How to Plan a Wedding: The Checklist
After the success of our wedding planning budget spreadsheet, it only made sense to create the best online timeline & checklist on the web too! :)
Scroll down to begin , or click a timeframe below to jump to a specific point.
In this wedding planning guide, we've created a neatly presented checklist of absolutely everything you need to complete each month to ensure a smooth and stress-free wedding day.
Each task includes a link to the best resource we could find, whether on Bridal Musings or elsewhere, to help guide you through the task-at-hand.
Whether you're just getting engaged or are deep in wedding planning mode, this practical guide will help you get started (or keep going!). So grab a cup of coffee, put your feet up, and let's get started!close
Find out their engagement ring style
Talk to your partner's parents
Asking the parents can be a daunting task. Here are a few things to remember when asking the parents to make sure it goes off without a hitch.
Buy Engagement Ring
So you're finally ready to buy the ring! Wonderful. Before you get the credit card out, here are a few key questions to bear in mind and a list of great places to buy an engagement ring online.
Hide the ring
When you're getting ready to propose, the last thing you want is for your engagement ring to get lost, stolen or found by your partner! Here are a few ideas that will help keep your jewelry well hidden
Plan Proposal and Post-Proposal Plans
Plans for a proposal can be as intricate as the proposal itself. If you're thinking of popping the question, there are some things to keep in mind. In our Ultimate Guide to Proposing we walk you through everything you need to know.
Plan a Proposal Shoot (or have a family/friend capture it on camera)
How special would it be to be able to capture your proposal on camera? You could plan a proposal shoot with a professional photographer or have a friend or family member snap photos and videos. Here's a great guide to pulling off the perfect proposal shoot.
Enough dilly-dallying, propose already! :)
Where to Start When Planning a Wedding? Right here.
Enjoy the moment, you're only ‘just engaged' once!
So. Many. Congrats!
Announce your wedding to loved ones
So you've just got engaged! Beautiful news! Now comes the fun part of telling your loved ones. How do you announce your engagement in a way that is special and memorable? Here are some ideas to get you started.
Set 2-3 preferred dates for wedding
One of the first things you'll need to do as a newly engaged couple is pick your wedding date. It can be tricky to decide when to get married, especially since there are so many factors to consider. This article will help you figure out when's the best time to say “I do.”
Discuss what kind of wedding you'd like
When you're planning a wedding, and ideally before you begin researching wedding venues, it's important to think about what kind of wedding you want. Do you want a formal affair with a sit-down dinner and all the trimmings? Or would something more laid-back be more your style? Here's a list of different types of weddings to help with inspiration.
Research wedding locations and reception venues
When it comes to picking a wedding venue, there are a lot of things to consider. This wonderful guide is packed with expert tips on finding the perfect venue.
12 Months Out
Wedding Planning Checklist
Budget and decide who is contributing what
I know everything in the wedding planning process seems important, but this really is. Figuring out your budget and who pays for what can be tricky, but it's definitely worth taking the time to get right. This article outlines who typically pays for what when getting married, and this spreadsheet is a helpful tool to make sure you keep all the costs in check and that there are no surprises.
Shortlist wedding & reception venues, schedule viewings & book venue
As you begin planning a wedding, there's potentially no more impactful a decision than your wedding venue. It dictates the date, logistics, travel requirements and style of the wedding.Do your research but once you've found a venue that feels right, be sure to schedule a viewing as soon as possible to avoid disappointment. Finally, book the venue as soon as possible to ensure that it's available on your chosen date. Here's 10 tips to choosing your wedding venue.
Pin down your wedding party and propose to them!
Typically, your wedding party is made up of the bride and groom, the maid of honor, the best man, bridesmaids and groomsmen, mothers of the wedding couple and fathers of the wedding couple, flower children, ring bearers, pages, users and VIEs (Very Important Extras). The most pressing will be your best man and maid of honor as they'll be helping you plan for the big day. Once you know, here's a guide to when and how to propose. to them.
Create Your Wedding Website
Creating your wedding website is a great way to keep all of your wedding information organized and in one place. Plus, it's a great way to share your plans with friends and family. But where do you start? Here's a great run down of everything to include on your wedding website and here's a solid list of the best wedding website builders.
