations to your guests.
____ Make a Menu Finalize your wedding menu with your caterer, including all courses and service style.
____ Make it Official With Your Officiant Meet with your officiant to discuss the wedding ceremony,... the order of events, vows, prayers, music, and readings.
____ Take a Vow If you are choosing to write your own wedding vows, now is a good time to start those.
____ Party Time Attend any bridal showers your family and friends host for you.
____ Wedding Day Beauty Think about your hair and makeup and book your hairstylist and/or makeup artist if you're using them. Meet with each of them to experiment with styles and colors. If you're going the DIY route, experiment on your own or plan a spa makeover night with your bridesmaids!
____ Choose the Tunes Decide on the songs for your ceremony, your reception, and any major moments like the cake cutting and first dance.
____ Rehearse Schedule your wedding rehearsal and rehearsal dinner for the night before the wedding.
____ Get Tested If your state requires it for a marriage license, make blood test appointments.
____ Get Your Docs in a Row If you're going to change your name after the wedding, take the time to complete those documents in advance for a speedy process after the wedding.
____ Shout it Out Send wedding announcements to local newspapers close to the big day.
____ Bridal Portraits Schedule and take your bridal portraits if you are choosing to do them.
____ Fittings Have a dress fitting and purchase any required bridal undergarments.
____ Shot List Give a list of "Must Take" photographs to your wedding photographer
____ Accessories Purchase any ceremony and reception accessories such as the flower girl basket, ring pillow, guest book and pen, toasting glasses, cake cutting set, etc.Continue to 5 of 8 below.
05 of 08
Getting so close! There are just a few more things to do to make sure everything's perfect for your big day.
____ Get Your License Apply for your marriage license.
____ Get Fitted Have your final gown fitting to ensure your wedding dress fits you perfectly.
____ Confirm and Re-Confirm Check with your bridesmaids and groomsmen to make sure they've gotten their attire, confirm arrival times, and answer any last minute questions. Also, contact your vendors (caterer, officiant, cake baker,... photographer, videographer, florist, musicians, transportation, hotels) to confirm arrival and delivery times.
____ Get With the Program Create and print your wedding programs.
____ Welcome Wagon Create welcome baskets or bags for out-of-town guests and purchase all the items you need to go inside them.
____ Say Thanks Write thank you cards as you receive wedding gifts, whether at your showers or as they are sent leading up to the wedding day.
____ Follow Up Ask your mother or maid of honor to contact any guests who have not sent in their RSVP so you can get a firm headcount.
____ Send Final Details and Payments Send all your vendors the final timeline of events as well as final payments for services booked.
____ Get Gifty Buy gifts for your wedding party, parents, and each other to exchange on the big day. In need of some great ideas? Check out these gift ideas for bridesmaids, gift ideas for the bride and top groom gift ideas
06 of 08
We're getting down to crunch time so it's appropriate to get these final logistics confirmed and settled so your vendors can properly execute your big day.
____ Make a Plan If planning a seated dinner, arrange your seating plan, and create your place cards.
____ Confirm Final Numbers Give your final head count to your caterer, and confirm any last minute details.
____ Write Your Speech Write any toasts or statements you'd like to make to your family and friends for both the rehearsal... dinner and reception.
____ Dress Up Try on your wedding shoes and wear them on carpeted surfaces around the house to break them in.
____ Take Care of Things Arrange for a plant waterer/pet sitter/babysitter while you are on your honeymoon. Send your travel plans and contact information to a family member and your house sitter (in case of emergency.) Don't forget to pack for your honeymoon!
____ Take Care of You Pick up your dress, and get your hair trimmed and/or colored.
____ Address the Situation Send any post-wedding change-of-address information to post office.
____ Assemble Put together your wedding welcome bags or baskets for your out of town guests.
____ Get it Together Get your cash tips together for your vendors for the day of the wedding.
07 of 08
This amazing wedding planning whirlwind is coming close to the end! Relax and enjoy this final day before you say I do.
____ Relax Do something to relax and enjoy the company of your out-of-town friends and family.
____ Delegate Assign responsibilities to your wedding party (handing out corsages and boutonnieres, greeting and seating guests, checking on vendors)
____ Confirm Transportation You want to make sure you'll get where you're going during the day's events.
____ Get Beautified H...ave a manicure and pedicure, and consider indulging in a spa treatment to treat yourself.
____ Gift Giving Give your wedding party gifts to your bridesmaids and groomsmen to thank them for being a part of your day.
____ Rehearsal Time Take part in the wedding ceremony rehearsal and go over the timeline for the reception with your wedding planner or coordinator.
____ Enjoy! Attend your rehearsal dinner and enjoy your time mingling with your family and friends from out of town.
08 of 08
It's finally here! The day you've been planning for all this time. Make sure to soak it all up and enjoy!
____ Give Gifts to Your Parents
____ Give Gifts to Each Other
____ Get Married!