Your Wedding Planning Checklist: Everything You Need to Start Planning Your Wedding

by AlexandriaIngham

Have you just got engaged? This wedding planning checklist gives you everything you need to start planning your wedding.

You’re finally engaged, and now you need to plan. Whether your wedding is just a few months away or years down the line, there is nothing like getting your wedding planning checklist organized and ready. But what needs to go on that checklist and what order do you need to do everything in? Here is everything you need to start planning your wedding.

Wedding planning checklist
Wedding planning checklist
Alexandria Ingham

A Year Before Your Wedding

It may be over a year to your wedding, but there are plenty of things you can do right now.

Spend some time celebrating your engagement if you can. You don’t need to start seriously planning until a year before your big day. Any time more than that and count it as a bonus. That doesn’t mean completely waste it. You can use this wedding planning checklist to use the time wisely.

Start off discussing your date. Don’t just look at the calendar and choose the first one that pops out. You want to think about the type of theme you could consider, the time of year you prefer and if there are other major events during that time. A June wedding could be your initial thought, but what about a winter wedding?

Once you have a date in mind (not set in stone yet) talk about your wedding budget. This is going to dictate the rest of your wedding planning. Keep it reasonable based on your income and the amount that you already have saved. It is possible to have the big day of your dreams on a tight budget, so try not to worry about it too much.

Pull out a ring binder or create a folder on your computer for all your wedding ideas. Cut out clips from magazines with wedding tips, and save photos that you find for bridesmaid gift ideas or flower decorations. Pinterest is also great for this stage. Create a wedding ideas board and repin all the ideas that you find on the site. There is such a range on the social media site, whether you need cake ideas, invitations ideas or even wedding gown options.

Consider starting a website or blog about your big day. This will end up being an amazing keepsake afterwards. Write down your thoughts and ideas from the whole planning stage, and ask your friends or family members to contribute. You can share photos in the run up of your bridal shower or the stag do. It could even help you make a little money in your run up to the big day.

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Twelve to Nine Months Before Wedding Day

The first three months of real planning should organize the outline of the wedding day.

At the 12 month mark you want to put more effort into following the wedding planning checklist. This is the time to really set your date, and book your venue. Take a look around all your options, discuss your requirements for the day and put the deposit down.

Do you know what your buttonholes will be like?
Do you know what your buttonholes wil...
Alexandria Ingham

Now that you have a date set, you can send out your save the date cards. These don’t need to be flashy, and many people now make their own. Include the date and general location (city or town) and the names of the people getting married. All you want to do right now is tell people you’re getting married and you want them there.

Of course, before you send them out, you need your guest list! It’s time to go through your family and friends. Just who do you want attending the big day, and who aren’t you so bothered about. This is a day all about you. If you don’t want your cousins attending because they always start a fight, you don’t need to invite them.

Once you have your guest list, it’s time to work out who will be part of your wedding party. Who do you want as Maid of Honor and Best Man? Who will act as ushers, the bridesmaids and groomsmen? Will you have flower girls and a ring bearer, or is there nobody you want involved suitable for those roles? You need to make sure your wedding party choices can make it on the day. If not, you have two choices: pick someone else or move the date.

Now you have the date, it’s time to book your officiate; the person who will marry you. Will you get married in a church, or would you like a civil ceremony in the wedding venue? Some venues have their own officiate, while others will require you book with the local court house or registry office.

Finally, start the research for the next set of details. Think about who will do the photography, make the cake and design your wedding dress.

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Eight to Six Months Before

It's now time to look into some of the finer details, but not too many just yet.

It’s getting closer to your day, and it’s time to organize some of the finer details. Now you’ve had the chance to think about your photography, entertainment and catering, it is time to book them. Talk to the different companies or individuals, get prices and find the one that you both agree is perfect for your wedding day. It’s really important to be together for as much of this part of the wedding planning process as possible.

Registering for your gifts is great if that’s something you want to do. Sign up to two or three different retailers and include gifts of all different budget ranges so your guests have an option. If you’re not bothered about the gifts (not everybody is) then make sure you let your guests know. If you don’t, they will bug you about it.

Now it’s time for organizing the clothes for yourselves and the wedding party. When it comes to the wedding dress, you will need to book at least three fittings. Then you need to work on the bridesmaids, groomsmen and parents of the bride. Discuss with your wedding party who will pay for what. Your bridesmaids may expect you to pay for everything, and vice versa.