When it comes to hiring a wedding planner, there are a lot of different opinions on whether or not you should hire a wedding planner. This article will help you decide if hiring a wedding planner is right for you, and if you do decide to hire one – here's a rundown of questions to ask your wedding planner.
Collect names and emails for guest list
One of the trickiest parts of putting together a guest list is collecting everyone's contact information! Not sure how to go about it? Here are a few tips to help make the process as easy as possible.
Insure the Engagement Ring
Now that the ring is on your partners finger, you'll want to start thinking about insurance. Protecting your ring with insurance is a smart decision, and it's easy to do. Here's how to take care of that sparkling engagement ring.
Create your inspiration board(s)
Creating your wedding vision board can be so much fun! It's a great way to get inspired and start planning your dream day. Here's how to get the inspiration rolling and the boards set up.
Create a Wedding Health & Fitness Plan
So you no doubt want to look and feel your best on your wedding day. It's never too soon to start getting in shape. A fitness plan can help you get in shape and feel confident on your big day. Here's a great 12 month wedding-specific fitness plan to get you in tip top shape.
11 Months Out
Browse wedding dress styles
When you're picking out your wedding dress, it's important to choose a style that makes you feel comfortable and confident. There are so many different styles of wedding dresses to choose from, so it can be hard to know which one is right for you. Here's a helpful quiz to help you decide which wedding dress style is for you.
Choose a Theme, Color Scheme and Start Thinking of Overall Design
When planning a wedding, picking the theme is a great way to start thinking about the overall design. From there, you can choose a color scheme and start piecing together all the details. If you're not sure where to start, fret not, here's a guide to choosing a wedding theme to match your style.
Find and book appointments with main vendors
Now that you have your wedding date and venue in place, it's time to start booking appointments with your main wedding vendors. These include the photographer, the videographer, the caterer, the bartender, the florist and finally, entertainment (i.e. DJ, band and any other entertainment you'd like to include). Here's a wonderful run down of how to find, maintain, & use your wedding vendor list.
Book your ceremony officiant
Choosing the right person to officiate your wedding ceremony is an important decision. You need someone who will create a warm and welcoming atmosphere for your guests, as well as deliver a meaningful and memorable ceremony. Here's a helpful guide to how to choose the right wedding officiant.
Buy Wedding Insurance
Wedding insurance can provide coverage for things like cancellations, postponements, weather-related issues, and vendor failures. It can also give you peace of mind in case something goes wrong on your big day. But the cost of wedding insurance can be expensive, so you'll need to weigh the pros and cons before deciding whether or not to purchase it. Here's how to find the best wedding insurance.
Choose your Bridal Subscription Boxes
Subscription boxes offer everything from monthly planning checklists to invitation templates, and can help keep you organized and on track during the wedding planning process.
This post takes you through the best bridal subscription boxes available.
Prepare a folder for vendor receipts and contracts
Getting married and dealing with vendors can get messy. It's important to make sure you're organized and prepared for all of the paperwork and planning that goes into it. One thing you'll definitely want to do is create a folder for all of your wedding vendor receipts and contracts.
Shop for Wedding Dresses
Shopping for your wedding dress is a fun and exciting experience, but it can also be a little daunting. There are so many different styles and options to choose from, how do you know which one is right for you? Here are 20 essential tips for a flawless wedding dress shopping experience, and if you're more of an online shopper, the best places to buy your wedding dress online.
10 Months Out
Shop for Veil
A wedding veil is a must-have for any bride on her big day. But with all the different types and styles of veils available, it can be tough to choose the right one. There's a few things to bear in mind, the length of the veil, the width, the color, lace or sheer veil, choosing a style that suits your face. Here's a useful guide to help you choose the right wedding veil and a run down of the best places to buy veils online.
Organise the Newlyweds' Transportation
Organising transport to-and-from the wedding venue sounds straight forward but in reality it can get complicated, and that's not even considering the transport for guests. As ever, stay calm, here's a helpful guide with everything you need to know.
