Wedding Planning Checklist

Planning your wedding is an exciting experience that should give you beautiful memories for the big leap ahead. With so many details and people to call up, the whole process might feel really stressful. 

Where do I start? How soon should I book vendors?

To take the stress out of your planning experience and give you solid advice that so many couples wished they knew sooner, we have created a checklist to keep your schedule on track from start to finish.

12 to 18 Months to Go

1. Announce Your Engagement

Congratulations! You have gotten engaged and should share it with friends and family. You can do this by meeting in person, calling or sending out a message via text or email. The important thing to remember is to tell those nearest and dearest first.

2. Engagement Party

Now that the news is out, host a party to celebrate with everyone you love. Whether you want a big bash or something a little more lowkey, just make sure to choose your guests wisely since they will be expecting an invite to the wedding as well. 

3. Plan a Budget

Getting a rough idea of a budget is the first thing to consider before even looking at wedding magazines or websites. This is when you as a couple, should sit down and decide if you are going solo or if the parents will contribute to the budget.

4. Choose a Date

Think about the season you prefer and choose a date that will be fairly easy for everyone to attend. Avoid planning your wedding on or close to big holidays since most people will likely have other plans.

5. Find a Venue

Think about the type of wedding you would like and look for a venue to match it. Whether it’s traditional, fairytale, minimalist or something totally unique, look for something that looks and feels perfect for your big day. 

6. Book a Caterer

Food should taste delicious and bring everyone together to celebrate a joyous occasion. Think about the food style you would like (full course, canape, buffet…) and check out what’s available close to the venue for easy transportation.

7. Book a Photographer/Videographer

The photographer and videographer are going to be one of the most important decisions you will make. Choose a trusted name in the business and make sure to check out their portfolio ahead of time. 

8. Book a marriage celebrant

The officiant is another important figure who will lead and direct the official ceremony. Look for someone who has a great personality that fits with the wedding theme. A serious traditional officiant would probably not suit a playful light-hearted couple who want their ceremony to be fun.

9. Find a Wedding Dress

A bride should feel like a princess on her special day and the dress will be the main feature that will have all eyes on her. Start looking for a dress early on to make sure you have enough time to find a style that you love and alter it to fit like a dream.

9 to 11 Months to Go

10. Choose the Wedding Party

Your wedding party will be the support group and helpful hands to see you through one of the most important days of your life. Celebrate with those nearest and dearest to you. 

11. Write a Guest List

Your guest list should include everyone you hold dear to your heart. They are the ones who you truly want to share your big day with. Keep in mind the guests you had at your engagement party, since they will assume to get a wedding invitation as well.

12. Order Save the Date Cards

Order a set of “save the date” cards to send out to your wedding guest list. It’s recommended to order these cards fairly early, especially if they are professionally printed. 

13. DIY or Wedding Planner

This is the time to figure out if you would like a wedding planner to take over or if you would like to do it yourself. You can work closely with a wedding planner, but they will ultimately be responsible for all of the planning and booking. If you DIY, there will be more work, but also a lot more excitement and great memories made from the experience.

14. Meet with Celebrant

The first meeting with the celebrant is very important. This is the time they will ask about you as a couple, your values, how you met, and where you see your relationship in the next 10 years or so. Learning about you will help the celebrant figure out how to shape and navigate the ceremony to suit both of your personalities.

15. Decide on Wedding Theme

This is one of the most fun parts of wedding planning. The theme will set the tone of the whole wedding, from the ceremony to the first dance. Choose something that you would both love and try to incorporate the style and details in your invitations to give guests a hint as to the look and feel of the day’s events. 

16. Set Up a Gift Registry

Not everyone wants to have a gift registry, but they are a big help for guests who would love to give a gift but have no clue what you would like. To avoid doubles or things that will just clutter your home, now is the time to list everything you need or have always wanted but have not been able to get just yet. 