This is also the time to send out the final wedding invitations. These need to include the full details of the day, and could even include your wedding website if that has more details. Remember to include the RSVP details, and a date that you need to hear from everyone by. This should be three months before the wedding.

Is your wedding cake ready for your big day?
Is your wedding cake ready for your b...
Alexandria Ingham

Five to Three Months Before the Day

Now it's time to do more and get into the final version of your big day.

It’s now time to get further into the details of your day. Think about the transport for your guests and your wedding car. If you’re switching venues between the day, you’ll need to think about arranging transport, especially for the out of town guests. Do you really want them to have to afford a taxi journey?

This is also the time to work on the cake. Find someone who will be able to create the custom cake just the way you like it, and makes something delicious for all. It is worth talking to caterers about your options, and see the type of cakes they have baked and designed in the past.

Around four months before the big day, you also want to book your hair and makeup trials. You’ll also need to discuss options with your stylist. Will she come to you on the day or do you and your bridesmaids need to go to her?

Will the two of you have parties and showers? Now’s the time to think about booking them. Of course, you could leave these to the Maid of Honor and Best Man. It will give you one less thing to worry about!

Finally, pick the music you’ll have on the day. Some DJs will just want the first dance, while others will ask if there are any particular types of music you would like for the day.

Two Months Before the Wedding

With two months to go, you don't want to leave anything to chance.

It’s time to get everything finalized. This includes your readings for the ceremony, the menu for the dinner, flowers for your day and the order of service. You don’t want to run around at the last minute trying to finalize the details. You will have far too much to do.

Finalize everything based on the RSVP details. If you’re not sure about some people—there is always one!—then you could order a few extras of things if possible. If not, then any late RSVPers will have to be told that it is too late. You had a date on there for a reason.

It’s also worth getting back in touch with all your vendors right now. This just helps to make sure they’re ready for your wedding day, and you can discuss the final details. This is extremely important for those you booked months ago.

Take a look at the details for the marriage license. This varies between countries, but two months is usually enough time to get all the paperwork together, so you can get married.

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One Month to Go

The last month should be spent confirming and reconfirming the schedule with your vendors.

It’s getting really close now, and it’s time to go shopping for the rings. The stress will start to show through, but you want to work together as much as possible.

You may want to put an announcement of your wedding into the newspaper. This isn’t a necessity, depending on country laws, but it is sometimes a nice keepsake. Some parents like to do it for their children instead and grandparents especially love it.

This is also the time to book your wedding rehearsal dinner, and invite the wedding party. Make sure they know where to go if they are from out of town.

Confirm all your timings with your vendors, and create your seating plan for the dinner. You’ll also need to make sure you have the decorations ready to go. Try not to leave these things to the last minute, otherwise you risk mistakes and missing out on something. Remember small things like the guest book, bridal gifts and writing your vows (if you are doing).

The Week of the Wedding

It's the week of your big day, but not time to put your feet up just yet. Get through these last few bits of your wedding planning checklist.

Your big day is just around the corner. This part of the wedding planning checklist is going to be the most stressful for some because it really is the final details.

You want to make sure all your vendors are on the right page, and get the list of all the photos you want taking to your photographer.

What will you carry down the aisle?
What will you carry down the aisle?
Alexandria Ingham

You’re not going to be around the whole day to meet and greet your guests, so you need to put other people in charge. Arrange with the ushers and other members of the wedding party to make sure someone is there for all the vendors, and people know where they are sitting.

If you don’t already have your dress, now is the time to pick it up. The same applies to all the other outfits for the day.

The day before your wedding, arrange it so you can sit back and relax. You want to enjoy your last day as a single person. There is nothing else you can do now!

Hopefully this wedding planning checklist gives you a good breakdown of the things you need to do in the run up to your big day. It is based on the assumption that your wedding is in a year’s time at least. If not, you’ll have to do some rearranging to suit your own needs. Remember to enjoy your big day. It’s a day you want to remember for all the right reasons.

Updated: 04/18/2014, AlexandriaIngham
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AlexandriaIngham on 04/19/2014

It is such a chore, and the day goes by so quickly. We did our planning alone. My mum helped with making the corsages once I told her what I wanted and my mother-in-law made the sashes for the chair (again, once I told her what I wanted). The rest was pretty much all us.

ologsinquito on 04/19/2014

Planning a wedding is such an undertaking. The book you featured should help. Fortunately, my mother and my grandmother helped with a lot of my own wedding planning.

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