9 Months Out
Finalise your wedding dress and make the purchase!
Now you're nine months out from your special day, it's the ideal time to make your final decision and actually buy your wedding dress.
You'll know you've found the perfect dress when you can't stop thinking about it, you don't want to take it off, you picture yourself wearing it and you're already beginning thinking about accessorising it!
Before you make final call though, take a minute to make sure you've had all the wedding dress purchasing questions answered.
Research honeymoon options
The honeymoon! Such a beautiful time… but it can be stressful to plan and there's so many destinations to choose from. This list will give you some great ideas for honeymoon spots. Whether you're looking for a luxurious resorts or an adventurous trip, we've got you covered.
Ask wedding party to schedule bachelor / bachelorette parties
If they haven't already spoken to you about them, it's time to nudge your maid of honor and best man about planning the bachelorette and bachelor parties! These parties can be a lot of fun, but they can also be tricky to plan. That's why it's important to ask your wedding party to schedule their respective parties well in advance. To kick things off, here's 101 bachelorette party themes and 47 bachelor party ideas. You could also consider a joint bachelor / bachelorette party.
Shop for shoes and accessories
The perfect pair of shoes can take your outfit from beautiful to stunning. And with the right accessories, you can complete your look and feel like a true bride goddess. So where do you start? Check out our guides to the best places to shop for wedding shoes online and accessories online.
8 Months Out
Register for Gifts
With all the planning, don't forget to register for gifts! This will make it easy for your guests to know what to get you. Plus, it's a great way to get the things you really want. Here's a guide to the best wedding registry platforms for gifts, cash, honeymoons & charity.
Choose bridal party attire and accessories
Meet with florist to finalise flowers
If you're like most couples, flowers are an important part of your wedding. But what do you do if you're not sure what kind of flowers to choose? Or how many to order? Don't worry, we're here to help with 22 questions to ask your florist! Meet with your florist to finalise the details and make sure your wedding is flower-perfect.
7 Months Out
Design or Purchase wedding invitations (if paper invitations)
When it comes to wedding invitations, there are three main options: designing them yourself, purchasing them pre-made or sending them exclusively online. If you're DIY inclined, designing your own wedding invitations can be a fun and creative way to add your personal touch to your big day.
However, for some couples, the idea of DIYing their wedding invitations is overwhelming or simply not feasible due to time constraints. If this sounds like you, purchasing pre-made wedding invitations may be the best option. Alternatively, like we did, you could send them online only which frankly saves a lot of headache. Whichever you go for, here are the best places to buy wedding invitations, stationery online.
Order Rental Items
Almost everyone will need to rent some items for your wedding. Whether it's chairs, chair covers, linen, silverware, tent, chairs, or tables – renting makes a lot of sense. But as ever, there's a lot of things to consider. This guide will give you some essential tips on what items you should really consider renting.
Book the Rehearsal-Dinner Venue
6 Months Out
Book wedding night accommodation
Don't forget to book your wedding night accommodation! It can be a lot of fun to spend your first night as husband and wife in a romantic setting. Here are a few things to consider… Location is key. You'll want to be close to the action, but perhaps not right in the thick of it. Price is also important. You don't want to break the bank on your wedding night accommodation, but you also don't want to skimp on quality. Finally, comfort is key. You'll want a place that feels like home, where you can relax after a long day & night of celebrating and a place you'll be happy to wake up in on your first morning as a married couple.
Get tastings underway for the wedding cake and order it
Finalise who is giving speeches
At a traditional wedding, typically the father of the bride, the groom, and the best man give speeches. Here's a great run down on everything speeches, including when the speeches take place, how long they should last and more.
Hire a Lighting Designer
Schedule date & location for bridal shower / bachelorette party
Schedule date & location for bachelor party / stag do
Plan for day after wedding
As you plan your wedding, it's easy to forget about what comes immediately after. The day after the wedding, you'll likely be feeling tired and perhaps, a little bit hungover so whatever you plan (and here are some ideas), go easy on yourselves!