17. Book a Marquee

This is a great option for most weddings since they offer a protected place for dinner, drinks or an extra area for celebrations. Wedding marquees are often high in demand and will need to be booked well in advance.

6 to 8 Months to Go

18. Send Out Save the Date Cards

Once the personalised cards have arrived, it’s time to send them out to the guests. This will give everyone a heads up on the date of the wedding, so they can avoid scheduling other events and book necessary arrangements at that time.

19. Start DIY Projects

Give yourself plenty of time to create and finish all of those DIY projects, especially since there will be lots of other planning details to worry about soon.

20. Dresses and Accessories for Bridesmaids

A fun time to spend with your bridal party, make this a special time out with the ladies while also looking for the perfect bridesmaid dresses that all of you will love.

21. Suits and Accessories for Men

Just like the bridal party, the men should have a fun time out, looking for dapper suits that will make everyone look great for the big day.

22. Outfits for Flower Girl/Page Boy/Ring Bearer

The youngest wedding party members should have outfits that fit with the theme of the day. It isn’t necessary to have them match the adults in the wedding party, so have fun with their look.

23. Book Entertainment

Music and entertainment for weddings are a big business that is often high in demand. Start your search early and book the ones you love best. 

24. Schedule Wedding Cake Tastings

Your wedding cake will be a highlight after dinner. This is something that you should both love in terms of flavour and style. Book a tasting in advance to choose the best ones for your unique creation. 

25. Book Wedding Flowers

Book a florist that can create bouquets in the style that you love. Consider using flowers that are in season to ensure they will be available for your big day.

26. Book Hair and Makeup Stylist

This is the time to check out hair and makeup stylists for you and the wedding party. Make sure to consider the mothers in this event as well, since beauty treatments with all of the ladies are a great time to bond.

27. Plan Honeymoon

A great time to sit down and forget about the wedding planning for a bit and focus on a relaxing time made for the newlywed couple. A great escape to celebrate tying the knot!

4 to 5 Months to Go

28. Confirm Guest List

Now is the time to get your final guest numbers in. This will help you see where your budget stands and how much food, drinks, and space you have to work with.

29. Confirm Venue Details

Once guest numbers are in, you can confirm what is needed from the venue. Give them all of your details and the number of guests, so they can figure out seating arrangements.

30. Confirm Caterer

Look for a caterer who will create the foods you both love and want to share with your guests. Book a tasting before confirming with anyone, so you know what you will get the day of the wedding.

31. Order Wedding Cake

Once you have both decided on the cake flavour and style, it’s time to book with the pastry chefs. Make sure to confirm the day, time and location you need the cake delivered to.

32. Book Wedding Party Accommodation

To keep everyone in the wedding party together, most people like to book accommodations, so the bride stays with her bridesmaids and the groom with his groomsmen.

33. Book Accommodations for Guests

Out of town guests should have an option for accommodations near the ceremony or venue site. This makes it much easier to attend, especially if they have travelled a long distance to celebrate your wedding.

34. Order Invitations and Stationery

Official invitations and other wedding stationery like place cards, menus or seating charts should be ordered, so there is plenty of time to approve proofs and print it all out. 

35. Choose Decorations

Whether the venue has a set of decorations or you would like to purchase your own, this is the time to figure out what you would like for the ceremony, dinner and any areas of entertainment you will have.

36. Purchase Wedding Rings

Whether you would like them specially designed or purchased from a selection in a jeweller, now is the time to find the perfect rings that you will wear for the rest of your married lives.

37. Prepare Wedding Party Gifts

Most brides and grooms will have special little gifts of thanks for the wedding party. Choose something that has thought and meaning behind it or choose to personalise them with engraved messages. 

38. Prepare Gifts for Each Other

Traditionally, the bride and groom will give one another a special gift before the big step into a new chapter in their lives. Something special to commemorate this moment will always be cherished.

39. Book Wedding Transportation

If your ceremony and main venue are in different places, make it easy for guests by arranging transportation for everyone. This a great way to keep everyone together and excited for the events to come.

