They just popped the question and you’re officially engaged – soon after the excitement wears down, you might be thinking “now what?”
Planning a wedding can be stressful, and it can be a huge task – but it doesn’t have to be! Whether you want to plan a small wedding or a huge, blowout affair, our wedding planning checklist will keep you organized and on track.
This wedding planner checklist has every detail on a 12 month timeline, but you can adjust it to your own schedule if you have more or less time to plan your big day. You can also check out our guide to planning a wedding in three months if you’re on a time crunch.
Your Complete Wedding Checklist by Month
This wedding to-do list has everything you need to plan your wedding! Keep track of tasks and stay on schedule month by month. You can download a printable wedding planning checklist to add to your wedding planning binder, or bookmark this page as you tick off tasks!
Keep in mind that not every checklist item will apply to every wedding. For example, if you’re hosting a wedding in a family backyard, you won’t have to worry about booking a venue. Simply use what applies to your wedding plans!
12+ Months Out
Take a moment to enjoy your engagement before diving deep into wedding planning! With a year or more of planning ahead, don’t forget to announce your engagement or even celebrate with an engagement party.
Then, start considering the big picture elements of wedding planning, like budget, season and approximate date, your bridesmaids and groomsmen, and who you want to invite.
- Announce your engagement!
- Consider throwing an engagement party
- Get engagement photos taken
- Discuss your budget and determine who is paying for what
- Decide on an ideal wedding date, with alternatives in mind
- Choose the members of your wedding party
- Create a first draft of your guest list
- Hire a wedding planner, if you plan on working with one
- Visit wedding venues for your ceremony and reception. Book your wedding venue ideally one year before your wedding, or at least at 9 months out
- Begin researching wedding vendors in your area
10 – 11 Months Out
With 10 to 11 months before the wedding day, you have plenty of time to plan – but get ahead early to avoid unnecessary stress! Start researching inspiration for the overall look of your wedding or choose a wedding theme.
You should also get started early on researching important vendors – the best vendors tend to book up quickly, so it’s best to research and reach out early to book your favorite vendors on your big day. You can also start the hunt for the perfect wedding dress!
- Research wedding themes and decor to decide on your overall wedding look and style
- Start looking at save the date ideas to design your own
- Consider your wedding beauty plan; begin a wellness routine for hair, skin, and body to look and feel your best
- Begin to research and hire vendors that tend to book up quickly, such as:
- Wedding photographer and videographer
- Entertainment (band or DJ)
- Day-of Coordinator
- Begin pre cana or other pre-marital counseling, if necessary
- Begin looking at wedding dresses
8 – 9 Months Out
At the 8th to 9th month mark before the wedding, book any big vendors that we mention above if you haven’t confirmed them yet! Purchase your wedding gown as well as accessories like your veil, shoes, and appropriate undergarments.
You can also start getting into the details, like editing your guest list and confirming addresses, blocking off hotel rooms for guests, and creating a wedding website and registry. If you’re planning on taking your honeymoon shortly after the wedding, you should start planning that as well.
- Create your wedding website
- Block hotel rooms at local hotels for guests
- Buy your wedding dress, veil, undergarments, and accessories
- Fine-tune your guest list and confirm guest addresses
- Create a wedding registry
- Start looking at invitation designs and ideas
- Pick out bridal party dresses and schedule fittings, if necessary
- Begin planning your honeymoon, if you plan to take it directly after your wedding
6 – 7 Months Out
At around 6 months before your wedding day, it’s time to finalize your guest list and send out save the dates. It’s also about time for one of the most fun aspects of wedding planning – cake tastings!
You should also be looking for hair and makeup artists for the big day, shopping for groomsmen attire, and figuring out rentals and other decorative elements for the reception and the ceremony.
The wedding is on the horizon now, so don’t forget to look back through your to-do list for any items you may have missed or left incomplete!
- Finalize guest list
- Send out save-the-dates
- Book the rehearsal dinner venue (if you are planning this event)
- Order rental items for the venue, including but not limited to:
- Special tables or chairs
- Decorative Furniture
- Other Decor
- Hire sound and lighting professionals, if necessary
- Research wedding day hair and makeup ideas
- Schedule wedding cake tastings and decide on wedding desserts
- Schedule bachelor and bachelorette parties
- Decide what the groomsmen will wear
- Buy the bride and grooms’ wedding bands
4 – 5 Months Out
With only 4 to 5 months left before the wedding, it’s time to book and finalize details. This includes transportation, rehearsal dinner plans, the grooms attire, and more. If your bridesmaids are planning your bridal shower, confirm any necessary details with them like the guest list and your schedule.
Order your cake and wedding invitations, and confirm plans with vendors like your officiant, the entertainment, hair and makeup artists, and florists.
- Book transportation for guests
- Book transportation for the bride, groom, and their wedding parties
- Book bride and groom’s room for the wedding night
- Book honeymoon travel and accommodations (if you’re going directly after the wedding)
- Schedule final dress fittings for the bride and bridesmaids if necessary
- Plan the rehearsal dinner details
- Order your wedding cake or other desserts
- Pick a design and order wedding invitations
- Meet with the officiant to confirm the plans for the ceremony
- Discuss the wedding playlist with the DJ or band
- Buy or rent the groom’s tuxedo
- Book hair and makeup artists for the big day
- Decide on floral arrangements with florist, or plan on how to make your own
- Confirm bridal shower details with your bridal party
3 Months Out
Only three months til the big day! It’s time to stuff and send wedding invitations between now and the two month mark, and finalize details like hairstyles, menus, and stationary like menu cards, place cards, and programs.