5 Months Out
Buy or Rent the Groom’s Tuxedo
For the groom, it's time to shop for your tuxedo! And we're here to help make the process as easy and stress-free as possible. This guide is a wonderful run through everything you need to know and here are the best places to buy or rent a tux online.
Research rehearsal dinner venues
Whether you're planning a small, intimate gathering or a larger celebration, finding the right venue for your rehearsal dinner can be a stress. Here's a helfpul guide to how to choose the perfect venue for the rehearsal dinner.
4 Months Out
Schedule necessary time off from work
Four months out is ample time to give notice to your company that you're going to need a few days off. To ensure the request goes smoothly, The Art of Requesting Time Off is a must ready.
Buy Wedding Rings
It's time to get those wedding rings purchased. Rings can be a big expense and you're going to be wearing it for life, so it's no small decision. Here's 7 key things to remember before buying your wedding ring and here are the 18 best places to buy wedding rings online.
Hair and makeup trial & book stylist
A trial run with a hair and makeup artist will help ensure that you look your best on your big day. And be sure to book a stylist who can help create the perfect look for your wedding day book. Here are 10 tips to make the most of your hair and make up trial.
3 Months Out
Create or order wedding favors & gift bags
Wedding favors are a long tradition and a lovely way to thank your guests for their attendance on your special day. But what do you put in them? Here are some ideas for both store-bought and DIY favors, as well as gift bags for out-of-town guests. And here are the best places to buy them online.
Collate RSVP's and call guests who haven't sent a response
Finalise Menu with Caterer
Order alcohol and beverages
Alcohol and beverages are an essential part of any wedding reception. But with so many options to choose from, how do you know what to order?
First, consider the size of your wedding and the alcohol preferences of your guests. If you're having a large wedding with a diverse group of guests, it's a good idea to have a variety of alcohol options available. But if your wedding is smaller or more intimate, you can be more selective in your choices.
Next, think about the time of day your reception will be taking place. If it's during the daytime, you'll want to focus on light beers and wine. But if your reception is in the evening, you can go for heavier options like cocktails and liquor.
Finally, don't forget to factor in your budget. Alcohol can be one of the biggest expenses for a wedding, so it's important to set a realistic budget before making any decisions.
These are just a few points to consider, this guide has more factors to bear mind. You'll also find this calculator very handy.
Book a Photo-Booth Rental (or something similar)
If you're looking for ideas to make your wedding more fun, why not consider renting a photo booth? Photo booths are a great way to get everyone in on the fun, and they can be a great way to capture memories of your special day. Plus, they're a great way to keep guests entertained during downtimes.
Start Crafting DIY Items If You Haven’t Already
DIY items can add a personal touch to your wedding that will make it truly memorable. Plus, crafting your own wedding decorations can be a fun and creative way to save money on your big day. DIY items could be anything from wedding favors, through to decorations. Here's a great round up of ideas to consider.
2 Months Out
Confirm date, time, and venue with all your vendors
Purchase a guest book & don't forget lots of pens!
A guest book is a wonderful way to keep track of who attends your wedding and to provide a space for well-wishes. Be sure to purchase a guest book that compliments your wedding theme and style. You'll also want to make sure you have enough pens on hand – one for each guest, or at least one for every two guests. Having a designated person responsible for collecting the guest book and pens can be helpful so that you're not scrambling at the end of the night. And don't forget to leave some time for your guests to sign the book! Set it out on a table with a sign that encourages your guests to take a moment to write something special.
Finalize decor and run through with wedding coordinator/planner
The big day is fast approaching, and there are still a few things to take care of. First, finalize the decor. Take a look at the venue and envision how you want it to look on the day of the wedding. Work with your wedding coordinator or planner to make sure that everything will be in place. Then, run through the plan for the day with them. Make sure that everyone knows what is supposed to happen and when. By taking care of these last-minute details, you can relax and enjoy your wedding day knowing that everything is taken care of.