40. Book Honeymoon Plans

To avoid stressing out when it’s closer to the wedding, book everything you want (flights, accommodations, transportation, tours, etc…) for your honeymoon now. 

41. Check Passport and Travel Details-vaccines

Nothing would be worse than preparing for your honeymoon and discovering the passports are no longer valid or you need vaccines before you reach certain destinations.

2 to 3 Months to Go

42. Send Out Invitations

Give everyone attending a reminder with official invitations. Make sure they include all details for the dress, including the dress code. The design of the cards should already give a hint to the theme, but you can also mention it in the details.

43. Confirm Marriage Licence with Celebrant

Marriage licenses are only valid for 3 months from the date of issue, so make sure you get the timing right, to avoid any problems during the official ceremony.

44. Confirm Flowers and Arrangements

Make sure the florist can source all the flowers you like and has all the correct details (number of bouquets, table arrangements and other decorations) for the wedding day. 

45. Order Bomboniere

Guests normally receive some kind of small gift as a thank you from the bride and groom. Traditionally a box of chocolates or candies, modern favours can be anything you would like to give.

46. Invite Guests for Speeches and Readings

Now is a good time to invite special guests for their speeches and any readings that you would like during the ceremony and reception. This will give them time to write it up and rehearse before the big day.

47. Choose Music and Schedule

Figure out what kind of music you would like and when it should be played. You can either put together your own playlist or leave it to the DJ.

48. Choose an MC

The MC should be an organised and entertaining person who will be in charge of scheduled events, including introducing the newlywed couple, when dinner is up, calling attention for speeches and so on.

49. Confirm Wedding Schedule

Go through the rough schedule of events and see if that works with what you would like for the day. Make sure to discuss these details with vendors and the MC.

50. Plan Alternate Bad Weather Schedule

If you have a mostly outdoor affair, make sure to have back up shelter like a marquee, umbrellas for yourselves and the guests and anything else that may need a quick change for bad weather. 

51. Start Skincare Regime

To have perfect-looking skin for your big day, now is the time to start a skincare regime. Drinks lots of water, reduce sugar and salt, exfoliate, tone and moisturise religiously from now until the wedding.

6 to 8 Weeks to Go

52. Write Vows

If you are going to say your vows, now is the time to take a moment and reflect on what you would like to tell the love of your life. This will also give you a chance to practice it when you say it in front of the guests.

53. Write Speeches

Celebrating your special day with loved ones is a wonderful experience. Make sure to write heartfelt speeches for the best man, maid of honour, the wedding party and all of the guests.

54. Confirm Readings and Speeches

Confirm with everyone that they are going to go forward with readings and speeches and give them a gentle reminder to finish them up soon.

55. Schedule Final Fittings

To make sure the dress and suit fit perfectly for the day, schedule final fittings for any last-minute alterations that need to be done.

56. Confirm menu with caterer

Make sure all of the menu items are confirmed, along with the schedule and delivery location. Make sure they have the directions and contact details for you and the best man/maid of honour.

57. Confirm Guest Numbers with Venue

Give the venue the final attendance numbers so they can confirm seating and any arrangements that need to be made for the day.

58. Plan Seating Arrangement

Once you have the venue layout for seating, take a moment to place guests at each table. Keep closest friends and family members close to the wedding party and work your way out. 

3 to 5 Weeks to Go

59. Organise and Book Wedding Rehearsal

The wedding rehearsal will give you and everyone else a chance to see what will be expected of them on the wedding day. A run-through will also give you a sense of the timing and schedule planned.

60. Pick up and Check the Rings

Make sure the rings fit and are designed according to your specifications. Nothing would be worse than having rings that don’t fit for your wedding!

61. Pick up and Check Wedding Dress/Suit

Final checks for the dress and suit should be made to make sure they are perfect. Once picked up, make sure to store them in a very clean safe place. 