You should also look back at your overall wedding vision and make sure you’re not forgetting details like decor. Purchase or start crafting DIY decorations now so that you’re not scrambling later!
- Pick out groomsmen attire and schedule fittings, if necessary
- Meet with hair and makeup artists for trials
- Meet with your caterer to finalize the reception menu
- Create menu cards for the reception
- Create and print ceremony programs
- Send out wedding invitations
- Plan out a seating chart for the ceremony and reception
- Confirm wedding readers, their readings, and other ceremony details like music
- Rent, purchase, or DIY decor for the ceremony and reception
- Plan and purchase wedding favors
2 Months Out
Only two months to go! Send your invitations if you haven’t already, and make sure you have a system in place to track RSVPs. Confirm all of your vendors, as well as scheduled appointments like fittings.
Don’t forget in the hustle and bustle of wedding planning to write your vows either! It’s also vital that you apply for your marriage license so that you can legally get married.
- Organize and track RSVPs
- Send rehearsal dinner invitations and finalize any details
- Enjoy your bachelor and bachelorette parties!
- Confirm details with all vendors
- Write your vows if you haven’t already done so
- Confirm fittings and purchases or rentals for everyone in the wedding party and the parents, and ensure details like shoes, accessories, hair, and others are confirmed
- Create a schedule for your wedding day to share with vendors, the wedding party, and venue
- Apply for your marriage license
- Purchase fine details, such as:
1 Month Out
It’s the final thirty days before the wedding! At one month, go through your full checklist to make sure you haven’t forgotten anything. You can also ask for a final walkthrough of the venue with your day-of coordinator or even just the maid of honor.
Continue to update your guest list with RSVPs, make final purchases, and finalize any other details possible leading up to the big day!
- Purchase alcohol if you’re providing it; if not, confirm bar plans with the venue
- Purchase thank you gifts for your wedding party
- Order place cards
- Walk through the venue one last time with your wedding planner or day-of coordinator
- Pick up wedding bands if you haven’t yet. Make sure they fit!
- Update your guest list as your receive RSVPs
- Go back through our checklist to double-check any details you may have missed!
2 Weeks Out
With two weeks before your wedding, it’s time to finalize the guest list. If you’re missing RSVPs, start calling guests to find out if they’re attending so that you can get your final headcount to vendors like your venue and caterer.
Finish up and DIY projects for the wedding day and start planning for the day-of timeline!
- Follow up with guests who did not RSVP
- Give final headcount to venue and caterers
- Get any beauty treatments done (hair color, facials, spa days, waxing, etc.)
- Complete last minute decor DIY crafts
- Make a plan for the day-of the wedding and delegate tasks
- Break in your wedding day shoes
1 Week Out
Deep breaths – the big event is only one week away. Take this time to relax, practice your vows, and prep for the wedding day with any beauty treatments.
- Get your bridal manicure and pedicure
- Give any final requests to vendors
- Prepare vendor payments and tip money
- Prepare your bag for the big day
- Practice delivering your vows
- Pack for the honeymoon
- Clean your ring
The Day Before the Wedding
On the day before your wedding, eat healthy and try to rest up before the big day! Make sure everything is packed and ready for tomorrow.
- Eat healthy, nutritious meals
- Drink plenty of water
- Attend wedding rehearsal and rehearsal dinner
- Pack everything you need for the wedding day
- Get a good night’s sleep!
The Day of the Wedding
The day of the wedding has arrived! Soak up every moment, and try not to panic over small details that may go wrong. Don’t forget to eat and drink water as well!
- Don’t forget to eat!
- Stay hydrated
- Take dresses and tuxes out of garment bags and steam them if necessary
- Delegate any last minute tasks
- Give the wedding bands and officiant payment to the best man to handle
- Thank your vendors, family, and friends for their help
- Enjoy your wedding day and try to live in the moment!
After the Wedding
After the big day, enjoy your honeymoon if you’re traveling immediately after! Once you’re back and settled in, try to send thank you notes in a timely manner, make sure all rentals are returned, and take care of delicate items like your gown.
- Send thank you cards
- Ensure all rentals are returned
- Preserve your wedding dress
- Follow up with your photographer for photos
- Start the name change process if you’re taking a new last name
Full List of Wedding Vendors
It can be hard to keep track of which vendors you need for your wedding. Some vendors are totally optional, like videographers or wedding planners, where others like your officiant are pretty integral to your wedding day.
Here’s a list of all the vendors you might want to hire for your wedding day:
- Wedding Planner
- Day-Of Coordinator or Venue Coordinator
- Wedding Designer
- Wedding Band
- Cake Baker/Bakery
- Hair stylist
- Makeup artist
- Seamstress for alterations
- Calligrapher (for invitations)
- Invitation Service
While our detailed wedding planning checklist may look pretty long, it covers everything you’ll need for your wedding! If you want to plan a simpler wedding, just cross off anything you don’t need to adapt this checklist to your wedding.
Download your wedding planning checklist if you haven’t already! Don’t forget to save this list or even print it so that you can check off tasks as you plan your big day.
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