Purchase Wedding Dress Undergarments
It's no secret that finding the perfect wedding dress is often no easy task. In addition to finding a style that flatters your figure, you also need to make sure that the dress is comfortable and that you feel confident in it. One way to help ensure both of these things is to choose the right undergarments. A good foundation can help to smooth out any bumps or lumps, and it can also help to keep the dress in place and prevent it from slipping or sliding around. when choosing undergarments for your wedding dress, be sure to take the time to try on different styles and find the ones that work best for you. With the right foundation, you'll look and feel amazing on your big day. Here's a helpful a guide on finding the perfect underwear to wear under your wedding dress.
Buy Wedding Party Gifts
Choosing the right wedding party gifts can be a tricky task. You want to find something that is meaningful and personal, but you also need to stay within your budget.
One way to save money is to purchase items that can be used by the entire wedding party. For example, a set of matching tote bags or coffee mugs can be used by bridesmaids, groomsmen, and even the parents of the bride and groom.
Another option is to choose gifts that can be used on the big day itself. A personalized picture frame or a custom-engraved champagne flute would make a lovely memento that your wedding party can treasure for years to come.
Whatever you choose, make sure to take the time to pick out something that represents your appreciation for their support on your special day. Here's round up of 10 gifts your bridesmaids & maid-of-honor actually want.
Give the Song Selections to Your Band or DJ
Set up appointments for any beauty / grooming eg. teeth whitening, hair colour etc.
Design and order your wedding programs
Whether you want a simple and elegant program or something more elaborate, your wedding programs should be a reflection of your unique style and personality.
When choosing a design, keep in mind the overall look and feel of your wedding.
If you are having a traditional ceremony, a classic program with a simple layout may be ideal.
For a more modern wedding, consider a program with fun fonts and trendy graphics.
Here's a guide to everything to consider when creating your wedding program.
1 Month Out
Have your final dress fitting
Ready to put the finishing touches on your wedding day look? Here are a few tips to help you have a successful final dress fitting. First, make sure you bring everything that needs to be hemmed or taken in. Next, wear the same shoes and undergarments you plan to wear on your wedding day. Finally, be patient! It may take a little bit of time for your alterations specialist to get everything just perfect. Here's a great run through of everything to bear in mind for your final dress fitting.
Pick Up Your Marriage License
Break In Your Wedding Shoes
Before your wedding day, you'll want to make sure your shoes are comfortable. The last thing you want is to be dealing with blisters on your big day! Fortunately, there are a few easy ways to break in your shoes and avoid discomfort. First, try wearing them around the house for an hour or two at a time. This will help to stretch out the fabric and mold the shoes to your feet. You can also try placing a bag of water inside the shoes overnight. This will help to soften the material and make the shoes more pliable. Here are 7 other useful tips & tricks to make sure you're comfortable on your special day.
Create a Seating Chart
When it comes to wedding seating, there are a few things to keep in mind. First and foremost, make sure you have a a list of all of your guests, including their names and the names of any people they'll be bringing with them.
Next, consider the total number of guests you have and the size of the venue. You'll want to make sure everyone has a seat and there's enough room for people to move around.
Then think about the layout of the room and how you want people to be seated. You may want to separate family members from friends, or put people with similar interests together.
Finally, don't forget to account for any special needs your guests may have. Once you've considered all of these factors, you can start creating your seating chart. To make things easier, start by assigning each guest a number. Then, use a seating chart template to map out the room and plot where each guest will sit.
Here's 15 unique seating charts to welcome your guests with a wow.
Confirm final headcount & seating plan with your venue and caterer
Review music list with your DJ or wedding band
While you may have a general idea of the type of music you want played at your wedding, it's still a good idea to sit down with your DJ or band leader and go over a list of specific songs. This will ensure that your wedding music is exactly what you want. It's also a good opportunity to let the DJ or band know if there are any songs that you absolutely do not want played. Here are 10 tips to planning your wedding music.
Confirm reservations for the honeymoon
Make sure groomsmen have clothes in order
Have a Final Venue Walk-Through
By the time you've booked your final wedding venue walk-through should be just a formality. You've already seen the place multiple times, spoken with the staff, and reviewed all of the paperwork. However, it's still important to visit the venue one last time before the big day. This is your chance to confirm that everything is in order and that there are no surprises. Make a list of all the questions you need to ask and take someone with you who can help you remember everything.