62. Confirm Ceremony with Officiant

Make sure the officiant knows of any ceremony changes and knows all of the details for a smooth wedding. If needed, plan for a quick meet beforehand to go over all the details one last time.

63. Finish DIY Projects

It’s crunch time and all DIY projects should be in the finishing stages. If you need more help, get the wedding party on board to lend some extra hands.

64. Book Vaccinations for Travel

Most vaccines should be done a month ahead of travel unless they have a specific timeframe of 1-2 weeks or less). This will give it time to get into your system for total coverage.

65. Confirm Honeymoon Details

Confirm the flights, accommodation, transportation and any tours or activities planned. This is also a good time to get local currency for overseas travel.

1 to 2 Weeks to Go

66. Confirm All Vendors and Suppliers

Final confirmations of all details from each vendor. Go over all schedules, transportation, who will be the main contact and any changes that may have been made since the last call.

67. Have Ceremony Rehearsal and Dinner

Take a moment to discuss all the details with the wedding party so everyone is on the same page on the wedding day. This is also a great time to relax and have some fun with those nearest and dearest to you.

68. Wedding Party Hair and Beauty Treatments

Now is the time for and hair and skin treatments that will help make you all look perfect for the big day. Avoid any drastic changes to avoid stress should something not work out as you wish.

69. Pack and Prep for Honeymoon

Get everything packed and ready for a quick getaway. This will help you avoid any stress and last-minute packing where you might forget something.

70. Have a Stag and Hens Night

Let loose and make memories with your best friends! After all the hard work and planning, enjoy all the moments before saying “I Do”.

A Few Days to Go

71. Pack an Overnight Bag

Pack a change of clothes, comfortable shoes and anything else that you may need on your wedding day. Keep snacks, water, and a sewing kit handy, just in case you get a wardrobe malfunction.

72. Pick Up Anything Hired

If you are hiring suits, equipment or anything else that will not be delivered on the day, make sure to pick them up earlier and store them together for quick pick up and transportation on the day.

73. Drop Off Venue Decorations

Now is the time to drop off any decorations or DIY projects for the venue. This will give you a chance to explain where you would like everything set up for the big day.

74. Prepare Payments and Cash

This is an important detail that lots of couples miss for their wedding day. Settle all outstanding payments just before or on the day with prepared cheques and an envelope of cash just in case. 

75. Prepare Wedding Party Gifts

Set aside all those special gifts for the wedding party and finish up hand-written notes for everyone you would like to thank.

76. Final Beauty Treatments

This is a good time to relax with a good massage, mani-pedi, and final hair treatment. These will keep you looking and feeling great for the big day. 

After the Wedding

77. Complete Venue and Vendor Payments

Settle all outstanding payments to avoid stressing out about them on your honeymoon. Make sure to go over all details and pay the agreed-upon amount. 

78. Return Anything Hired

To avoid any penalty payments for late returns or damages, make sure to have everything back as soon as you can and in great condition.

79. Preserve Bouquet

If you would like to hold on to your beautiful bouquet as a memento, now is the time to keep it upside down in a cool dry place or drop it off at a professional preservation specialist.

80. Dry Clean Wedding Dress and Suit

Drop off the wedding dress and suit at highly rated dry cleaner for perfect professional cleaning. It’s best to do this step before flying out to your honeymoon.

81. Meet with Photographer

Take a moment to meet with the photographer and videographer for proofs and final details before the final wedding package is put together. It’s recommended to chat with them before going on your honeymoon.

82. Write Guest Thank You Cards

Make sure to write and send out thank you cards within a week of the wedding. To make it more personal, try to mention something about the gift or a special moment shared with each guest.

83. Thank and Review Venue/Vendors

Thank the venue staff and all vendors for their hard work. If you would like, this is also a great time to review their services for future brides and grooms.

84. Update Any Name, Status and Address Changes

Finally, this is a good chance to update your details in official documents like passports, mailing address, driver’s license, social insurance, bank name/address details, payroll, and insurance.