Book a manicure and pedicure
If you're having a bridal shower, now is the time to do it! Here's 30 bridal shower game ideas to keep the guests entertained and mingling.
The Final Week
Clear your work to-do list so you can only focus on wedding festivities and take it all in
Confirm drop off times and locations with ALL vendors
As you finalize your wedding plans, be sure to confirm drop off times and locations with all of your vendors. This will help ensure that everything arrives on time and in the right place. For example, if you're renting table linens, you'll need to know when and where to drop them off so that they can be set up before the reception. The same is true for any other rentals, such as chairs, glassware, or table decorations. In addition, confirm that all of your vendors have the correct address for the venue. With a little advance planning, you can avoid potential problems on your big day.
Pay up all vendors
Get your hair done
It's finally the week before your wedding, and you're probably feeling a little bit stressed. There's so much to do and so little time to do it! One thing you shouldn't forget is to get your hair done. Whether you're opting for a traditional updo or something a little more modern, your stylist will be able to help you achieve the perfect look – here's some inspiration we think you'll love. With everything else that's going on, getting your hair done might seem like a low priority. But trust us, you'll be glad you took the time to pamper yourself a little bit before the big day!
Getting your eyebrows done
Have a Manicure/pedicure
Having a massage – perhaps couples massage?
Clean your ring
As your wedding day approaches, you'll want to make sure your engagement ring is sparkling. A quick clean just before the big day will help it look its best. Here's a helpful guide to how to ensure your ring is in great shape for the day you tie the knot.
Get a wax.
The Day Before The Wedding
Organize wedding dress and accessories.
On the day before your wedding, you will likely be busy getting everything ready for the big day. One important task is to organize your wedding dress and accessories. First, hang your dress and check for any stains or wrinkles. If necessary, touch up the fabric with a lint roller or steamer. Next, choose the accessories you will wear with the dress. Consider your jewelry, shoes, veil, and hairpieces. Once you have decided on the items you will wear, lay them out in an easily accessible place so you can get dressed quickly on the day of the wedding. By taking the time to organize your dress and accessories the day before, you can relax and enjoy your wedding day knowing that you look your best.
Pack an emergency kit.
In the midst of all the planning, it's important to remember to pack an emergency kit for the big day. Here's everything you should consider including in your emergency kit the day before your wedding.
Get excited – soak it in – you are about to marry the love of your life!
Day of The Wedding
One of the most important aspects of planning a wedding is the timeline for both the ceremony and the reception. So to avoid convoluting this month-by-month checklist, we've created separate timelines specifically for the wedding ceremony here and a timeline for the reception here.
After The Wedding
Have Your Wedding Dress Cleaned and Preserved
Whatever you end up doing with your wedding dress, having it cleaned and preserved is essential. The last thing you want is for it to sit in a closet and collect dust. Instead, you should have your dress cleaned and preserved so that you can cherish it for years to come, donate it or sell it to another bride-to-be.
Gather photos from friends & family
Consider Selling Your Wedding Dress
After your wedding, you may be wondering what to do with your wedding dress. If you're not interested in keeping it as a memento, you may want to consider selling it. There are a number of reasons why selling your dress can be a good idea. Here's how to do it and the best platforms to do it.
After your wedding, you may find yourself with a lot of leftover food, flowers and decor. While it can be tempting to just throw it all away, there are actually a lot of things you can do with it.
Ensure You’ve Paid and Tipped All Your Vendors
Leave Vendor Reviews
After all the excitement of your wedding day has died down, take a few minutes to leave reviews for your vendors on different wedding websites.
This will be so helpful for future couples as they narrow down their choices! When leaving a vendor review, be sure to include information such as why you chose them, what they provided, how they made your experience unique, and anything else that you think would be helpful for other couples to know.
Here's some helpful points to consider when leaving a vendor review.
Other Versions of The Checklist
Free Google Sheets Wedding Planning Checklist
1. Make sure you're logged in to Google / Gmail
2. Click this link
Free Excel Spreadsheet Wedding Planning Checklist
Super straight forward, click this link
Free PDF Spreadsheet Wedding Planning Checklist
Also a piece of cake, just click this link